Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

Round up #166: signed books, Because of the Kindle pushed back

November 16, 2017

Round up #166: signed books, Because of the Kindle pushed back

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

National Book Award winners 2017

The National Book Foundation’s National Book Award winners were announced yesterday:

Official Site

Congratulations to the winners!

Because of the Kindle won’t be out on November 19th

In part because of our recent internet outage (but that’s not the only reason), my next book won’t be out on the 10th anniversary of the Kindle on November 19th. I will do a special post (a “First Decade Snapshot”?) which will commemorate it, and will perhaps serve as a preview of the book.

The good news is that means you can still get me your thoughts! My guess is I won’t publish it before December 1st, and it might be a week or so into that month.

I would have liked to have had it out on November 19th, but it is going to be much bigger than I thought originally. I like how it is shaping up…it was fun to think about “Topaz” files again. 😉

In fact, it’s likely to be so big (it could be perhaps, the equivalent of 1,000 pages) that I may price it at $2.99 rather than $0.99 (and I do intend it to be part of Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)).

I’m interested in your feedback on that, too, since I’m planning to put 20% of the gross royalties into giveaways on this blog. At $0.99, I get about 35 cents per sale. At $2.99, I get $2.09. I have to double-check that I check all the other boxes, but I think that’s right. So, I have to sell about six times as many at roughly a dollar than at roughly three dollars to have volume outweigh the price point. I’m ignoring, in this calculation, royalties from KU. Any thoughts?

It just simply wasn’t going to be ready. It’s not easy to make the decision to hold it back (I’ll potentially miss out on some publicity, and I’m likely to miss Black Friday interest), but I didn’t want to put out something that was clearly incomplete. It’s more important to me that people get value out of it than that it gets the maximum sales.

On the bad side: my Significant Other has to put up with my focus on the book for longer. 😉

Meanwhile, at Barnes & Noble…

On Thursday, November 30th (a week after Black Friday this year), at 10:00 AM Eastern, Barnes & Noble will announce their Second Quarter financials.

The morning timing is interesting…if companies expect to report bad numbers, they sometimes want to do it when the market is closed (to minimize the one day market stock impact). It’s possible that the numbers aren’t all bad…although I don’t expect the NOOK line to have recovered much.

It will be webcast here:

http://investors.barnesandnobleinc.com/events.cfm

They are also repeating a really interesting holiday promotion…literally hundreds of thousands of autographed books:

Barnes & Noble Announces the Return of Over a Half-Million Autographed Books from Acclaimed Authors Just in Time for Black Friday press release

These are genuinely big name authors. They list all these for Black Friday:

 

Adult Fiction Signed Editions

  • In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende
  • The Christmas Room by Catherine Anderson
  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
  • End Game by David Baldacci
  • You Can’t Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year as President Donald J. Trump (A So-Called Parody) by Alec Baldwin
  • The Midnight Line: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben
  • The Alchemist (25th Anniversary Edition) by Paulo Coelho
  • Two Kinds of Truth: A Bosch Novel by Michael Connelly
  • Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey
  • Enigma: An FBI Thriller by Catherine Coulter
  • Typhoon Fury: A Novel of the Oregon Files by Clive Cussler
  • The Cuban Affair by Nelson DeMille
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
  • Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
  • Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich
  • Hardcore Twenty-Four: A Stephanie Plum Novel by Janet Evanovich
  • Dark Legacy: A Carpathian Novel by Christine Feehan
  • Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
  • Vengeance by Newt Gingrich
  • Camino Island by John Grisham
  • The Saboteur by Andrew Gross
  • Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks
  • Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
  • Winter Solstice by Elin Hilderbrand
  • Strange Weather: Four Short Novels by Joe Hill
  • The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • To Be Where You Are: A Mitford Novel by Jan Karon
  • The Whispering Room: A Jane Hawk Novel by Dean Koontz
  • The Princess Saves Herself in This One (B&N Exclusive Edition) by Amanda Lovelace
  • Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber
  • Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker by Gregory Maguire
  • The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  • The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
  • Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
  • Fletcher by Tom Perrotta
  • Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
  • Bonfire by Krysten Ritter
  • The Golden House by Salman Rushdie
  • Deep Freeze: A Virgil Flowers Novel by John Sandford
  • Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
  • Exposed by Lisa Scottoline
  • Rest in the Mourning by r.h. Sin
  • A Beautiful Composition of Broken (B&N Exclusive Edition) by r.h. Sin
  • Whiskey Words & a Shovel by r.h. Sin
  • A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
  • Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
  • The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
  • Artemis by Andy Weir
  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Adult Nonfiction Signed Editions

