Today’s KDD: up to 80% off “Red Carpet Reads”

February 26, 2017

Today’s KDD: up to 80% off “Red Carpet Reads”

Today’s

Kindle Daily Deal (at AmazonSmile…benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

ties in very nicely to my last post,

Read the Oscar nominees 2017

It’s up to 80% off  (it also says $3.99 or less…but I see at least one for $4.99) “Red Carpet Reads.” My post was about the books/short stories/plays on which some of this year’s Oscar nominees were based, and this one goes back further…giving you some big savings! Remember that you can buy the books now at this discounted price and then delay delivery for an appropriate gift-giving occasion, or print it out to give whenever you want. There also books here you might want to have on your “guest Kindle”, in addition to for yourself. 😉

Do check the price before you click/tap/eye gaze (the last in Virtual/Augmented/Mixed Reality) that Buy button: the prices may not apply in your country, and could change before you read this.

Titles include:

  • The Shack by William P. Yount (movie being released in the USA Friday, with current nominee Octavia Spencer)
  • Room by Emma Donoghue (2015 Oscar winner)
  • Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell (2014 Oscar nominee)
  • 13 Hours by Mitchell Zuckoff (Oscar nomination withdrawn this year over “campaign violations”)
  • Serena by Ron Rash (2015 movie with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, no Oscar noms)
  • Miracles from Heaven by Christy Wilson Beam (2016 Jennifer Garner movie: People’s Choice nominee, Teen’s Choice winner)
  • A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron (in theatres now)
  • The Revenant by Michael Punke (multiple Oscar-winning 2015 movie)
  • Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson (2014 Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, MR)
  • Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks (2013 Julianne Hough movie)
  • The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (2009 Oscar-nominated movie)
  • The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly
  • The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
  • Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin
  • American Sniper by Chris Kyle
  • The 100-Year-Old Man who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
  • The Annotated Godfather: The Complete Screenplay by Jenny M. Jones
  • The Pianist by Wladyslaw Szpillman
  • Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
  • White Oleander by Janet Fitch
  • The Pursuit of Happyness by Chris Gardner (a co-worker of mine appears very briefly in this movie)
  • Marley & Me by John Grogan
  • Deep Down Dark by Hector Tobar
  • Betrayal by the Boston Globe
  • Trumbo by Bruce
  • The Lady in the Van by Alan Bennett
  • I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  • Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
  • Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame Smith
  • The Hours by Michael Cunningham
  • My Lunches with Orson by Peter Biskind
  • Literary Wonderlands by Lev Grossman
  • Stuntman by Hal Needham
  • You Changed my Life by Abdel Sellou
  • The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
  • Labor Day by Joyce Maynard
  • Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
  • Sideways by Rex Pickett
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny by Justin Hill
  • I Love You, Beth Cooper by Larry Doyle
  • Bully by Lee Hirsch

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* 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.

Read the Oscar nominees 2017

February 26, 2017

Read the Oscar nominees 2017

The Oscars are Sunday night. I follow those quite closely…I’ve been doing an Oscar prediction contest for decades. Last year, we were 90% right, which wasn’t atypical. The deadline for entries is noon Pacific time on Sunday: if you want to play, you still can at

https://goo.gl/forms/NqSNqNS6Y3ZS4Q232

However, not everybody follows the Oscars…or watches the movies, for that matter. 🙂

Great movies are often based on books (or short stories or plays…) and a number of this year’s Oscar nominees have that origin.

In case you want to read any of them:

Arrival (Best Picture, Directing, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Film Editing, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, Production Design)

based on

“The Story of Your Life” short story collected in Stories of Your Life and Others (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)
by Ted Chiang
4.3 out of 5 stars | 577 customer reviews

Elle (Lead Actress)

based on

Oh…by Philippe Djian

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them (Costumes, Production Design)

based on

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (at AmazonSmile*)

by J.K. Rowling (writing as Newt Scamander)

4.4 stars | 628 customer reviews

Fences (Best Picture, Lead Actor, Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay)

based on

the play Fences by August Wilson

Hidden Figures (Best Picture, Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay)

based on

Hidden Figures (at AmazonSmile*)
by Margot Lee Shetterly
4.5 stars | 662 reviews

I Am Not Your Negro (Documentary Feature)

not based on a specific book by author James Baldwin

The Jungle Book (Visual Effects)

based on

The Jungle Book (at AmazonSmile*)

by Rudyard Kipling
4.4 stars | 847 reviews

Life, Animated (Documentary Feature)

based on

Life, Animated (at AmazonSmile*)

by Ron Suskind
4.8 stars | 277 reviews

Lion (Best Picture, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Original score)

based on

A Long Way Home (at AmazonSmile*)
by Saroo Brierley
4.6 stars | 538 reviews

A Man Called Ove (Foreign Language Film, Makeup and Hairstyling)

based on

A Man Called Ove
by Fredrik Backman (available in Kindle format, but with text-to-speech access blocked, so I’m not linking)

