Challenge me…with a book

Challenge me…with a book

I consider myself an eclectic reader, and sometimes state that with pride in this blog.

Books are a form of connecting with other ideas and feelings…and I want to be exposed to as much of that as I can.

I’m not saying that needs to be true for you, certainly, but for me I’m far more concerned that I won’t have read as widely as I would like before I die, rather than that I won’t have read all of the “good books” I should.

I think that the best thing I did when I was a brick-and-mortar bookstore manager was encourage my employees to read a book from every section in the store (and I did do that myself). I didn’t compel them, just encouraged them. 🙂

Inevitably, doing that, you are going to sail the seas of ignorance.

I mean, I had a broader knowledge of books than most people, of course, but how was I going to pick a good romance, travel book, and “Men’s Adventure” (as it was called back then)?

What I did, and what I recommended to my employees, is that I asked regular customers for recommendations.

I read some great books that way!

I won’t say they were books I would never have read otherwise…but I might have had to live to be a thousand years old. 😉

My life has absolutely been changed by serendipitous reading…the first Doc Savage I read was because they were the only books available where I was.

Still, I don’t just randomly pick a book to read.

I’m willingly to read anything, but I’m more inclined to get certain types of books. If something is science fiction or fantasy, that’s a plus. If it’s non-fiction that might help me in my job, that gives it more weight in the scales of my choice.

That’s probably always going to be true.

However,  I miss the experience I had with reading  those recommended books in the bookstore.

I’m turning to you, my readers.

I’d like you to suggest a book for me to read.

I have to put a few rules on this:

  • It has to be available to me in Kindle format through in the USA
  • It can’t block text-to-speech access (it will say that text-to-speech is “enabled” on the book’s Amazon product page)
  • I won’t re-read a book for this, but it’s okay if I already own it
  • I’m going to say it has to be priced under $15…or any book available to me through Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) (again, that fits the above rules…I just mean any priced book in KU)

Outside of that, suggest away! 🙂

Try to make it interesting and meaningful. Fiction, non-fiction…both fine. It’s okay with me if you wrote it.

What I’m thinking I’m going to do, and it’s going to depend on how many suggestions I get, is make it a poll.

There you go…”crowd choicing” a read for me!

I’ll put it into my reading mix right away, but I might not read it next (I sometimes have time pressure to read something).

I know my readers aren’t big on me doing reviews here. I figure I’ll make some comment about it here, and likely right a review on Goodreads. There might be a lively discussion about it in the comments at some point.

I’ll say, modestly, that my reading it might have a minor impact on sales…that happens…but I’d rather you think about something that I might love or that might change me significantly.

What’s your recommendation? 🙂

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*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.

32 Responses to “Challenge me…with a book”

  1. EJC Says:

    I have two submissions. One is a steampunk novel and the other is non-fiction. The novel is part of a series but also can stand alone. The other is a mother coming to grips with her vaccine fears. Both are books which I could not put down and are among the most memorable for me in the past several years.

    Phoenix Rising is a Victorian Steampunk Romp with agents from a shadowy ministry tracking down unusual items that are dangerous to the public and placing them in the “archives”. If you have every seen the TV show warehouse 13, you might see similarities. The Victorian era and characters make this a very different story. Bonus: strong female character.

    Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel
    Series: Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences (Book 1)

    On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss

    I work in vaccine research and completed an MPH thesis on vaccines. I have had trouble understanding the fears that people have about vaccines. On Immunity explained it all to me, including how someone can drown themselves in partial knowledge and have trouble surfacing again. I listened to this book as I was completing my thesis and it helped me to understand some of the issues I could not grasp.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, EJC!

      I used to work with an immunization project, but I have not read that book. I’d be curious about that one.

      I’ve seen Warehouse 13 (in part, because it was downloadable through Prime), and I do like that period. I’ve read some steampunk, but I’ve also read quite a lot of science fiction that is actually from that period. 🙂

  2. Dave Says:

    Hi Bufo!

    I read science fiction as a kid almost religiously – Azimov was my favorite but also Bradbury, Clarke even L. Ron Hubbard. 🙂 As I’ve gotten older I found myself straying away from science fiction, but two books I’ve recently read took me back in that direction and I enjoyed them both tremendously. The first is The Martian by Andy Weir ($5.99 Kindle, text-to-speech enabled). Movie coming out soon starring Matt Damon. This was a very fun, easy read with a bit of science and a lot of fiction. The other book I just finished was Seveneves by Neil Stephenson. This was my first Stephenson book and I really enjoyed it. I would classify this as hard science fiction, with an emphasis on the science. It’s $16.99 on Kindle (a bit out of your price range, but the first one was so cheap, if you average them out you’ll be ok) and clocks in at over 800 pages. Here’s the first sentence to pique your interest: “The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason.”

    Have fun!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thank for writing, Dave!

      I enjoyed Asimov (in some ways, especially the non-fiction, but believe me, I checked to see if my Echo knew the three laws of robotics), and I’ve read Bradbury, Clarke, and L. Ron Hubbard. The latter is an interesting author, and for some people, an example of what I discussed in

      I’ve certainly considered reading The Martian, and was pleasantly surprised by the trailer for the movie. I’ll be happy if the readers pick that one (I have enough that I’ll do that), but it might not be that big a stretch of my horizons.

  3. jaminord Says:

    My current favorite is a YA scifi. Strong female characters, lots of tension, and a plot line that doesn’t follow the usual tropes. (It’s not out until August 4, I edited it for her though, and I adore it).

