KDD: “Summer Reads” $1.99 each

KDD: “Summer Reads” $1.99 each

One of today’s

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

is what Amazon is calling “Summer Reads”…50 (!) books for $1.99 each.

Every once in a while, the KDD pulls out the stops like this, and gives a great big selection…woo hoo! 😉

They may call these summer reads, but there is very likely to be something here that you want to read…and something that you want to give as a gift. Remember that you can delay the arrival of a gift to a date you choose: this is a nice way to add in a little extra something on a birthday or other occasion.

Check the price before you click or tap that “Buy button”. These prices may not apply in your country (I have readers around the world), and it’s possible for a book to move in and out of the list. Also, this is a Daily Deal. Come Monday, these prices will likely be higher again.

I’m just going to point some that caught my eye:

  • Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  • Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
  • Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
  • The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester
  • The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
  • The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder
  • The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon
  • The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
  • Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett
  • The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
  • A Brief History of Thought: A Philosophical Guide to Living by Luc Perry
  • Dust Tracks on the Road by Zora Neale Hurston
  • The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America’s Childhood by Jane Leavy
  • The Round House by Louise Erdrich
  • The Summer of Naked Swim Parties by Jessica Anya Blau
  • The Devil and Miss Prym by Paulo Coelho
  • The Secret of Chanel No. 5: The Intimate History of the World’s Most Famous Perfume by Tilar J. Mazzeo
  • The Templars by Michael Haag
  • Everything Is Wrong with Me: A Memoir of an American Childhood Gone, Well, Wrong by Jason Mulgrew

Again, that’s only a partial listing. 🙂

While I could write about several of these, I’ll just call out Alas, Babylon (at AmazonSmile) in particular. 4.5 stars out of 5, 733 customer reviews at the time of writing…that’s a very good score, and indicates contemporary interest in it.

Why do I mention the latter?

The book is about fifty-five years old, having been first published in 1959.

While certainly informed by its period, it still affects modern readers with its post-nuclear war setting.

It’s also been said that it impacted John Lennon’s anti-war stance.

I’m not quite sure why it would be more appropriate in summer than in winter, though. 🙂 Many people actually have read it as school reading over the years.

That’s an interesting question for me: do you look for different things to read in the summer? Traditionally, that’s a time for lighter fare, for “popcorn books” and “beach reads”.

I think the idea goes back to having been in school. Supposedly, during the school year, your mind is focused on heavy studies…and then it needs a “vacation” during the summer.

That never quite worked for me: I read recreationally during the school year, too, and might actually read more intellectual books during the summer. The books that were assigned weren’t always stretching my mind, so I might find more challenging ones on my own…and when I wasn’t as tied up with other school obligations.

Oh, I suppose there might have been some desire to have some lighter books that were easier to pack. 😉 However, I generally traveled with one suitcase just for books, and taking hardbacks was certainly something I did.

How freeing e-books are for that! I can easily take a hundred books, and ones that are a thousand pages long, without worrying about baggage overweight charges. 😉

Anyway, take a look at the full list of these books today…


What about you? Do you read differently during the summer? Do you want something lighter or heavier? Which book(s) on this list would you recommend? Are you buying any of them for gifts for people? I always suggest that, and I do it myself, but I wonder how many people actually buy something in July to arrive in, say, December? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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* 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! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

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 th


7 Responses to “KDD: “Summer Reads” $1.99 each”

  1. Lady Galaxy Says:

    This was indeed a great selection of deals. I lost count, but I think I ended up purchasing 6 of them.

    To tie in with your previous article, “Alas, Babylon” was one of the books that was previously on my “wish list” for Kindle. I grabbed it up as soon as it became available. For several years, I chose it as required reading for the book evaluation module of the college prep English class I taught. That was in the days when teachers were free to choose their own required books instead of having to pick from a committee approved list. Recently, I saw one of the students from my first year of teaching way back in ’76. The one thing she remembered about the class was reading “Alas Babylon.” She said she still had the copy we had used in class. I still have my old annotated paperback copy as well. That made me think how much nicer it is to have an e-copy where you can underline and make margin notes without ruining the original! And FYI, the price printed on the cover is $1.75.

    Is it a perfect book? No, there are flaws and inconsistencies. It’s greatest strength is showing how humans react in the worst possible crisis imaginable. The theme is summed up by one of the character’s commenting about Toynbee. “His theory of challenge and response applies not only to nations but to individuals. Some nations and some people melt in the heat of crisis and come apart like fat in the pan. Others meet the challenge and harden.”

    One of my favorite passages from the book illustrates how effectively a writer can show rather than tell how one of the characters came apart: “He found the old, nickel-plated revolver, purchased by his father many years before, in the top drawer of his bureau. Edgar had never fired it. The bullets were green with mold and the hammer rusted. He put it to his temple wondering if it would work. It did.”

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      Great story about your student! That shows how literature (and sharing it) can affect lives.

  2. Bob Anderson Says:

    Alas, Babylon, was required reading at my high school, class of 1974. Still a good read, subject timely. Have a copy on my Kindle, one of them anyway.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Bob!

      If you bought it from the Kindle store, it will be available to each of the compatible devices on your account…

      • Bob Anderson Says:

        I have started leaving some books on different Kindles, some I like better on the Paperwhite, for reading only, others on the Fire HD for text to speech. Whisper sync doesn’t work all the time, so I often skip using it, and the Paperwhite is getting kind of full, so some books end up on the Fire HD or the old Kindle Keyboard (text to speech again here. I have my fingers crossed for the next Paperwhite to have more storage and text to speech, please Amazon!

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Bob!