My Life as a Zucchini (Animated Feature)

based on

Autobiographie D’une Courgette
by Gilles Paris

Nocturnal Animals (Supporting Actor)

based on

Tony & Susan (at AmazonSmile*)
by Austin Wright
3.2 stars | 117 reviews

Silence (Cinematography)

based on

Silence by Shusaku Endo

Sully (Sound Editing)

based on

Sully: My Search for What Really Matters (at AmazonSmile*)

by Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III
4.6 stars | 271 customer reviews

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* 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.

 

March 2017 Kindle book releases

February 24, 2017

March 2017 Kindle book releases

While I don’t generally pre-order Kindle store books myself, I know many of you do.

I understand the fun of just having the book show up, but I figure I’ll order when I want it…since I could have it within a minute, usually.…

However, it’s worth noting that pre-ordering at a low price will tend to preserve that price. Back when the Agency Model was solidly in place, Amazon couldn’t guarantee that books sold by the publishers using that structure wouldn’t go up in price after you pre-ordered them. It wasn’t likely, it was just that Amazon couldn’t control it. We have largely returned to the Agency Model, but Amazon is allowed to discount in some circumstances

These aren’t necessarily the most popular of the pre-orders…I’m just going to list ones that catch my eye. Since we might not agree on that, here’s a link to the 5,830 titles listed as being released in the USA Kindle Store in March 2017 (more than 1,500 more than last month):

February USA Kindle Store releases (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Of those, by the way, 1,142 (292 more than last time) are in

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

As usual, I won’t be deliberately linking to books which block text-to-speech access blocked**.

We’ve gone back and forth recently on whether the top four were the

Kindle First (at AmazonSmile)

picks for this month. Amazon doesn’t do these by popularity any more, they do them by featured…and this month, it doesn’t look like those are the Kindle First books.

Some of those Kindle Unlimited titles are way up on the list (four of the top five). I’m concerned (and I’ve alerted Amazon about it) that people are confused: they think they are pre-ordering a KU borrow, when they are actually pre-ordering a purchase. In other words, they may be thinking they’ll get the book at no additional cost, and actually be charged for it. Amazon has confirmed for me: you can not pre-order a borrow from KU.

Okay, books!

  • In Farleigh Field: A Novel of World War II by Rhys Bowen | 4.4 stars out of 5 | 406 customer reviews
  • Pilgrimage to Murder: A Medieval Mystery set in 14th Century London (A Brother Athelstan Medieval Mystery) by Paul Doherty
  • Only the Truth by Adam Croft
  • Extracted (Extracted Trilogy Book 1) by RR Haywood
  • Nutrition and the Autonomic Nervous System: The Scientific Foundations of the Gonzalez Protocol by Nicholas Gonzalez and Linda Isaacs
  • Signature Wounds by Kirk Russell (note: while this author’s books might make good adventure movies, the “Call me Snake” actor’s name is Kurt Russell)
  • The Marvelous Misadventures of Ingrid Winter (The Ingrid Winter Misadventure Series) by J.S. Drangsholt and Tara F. Chace
  • Judy and I: My Life with Judy Garland by Sid Luft and Randy L. Schmidt
  • Duck and Hippo in the Rainstorm (Duck and Hippo Series Book 1) by Jonathan London and Andrew Joyner | 4.6 stars | 224 reviews
  • Dragonwatch: A Fablehaven Adventure by Brandon Mull and Brandon Dorman
  • Black Obsidian by Victoria Quinn
  • Rebels & Runes: An Urban Fantasy Novella Collection by Monica Corwin and Alexis Kade
  • Double Up (A Davis Way Crime Caper Book 6) by Gretchen Archer
  • The Arrangement 23 (SERIES FINALE – The Ferro Family) by H.M. Ward
  • Trump the Establishment: The Elitists Never Learned in 2016 by Don Surber
  • The U.S. Navy’s Secret Space Program and Nordic Extraterrestrial Alliance (Secret Space Programs Book 2) by Michael Salla and Robert Wood
  • She Means Business: Turn Your Ideas into Reality and Become a Wildly Successful Entrepreneur by Carrie Green
  • The Nasty Women Project: Voices from the Resistance by Erin Passons
  • Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond (I believe this used to have text-to-speech access blocked, but this version doesn’t! I would add this to my Recommended Presidential Reading List) | 4.3 stars | 2,333 reviews
  • How the H*ll Did This Happen?: The Election of 2016 by P. J. O’Rourke
  • Murder, Stage Left (The Nero Wolfe Mysteries) by Robert Goldsborough
  • The Principle of Non-contradiction in Plato’s Republic: An Argument for Form by Laurence Bloom
  • Bright Line Eating: The Science of Living Happy, Thin & Free by Susan Peirce Thompson Ph.D.
  • The Dance of the Possible: the mostly honest completely irreverent guide to creativity by Scott Berkun
  • Big Mushy Happy Lump: A Sarah’s Scribbles Collection by Sarah Andersen
  • A Phule And His Money (Phule’s Company Book 3) by Robert Asprin and Peter J. Heck
  • Misunderstanding at Pemberley: A Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Pride & Prejudice Variation by Anna Grantham
  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands: Dark Waters by Richard Dansky

