Archive for the ‘Books on my Kindles’ Category

Books on my Kindles #2 (part 2)

August 25, 2014

Books on my Kindles #2 (part 2)

This is a continuation of a recent post

Books on my Kindles #2 (part 1)

in which I list and talk about the books I currently have downloaded to my Kindles. For more information on this, see that first post linked above.

Wild and Untamed Thing: Richard O’Brien – the LOST interview (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping)
by Phil South
5 stars out of 5, 1 customer review
borrowed through Kindle Unlimited
not yet started

It’s been about forty (!) years since The Rocky Horror Picture Show was first released in the USA. When I first saw it, there was just a handful of people in the audience, and the whole audience immersion part of it hadn’t happened yet. I’d had it recommended to me by someone who knew my fondness for the Universal Horror movies of the 1930s and 1940s (and to which it pays homage). It was fascinating to see the development of the “cult” over the years, as I went back to see it many times. It went from people spontaneously shouting at the screen, to ritualized mass repetition of the same audience-spoken lines…often with the original meaning diluted. My Significant Other, by the way, had never seen it when we met…and in fact, jokingly suggested that as an epitaph: “Here lies — — who never saw Rocky Horror”. ;) When I was looking to get to the maximum ten simultaneous borrows for

Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

so I could test something, I happened to stumble across this one. It made sense: it’s a transcription of an interview with the creator (and one of the stars) of Rocky Horror, first as a stage show, then on-screen. I look forward to reading it.

This is a case where the publisher will make a lot more money because I borrowed it through KU than if I had bought it, since it is priced at $0.99. The publisher (which could be just the author) would get about $0.35 if I bought it…and while we don’t have the exact figure yet (it’s based on a pool of money which is divided dependent on the number of borrows there are), it is likely to be upwards of $2.

Flying Saucer to the Center of Your Mind: Selected Writings of John A. Keel (at AmazonSmile*)
by John A. Keel (edited by Andrew Colvin…no relation, and not spelled the same) ;)
4.5 stars, eleven reviews
borrowed through Kindle Unlimited
not yet started

Ah, John Keel…it’s a bit hard to describe this writer, and how big the influence of Keel’s books has been (not just on me, but on many people). Keel was the clear inspiration for Carl Kolchak on The Night Stalker, and of Alva Keel in the lamentably short-lived Miracles TV series (at AmazonSmile*). Keel brings this odd synergy of ordinariness in the midst of “high strangeness”. Just as in the Darren McGavin performance, Keel comes across as no superhero, or Sherlock Holmesian genius, yet encounters Mothman and the Men-in-Black (and popularized both). Keel’s greatest book (which became a New York Times bestseller) The Mothman Prophecies (at AmazonSmile*), and several others, are available in the Kindle store…but the classics aren’t available through Kindle Unlimited. This book collects articles by Keel: I suspect I will have read some of them, however, many of the magazines which would have carried Keel were not widely available (even to someone like me who collected a lot of “Forteana”). Thanks, e-books!

THE ROAD TO LOCH NESS (The Kodiak Books) (at AmazonSmile*)
by Lee Murphy
5 stars out of 5, three customer reviews
not yet started

While this book is available through Kindle Unlimited, I got it when it was recently free (and I flipped that information into the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard, so I’m guessing some of my readers did as well). Murphy writes a series of novels involving cryptids (reported animals not recognized by science, like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster), starring George Kodiak. I’ve read one of them…not burning to read another one, but I probably will eventually. :)

Batman Eternal (2014- ) #1 (at AmazonSmile*)
by Scott Snyder, James Tunion IV, Ray Fawkes, John Layman, Tim Seeley, Jason Fabok
4.1 stars, 68 customer reviews
gotten as a freebie

I don’t read many comics nowadays, although I used to read them a lot. I had told you about this freebie when San Diego Comic Con was starting this year, so I assume some of you got it as well.

Habit Stacking: 97 Small Life Changes That Take Five Minutes or Less (at AmazonSmile*)
by S.J. Scott
3.9 stars, 212 customer reviews
borrowed through Kindle Unlimited

This is one of those books I borrowed to be reading something that ties into work (I actually report that regularly to my boss, as part of “personal/professional development”). It’s not bad: very bite size, and the structure of how to build habits is more significant than the habits themselves…which is important.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (the one I have isn’t available any more, so no linking)
by Lewis Carroll
4.2 stars, 1672 reviews
gotten as a freebie
51% right now, but I’ve finished it

I keep this one on my Kindles to demo stuff for people. It’s in the public domain, so there aren’t any copyright concerns (if you used text-to-speech in a public setting with a book under copyright protection, for example, you could be infringing on the public performance right). Since I’m not really reading it currently, I don’t care if they leave it in a different place in the book, so it works well to just let somebody play with it. :)

The Rise of the Humans: How to outsmart the digital deluge (at AmazonSmile*)
by Dave Coplin
2.7 stars, 3 customer reviews
not yet started
gotten as a freebie

This is another one I got to read as a “work book”. Haven’t started it yet. The low ratings aren’t encouraging me, but I’ll likely try it eventually.