  • You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir by Sherman Alexie
  • Hue 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam by Mark Bowden
  • F*ck, That’s Delicious by Action Bronson
  • Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush
  • Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York by Roz Chast
  • I’m Fine… and Other Lies by Whitney Cummings
  • What Does This Button Do?: An Autobiography by Bruce Dickinson
  • The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Come and Get It!: Simple, Scrumptious Recipes for Crazy Busy Lives (B&N Exclusive Edition) by Ree Drummond
  • Unqualified by Anna Faris
  • Blessed Life: My Surprising Journey of Joy, Tears, and Tales from Harlem to Hollywood by Kim Fields
  • Growing Up Fisher: Musings, Memories, and Misadventures by Joely Fisher
  • Al Franken, Giant of the Senate by Al Franken
  • The Hollywood Commandments: A Spiritual Guide to Secular Success by DeVon Franklin
  • Note To Self by Connor Franta
  • What Is It All But Luminous: Notes from an Underground Man by Art Garfunkel
  • An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power by Al Gore
  • The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve by Stephen Greenblatt
  • I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart
  • Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life by Jen Hatmaker
  • Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches by John Hodgman
  • Pretty Fun: Creating and Celebrating a Lifetime of Tradition by Kate Hudson
  • Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson
  • Soar! Build Your Vision from the Ground Up by T. D. Jakes
  • Endurance: A Year in Space, a Lifetime of Discovery by Scott Kelly
  • Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans by Brian Kilmeade
  • Why We Don’t Suck: And How All of Us Need to Stop Being Such Partisan Little B*tches by Dr. Denis Leary
  • The Autobiography of Gucci Mane by Gucci Mane
  • Rhett & Link’s Book of Mythicality: A Field Guide to Curiosity, Creativity, and Tomfoolery by Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal
  • Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World by Admiral William H. McRaven
  • Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
  • Everything All at Once: How to Unleash Your Inner Nerd, Tap Into Radical Curiosity, and Solve Any Problem by Bill Nye
  • Blessed in the Darkness: How All Things Are Working for Your Good by Joel Osteen
  • Sweet: Desserts from London’s Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi
  • Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites by Deb Perelman
  • Unshakeable : Your Financial Freedom Playbook by Tony Robbins
  • It Takes Two: Our Story by Jonathan and Drew Scott
  • Basketball (and Other Things): A Collection of Questions Asked, Answered, Illustrated by Shea Serrano
  • Unstoppable: My Life So Far by Maria Sharapova
  • On Power: My Journey Through the Corridors of Power and How You Can Get More Power by Gene Simmons
  • You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
  • Two’s Company: A Fifty-Year Romance with Lessons Learned in Love, Life & Business by Suzanne Somers
  • Where the Past Begins: A Writer’s Memoir by Amy Tan
  • Raising Trump by Ivana Trump
  • Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History by Katy Tur
  • Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance
  • Liner Notes: On Parents & Children, Exes & Excess, Death & Decay & a Few of My Other Favorite Things by Loudon Wainwright III
  • The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
  • A Sick Life: TLC ‘n Me: Stories from On and Off the Stage by Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins
  • Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything by Kelly and Zach Weinersmith
  • Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual by Jocko Willink
  • The Seat of the Soul (25th Anniversary Edition with a Study Guide) by Gary Zukav

Signed Editions for Teens

  • Thirteen Reasons Why (10th Anniversary Edition) by Jay Asher
  • The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo
  • Girling Up by Mayim Bialik
  • One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake
  • The Twisted Ones (Five Nights at Freddy’s) by Scott Cawthon
  • Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart
  • Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas
  • Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco
  • Renegades by Marissa Meyer
  • Eragon by Christopher Paolini
  • The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman
  • Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
  • Otherworld by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • Mistress of All Evil: A Tale of the Dark Fairy by Serena Valentino
  • Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
  • The Book Thief (Special Anniversary Edition) by Markus Zusak

Signed Editions for Young Readers

  • Wishtree by Katherine Applegate
  • Serafina and the Splintered Heart by Robert Beatty
  • Minecraft: The Island by Max Brooks
  • The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
  • The Land of Stories: Worlds Collide by Chris Colfer
  • Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland
  • Spy School Secret Service (B&N Exclusive Edition) (Spy School Series #5) by Stuart Gibbs
  • The Magic Misfits by Neil Patrick Harris
  • I Got This: To Gold and Beyond by Laurie Hernandez
  • The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • In the Deep Blue Sea: Jack and the Geniuses Book #2 by Bill Nye
  • Wonder B&N Exclusive Edition by R. J. Palacio
  • The Dark Prophecy (B&N Exclusive Edition) (The Trials of Apollo Series #2) by Rick Riordan
  • Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book 3: The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan
  • The Bad Beginning: Book the First (A Series of Unfortunate Events) by Lemony Snicket
  • Little Bigfoot, Big City (B&N Exclusive Edition) by Jennifer Weiner
  • The Audition by Maddie Ziegler

Signed Editions for Kids

  • Gingerbread Christmas by Jan Brett
  • River Rose and the Magical Christmas by Kelly Clarkson
  • She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World by Chelsea Clinton
  • The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors by Drew Daywalt
  • Pete the Cat and the Missing Cupcakes by Kimberly and James Dean
  • Through Your Eyes: My Child’s Gift to Me by Ainsley Earhardt
  • Princesses Wear Pants by Savannah Guthrie
  • My Journey to the Stars by Scott Kelly
  • Be Brave Little One by Marianne Richmond
  • Mighty, Mighty Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker
  • The Polar Express 30th Anniversary Edition by Chris Van Allsburg
  • The Thank You Book (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems

This is genuinely a reason to visit a Barnes & Noble.

Now that Amazon has physical bookstores, I’ve wondered if they’ll start doing book signings…I’ve seen (and been impressed by) the new one in Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek (across the Bay from San Francisco), California:

The new Amazon Books opened in Walnut Creek California today…and I was there!

They had a number of things that people have come to associate with bookstores…coffee and comfy chairs, for two. Book signings could make sense…

What do you think? Are Amazon bookstores too small for book signings? Are signed books exciting for you personally? As gifts? What do you think will come out of Barnes & Noble’s financial report? $0.99 or $2.99 for Because of the Kindle? What do you think has happened (for you and for the world) Because of the Kindle? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.


You can be part of my next book, Because of the Kindle!


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

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

** A Kindle with text-to-speech can read any text downloaded to it…unless that access is blocked by the publisher inserting code into the file to prevent it. That’s why you can have the device read personal documents to you (I’ve done that). I believe that this sort of access blocking disproportionately disadvantages the disabled, although I also believe it is legal (provided that there is at least one accessible version of each e-book available, however, that one can require a certification of disability). For that reason, I don’t deliberately link to books which block TTS access here (although it may happen accidentally, particularly if the access is blocked after I’ve linked it). I do believe this is a personal decision, and there  are legitimate arguments for purchasing those books.

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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The author of Jeff Bezos’ favorite novel wins Nobel

October 7, 2017

The author of Jeff Bezos’ favorite novel wins Nobel

There are several reasons why

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

being announced as the recipient of the

Nobel Prize in Literature for 2017

is interesting.