        If you are having trouble with Whispersync, try going back to Home when you are done reading, and then doing a sync. That used to be the answer in the old days. 🙂

        I’d like the next in the Paperwhite line to have TTS…but I think much more storage is unlikely. Things are moving in the direction of less storage and more Cloud, generally.

        I also think a tiny audio device with no speakers might be in the future. Perhaps that would sell a Fire Watch? TTS on your wrist?

  3. Edward Boyhan Says:

    So I’m going to comment on 3-4 posts here as they are (to me) in some ways related.

    As to the Hachazon war: I did the poll shortly after you wrote it. It was interesting to me that the results were lopsidedly on the Amazon side — there were no Hachette or “Both” responses. I just finished reading the 2nd Robert Galbreath (JK Rowling) mystery on my PW2. This is a Hachette book — I had no trouble at all buying the eBook. I thought it a bit better than the first. The story is kind of an inside baseball thing as it’s set against the backdrop of a British publishing house.

    One side note that came up is that royalties are usually paid to the agent, and not to the author. Agents are notoriously slow to pass on to the author, and shenanigans abound. I have a few author acquaintances who are dipping their toes into the Amazon direct publishing domain. One thing I hear over and over is amazement as to how regular (every 30 days) Amazon is with author payments — not at all like their experiences payments wise with the tradpubs. One did complain that the Amazon report told him what he sold and the royalty amounts in all the different geographies. His gripe is that the report was given for each geography in the native currency w/o any conversion to the author’s currency — this author was really ticked at this — makes strategizing difficult.

    So I guess I don’t totally understand where the tradpub-published authors are coming from with their anti-Amazon letter. To me it seems like the existing Tradpub, Agent, Distributor, Author arrangements cast the author as a kind of indentured serf. The thing of real value in a book transaction is the content that the author creates (and that’s where the really heavy lifting occurs), yet he gets to keep maybe 15% of the revenue — seems to me the author ought to be getting the lion’s share — and that seems to me what Amazon is trying to do.

    As to special summer reads: I usually don’t do anything different, but since I got the PW2 and cloud collections my ToBeRead collection has zoomed from 15-20 titles to over 50 (due to consolidation of TBR collections from prior kindles). So this summer my goal is to work the TBR pile back down — no more impulse purchasing — impulses go onto my Amazon Kindle Wishlist (:grin).

    A couple of things on my TBR list aren’t really the kinds of things you sit down and read straight through: “The Autobiography of Mark Twain”, “PG Wodehouse: A Life in Letters”, “Churchill By Himself” (a compendium of his quotations), etc. Some of these I have moved to a “Reference” collection, but I just bit the bullet and read Wodehouse’s letters. As I was reading, and he was commenting on the issues with writing a particular book, I would go to Amazon to see if that book was available in eBook form.

    I was going to agree with you that great progress has been made in getting out-of-print backlist titles into eBook form. But reading the Wodehouse letters, I realized that while all of the public domain stuff (before 1925 or so) is in eBook, only about half of the stuff from after that — and mostly just his better known Blandings and Jeeves series (and not all of them either) are available as eBooks.

    That said I am finding lots from favorite authors: Stout, Allingham, Sayers, Heinlein, Wodehouse — which was not the case a year or two ago.

    Aside from the pBooks I have in the house, (and they function mostly as interior decorating accessories to impress the hoi polloi :grin), I won’t be getting anymore pBooks. I’m a bit of a pack rat — so I also have no plans to get rid of any of them anytime soon. I do occasionally turn to my pBook collection for rereads.

    The day you wrote about backlists, the Kindle daily deals contained two titles that caught my eye that are good backlist titles: “Alas Babylon” and “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”. I had read the former when it was new, and never read the second. I remembered nothing about AB so off to Amazon. AB is a kind of post apocalyptic tale, and I’ve gone off them so pass. ATGIB is a coming of age story (I’m a sucker for these — so I broke my wishlist rule and bought it :grin). In reading some customer and professional reviews of AB, I found that it was frequently compared with Nevil Shute’s “On the Beach” which came out around then. I read OTB and remember it quite vividly (perhaps helped by the movie which I also saw?).

    Anyhow I was in high school in Switzerland when I read OTB, and some of my British and Aussie friends suggested I read “A Town Like Alice” — also written by Shute. I did so, but all I remembered from it was being confused about things like “Alice” was that a real place, or was the whole thing imaginary (at 16 my knowledge of Australian geography was virtually non-existent). Anyhow, just before I got my first kindle — practically the last pBook I ever bought was ATLA. The odd thing: Alice Springs (the town) hardly figures in the story at all, but it was a good thoughtful story for all that.

    That was a long-winded way to getting around to other books that my British teachers had me read. Two stick out: “The Rover” by Joseph Conrad, and “Sammy Going South” by W.H Canaway. Neither of these are available as eBooks, and the pBooks are used with very high prices. I did learn that SGS was actually published in the USA as “Boy Ten Feet Tall” (that title makes absolutely no sense to me — but then Brit vs US title changes rarely do — a big factor with Wodehose), but even there only ratty used paperbacks. There was a movie version of SGS, but on Amazon there is only a used region 2 DVD (of no use to North Americans).

    SGS is about an 11 year old boy whose parents are killed in the bombing of Port Said in 1956 when Britain, France, and Israel attempted to take over the Suez canal. Sammy decides to go to his mother’s sister who lives in Durban South Africa — he proceeds to walk 5500 miles from Port Said to Durban.

    Upon reflection much of my HS reading was very different from a typical American student’s: No “Catcher in the Rye”, and almost no American authors.

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