Round up #295: greedy readers, living tree book

Round up #295: greedy readers, living tree book

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

Piers Anthony for the Kindle

Piers Anthony is one of the most popular fantasy writers.

Many people have read the Xanth books, which some liken to the Oz series. Certainly, a love of puns is a commonality. 😉

There are 206 (!) titles listed on

Piers Anthony Amazon Author Central page (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

and 78 in Kindle editions (including books in the uber-popular Xanth series, the Incarnations of Immortality series, and the Bio of a Space Tyrant series).

Interestingly, there are 49 available through

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

including some well-known ones (Chthon, and yes, some Xanth).

Piers Anthony is a fun read! If you haven’t tried it, and you are looking for something light for the summer (or the Memorial Day weekend), this is a good bet. I would also guess Anthony has made readers out of many children.

An interesting consequence of having the Echo: listening to more audio

I consider myself a content omnivore, consuming lots of different media.

In the car, I usually listen to text-to-speech (TTS) on my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile)

However, I used to listen to other types of audio a lot more: talk radio, old time radio, and music.

Having the

Amazon Echo

has meant that I’ve started to listen to audio at home again. For example, I’ve had it play the talk radio station to which I used to listen. I still don’t like the amount of ads, and I pick my times so I tend to get news, but it’s nice to have the local information.

I’ve also had it play me

The Kindle Chronicles

by Len Edgerly.

Review: The Kindle Chronicles podcast

It’s a brilliant podcast about the Kindle…gentle, insightful, and with really major guests.

I’ve been on it a couple of times, although I did make a slip of the tongue once which I suspect has kept me off the guest list since. 😉

Regardless, I highly recommend it…but wasn’t much of a podcast listener. Too much work to download a podcast and listen to it.

Being able to just say, “Alexa, The Kindle Chronicles podcast on Tunein,” and have it start playing is great! No charge, no booting up…I can easily start it during my exercise routine.

Living tree book

One TLA (Three Letter Acronym…we geeks even have an acronym for acronyms) 😉 you may see in Kindle discussions is DTB…which stands for “Dead Tree Book” meaning a paperbook. I prefer the term “p-book”, since it gives parity to “e-book” (although nobody seems to use “a-book” for audiobook).

There are some ecological challenges with e-books, certainly, but I many are uncomfortable with the harvesting of trees that happens for most p-books.

Now, there is a p-book you can plant…and it becomes a tree!


Huffington Post article by Kimberly Yam

has a video of it.

You can get it from Amazon:


Gee, for some reason, you can physically plant isn’t available as an e-book. 😉

More reading, more money

Do you think Gordon Gekko, the fictional character who famously said, “Greed is good,” stopped reading for fun by the age of 17?

No way!

Okay, “fun” might have meant The Art of War and The Prince, but still. 😉

This is a great infographic (and introduction):

Reading Among Teenagers is Declining

from EBOOK FRIENDLY and the ever-reliable Piotr Kowalczyk.

It’s about the

BookUp program

from the National Book Foundation.

That’s a free program to get children reading more.

The numbers may be truly startling.

If I told you that one out of four children had stopped reading for fun by the age of 17, you might just say, “See? That’s what all this technology and SmartPhones has done to us!”

I think you’d be right to be worried…but we’re just getting started.

Well, that’s the number from thirty years ago.

The number today?

Fifty percent!

Half of kids aren’t reading for fun by the age of seventeen.

Part of it may be not seeing it as an economic benefit…when it clearly is.

Sure, it may be that kids who read more or who have lots of books in the home may have other benefits as well…they don’t say if they’ve controlled for that.

However, since you can get books for free (from the public library…and tens of thousands of e-books are free), it’s hard to argue that it isn’t worth a try.

I’ll just quote one thing:

“Reading for pleasure increases GPA more than required school reading.”

I’m not quite sure how you would come to that conclusion: where is the control group that didn’t have required school reading?

Regardless, I think that reading for fun makes people more empathetic (there are studies which support that), and I think that can be helpful in advancing in the work place.

Books Aren’t Dangerous

This seems like a great campaign, but I’ll caution you, I don’t know the bona fides of it yet.