One is that Ishiguro is reportedly Jeff Bezo’s (Chief Executive Officer, CEO of Amazon) favorite author, or at least the author of Jeff’s favorite book, The Remains of the Day**:

Marketwatch article by Tom Teodorczuk

However, another “debate” is whether or not Ishiguro is a science fiction/fantasy author.

Of course yes.

The Buried Giant is a fantasy novel. Never Let Me Go is a science fiction novel.

There are literati who just aren’t going to accept that, though. They don’t think science fiction/fantasy can be great literature. There may even be a “class ceiling” which functions as a Catch-22. If science fiction can’t be great literature, than once a science fiction novel becomes too good, it is no longer science fiction, but “literary fiction” which winks/nods at science fiction.

I think that’s what is happening here for some of those who are even debating it.

Pretend it’s the end of the semester in a college literature class.

Student 1: “Which one was your favorite author?”

Student 2: “I liked the ghost story.”

Student 3: “I liked the post-apocalyptic super plague story.”

Student 4: “My favorite was the time travel comedy.”

Student 1: “I liked that one who did the story with the witches, the ghost Dad, and the Fae-shifter one.”

Who are they talking about?

The ghost story is Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol)…who also mentions SHC (Spontaneous Human Combustion) in Bleak House.

The post-apocalyptic super plague is Jack London (The Scarlet Plague).

The time travel comedy is Mark Twain (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court).

All those last ones are William Shakespeare: the Scottish play, Hamlet, and .

Eventually, I hope to have all of the above authors in

The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip

That’s one of the points of TMCGTT…I want to show how diverse geeky works actually are, in the perhaps vain hope of removing some of the stigma.

It’s worth noting, though, that the stigma is eroding in many fields.

TV is increasingly recognizing geeky shows as art, as I pointed out here:

The Emmys are really geeky this year…but is that new?

The Oscars are seeing more nominations for geeky movies.

It seems that, for some reason, classical music and opera have never seen fantasy elements as a disqualifier for being quality.

I do find the selection of Ishiguro, following Bob Dylan’s pick last year, fascinating. It perhaps suggest some evolution in the selection process, although this is certainly not the first Nobel laureate who has written small “f” fantasy (Rudyard Kipling won, for example, whose works include not only Fantasy, but works that are clearly science fiction, set in the future and exploring the impact of technology).

Still, it is an interesting choice and may get more people to try Kazuo Ishiguro’s unique fiction…however they categorize it.


My current Amazon giveaway:

Beyond Curie: Four women in physics and their remarkable discoveries 1903 to 1963 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Giveaway:

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/b139e577ee333624

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
    Requirements for participation:
  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Follow Scott Calvin on Amazon
Start:Sep 25, 2017 5:46 AM PDT
End:Oct 25, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

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

All aboard 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! :) 

**I am not linking to this book because the publisher has chosen to block text-to-speech access. A Kindle with text-to-speech can read any text downloaded to it…unless that access is blocked by the publisher inserting code into the file to prevent it. That’s why you can have the device read personal documents to you (I’ve done that). I believe that this sort of access blocking disproportionately disadvantages the disabled, although I also believe it is legal (provided that there is at least one accessible version of each e-book available, however, that one can require a certification of disability). For that reason, I don’t deliberately link to books which block TTS access here (although it may happen accidentally, particularly if the access is blocked after I’ve linked it). I do believe this is a personal decision, and there  are legitimate arguments for purchasing those books. 

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.

 

The Nebula Awards winners…and a great KDD (again)!

May 21, 2017

The Nebula Awards winners…and a great KDD (again)!

In the science fiction community, we usually think of two literary awards first: the Hugos and the Nebulas (there are several others).

The Nebula Awards were first given out by the

Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America

more than fifty years ago (1966), so there have been a lot of winners!

Amazon has a section for them in the Kindle store:

Nebula Award Winners in the USA Kindle Store (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

They don’t have them all…there are 28 titles there right now (and I think some of them would be known by people who aren’t science fiction/fantasy fans as well). 🙂

One group that they don’t have listed there is the group of winners that were announced yesterday in Pittsburgh…just too soon.

This

Forbes article by Kevin Murnan

lists all the nominees and the winners…I’m just going to list the winners here:

Congratulations to the winners!

Today’s

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

has 90 (!) titles in what they are calling “Enticing reads on Kindle, $1.99 & up”.

There are a lot of great titles here, and some well-known books and authors. Remember that you can buy these today, and either delay delivery until the appropriate gift-giving occasion, or send them to yourself and print them out to give (even wrapped) whenever you want. Check the price before you click, tap, or eye gaze (and I have now bought a book when I was in Virtual Reality from Amazon, although I did “tap” using my Samsung Gear VR headset (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)…Oculus added their own browser, and it worked there. I was also able to read part of a book at Project Gutenberg, although it meant I had to tap the side of my headset a lot to “click”, which was distracting at this point…it’s possible I’d get used to it…but I’m guessing there will be a good reading experience, possibly from Amazon, within a year) that Buy Button: the prices may not apply in your country, for one thing.