That’s only a small fraction, and just ones that caught my eye. If you have other books being released to the USA Kindle store in March 2017 to suggest for me and my readers, you can do so by commenting on this post. If you are directly connected to the book (the author, the publisher) that’s okay…just identify yourself as such and make your comment in your own words (not as an ad).

Enjoy!

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* 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.

$8.63 discount on Amazon orders of $50 or higher today…because we like them that much

February 22, 2017

$8.63 discount on Amazon orders of $50 or higher today…because we like them that much

Well, I’m going to spend some money at Amazon today! You know, actually consciously spend it (using the promo code BIGTHANKS), not just have it go out of the account for a subscription or something. 😉

$8.63 may seem like an odd amount, but there is a specific reason…and it’s a very good one for Amazon customers.

There is a Harris poll for corporate reputation…and Amazon came in #1…again. 🙂

This one, though, set a record: a score of 86.27 on a 100 point scale. That’s the highest in 18 years of the poll. The nearest corporation was Wegman’s with 85.41, and Apple was fifth with 82.07.

So, divide 86.27 by ten, round up, and you get $8.63 which is the discount you’ll actually get, according to the details:

Terms & Conditions (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

For this audience in particular, it’s important to note that it does not apply to digital content (which includes Kindle books) or Amazon gift cards.

I had been considering buying a second charger base for our

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

I normally take it to work with me, and running it off the battery for the day has been fine. However, it can now go into “hands-free” mode, which is much more convenient. For example, I’ll set a timer for my lunch break, and be doing floor exercises on a yoga mat (often while watching Netflix in Virtual Reality, or reading on my now discontinued Kindle Fire HDX). If the alarm happens to go off while I am in VR, it’s a whole lot easier to stop it verbally than to get out of VR, and climb up to the desk to turn it off.

Oh, I should digress and explain that climbing thing. I have a chronic condition which makes it hard for me to get up off the floor, among other things. One time, we were at our favorite dog park, and a blind husky knocked me over. There was a husky club there (they go there a lot), and I just naturally expected the dog to avoid running into me…I can’t change directly quickly, but I could have stopped and made myself less of a “target”.

So, the dog knocked me down. People nicely came running over and were worried when I wasn’t getting up right away (I use a cane). I had to amusedly explain that I was fine, and that it always takes me a while to get up. 😉

Anyway, hands-free mode does take more battery charge…naturally, because it has to be actively listening for its “wake word”. Having an

Amazon Tap Charger & Cradle (at AmazonSmile*)

in my office would make things easier. I still have birthday money to spend, and that makes sense. 🙂

That gets me to about $30…and finding $20 won’t be too hard. Hm…dog treats or a dog puzzle or two would do it. 🙂 I’ll check with my Significant Other as well.

Another restriction that will affect my decision: the items need to be sold by Amazon.com, not just fulfilled by them (which lets out some of our dogs’ favorites).

For my readers around the world, note that this is for products from Amazon.com…it won’t apply to your localized sites.

Here is the

Harris site

where you can see all top 100.

I didn’t see a single book publisher on the list, although some of the companies may publish books. There were content creators and distributors (including Time Waner at #88, Netflix at #18).

The sales goes through 11:59 PM Pacific time tonight.

While Amazon is thanking us, I thank them for being thank-worthy. 😉

Oh, and these are the six factors in the poll…note that they aren’t all about what the company can do for us…it’s also what they do for their employees (despite a controversial story not that long ago) and society (and I’m guessing that includes environmental concerns):

  • Emotional Appeal
  • Workplace Environment
  • Products & Services
  • Financial Performance
  • Vision & Leadership
  • Social Responsibility

Enjoy!

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* 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.