According the site (with details to follow later), you post (this is on Tumblr, so I assume you have to do it on Tumblr) a picture of yourself holding a book that changed your life (or that you would recommend) with the hashtag, #booksarentdangerous.

When you do that

“For every picture posted, a book will be donated to an underserved school or library.”

This goes from May 12th-May 26th.

I’ll point out that there isn’t a cost to do this (outside of the exposure), and whether books actually get donated or not, you could positively impact other people.

I only see four posts so far, and only three of them during the program…I’ll check back on it to see if it increases. I’d love to not only see more schools getting books, but to see what books people post.

What do you think? What’s your favorite Piers Anthony book/series? If you read an author first in Kindle Unlimited, have you then gone on to buy books by that author? I’ve suggested before that I think e-books are increasing reading, but the infographic cited above refutes that…which way do you think it is going? What’s the right motivation to get kids to read? What’s the societal impact if kids are indeed not reading books as much? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

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.

11 Responses to “Round up #295: greedy readers, living tree book”

  1. Phink Says:

    I too listen to music a lot on my Echo. It makes me glad I made the switch from Apple to Amazon a few years ago. I now only purchase MP3’s from Amazon. I made the switch for the usual complaint. Apple hates all things not in the iWorld. You cannot listen to your music on any non apple device but Amazon will allow music to play on Apple devices if downloaded correctly. Anyway, only about 1/3 of all my music is available on the Echo because 2/3 is stuck in the iWorld. So, I use my only remaining Apple product, the iPod classic or my Echo to listen to music and I listen quite a bit. I believe for $20 or $25 a year Amazon would scan my hard drive and give me access to all my music in their cloud. I’m just not willing to pay that every year. I would pay a one time fee of $100 however. I’ve thought about going through the Prime playlist and seeing how many of my non Amazon music is available for Prime members for free. But, I’m afraid I’ll get to the point where I don’t know what I own and what I don’t own.

    • Lady Galaxy Says:

      Even though I prefer iPods, I too buy music from Amazon rather than Apple. If you’re worried about forgetting which music is purchased and which is borrowed, you can use the Amazon Music app. I have the Mac version on my MacBook, and in the music list, it has the Prime checkmark beside the music I’ve borrowed. You can also put all the borrowed music into playlists. I have my prime music in separate playlists with titles like, Prime Jazz, Prime Classic, Prime Pop, you get the drift.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Lady!

        I need to play around with playlists more! I’m having trouble getting the Echo to play some sound effects and one song (Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear, which I sort of consider my own unofficial theme song)…it just has trouble recognizing the names, I think. Doing a playlist with one track which fix that, I believe…but I need to test it. 🙂

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Phink!

      While I do use a work-issued iPhone, I’m not much of an Apple person…so that hasn’t been an issue for me on where my music is. I’m also not sure that it matters much what I own and what I don’t own, as long as I have access to content I want when I want it. 🙂 I’m rarely so specific that, if I don’t have the exact song available to me that I want, I’m not willing to listen to something else. That’s not always true…if I’m writing a parody, for example. In those cases, I can find alternative legitimate sources in most cases.

  2. Lady Galaxy Says:

    I’ve gone on to buy other books by Susanna Kearsley after reading “The Winter Sea.” I will eventually end up buying all of them. Her writing reminds me of the writing style of Mary Stewart, one of my favorite authors when I was a “young adult.”

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      I enjoyed Mary Stewart! I’m glad you have another author you like…and that the process of discovery worked for you.