Title include:

  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • Upstairs at the White House by J.B. West
  • Seven Minutes in Heaven by Eloisa James
  • The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
  • The Wedding  by Nicholas Sparks | 4.6 stars, 1, 564 reviews
  • Rise of the Rocket Girls by Nathalia Holt | 4.4 stars, 288 reviews (non-fiction)
  • Duplicity by Newt Gingrich
  • Illumination Night by Alice Hoffman
  • One Corpse Too Many by Ellis Peters
  • The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy
  • Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters
  • Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa
  • Hammerhead Six by Ronald Fry
  • My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell (the Corfu Trilogy #1…I’m re-reading these myself right now)
  • Unwritten by Charles Martin
  • The Darkness of Evil (Karen Vail #7) by Alan Jacobson
  • The Lord God Made Them All by James Herriot
  • Homeland (Crown Family #1) by John Jakes
  • Stiletto by Daniel O’Malley
  • Celia Garth by Gwen Bristow
  • Infinity Gauntlet by Jim Starlin
  • The Outpost by Jake Tapper
  • As Close to Us as Breathing by Elizabeth Poliner
  • The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova | 3.9 stars, 2,246 reviews
  • The Science of Game of Thrones by Helen Keen
  • A Thousand Tomorrows by Karen Kingsbury
  • A History of American Sports in 100 Objects by Cait Murphy
  • Audrey and Bill by Edward Z. Epstein
  • The Bedford Boys by Alex Kershaw
  • Dinner with the Smileys by Sara Smiley
  • The Ingenious Mr. Pyke by Henry Hemming
  • House of M by Brian Michael Bendis
  • World War Hulk by Greg Pak
  • The One That Got Away by Leigh Himes
  • The Rules of Love & Grammar by Mary Simses
  • The Untold History of America at War by Kenneth C. Davis
  • The Letter by Kathryn Hughes
  • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
  • The Burial Hour by Jeffrey Deaver
  • New York Times Story of the Yankees
  • The Chosen Few by Gregg Zoroya
  • Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames
  • Strangers Tend to Tell Me Things by Amy Dickinson
  • The End of the Day by Claire North
  • Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kaifar
  • The Secrets of My Life by Caitlyn Jenner
  • Tuesday’s Promise by Luis Carlos Montalvan
  • The Last Neanderthal by Claire Cameron
  • Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray
  • Seven Days of You by Cecila Vinese
  • Run by Ann Patchett
  • The Devil’s Star by Jo Nesbo (Harry Hole #5)
  • The Drowning King by Emily Holleman
  • Mozart’s Starling by Lyanda Lynn Haupt
  • From Rockaway by Jill Eisenstadt
  • A Warrior’s Faith by Robert Vera
  • The Valley of Amazement of Amy Tan
  • December 1941 by Craig Shirley
  • The American Spirit by Edwin J. Feulner
  • Redemption Bay by RaeAnne Thayne
  • The Ones We Trust by Kimberly Belle
  • The Diplomat’s Wife by Pam Jenoff
  • Deadly Fate by Heather Graham
  • Alaska Nights by Debbie Macomber
  • The Harder They Come by T.C. Boyle
  • Canada by Richard Ford
  • No Shred of Evidence by Charles Todd (Inspector Ian Rutledge)
  • What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman
  • Every Wild Heart by Meg Donohue
  • Several Marvel collections: The Dark Phoenix Saga; Spider-Man/Deadpool; Spider-Gwen; Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur; Guardians of the Galaxy: New Guard; All-New, All-Different Avengers; Incredible Iron Man Vol 1: Reboot

Enjoy!

My current Amazon Giveaways

NEW GIVEAWAY: 

One Murder More (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

the award-winning, highly-rated mystery by my sibling, Kris Calvin!

Giveaway: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/398897583537603c

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Follow Kris Calvin on Amazon (to my knowledge, all that you’ll get is a notification when Kris publishes a new book in the Kindle store, although I don’t know that for sure…that’s all I’ve ever seen for authors I follow, I think. Kris is working on the second book in the Maren Kane mystery series.
Start:May 20, 2017 5:20 AM PDT
End:May 27, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

Thanks to the hundreds of people who have entered my previous giveaways for a chance to win Kris’ book! I don’t benefit directly from Kris’ book, although we have had a lot of conversations about it. 🙂

Amazon Giveaway for And Then There Were None!

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/3e6a60b4814649a3

Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winner.
Requirements for participation:
Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
18+ years of age (or legal age)

Start:May 12, 2017 6:24 PM PDT
End:Jun 11, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

===

Star Wars Day through 40 years of Star Wars!
Giveaway by Bufo Calvin
  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
    • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
    • Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
    • 18+ years of age (or legal age)

Giveaway:
https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/0ce7b24b32a4a670

Start:May 4, 2017 6:32 AM PDT
End:Jun 3, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

It’s going on that long in part so that it covers the actual 40th anniversary of Star Wars (of the release in the USA) on May 25th 2017. Also, this book, which has good reviews and is new, is $14.99 in the Kindle edition…which is a lot for me for a giveaway. 🙂

Good luck, and may the Force be with you!

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.

 

Amazon: “The Best Books of 2016”

November 17, 2016

Amazon: “The Best Books of 2016”

I do love the tech involved in Amazon’s hardware, but I’m always going to love those books! After all, I’m a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager…they used to be my bread and butter, so to speak, however, I loved books before that, too. 🙂

That’s why one of the most intriguing things for me each year is when Amazon does their “Best Books of the Year”…and here it is!

http://amazon.com/bestbooks2016 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

These are all editorial picks, meaning that human beings made the selections. 🙂 There are 100 best Kindle book and 100 best print books, but because they do the best in categories (and holiday picks and celebrity picks and…) there are more than that.

One thing that can happen with curated book lists is that a relatively obscure book can suddenly become a big seller through discovery.

For example, there is a book on the list with only eight customer reviews, ranked #26,240 paid in the Kindle store:

Beyond Earth: Our Path to a New Home in the Planets (at AmazonSmile*)

Now, it’s reasonable to point out that the book was just released November 15th, which has something to do with the number of reviews…but at AmazonSmile* Zadie Smith isn’t even released yet, and is ranked #581 (due to pre-sales). Reviews are not allowed yet, though. Beyond Earth sounds interesting…it’s non-fiction about the future of space travel (including Jeff Bezos’ efforts), and looking at Titan (one of Saturn’s moons) as a destination perhaps preferable to Mars. That one is going on my wish list…not Titan, but the book. 🙂

While Beyond Earth is not science fiction, the twenty titles in the

Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of 2016 (at AmazonSmile*)

For one thing, you can see the often huge savings in the Kindle version versus the print version. Some examples (prices are at time of writing):

  • The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman | $9.74 in paperback, $1.99 in Kindle
  • The Book of the Unnamed Midwife (The Road to Nowhere) by Meg Elison | $9.00 in paperback, #3.99 in Kindle
  • The Dark Side by Anthony O’Neill | $10.35 in paperback, $4.99 in Kindle

Two of the books (10%) are even available at no extra cost to

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

members. That increases the chances that they’ll show up in Prime Reading at some point (making them free to borrow for some Prime Members).