 

Leading by reading: Presidents and books

February 20, 2017

Leading by reading: Presidents and books

“Politicians should read science fiction, not westerns and detective stories.”
–Arthur C. Clarke

In the USA, today is “Presidents’ Day”. I would guess most kids today see it as a celebration of all of our Presidents, although that’s certainly a recent interpretation. There had been separate holidays for Lincoln’s birthday and Washington’s birthday, and they used to be celebrated on their actual birthdays. Since my birthday happens to be the same as Lincoln’s (February 12th), that meant that as a kid, I got my birthday off from school…which meant I could have well-attended parties. 😉 I felt a little cheated when they combined things into one day…and also put it on a specific Monday (the third), which happens to mean that it doesn’t fall on any President’s actual birthday, I believe.

Actually, it’s all a lot more complicated than that. Officially, nationally, it is still Washington’s birthday, and then different states do different things. However, I think it’s reasonable to think of it as Presidents’ Day….and it gives me more latitude for the post. 😉

Lots of Presidents have written books, but what I’m concerned with here is the books they read…or at least, that they appear to read. 🙂 Some Presidents have had public statements made about what they read, or what books they buy…in other cases, it’s just come out from what they have said.

My first thought is of Abraham Lincoln walking three miles (and there probably weren’t sidewalks and streetlights!) to borrow a book from the library..but I actually don’t even know if that’s true! I took a look online and saw it asserted, but not in a way that seemed anything but anecdotal. However, I have found many references to books Lincoln read…and found comments the 16th President reportedly made about some of them.

Then, I found this scholarly work by Robert Bray, which analyzes all of the reported Lincoln books and assigns a probability that the President actually had them…with the highest level being Lincoln referring to them.

What Abraham Lincoln Read— An Evaluative and Annotated List

Looking at the list of those (not counting individual poems, and skipping textbooks), they include:

  • The Bible
  • Speeches by Henry Clay
  • Journal and Debates of the Federal Constitution by Jonathan Elliott
  • History of Illinois by Thomas Ford
  • The poet FitzGreene Halleck
  • The Impending Crisis of the South by Hinton Helper
  • Lives by Plutarch
  • Scrap Book on Law and Politics, Men and Times by George Robertson
  • Several works by William Shakespeare (Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear…)

I’ve seen a quotation attributed to Lincoln commenting on Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar which would be intriguing due to the assassination…but didn’t see it verified. I also saw that Lincoln had read Aesop’s Fables (which is logical, I’d say), but it wasn’t on Bray’s list.

My second thought on Presidents and books is John F. Kennedy supposedly making James Bond (Original Series) (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) popular in the United States. The JFK Library does list From Russia with Love as one of JFK’s favorite books:

https://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/Research-Aids/Ready-Reference/JFK-Fast-Facts/Favorite-Books.aspx

On a separate page, they list the President’s favorite books as a child.

I’m comfortable with feeling that Lincoln and Kennedy were both “serious readers” (before the Presidency…it might be hard to read much that isn’t for work as President).

Then, of course, there was Thomas Jefferson (who reportedly said, “I cannot live without books”). Jefferson supposedly had the nicest personal library in the country, and after the collection of the Library of Congress was burned during the War of 1812 (with the British), Jefferson as an ex-President used that personal library to help re-build the Library of Congress (selling them, not donating them as I understand it), and greatly expanding the scope of the collection.

Theodore Roosevelt is another President I think of as a major reader (in addition to being at home in the outdoors…people sometimes see those as contradictory). This quotation is attributed to TR:

“Books are almost as individual as friends. There is no earthly use in laying down general laws about them. Some meet the needs of one person, and some of another; and each person should beware of the booklover’s besetting sin, of what Mr. Edgar Allan Poe calls ‘the mad pride of intellectuality,’ taking the shape of arrogant pity for the man who does not like the same kind of books.”

This

article at The Art of Manliness by Jeremy Anderberg

has a list of books TR sent to a friend, even saying that the President has read many of them multiple times.

Authors on the list of more than fifty titles include Sir Walter Scott, Mark Twain, and Charles Dickens.

More than once, President Barack Obama published a “Summer Reading List”. Obama was sometimes called the “Geek-in-Chief” (liking comic books and science fiction), and the 2016 list included Neal Stephenson:

The President’s Summer Reading List by Melanie Garunay at ObamaWhiteHouseArchives.org

I would expect most Presidents to be readers, in part because of the type of background that has in the past led to the Presidency.

BuzzFeed listed a favorite book for the 44 Presidents there had been by 2014. Note that Buzzfeed may have pictures and stories around the main story which would arguably NSFW (Not Safe For Work). There was one there today which could, for example, get me in trouble if someone saw it over my shoulder at my work…

BuzzFeed article by Dave Odegard

Let me ask this:

Supposed you could create a recommended reading list for any future President (not just for any specific one, including the current President). What would be on it?