To be continued…

Bonus deal

My apologies that this is so late: I know some of you may miss it. On the other hand, that’s always true, since I have readers around the world…even if the deal is good in their countries (which is often not the case), the timezones would cause problems as to when the deal was available.

One of today’s Kindle Daily Deals is five Sookie Stackhouse novels (including the first one) for $1.99 each. You can buy as many as you want of the five, paying $1.99 for each one. This is clearly a tie-in to the finale of the True Blood series, which is based on these books (but the story lines really diverged).

I would have gotten it out sooner, but my Significant Other is an Insurance Claims Manager, and had to go into the office to deal with the earthquake in Napa, which through off the timing. We live in the San Francisco Bay Area (although not that near Napa), and really felt it this morning, but there wasn’t any damage here.

Hopefully, some of you can take advantage of this.

These books are not currently available through Kindle Unlimited or the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.


Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Books on my Kindles #2 (part 1)

August 22, 2014

Books on my Kindles #2

Books on my Kindles is a series of posts where I list what books I currently have on my devices.

This listing is quite a bit different from the last one.

One reason for that is

Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I normally only keep about ten Kindle store books on any of my devices at a time. I like to keep my devices lean if I can: I do think they run better. So, even though I could hypothetically have over 5,000 e-books on my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

for example, I normally don’t carry more than I need with me (and being an inveterate book lover who reads multiple books at a time, “need” means ten or so). :)

I was testing something with KU, though, and needed to get to the limit…so I borrowed ten books. I didn’t have to download them all to my Fire, but I think I did.

The other big thing, as I mentioned last time, is that this is kind of hard for me to do. I know people judge people by what they read…both in good ways and in bad. This particular grouping (I did not manipulate them before writing the post) leans pretty heavily in the geeky direction. I am a proud geek, but I also mention on here that I’m an eclectic reader. This grouping won’t look much like that: it seems like much of a muchness, as I glance at it at first. Still, as a bit of a random snapshot, I’ll go with what’s here. There are too many to really list in one post, so I’ll take a few to go through them.

Not counting the dictionaries that come with the device, magazines, items filed under Docs rather than Books, here are the first of the 37 Kindle store titles in descending order of most recent (most recent first):

The City on the Edge of Forever (at AmazonSmile*)
by Harlan Ellison
borrowed through Kindle Unlimited
47% complete

I borrowed this one Wednesday morning, because a couple of my readers (Allie D., jjhitt) and I have been talking about Harlan Ellison after I recently listed a Kindle Daily Deal with Hugo Award winning and nominated books.

There’s a lot of controversy over Ellison’s script (and pre-scripts) for The City on the Edge of Forever, which became an episode of the original Star Trek…and cited by various sources as one of the best.

As regular readers know, I’m not fond of vituperation, and Ellison certainly isn’t hesitant about it.

Ellison’s version of the events does sound…plausible, for the most part, with appropriate details. The way the author describes it and characterizes other people does make me less sympathetic, though.

One interesting point: Ellison (and other sources which can be seen) quote Gene Roddenberry as saying, “He had my Scotty selling drugs…” The script and treatments are in the book, and that’s not it.

However, Ellison also says, “Geezus bleeding Kee-rist on a crutch! Scotty doesn’t even appear in the g*ddam script!” (I added the asterisk, even though the author left out the “n”).

Perhaps not in the script, but in the first version in the book, there are a few references to the “SCOTTISH ENGINEERING OFFICER”, who participates in a court martial with Kirk, Spock, and “THE MEDIC”.

That isn’t in one of the actual script versions, and it isn’t Scotty by name…and, most importantly, that’s not “selling drugs”, but I think it’s not unreasonable for someone to think Scotty was in Ellison’s story based on that.

At this point in reading it, I’d say that Ellison wrote well, and not inexpertly for the medium…but the feel is certainly not Star Trek (it lacks the optimism about the future), and the characterizations aren’t on target (although they improve in successive versions which are in the book).