The more than forty celebrities are an intriguing, eclectic bunch! From Anne Rice to Padma Lakshmi through Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, I love seeing the books (especially the older ones, like Lenny Lawson’s pick of The Color Magic (Discworld) by Terry Pratchett). Click on a celebrity to see their comments about the book.

Another nice section is the Editors’ Holiday Gift Picks. The categories (and I like the names of them) are:

  • Little Bookworms
  • Fun & Quirky
  • Eat, Drink, Read
  • Young (Adult) at Heart
  • Fantastic Fiction
  • Nothing But the Truth
  • Coffee Table Eye Candy
  • Cops & Crooks
  • Secrets of Success
  • Design, Construct, Create

Not surprisingly, there are some books in “Fun & Quirky” that really caught my eye!

Some from there:

  • Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer and Dylan Thuras (based on a wonderful website)
  • 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings: How to Get By Without Even Trying by Sarah Cooper
  • Judgmental Maps: Your City. Judged. by Trent Gillaspie
  • Sad Animal Facts by Brooke Barker (14 reviews with a perfect 5.0 star average!)

When Amazon sent me the press release, they were nice enough to ask if I would like to speak with the Editors about it. I’ve enjoyed doing that before, but I wanted to give you the opportunity. Are there questions you would like to ask the Editors based on the list? If you do, please comment on this post. There is no guarantee that they’ll take the questions, but I’d like to send them three from my readers and see if they’ll answer them. If so, I’ll publish the answers here. Of course, by posting the comments, you are giving me permission to send them to Amazon without compensation.

If you have other comments too, feel free to share them with me and my readers!

I would think I can’t wait long to send them: I’m going to make your cutoff noon Pacific time on this Friday, November 18th.

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! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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.

Round up #145: sight-reading vs. listening, B&N CEO O-U-T

August 23, 2016

Round up #145: sight-reading vs. listening, B&N CEO O-U-T

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

One Murder More reportedly wins three Silver Falchion awards!

I’m waiting for

Killer Nashville

to post the official results before I do a full post (and celebration), but I thought some of you would be curious: my sibling’s first novel, One Murder More (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), won three Silver Falchion awards this past weekend! That’s amazing, and puts Kris in good company, including Anne Perry, John Sandford, Dean Koontz, and Sue Grafton.

More to come…

Barnes & Noble loses CEO

In this

press release

Barnes & Nobles announced the “departure” of its Chief Executive Officer, Ronald D. Boire (after not quite a year in the post).

This is being reported both as Boire being fired, and as Boire “stepping down”…but regardless, this is a negative for the Big 5 traditional publishers (who are still reliant on brick and mortar bookstores…I’m a former manager of one). Nobody who is already established in business likes uncertainty, and this is B&N’s third CEO recently.

The press release says that the Board determined Boire wasn’t “a good fit”…and that’s the Board’s fault.

One of my proudest things after I became the training manager at a franchise (where I think we had five owners in seven years…something like that) was that I lengthened the average longevity of my team significantly. When I was hired there, I was told there was a ninety-day “ramp up” period. I asked how many people didn’t get through that period, and I was told two out of three! Sure enough, I was hired with two other people, and I was the only person still there after three months.

That’s just…inefficient hiring, in my opinion.

I’ve hired a lot of people over the years, and I think I’m pretty good at it.

After I was the Training Manager for a year, the average longevity went from under three months to over a years, as I recall…basically, nobody left. Yes, I hired people during that year, but not that many because turnover was low. If I hired them, they stayed.

If the Board hired somebody who wasn’t a good fit, that’s likely to be mostly their fault.

This is odd timing, because we are heading into the most important time of the year…the last three months of the year, in a retail business like this, can easily be 90% of the year’s sales.

Maybe if Boire had made it a full year, the departure would have cost them more?

Replacing the CEO at the end of August is a little bit like replacing your pilot while your plane is at the gate readying for takeoff. 😉

However, Leonard Riggio, who was going to retire in a few weeks (Riggio has been a driving force at B&N since buying the company forty-five years ago) is going to take the helm for now.

The publishers may see that as a good thing…they understand Riggio, even if the leadership is only temporary and therefore limited in determining the strategic direction.

I thought this

RetailDive post by Corinne Ruff

had intelligent insight.

B&N has had some good signs recently…none of them said “Books for Sale in Our Stores”, though. 😉 The strategy has been to move the stores more into other things (especially the cafes), cut back on the NOOK even more, and try to remake the online presence. Those strategies aren’t likely to change.

MarketWatch: physical bookstores rebounding

In this

MarketWatch article by Trey Williams

they report a clear rebound for brick-and-mortar bookstores in the USA, continuing last year’s reversal of a downward trend which had been in place since 2009. I’m not sure I agree with Whitney Hu of

The Strand Bookstore in New York

a marvelous institution. Hu says in part:

“The recent growth in sales is a result of the waning novelty of e-readers, such as Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle…”

On the other hand, Hu is more likely to be right than another authority they quote…Ronald D. Boire, the aforementioned outgoing CEO of Barnes & Noble. 😉

Are audiobooks cheating?