I’m going to make some suggestions, and then I’ll see what you say by commenting on the post. If I get at least twenty suggestions (including my own), and they come from at least five people (including me), I’ll do a poll to let people vote on which ones they would most recommend.

Off the top of my head, I think I’d suggest these:

  • Thinking, Fast and Slow (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) by Daniel Kahneman
  • Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales (although it currently has text-to-speech access blocked by the publisher…while that’s the case, I couldn’t put it on the list)
  • The Book of the D*mned by Charles Fort
  • Whole Grains: a Book of Quotations by Art Spiegelman and Bob Schneider (although I might go with another book of quotations)

Hm…I want to add some fiction, for sure, but I’m going to hold off on that. 1984 seems like a choice, but I don’t think that’s quite it. I also would consider having on the list something like Mein Kampf. As you can tell, I would assume, my thought is to open a potential President’s mine and at the same time to make them more mindful. Culturally, though, I think a knowledge of socially impactful fiction would be important.

Let’s just leave it there for now, and I’ll be interested to see what you say…

Happy Presidents’ Day!

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* 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.

Today’s KDD: 40 (!) titles include top authors, titles

February 19, 2017

Today’s KDD: 40 (!) titles include top authors, titles

Today’s

Kindle Daily Deal (at AmazonSmile…benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

is one of the best in what has been a great year so far! I’m comfortable with saying that this tenth anniversary year of the Kindle (it was released November 19, 2007) has been the best one for Kindle Daily Deals (or equivalents) so far.

I’d be very surprised if a regular reader of this blog hadn’t read a book by at least one of the authors in today’s group…and it wouldn’t surprise me if many of them had already read at least one of the specific books in today’s deal. Just because you have read a book doesn’t mean that the fact that it is on sale isn’t a benefit for you. You can buy the book as a gift at the discounted price and then either delay the delivery for an appropriate gift giving date, or print it out and give it whenever you want.

Check the price before you click, tap, or eye gaze (the last in Virtual Reality) that Buy button, because the price may not apply in your market.

Seriously, do take a look at this offer today. There are books with literally thousands of customer reviews and rated higher than 4 stars on a 5 star scale. There are books from the Big 5 tradpubs (traditional publishers)…there are definitely what I call “People Magazine books” here, ones which would have been reviewed in mainstream media.

Titles include:

  • Dune by Frank Herbert (a beloved, series starting science fiction novel)
  • The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer (author of the Twilight series)
  • Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yufal Noah Harari
  • All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
  • America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamole
  • The Man in the High Castle by Phillip K. Dick (currently a TV series…also available through Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) at no additional cost)
  • See Me by Nicholas Sparks (superstar author)
  • Memory Man by David Baldacci (over 9,000 customer reviews with an average of 4.4 stars…series starter for Amos Decker)
  • Bullseye by James Patterson (latest book in Michael Bennett series by NYT bestselling author)
  • The Black Ice (Harry Bosch #2); also The Drop (Harry Bosch #17) by Michael Connelly
  • The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain
  • The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey (Glenn Close is in the adaptation of this post-apocalyptic work which has 84% on RottenTomatoes at time of writing)
  • The Two-Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette (over 5,000 reviews)
  • How Not to Die by Michael Greger MD and Gene Stone
  • Fall of Giants by Ken Follett (1st in the Century Trilogy which was noted for its high release price initially…in this sale, $3.99)
  • Cometh the Hour by Jeffrey Archer (another superstar author)
  • X (Kinsey Millhone #24) by Sue Grafton
  • The Cuckoo’s Calling (Cormoran Strike #1) by Robert Galbraith (AKA J.K. Rowling)
  • Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
  • Bossypants by Tina Fey
  • Yes Please by Amy Poehler
  • The 14th Colony by Steve Berry
  • Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (coincidentally, I’m reading this right now for the first time)
  • Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericcson and Robert Pool
  • The Steel Kiss (Lincoln Rhyme) by Jeffrey Deaver
  • George Washington’s Secret Six by Brian Kilmeade and Dan Yaeger
  • Grain Brain by David Perlmutter ad Kristin Loberg
  • What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe (I read this one and enjoyed it…it’s a former NYT bestseller available thgouth KU)
  • Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Larson
  • The House of Secrets by Brad Meltzer and Tod Golberg
  • Rock with Wings (A Leaphorn, Chee & Mauelito Novel) by Anne Hillerman
  • Not My Father’s Son by Alan Cumming
  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel (famed novel which became an Oscar-nominated movie, also available through KU)
  • The Witness by Sandra Brown
  • Betrayed (Rosato & DiNunzio) by Lisa Scottoline
  • Keep Quiet (also by Lisa Scottoline)
  • The Headmaster’s Wife by Thomas Christopher Greene
  • Middle Age by Joyce Carol Oates (one of the most lauded authors)

Enjoy!

