To inform entertain and excite my kids, Jamie, Patrick, Aaron & Sarah Middleburgh, our family and friends.

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Hong Kong

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My reading habits have become quite conservative, if not boring.

At dawn and dusk, I scan the news headlines online, occasionally exploring the detail. Preferred sources are the BBC World News, The Guardian and Google (UK edition) I am after all a Brit. Also the RTHK English News since I live in HK.

For work I read dry arcane technical and academic articles based on citation searches. This is normally when someone asks me something which I don't know and my university literature research skills kick in, or where a colleague has made an assertion which I suspect to be flawed and which will in long term cost us money.To balance the discussion I arm myself with authoritative information before going to war (someone has to hold the line ... I am that man)

I have stopped reading magazines with the exception of the Timeout (HK) and similar since rest are in Chinese.I have even stopped surveying the naughties on the the newsagents top shelf (I might take up picture books again if I revert to my childhood as I get older but I am not there yet).

I dutifully visit the public library weekly with my son to collect his books which I end up reading with him and on occasion I get some English fiction for myself although I seem to have neither the time nor the patience to actually complete reading these

Which is perhaps why I am not motivated to more actively explored the possibilities related to eBooks. I can search and download free eBooks from the Gutenberg Project, hot free books, Free Book Sifter and Hundred Zeros etc..NB this latter link (to free books on Amazon) is the best I have found . Maybe I am just old fashioned and prefer a physical copy (rather than an eCopy) even if it is second hand as indeed many of my books are. The advantage being that if I haven't time to finish I can simply put them go on the shelf to taunt me until I am ready for a rematch. True, a downloaded ebook could be filed away but isn't the same. You can't run you fingers down their spine, caress her covers ,or slip you fingers between their pages........Unfortunately the Hong Kong public libraries whilst supporting Chinese fiction ebooks and English fiction audiobooks does not provide up to date English fiction ebooks unlike the libraries in UK.

And then came the game changer So there I am a couple of weeks ago in London visiting my mum, I step into the local library which as a boy I frequented many years ago and asked for a visitor pass to use the internet.


The library has changed its IT systems since last year, and the librarian cannot issue me with a temporary pass as she have done for the last five years (I now back have to be a member of the library).

She proposes issuing me with a library card. I point out that I live in Hong Kong which is a very very long way away. No problems she says .... she will register me against my mother address (and promptly does so) So depending which way you look at it conceptually I now "reside" in a virtual spare bedroom for which my mother pays neither bedroom or council tax, and/or Hong Kong which in 1997 threw off the colonialist yoke to rejoin the motherland is for purpose of library services, has been deemed to be part of a borough in the former colonial power's capital. (just don't mention this to the Chinese Government!!).

More importantly I have just discovered that I have now got access to eBook resources in the UK including up to date publications!! AM I EXCITED OR WHAT !!!!

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