Regular readers know I listen to text-to-speech (software which reads books out loud to you) a lot. It’s typically hours a week in the car. I sight read every day, too…on my now discontinued Kindle Fire HDX (that’s what does the text-to-speech in the car for me), on a

All-New Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

and a

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

depending on where I am in the house (I also read different books in different parts of the house…I’ve always done that).

I will admit, though,  that there has been a slight, nagging thought: is listening to the book somehow “inferior” to sight-reading it?

Turns out, I wasn’t the only one with that thought. 🙂

This

CNN post by Melissa Dahl

resonated with me…it was the same question.

Fortunately, Dahl was referencing this

blog post by Daniel Willingham

The bio states that Willingham is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia.

Willingham addresses the idea of whether or not listening to an audiobook is “cheating”.

I was actually hoping for an fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) study showing that what the brain was doing was similar during sight-reading and listening, but the post isn’t that.

It’s talking more about the process, and how it will “mostly” be the same (although there may be an advantage when reading more complex material to sight-reading it, an adult reading a typical novel should be pretty much the same).

It was interesting to me that the article was at least partly what I would consider to be philosophical…questioning the value of defining reading as “work”, something to be more rewarded when you put something more into it.

I do think some “literati” have that attitude: if a book was harder to read, it was better for you and more worthwhile.

I don’t buy that myself.

I think there is value in reading a “popcorn book”, one which reads with little effort. People used to (and some still do) call them “page turners”, although “button masher” became the digital equivalent for a short time (when was they last time you used buttons to “turn the page” on an e-book reader?).

In fact, and maybe I am a bit of a lazy reader in this regard, I tend not to like very “dense” epics…I describe them as when the sentence is better than the paragraph, the paragraph is better than the page, the page is better than the chapter, and the chapter is better than the book. 😉

You know the type…I would put The Worm Ouroborus by E.R. Eddison into that category.

Still, it’s nice to know that a professor of psychology has the opinion that listening to an audiobook isn’t cheating. 🙂 I intend to comment on the blog post (if the requirements to do so are not overly restrictive) to ask about text-to-speech versus audiobooks…I suspect that the TTS cognitive processing is much more similar to sight-reading than audiobooks are. I’d be interested to hear what the professor thinks about that…and about the fact that I generally don’t experience prosody (hearing voices when you read). 🙂

What do you think? Have you thought of listening to books as “cheating”? Will Barnes & Noble continue to have physical bookselling in dedicated brick-and-mortar stores as a major component of their business? If they don’t, what does that mean for tradpubs? Why do you think brick-and-mortar bookstores have been rebounding? Is it because of a decline in e-book use…or maybe it’s coloring books? 😉 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!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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.

2016 Hugo Award winners

August 22, 2016

2016 Hugo Award winners

The Hugo Awards (named after Hugo Gernsbeck) are one of the most prestigious science fiction awards out there.

Past winners include Dune, The Man in the High Castle, and Stranger in a Strange Land.

There has been quite a bit of controversy in the last couple of years, as a couple of groups have made an effort to get the results that they want. That doesn’t sound like a bad thing, when I put it that way…but many people disagree with the apparent agenda of those groups.

The Hugo Awards have addressed this in part by having a “No Award” choice. Last year, it was a big impact…this year, not as much. It’s reasonable to conclude that the awards actually given this year do not align with the groups’ objectives.

I mention all this because the campaigns make some people question the legitimacy of the awards. That’s always true with awards, of course, but I would say that the Hugos certainly were an indicator of high quality for many geeks like me.

I was curious, so I checked: I’ve read most of the novel winners from the 1950s through the 1980s…not as much after that.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t consider those later novels worthy, not at all…I would say that it is more that I diversified my reading quite a bit.

If you are looking for a quality science fiction/fantasy read (or watch or  listen…they do more than  just literature), I think that using the Hugos is not a bad data point in making your decision.

Here are this year’s winners (awarded Saturday night, August 20th at MidAmeriCon II):

Best Novel

The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth Book 1) (at AmmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) by N.K. Jemisin

Best Novella

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Best Novelette

“Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang, trans. Ken Liu (Uncanny Magazine, Jan-Feb 2015)

Best Short Story

“Cat Pictures Please” by Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld, January 2015)

Best Related Work

No Award

Best Graphic Story

The Sandman: Overture written by Neil Gaiman, art by J.H. Williams III

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

The Martian screenplay by Drew Goddard, directed by Ridley Scott (Scott Free Productions; Kinberg Genre; TSG Entertainment; 20th Century Fox)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

Jessica Jones: “AKA Smile” written by Scott Reynolds, Melissa Rosenberg, and Jamie King, directed by Michael Rymer (Marvel Television; ABC Studios; Tall Girls Productions;Netflix)

Best Editor, Short Form

Ellen Datlow

Best Editor, Long Form

Sheila E. Gilbert

Best Professional Artist

Abigail Larson

Best Semiprozine

Uncanny Magazine edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, and Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky

Best Fanzine

File 770 edited by Mike Glyer

Best Fancast

No Award

Best Fan Writer

Mike Glyer

Best Fan Artist

Steve Stiles

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (not technically a Hugo)

Andy Weir

Congratulations to the winners!

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! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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.

 

Stephen King given National Medal of Arts

September 11, 2015

Stephen King given National Medal of Arts

One of the defining characteristics of being a geek, and I’ve been a proud geek for a long time, is being an outsider.

Geeks aren’t supposed to be the cool kids, and even more definitely, they shouldn’t be recognized for creating and enjoying “high brow”, quality art.

Let me be clear: I don’t mean to say that’s the right attitude, but it’s what we used to think people think.

Of course, it’s never really been true.

Those authors who undeniably are considered to be the “classic” authors have often created geek-friendly works.

Shakespeare? Fairies, ghosts, and witches.

Dickens? The work people know best well and has been most parodied (including by me…A Kindle Carol) is a ghost story…with time travel.

Jack London? Post-apocalyptic fiction (The post-apocalyptic fiction of…) and past life cave people  (Before Adam).