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* 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.

What I’ve been reading lately

February 19, 2017

What I’ve been reading lately

Every once in a while, I like to share with you what I’ve been reading.

I guess the main reason for that is that I hope it’s a form of discovery for you…that you might find something to read based on what I’ve mentioned.

It’s also, though, in a way, deeply personal. You can tell a lot about a person by what they choose to read, of course…and while there are elements of my life I don’t share with you, I don’t mind sharing what I think. 😉

I’m only going to count books and magazines…not websites and news apps (although I read a lot there, too).

There are two real ways I read: one is sight-reading, which I’ll do at home (for example, in bed before I go to sleep, but other times too) and at work on breaks, and in transit (when other people are driving/piloting). Oh, and I read when I’m waiting for something…in my job, that does happen from time to time. 🙂

The other one is listening to text-to-speech, software which reads a book out loud to me (unless the publisher has blocked text-to-speech access). I end up driving quite a bit, and I listen to my books as I drive: a real luxury and pleasure!

Let’s get the magazines out of the way first.

There are three magazines I read regularly: one of them is a subscription through the Kindle store, one is from Zinio (a third-party magazine subscription service), and one is (gasp!) in paper.

The Kindle store subscription is

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY Magazine (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I’ve been reading and subscribing to that for a very long time. I used to read it in paper, but switched to digital only back in 2011. I read every word…but if I think something is a spoiler, I’ll wait to read the article until I’ve seen/heard/read the work in question. This didn’t used to be true, but I can go back and read back issues if I want. I usually only keep one issue at a time on my device (I read it on a now discontinued Kindle Fire HDX 7″), since they do take a lot of memory.

Fortean Times is another magazine I’ve been reading for many, many years. I’m always impressed with it: there is a lot of writing, and it’s generally very good! When I read EW, there are a lot of ads…it doesn’t take me that long to read an issue. I’ll have several sessions with one issue of Fortean Times (it covers what I refer to as the “weird world”, although there is often crossover with more mainstream analysis). I also read that on my KFHDX, using the Zinio app which I got from the Zinio website. While there are some Fortean Times books in the Kindle store, they don’t carry the magazine or the Zinio app (in the Amazon Appstore). Again, I read every word.

I do like the experience of reading magazines on a tablet: I tend to make the text easier, but that’s simple to do.

You can read some magazines as part of either

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

or

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

although (this month, at least) not Entertainment Weekly.

The third one is People Magazine, which my SO buys at the grocery store and I get afterwards. 🙂

As to books…

At home, I’ve been reading

Freakonomics (at AmazonSmile*)

for the first time. I love that kind of data analysis, and I’ll admit that I had pretty high expectations. Their math certainly seems solid, but weirdly to me, they make these dogmatic statements about people’s motivations…and provide no data to prove the assertions. Their default position seems to be that people are immoral, or at least will behave in immoral ways (cheating, for example). That’s not my intuition or my experience, so I’d like to see the data that proves it. They can prove what appears to be cheating (such as in sumo wrestling), but I can come up with alternative explanations in terms of motivation.

I’m also re-reading the

The Wonderful Stories of Oz (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

although my version is different from that one (it’s “out of print”). I read part of a chapter before I go to sleep…it’s been handy as I’ve been watching Emerald City (which is running on NBC, but I see it on my Fire TV on Hulu). I’ve started comparing (in depth) the original “famous fourteen” Oz books, Emerald City, and the MGM movie with Judy Garland:

I’ve never really been much of a re-reader, but I am enjoying doing this.

I generally read books I already own (but haven’t read yet), books I borrow from KU, or gifts. Well, it was my birthday about a week ago, and I got three books I really wanted to read. 🙂 One was from my Significant Other, and two were from my now adult kid.

They bought them for me from my Amazon Wish List…which is perfect! I have so many books on there, it’s like shopping in a Bufo Bookstore. 🙂 They are all books I’d like to read, so I was excited to get them.

I’ve already finished

LIZARD MAN: The True Story of the Bishopville Monster by Lyle Blackburn (at AmazonSmile*)

It’s a contemporary investigation of a case from the late 1980s which made national headlines at the time…I remember it. I found it to be reasonably well-written, and it did uncover some interesting information. There were a couple of flaws. I’m going to try to let the author know one of them: twice, a movie is referred to as “The Horror of Beach Party” when the actual title is actually “The Horror of Party Beach”. 🙂 That’s obviously a little thing, but if you are presenting contextual information, I do think it should be fact checked.