Soft-Wired: How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change your Life (at AmazonSmile*)
by Michael Merzenich
borrowed through Kindle Unlimited
6% complete

This one was recommended to me by a physical therapist (who wasn’t treating me…I was training the PT) who thought it might be useful for me. The main point is the idea that the brain can be changed…I’m not far enough into it to judge it well, yet. I like to always be reading something that can relate to my day job, and that’s the one right now…

These are the Voyages – TOS: Season Two (at AmazonSmile*)
by Marc Cushman with Susan Osborn
4% done
borrowed from Kindle Unlimited

I really enjoyed the first one of these! At times, it was a day by day “biography” of the original Star Trek (which is where I got the “other side” view of The City on the Edge of Forever), and quite well done. Again, not really far enough into this one to judge, but I’m enjoying it so far.

These Are The Voyages, TOS, Season One ( Season One Book 1) (at AmazonSmile*)
by Marc Cushman
100% done

I just haven’t deleted this one yet, because I still want to write up a review at my Goodreads account:

I’ve been doing an okay job of keeping up with that, but things have been super busy lately. I’ll catch up. :)

Ghosts: True Encounters with the World Beyond (at AmazonSmile*)
by Hans Holzer
50% done

I really like this book! I’ve always enjoyed Holzer, and have suggested elsewhere someone could do a good TV series based on the original “ghost hunter”. This is kind of an emergency book for me…I go to it from time to time between other books, and maybe on a long drive. I always enjoy it.

The Painted Word: A Treasure Chest of Remarkable Words and Their Origins (at AmazonSmile*)
by Phil Cousineau
100% done

Another one I just need to review. I was disappointed in this one. I love words, and books about words. I just didn’t find it that engaging. It was also weird to read this: “…it’s hard not to hear the echo of Sly and the Family Stone’s funkadelic song ‘Play that funky music right, boy!…'” Um…I don’t think that’s quite the right lyric, which then makes me doubt the scholarship of the rest of the book. It’s also not the right band, from what I know, but I haven’t checked to see if there was a “cover” by Sly. By the way, do you know why they are called “cover” versions? Originally, it was because radio stations and certainly stores didn’t want to play music by African American artists. So, the songs would be re-recorded by Caucasian American artists…putting a more “marketable” face literally on the cover of the record. It always surprises me a bit that many people don’t seem to know that nowadays, and blithely use the term “cover”. It has changed over time, though, and I can accept that it has a different meaning now.

That’s enough for part 1!

Not all of the books will get this much coverage (and I wrote the big introduction in this post), so I think I can do this in…two to three more posts, most likely.

What do you think? Any comments on these books? Do you enjoy somebody being caustic? I can’t deny having liked Simon Cowell. ;) Do you want to just list the books on your Kindle (or, say, ten of them)? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Books on my Kindles #1

January 13, 2013

Books on my Kindles #1

I often mention here and in the Amazon Kindle forums that I only tend to keep about ten Kindle store books on any of my devices at any given time.

I know some people are surprised by that, because you can keep thousands (over 5,000 on a Kindle Fire), and Amazon has promoted the idea that you can have your whole library with you.

Well, this may be a bit old-fashioned, but I like to keep my devices lean. I do think they operate better and it speeds up searches (both done by the device and done by eye).

I have sometimes mentioned to you what I was reading before, but I’ve never done a “full reveal” like this, I think. :)

Part of that is because, well, what you read shapes people’s opinions of you. I have certainly in the past read controversial things that might color other people’s thoughts about me…both in good ways and bad ways.

I thought I’d go ahead and do it today, though.

This way, you might find something you’d like…there are lots of ways to discover something to read, and “Read any good books lately?” is a classic. In this case, I’m not going to keep it to good books…I’ll tell you about all of them. I am only counting Kindle store books, though…not magazines, not e-books from other sources. I’m also not going to count the dictionaries that came with the Kindle: I don’t browse through those (although I did read an unabridged dictionary cover to cover when I was a kid).

On Vulcan, my Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ 4G LTE Wireless 32GB

I do most of my reading on this device…thanks to text-to-speech in the car. I like Ivona, the TTS on the current generation of Fires: I think it’s quite superior to Vocalizer, the most recent one we have on the RSKs (Reflective Screen Kindles). I also read on Vulcan at other times…when I’m out waiting, at lunch, that sort of thing. I was surprised that I don’t find it uncomfortable to read on a backlit screen, but that is the case. It’s usually not for more than an hour or so at a time (when I’m sight-reading).