However, the literati who look down their noses at books with spaceships and telepathy could always say that those were not the main works of these authors.

It would be very hard to make an argument that Stephen King (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) is not first and foremost a genre author.

That’s why it feels like a milestone in geeks getting respect that the horror author was given a National Medal of Arts yesterday by the President.

National Endowment for the Arts official page

The citation reads:

“Stephen King for his contributions as an author. One of the most popular and prolific writers of our time, Mr. King combines his remarkable storytelling with his sharp analysis of human nature.  For decades, his works of horror, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy have terrified and delighted audiences around the world. (Bangor, ME)”

Looking back through a list of the recipients, I didn’t see a lot of people who would be found primarily in the science fiction, fantasy, and/or horror sections of a bookstore:

  • Ralph Ellison
  • Eudora Welty
  • Howard Nemerov
  • Robert Penn Warren
  • Saul Bellow
  • Czelaw Milosz
  • John Updike
  • William Styron
  • Maurice Sendak (yes, geek-friendly…although putative children’s books feel like they have more latitude to employ fantasy elements and still be respected)
  • Philip Roth
  • Maya Angelou
  • Ray Bradbury (so King’s award is not unprecedented for a primarily genre author)
  • Rudolfo Anaya
  • Beverly Cleary
  • Stan Lee (absolutely, undeniably geek friendly…one of the icons. The award, though, wasn’t really for prose writing)
  • Louis Auchincloss
  • N. Scott Momaday
  • Ernest Gaines
  • Tobias Wolff (also awarded this year, the same as Stephen King)

I think

Stephen King’s

The Stand (at AmazonSmile*)

has a legitimate case for being the “great American novel”…but I don’t expect the President and the National Endowment for the Arts to think so.  😉

That certainly may just show my own prejudice. I grew up with it being a matter of social shame to be a geek.

That’s not the case now.

Look at the top grossing movies, the most popular televisions shows…undeniably, mainstream audience grok the geek.

In those visual media fields, respected awards have been coming more and more to geek-friendly works and artists. Oscar winners feel no concern about appearing in a fantasy/science fiction/horror movie (or, even more shocking, TV show) these days.

However, for the types of people who would even sneer at the idea of watching a video, to recognize the authors of books with vampires and robots? That feels new.

I wouldn’t say that we are entirely there…and, I’m not convinced that geeks really want to be there.

What do you think? Is there still a stigma in being a “genre author”? When I say “genre”, do you think geeky, or do you include romance and Westerns, among others? Are works with fantasy/science fiction elements inherently less “honorable” than works with more realistic settings? If you think that the acceptability has changed, why do you think that is? Is it just the popularity? Should that influence merit awards? 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!

* 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.

Why Hugo voters picked “No Award” in two major literature categories

August 25, 2015

Why Hugo voters picked “No Award” in two major literature categories

The Hugo Awards are arguably the most prestige award in science fiction literature (they also cover other media).

They’ve been around for well over fifty years, and many a geek like me has used the awards as a discovery tool. Winning a Hugo certainly helped your career, and upped your geek cred.

There was a considerable controversy this year, as I’ve mentioned before.

As explained in this

Wired article by Holly Andres

a group of authors tried to guide the nominations (and awards) to go to books not based solely on their intrinsic value, but on the nature of their content.

As I understand it, their argument would be that they are preserving the historic style of science fiction.

Many fans (or “fen”, to use the geeky terminology) felt that the campaign was unreasonably non-inclusive.

How did the votes go?

You can see the results in this

Official Site

None of the campaign’s promoted works won. If there was a category that only had campaign nominated-works, the voters chose instead “No Award”…sort of like “none of the above”.

The winners in literature were:

Best Novel: The Three-Body Problem (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit by shopping*)
by Cixen Liu (translated by Ken Liu)

Best Novella: No Award

Best Novellette: “The Day the World Turned Upside Down”
by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (translated by Lia Belt)

Best Short Story: No Award

Best Editor (short form, long form): No Awards

I’ll just say, I’m not happy that no awards were given out in some of these categories…although I appreciate a principled stand.

I also feel sorry for all of the authors: this is going to be seen as an “asterisk” year, where it was simply being the best writer that won the category (of course, is that ever true?).

People who were nominated by the campaign may also suffer from that…even if they didn’t agree with the campaign’s position.

I don’t quite know what you do about this in the future…I don’t think any rules were broken. You could change the rules, but how  would you do that?

What do you think? Do the Hugo awards matter to you? Is it possible to have a “fan nominated” process which can not be corrupted? If you were a Hugo voter, what would have done?

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!

* 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.

Pulitzers and Hugos, 2015

April 21, 2015

Pulitzers and Hugos, 2015

Pulitzer Prize winners

The Pulitzer Prize winners have been announced:

Official Site

and it’s reasonable to expect the prices to come down on the involved books in the next day or so, at least for a short time. People might cynically expect it to go up, but there is likely to be a mini price war, and Amazon tends to match others’ prices.

Congratulations go to:

Winning a Pulitzer is like winning an Oscar: for the rest of your life, you’ll be introduced as “Pulitzer Prize winning author so-and-so”. 🙂

The Hugo Awards

I was originally going to do a full story just on this, then I was going to put in a round-up…but it fit best in this post.

I’ve been holding off on writing about it, because I wanted to investigate it more, to get more angles on it…but it’s just continuing to grow and I want to alert you to it now.

The Hugo Awards are one of the most prestigious in science fiction literature, with a long and storied history.

Official Site

As reader and commenter John Aga pointed out to me in a comment,

Lines of Departure (Frontlines Book 2) (at AmazonSmile*)

by Marko Kloos, is a Hugo-nominated novel published by one of Amazon’s traditional publishing imprints, 47North.

Well, perhaps I should say, “was a Hugo-nominated novel”, because Kloos has withdrawn it from consideration.