I did find it worth reading, and may read others by the author.

I’ve started both of the others. I’m usually reading several books at the same time. One of these has a lot of pictures, so it’s not as suitable for text-to-speech in the car. That one is

Bob Burns’ Monster Kid Memories (at AmazonSmile*)

That’s fun, and has wonderful pictures! Burns is a super fan, like Forry Ackerman, who has quite a memorabilia collection.

The other one, which has been my main in-car text-to-speech book recently, is

The Fourth Transformation by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel (at AmazonSmile*)

So far, it’s excellent. I had previously read

Age of Context (at AmazonSmile*)

by those authors, and they have a good track record of predicting where tech and industries are going. This one is about the move to Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality/Mixed Reality, how businesses can anticipate and utilize the tech, and how long it will take. 🙂 I’ve started writing about that topic myself, and I think business people would find it insightful.

I have also recently spent a trip or two listening to one of my “emergency books”,

Ghosts: True Encounters with the World Beyond (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Holzer is amusing and urbane…I listened to that between books, and because I was in the mood. 🙂 I’ll be sad when I finish that book.

Well, there you go! If you have questions about those, or want to share something you are reading with me and my readers, feel free to comment on this post.

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* 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.

Round up #154: writing length, Trekifying Alexa

February 17, 2017

Round up #154: writing length, Trekifying Alexa

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

On the Alexa front

Alexa, Amazon’s digital assistant available on the Echo family, current Fire tablets, the Fire TV family, and more, is undoubtedly a big part of Amazon’s future. It is (or can be) already part of our literary lives, reading books to us with text-to-speech (when not blocked by the publisher), playing audiobooks, answering questions about authors and works, and more.

Even though there is growing competition (Samsung’s next rumored flagship form is reportedly going to include a new assistant, Bixby, with a lot more capabilities…I took a quick look to see if the name could be inspired by author/screenwriter Jerome Bixby, but I’m not seeing an immediate connection), Alexa is going to be prominent for some time to come.

Amazon is spending a lot on development, clearly, and users are getting some good results.

One simple thing: you can now use “Computer” as a “wake word” (what you say to get the device’s attention). People have wanted that from the beginning, because of the Star Trek connection (that’s how people on the Enterprise activate their computer for voice-based interactions). You can change that in your Alexa app and settings. I could choose it for our Amazon Echo and our Echo Dot, but not our Amazon Tap.

The Tap, though, has an extraordinary, game-changing update (which I just got yesterday…it’s been rolling out). It allows you to put the

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

in “Hands-Free Mode”.

That’s right: the Tap, which initially required you to push a button to talk to it, can now hear you from across the room, just like the original Echo.

That’s a giant change!

Screenshot showing options for the Hands-Free mode

Now, as you can see in the above screenshot, they recommend that you put the device into sleep mode if you aren’t actively using it. That’s because listening takes power (as humans know…it’s an active function to be quiet and listen, and it takes energy). The reason why the Tap was portable was because it didn’t listen all the time, to some extent.

The real question here is why anybody would now pay $50 more for the original Echo, which can only work when plugged in (although there are some third party battery options). The sound is probably somewhat better, but the Tap can get quite loud. You could also supplement by Bluetoothing or cabling to other speakers…not an option with the original Echo.

Do you hear the characters when you are done reading the books?

As regular readers know, I don’t “hear” the voices of characters when I read books (and I don’t visualize the scenes, unless they are particularly…unclearlywritten and I can’t figure out what’s happening without that). One of my regular readers who is an expert on reading has told me that’s unusual in someone who reads well (which I think I can objectively say I do), but it’s always been the case for me, at least for decades.

Once I found out other people (including my Significant Other) do hear the voices, I was intrigued.

This

Richard Lea article in The Guardian

was even more fascinating to me. It’s about a study where many people reported continuing to interact with fictional characters (including hearing them) after finishing a book.

Has that happened to you?

I am inspired by fictional characters (Doc Savage, for one), but I would describe it as “pull” rather than “push”. In other words, I might consciously think about what Doc might do in a situation, but the character doesn’t appear in my life unbidden.

How long does it take to write a masterpiece?

I thought this was an interesting infographic reported in this

EBOOK FRIENDLY post by Ola Kowalczyk

It shows you how long it took authors to write certain well-known books. It varies widely. I do think I can write quickly…but I haven’t written a new book in some time. The shortest one listed took 2.5 days, and the longest 16 years…

Emerald City on TV and L. Frank Baum

As a long time Oz fan, I’m enjoying and am impressed with the NBC series

Emerald City

It’s based not just on the first book, but on various books in the “Famous Fourteen” original books by L. Frank Baum, and shows a depth of knowledge.