  3. Lady Galaxy Says:

    I meant to comment earlier about the idea of a book being a waste of a perfectly good tree. I think if I were a tree, I’d rather be reincarnated as a book than as potty paper;) I have mixed feelings about burying a book so a tree would grow. I was one of those kids who, if I really loved a book, would read over and over. One of the most horrifying memories of childhood was coming home from school one day to discover that my mother had donated most of my Little Golden Books to charity without giving me time to save my favorites. The only ones left behind were the ones under my bed and the ones that were in pretty ratty conditions. She didn’t do it to be cruel. She figured I had outgrown them. We had a small house where old things had to be discarded to make room for new things. After seeing how upset I was, she agreed that from then on, if space needed to be freed up, I would get to choose which books to set free. To this day, when I encounter some place selling used books I search through the children’s books hoping someday that at least one of my Little Golden Books will come back to me. I’ve found a few of the same titles I owned, but I’ve never found one with my name in the front cover. I can only hope that the children who got them loved them as much as I did. And of course, I still have all those books that survived the purge. In fact, one of them is the first book I ever owned, given to me by my parents for my first Christmas.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      Well, I think there is a major difference between “How would you like to be reincarnated?” and “What would you like to do with your corpse after I kill you?” 😉 Generally, they aren’t finding dead trees and turning them into books…I could completely understand that. They are killing living trees…in some cases, they may have been planted for the purpose of being turned into paper…but that’s not going to be common, given how long it takes.

      As to The Little Golden Books…I shiver with empathy reading that. I think that feeling of…kinship is especially true with books, although of course, it can be with other objects as well. I was absolutely horrified by a simple little scene in

      The Art of Racing in the Rain

      No spoilers, and the act was done out of ignorance…but it really made me emotional.

      I still get sad from time to time thinking about how Forry Ackerman’s collection was broken up…Uncle Forry was arguably did a lot to start science fiction fandom. I personally benefited from Forry’s largess, and this was a gentle, creative person who was kind to so many. Why one of the millionaires (and up) who was inspired by Famous Monsters of Filmland didn’t step up to preserve this collection, I still don’t know.

      You know, it would be interesting to try to reunite you with one of the books. This is totally up to you, of course…if you want to give me the identifying element (which I realize might give away at least your first name), I’d be more than happy to put it out on the internet and see what happens.

      • Lady Galaxy Says:

        I appreciate the offer, but I think if any of the books are meant to return to me, they will do it in their own time and their own way.

        Sometimes things happen when we least expect them. For years, I’ve been trying to find the titles and author of a series of books I read in 6th grade. Yesterday, while I was sorting through a batch of recommendations at Goodreads, a book popped up that looked vaguely familiar. I clicked on the book to get the full description, and as soon as I started reading the description, I realized it was one of the books in the series I’ve been searching to find for such a long time.

        The book:

        All-of-a-Kind Family
        by Sydney Taylor

        How do I know for sure I read the series in 6th grade? My elementary school opened its first in school library that year, and I read those books from the school library. Why did it take my school system so long to put a library in each elementary school? Blame the baby boom. For most of my elementary school years, the schools were overcrowded. Kindergarten was optional, so my parents opted me out. First grade was half day only because there just wasn’t enough room for all the first graders to have a full day. Two new elementary schools opened up when I was in third grade, but there was still overcrowding and no rooms to spare. Band lessons were in the janitor’s closet. Imagine trying to make your rubber practice pad be heard over the sound of three trumpets and two trombones in a janitor’s closet, and you will understand why I abandoned the drum! In 6th grade, two more new buildings opened making rooms available for “luxuries” like libraries and all day first grade.

        In the way that things tend to go full circle, I ended my teaching career at that same elementary school. For my retirement gift, I requested that they use the money to buy books for the school library. They were able to get 15 books! I didn’t specify titles. I asked them to get the books on the library “wish list.”

        I do ramble on! Anyway, finding the titles and author of that series of books was like finding a long lost friend. So no, I don’t think I would bury a book even if it meant a tree would grow. Yes, it’s sad that trees have to die to make books, but every living thing on earth is consumed by some other living thing on earth in one way or another.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Lady!

        Your story about the school is amazing! We may see serious decay of existing school buildings in the future, since the Millenials have a relatively low birth rate.

        That may mean that existing schools are shuttered or ignored. If a later generation needs those schools, I think they’ll be much harder to replace than they would be to maintain.

        That said, there may be some significant options to physical schools for part of the process, although that would really change social upbringing and learning styles. A communal playground, a communal library, and virtual classrooms might become one model.

        I loved that you used your retirement gift to give books to the school library! A single book to a single child can change a life…books in a library can change a community.

  4. I’m going to be interviewed on Len Edgerly’s The Kindle Chronicles this week | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] Round up #295: greedy readers, living tree book […]

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