Here they are in “most recent” order:

The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success
by Kevin Dutton

This is the only sample I have right now, and I have finished it. It was recommended to me by a coworker: it’s a nonfiction look at qualities we could emulate in actual psychopaths. I’ve always figured that anyone who has made it to adulthood has something to teach you, and that all sorts of psychological conditions have benefits…in some circumstances. Something is a pathology to me when it hurts you most of the time, even if it helps you sometimes. Some psychopaths undeniably do some terrible things…but there are probably people who have some psychopathic elements who avoid doing those things…and then benefit from making decisions not based on emotions. I did find the sample interesting, but at $12.99, it’s more than I want to spend at this point (I have a lot to read). I don’t have a hard and fast rule about books over, say, $9.99, but I’m in no real hurry for this one. I listed it at

so I’ll get a free e-mail when it drops in price. That site is one of the most useful things for Kindle owners, by the way. I”ve written about it before, but if you are new to the blog, you might want to check out their myriad free services.

Counter-Clock World
by Philip K. Dick

I got this one when it was on sale, and it’s not going to be for everyone. Dick takes an idea and always puts interesting twists on it. In this case, time is running backwards, sort of. It’s on Earth, in the not too distant future. People, for example, are aging backwards…they are getting younger. There’s a whole industry around digging up people who have died and then come back to life in their graves…with government regulations around it. PKD makes it much more complicated than that, even though there are straight story elements in it as well. It has quite a bit to say about religion, and that certainly might discomfort some readers. I’ve been enjoying it, but I didn’t recommend it to my Significant Other, who would find it…contrived.

The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us To Choose Between Privacy And Freedom?
by David Brin

I’d wanted to read this for a very long time, and got it as a holiday gift. I’m not all that far into it, but am finding it fascinating. It’s an exploration of privacy in the modern world. Even though it was first published more than ten years ago, it is still relevant). One of the great ideas in it: let’s say there were two towns. Both of them are equipped with small cameras on every lamp post that see everything. In one, the feeds just go to the police. In the other, anyone any time can tap into any of them. Which would make you feel safer? In the town where anyone can tap into what we would now call webcams, the police office also broadcast. You can see what they are doing with the feeds. I’m sure a lot of you feel like you would hate living in either town…but will you be able to avoid it? I recommend this one.

1,000 Comic Books You Must Read
by Tony Isabella

That’s my borrow from the Kindle Owmers’ Lending Library (KOLL) this month. It’s weird, I don’t usually read comic books, but I have read a couple of books about them. This one…well, it’s what is sometimes called a “seed catalog”. We see an image of the cover, and a brief summary. Isabella knows comics well, and there are some interesting choices…but it was frustrating not to actually be able to read them after I’ve been told I must by the cover. ;) I knew I wouldn’t be able to read them (although there are a lot of public domain comics out there…I’ve read a couple of them from The author also includes numerous comics that the author actually wrote. That’s fine, I guess, but 1,000 really doesn’t let you get too deep, and those are taking up some of the slots. There is an introduction for each decade that is covered, and Isabella doesn’t stick just to the big publishers, which is a good thing. Still, it’s unavoidably subjective. At $14.99, I wouldn’t recommend it to most people, but I did enjoy it.

How to Archer: The Ultimate Guide to Espionage, Style, Women, and Cocktails Ever Written
by “Sterling Archer”

I also got this one on sale. I think the edgy spy spoof cartoon is one of the best series on television, but it can really offend some (most?) people. I suppose it would surprise many people who know me IRL (In Real Life) that I like it. For example, I don’t drink alcohol, and that’s certainly not the ethos of the show or book. The book, though, does a good job of catching the flavor of the show, and if you like the show, the book is worth reading. The conceit of it is that it is written by the main cartoon character, Sterling Archer, and the voice is definitely there. However, weirdly, we get actual recipes (both for food and alcoholic drinks), which slowed things down.

Strange Animals. An Atlas and History. 1800 to 1977
by George Mitrovic

This is a really strange book. It’s a great example of a case where I wish the author had just given it to someone who was literate to read before it was published. Anybody could have helped it a lot by proofreading it. There is this bizarre, non-consistent capitalization scheme, and the same paragraphs get repeated throughout the book. I can completely see it being a cult classic, though. It’s non-fiction, and has some very out there speculation in there. It also, though, has a good listing of many “paranormal” events (although so far, without source documentation). The writing, when you can decipher it through the lack of editing, can be fun. I got this one from the KOLL last month, and that worked just the way authors want it to work: I ended up buying it (both for myself and for a sibling). I wanted to finish reading it, and that was not going to happen in time to borrow a book in January, in my estimation.