There have been a couple of (I think perhaps ill-advised) references to the 1939 MGM musical with Judy Garland, but in many ways, it is closer to the original books.

I’ve started to analyze that in-depth, comparing the three (Baum, EmCity, and MGM)…by its nature, that work is spoilerific (as all analysis will tend to be), but if you are caught up or don’t care about spoilers, I think you’ll find it interesting as it grows:

Parallel Wizards: 3 views of Oz (Baum, Emerald City, MGM)

New “His Dark Materials” booking coming this year

NPR article

You can order

The Book of Dust (at AmazonSmile*)

for Kindle delivery October 19, 2017.

It should be a bestseller…and if there is another “Game of Thrones” book this year, it could be a very good year for tradpubs (traditional publishers) and brick-and-mortar books indeed. They might also spur more e-book adoption, in part because big books can be a lot easier as e-books…and listening to part of the book may also be attractive.

Visual media has seen some real success with returning to older properties in the past couple of years (Star Wars, The X-Files), but I don’t think that necessarily had a lot of impact here. Books often go back for sequels, although that may have been more true with public domain works (there are Dracula sequels perhaps every year).

One last note today: it was nice to see a book by Hans Holzer, author of

Ghosts: True Encounters with the World Beyond (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*

on Stranger Things. 🙂 I’ve been watching Stranger Things in Virtual Reality while I exercise during lunch at work (I’m not done yet, so please, no comments on plot points). Holzer is a great writer, very amusing, regardless of whether or not you “believe in ghosts”. 😉

Enough for this morning…I may write pretty quickly, as I said, but I could always write more with more time!

Opinions/questions on/about any of these stories? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* 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.

 

 

On sale for $3.99 today: Gerald Durrell’s Corfu Trilogy

February 15, 2017

On sale for $3.99 today: Gerald Durrell’s Corfu Trilogy

 

I did just write about the

Kindle Daily Deal (at AmazonSmile…benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

yesterday, but today’s has one of my favorite authors. 🙂 I knew Gerald Durrell more from books about collecting (live) exotic animals (I used to travel a lot and I read A Zoo in My Luggage and more at that time), and this one is a bit different…but still involves animals and Durrell’s amusing writing (4.6 stars out of 5 with 134 customer reviews at time of writing).

It’s an omnibus of three titles:

  • My Family and Other Animals
  • Birds, Beasts and Relatives
  • The Garden of the Gods

which also form the inspiration for The Durrells in Corfu on Masterpiece Theatre. I don’t usually buy books for myself now…I read books which are gifts, which I already own, or are through

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

If you have Prime, you have

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

which I have as well, but I think those are all part of KU, so that’s still how I think of them (and there are many more in KU than in PR).

However, I justify this one because I got an Amazon gift card for my recent birthday…so it’s still a gift. 😉

This one is also a good one for our “guest bookshelf” on our guest Kindle (for when we have people staying with us).

Remember that you can buy it at the discount and either delay it for delivery for an appropriate gift giving occasion, or print it out to give whenever you want.

Do check the price (it’s $3.99 in the USA Kindle store at time of writing for all three books in one edition…a big savings) before clicking, tapping, or eye-gazing (the last one is in Virtual Reality) that Buy button…this price may not apply in your country, for one thing.

Enjoy!

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* 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.

 

Today’s KDD: “Up to 80% off love and suspense Kindle books”

February 14, 2017

Today’s KDD: “Up to 80% off love and suspense Kindle books”

Today’s

Kindle Daily Deal (at AmazonSmile…benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

has some bestselling authors (although not necessarily their best-known books). It looks like they have been well-reviewed by customers as well: it doesn’t look like any of them average under four stars (on a scale of 1 to 5 stars), and many have more than 500 reviews.

Remember that you can buy them now at the discounted price, and either delay delivery of a gift, or print a gift out so you can give it whenever you want…even wrap it. 🙂

Check the price before you click, tap, or eye gaze (the last one is in Virtual Reality) that Buy button: prices may not apply in your country.

Titles include:

  • A Bend in the Road by Nicholas Sparks | 4.6 stars | 1,287 reviews at time of writing
  • The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  • Here’s to Us by Elin Hilderbrand
  • The Trouble with Dukes by Grace Burrowes
  • The Sooner the Better by Debbie Macomber
  • Discovering You by Brenda Novak
  • Lethal by Sandra Brown
  • Widest Dreams by Robyn Carr
  • The Darkest Torment by Gena Showalter
  • Best of My Love by Susan Malllery
  • Wyoming Rugged by Diana Palmer

There are many more…enjoy!

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* 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.

 


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