  4. Steve Says:

    An old book that was popular at one time:
    The Milagro Beanfield War by John Nichols
    The first 100 pages has stayed with me for 30 years. The rest of the book is also good.

    • Jennifer Jeffreys Martin Says:

      Steve, I clicked on the link for ‘The Milagro Beanfield War’, and it looked so good I bought it! Looks like we will all benefit from Bufo’s quest for new reads! Hope it’s as good as it looks.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Jennifer!

        I’ve sold The Milagro Beanfiled War quite a bit, but I haven’t read it.

  5. Karin Says:

    Ready player one by Ernest Cline
    3.99 for Kindle with Text-to-speech enabled.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Karin!

      I did read that one, so it’s disqualified, but I certainly found it interesting!

  6. Jennifer Jeffreys Martin Says:

    Here are 2 that I call my “Comfort Books”.
    Trustee from the Toolroom, by Nevil Shute.$10.99
    Also, High, Wide and Lonesome, by Hal Borland. (It’s KU)

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Jennifer!

      I haven’t gone far in the Shute canon…that could be a good one! I know Hal Borland, but haven’t read that one…it will go on my KU wish list, regardless.

  7. Jennifer Jeffreys Martin Says:

    OOPS, here’s the link for ‘High, wide and lonesome’

  8. Steve Says:

    I’ve already given a suggestion, but here’a another that does not meet your criteria. This book has long been out of print and is not available on the kindle. Congo Kitabu by Jean-Pierre Hallet. My dad bought this book directly from Hallet in Bakersfield. I ran into Hallet again in LA when he was selling off his collection to help the Pigmies. Great adventure book, autobiography.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Steve!

      Sounds interesting! Maybe it will be available for the Kindle at some point.

  9. Joan huston Says:

    Huntress Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff
    Baby Shark by Robert Fate

  10. Zebras Says:

    I had to take all night to think about this. I wanted to pick a book that I enjoyed and that you would enjoy, too, plus I felt it should be something inspired by owning a Kindle, as my reading habits have really evolved since I’ve been Kindleized. So, I thought of Nevil Shute’s On The Beach. Unfortunately, not TTS enabled, and there is probably a good chance you have read it. Since reading that one, I’ve been slowly making my way through his books, so I would suggest A Town Like Alice. It has interesting history, plus romance, and TTS enabled and only $2.99. There seem to be several versions out there, so I recommend this one:

    It’s also lending enabled, and I would be happy to share it with you.

    If you have had the good fortune to have already read this one, treat yourself to one that you haven’t read! I have some credits, so I’m thinking for myself to read Trustee from the Toolroom, that Jennifer suggest to you.

    • Jennifer Jeffreys Martin Says:

      Zebras, ‘Trustee from the toolroom’ is a story of an ordinary man who does extraordinary things because it is the ‘right thing to do’! Very dry, in the English way, and I never tire of re-reading it.(about once a year!) It’s my favorite of Nevil Shute’s books.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Jennifer!

        I like dry humor…oh, I like slapstick, too, but a droll witticism from George Sanders is also right up my alley. 😉

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Zebras!

      On the Beach is, I think, the only Shute I have read, although I’ve heard of A Town Like Alice. I also enjoyed the movie of On the Beach. 🙂

  11. tuxgirl Says:

    Not sure about your religious feelings, but I am reading Jesus the Christ by James Earl Talmage right now, and it is really amazing. There are some things that may be confusing or controversial if you are not Mormon, but it is an amazing, well-researched biography of Jesus Christ.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, tuxgirl!

      I’ve read books from several religions: my personal feelings don’t prohibit that. 🙂 I’m always particularly interested in anything that has had a passionate following, especially for a long time.

  12. Amy Says:

    Trying to think of something to inspire and stretch a bit. A nonfiction book that made a big difference for me: Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation by Sharon Salzberg:
    $8.02 and TTS enabled

    For inspiring fiction, I recommend Anne Tyler’s The Beginner’s Goodbye. poignant and funny, as her best books are, with wonderful characters
    $9.99 and TTS enabled

    Not your usual Doc Savage or Science fiction or work nonfiction, but you said you wanted to keep discovering through serendipitous reading!

  13. rogerknights Says:

    How to Lie with Statistics

    Auntie Mame

  14. rogerknights Says:

    Gamesmanship (“how to win without actually cheating”)

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, rogerknights!

      I never cheat, but I do…find interesting interpretations of the rules. 😉

  15. rogerknights Says:

    Abominable Snowmen–Legend Come to Life (giant apes) by Ivan Sanderson

    You’ll like this–it’s like the Unknown Animals book you raved over. 5 stars based on 5 reviews.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, rogerknights!

      It’s a brilliant book! Sanderson was a really fascinating person. Here was a scientist who traveled around the world, and became somewhat of a media personality…think maybe Jeff Corwin nowadays.

      Then, Sanderson got into this other area…

      As is sometimes the case with scientists who go into the “fringe” areas, they start out with something that perhaps seems logical to them, and that they think will be accepted. After it isn’t, they go further. Eventually, Ivan Sanderson got into things like teleporting ants and “vile vortices”.

      Can you tell I’ve read a lot of it? 😉

      I have read this book, so it’s disqualified from the suggestions, but I really appreciate you thinking of it.

  16. Pick my read #1 | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] I recently asked my readers to suggest a book for me to read. […]

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