The Science Fiction Megapack: 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories

This one was also a gift, and I haven’t really started it yet. It’s a bunch of public domain titles, including some well-known authors (Ben Bova, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Lester Del Rey). It would probably be my “emergency book”…I’ll dip into it from time to time. It’s currently priced at ninety-nine cents…you could probably find all these yourself for free, but it’s nice to have it packaged up for you.

The Complete 2013 User’s Guide to the Amazing Amazon Kindle Fire
by Stephen Windwalker and Bruce Grubbs

I got this one as a freebie, and haven’t started it yet. I do plan to read it…Windwalker often has useful information and good insights.

Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas
by John Scalzi

Another gift (my family knows what makes me happy…books). ;) I’ve heard Scalzi being interviewed, and I’m excited to read this. It is in some ways a Star Trek parody. The Security Officers on the original Enterprise wore red (different branches wore different colors)…and it wasn’t a profession with a long life expectancy on the show. :) I made reference to that in my own Kindle-related Star Trek parody: The Kindle Encounter. I expect to start this one pretty soon.

Black Beauty
by Anne Sewell

This is the children’s classic and honestly, I don’t remember why I downloaded it. I might have been testing something. That doesn’t mean i won’t read it at some point, though.

Great Expectations
by Charles Dickens

See Black Beauty above. :)

Dawn (Xenogenesis Trilogy)
by Octavia E. Butler

Another one I got on sale. Butler is a controversial science fiction author, and I’m looking forward to it…I’ve enjoyed reading Butler before.

Action Comics (2011- ) #1
by Grant Morrison, Rags Morales, Rick Bryant

I wanted to test out the panel view for comics on my Fire, and I chose this one. It wasn’t bad,a nd while not written for children, it was nice to read a comic that wasn’t all angst. I would say a ten-year old could read this one. At ninety-nine cents, it’s a good one to use for the panel view test, if you want.

On Mindlelito Loveless, my Kindle

I really like my Kindle Paperwhite, but when I’m reading at home on an RSK, it’s on this one. That’s mostly just because I was already reading on it regularly, and didn’t want to switch. I do also read my Fire at home, so I only have one book I’m actively reading on this. I have some others on there I should clean up and remove, but I may dod something with some of them yet.

The one I’m actively reading is

The Fish That Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America’s Banana King
by Rich Cohen

Another gift (thanks, Amazon Wish Lists). ;) It’s a really interesting non-fiction work about Samuel Zemurray, an immigrant to America who made a fortune and revolutionized the use of bananas. I’m finding the writing to be…well, sort of like a pulp novel (I love those). Quite simply, it seems to me like the author is making up specific scenes and motivations. The story of Zemurray, though, is fascinating. It may be that there are enough interviews and such to justify those sort of Doc Savage-esque passages. At $12.99, I wouldn’t have bought it myself, but I am enjoying the read.

I’ve read these others on the device:

The Midwich Cuckoos
by John Wyndham

Classic science fiction, and I enjoyed it.

Make Room! Make Room! (RosettaBooks into Film)
by Harry Harrison

The basis for the movie Soylent Green, which I now think may have been the best movie adaptation ever. :) Everything I really remembered about the movie (which I rewatched after reading the book) isn’t in the original…but the original is also good and has elements not in the movie.

Are Women People? A Book of Rhymes for Suffrage Times
by Alice Duer Miller

I stumbled across this one when preparing Ten public domain freebies #3, and absolutely loved it. It’s snarky, political poetry…it seems very modern, with a real cutting edge. I can think of several folks on TV that would enjoy it.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
by Lewis Carroll

I like to keep this on my devices so I have something to demo for people who ask about the Kindle (although that happens a lot less often than it used to happen). It’s a good one for text-to-speech, for example, although the Mindle doesn’t have that. In fact, I should download it to Vulcan. It’s nice to have a book with which people can experiment without messing up where I am in it. :) I also like that they are almost always already familiar with it, so no spoilers while they practice.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Book 1)
by J.K. Rowling

When I bought this from Pottermore, it downloaded to all of my devices, and I just never removed it. I don’t mind having it on there, though.

The Complete Wizard of Oz Collection
by L. Frank Baum

This one appears not to be available in the USA Kindle store any more, although there are a lot of alternatives. I never know when I may want to dip back into Oz…one of my favorite places to visit. :)

There you go…that’s all the Kindle store books actually on my devices right now. Feel free to let me know what you have (although if it’s thousands, you don’t need to list them all). ;) All of these, of course, do not block text-to-speech access. It’s not available on the comic book, but it isn’t blocked there…the TTS just can’t access the text in an image to speak it. I hope these lead you to some to sample, to enjoy, or to give as gifts.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.


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