If you go to the link I gave you for the Hugo Awards, you won’t see it listed.

It’s been replaced in the list by The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu (Ken Liu translator).

This has nothing to do with the book being published by Amazon.

It has to do with the way books get nominated for the Hugos, and concerns about how that may have been influenced this year.

Essentially, a group wanted to ensure that nominated books fit within their definitions of science fiction…so they took steps to see that happened.

The controversy is that there are many who don’t agree with their views, and feel that those steps they took may have “hijacked” the nominations.

I don’t want to get too much into it, because I want to know more about what “Sad Puppies” says about it.

I’ve read plenty of things about people who disagree with them, but before I possibly influence you, I want to see it more firsthand.

Kloos isn’t the only person to withdraw a nomination this year, and  even George R.R. Martin has commented on it.

Here’s a Google search for new on it:

https://www.google.com/search?client=aff-maxthon-maxthon4&channel=t26&q=hugo%20awards&gws_rd=ssl#q=hugo+awards&safe=off&affdom=thehugoawards.org&channel=t26&tbm=nws

What do you think? Have you ever read a book in part because it was a Pulitzer-winner (or nominee)? How do awards affect you? How do you think awards should be given? Should literary genres be “preserved” (by having them follow traditional guidelines)? 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!

* 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.

** A Kindle with text-to-speech can read any text downloaded to it…unless that access is blocked by the publisher inserting code into the file to prevent it. That’s why you can have the device read personal documents to you (I’ve done that). I believe that this sort of access blocking disproportionately disadvantages the disabled, although I also believe it is legal (provided that there is at least one accessible version of each e-book available, however, that one can require a certification of disability). For that reason, I don’t deliberately link to books which block TTS access here (although it may happen accidentally, particularly if the access is blocked after I’ve linked it). I do believe this is a personal decision, and there  are legitimate arguments for purchasing those books. 

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 #278: Goodreads winners, favorite authors

December 6, 2014

Round up #278: Goodreads winners, favorite authors

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

Amazon improves author tracking

It’s nice to me to see that Amazon is working on improving the customer experience.

The ability to be notified when a new book is published to the Kindle store from an author you like seems like it would be a no brainer.

The customer is happy, Amazon gets a sale, the publisher is happy, the author is happy…it’s just a question of getting the infrastructure and user experience to be simple and robust enough.

In the past, we’ve had a kind of clunky way of doing it…and I would hear from people that it didn’t really work (they didn’t get notifications).

I don’t know if they’ve fixed the latter part yet, but they now have a much more elegant and sophisticated way to request updates:

Amazon’s Favorite Authors page (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

From there, you can just tap an Add Favorite button.

Not only that, but it recommends authors for you, both ones that are similar to what you’ve favorited, and ones that you’ve reviewed positively.

I found that its linkages were very good: when I favorited an author, it made suggestions that made sense. Even in the case of authors I didn’t know, there were book cover thumbnails which made it clear that the connection was logical.

You can search for an author, or choose from popular ones.

You can decide whether or not you want your favorites displayed on your profile.

You can also edit your favorites here: and interestingly, those include books, movies, music, and others.

They also suggest more features are coming to this in the future.

The one suggestion I’m going to make to them first is that they add a place for us to comment on our favorites, which displays on the profile. That would make it much more social.

Ideally, they would make it that if someone went from your favorite on your page and purchased the book, you’d get an advertising fee or other credit of some kind, but I don’t expect that right away.

Almost whole-heartedly recommended a Kindle First book

This is what I recently wrote about this month’s Kindle First books:

Prime members, don’t forget to pick up your

Kindle First books (at AmazonSmile*)

You can get one of the four books to own (not borrow) for free…these are books which will be actually released next month. The choices this month are:

  • Marked (Servants of Fate Book 1) by Sarah Fine (romantic fantasy)
  • The Last Passenger
    by Manel Loureiro, Andrés Alfaro (suspense)
  • Fatal Puzzle (Zons Crime Book 1) by Catherine Shepherd, Julia Knobloch (thriller)
  • Guardians of the Night (A Gideon and Sirius Novel) by Alan Russell (mystery)

I’m going with The Last Passenger, and it was an easy choice. Loureiro is the author of the Apocalypse Z books, the first of which is the most reviewed book I listed above. They classify it as a suspense novel, but it involves time travel…one of my favorite subjects.

When I started reading

The Last Passenger (at AmazonSmile*)

I was quite pleased with it. It reminded me of the pulp hero Doc Savage (without a hero like that), and from me, that’s a compliment. 😉 I was already seeing how it would be a good movie.

It was a great high camp set up, had interesting characters including the lead…and it was an excellent translation from the Spanish.

Unfortunately, a character was introduced who is so thunderingly stereotypical in a negative way that now I don’t know if I can even recommend it.

This book was published by AmazonCrossing, which gets books from other countries…so we may not be able to blame the Amazon editor for not saying, “Um, don’t you think you want to tone that down or give that character more depth and complexity?”

I (eventually) finish every book I read, and I’m liking the book except for this one element.

It’s unfortunate, and I do think it’s something an editor could have affected.

Fire TV Stick means cutting the cord

I will write a review comparing the

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

and the

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

(I have and use both), but I thought I’d mention that the Stick may mean that we finally “cut the cord” and eliminate TV services from our cable company (we’ll keep their internet…we have Comcast, and it works well for us).

Interestingly, part of what happened was that we bought a new TV:

32″ TV HDTV LED 720p Element Electronics (at AmazonSmile*)

The Fire TV Stick was coming, and we had a paleolithic Sony TV without an HDMI input. 😉 I mean, seriously, Fred Flintstone would have felt at home with the old one. Both of us were grunting and groaning when we had to move it…and we are reasonably strong.

So, when we saw the Element on sale for under $150 on Black Friday weekend at Target, we got one. We have an Element TV already, and I like it. One thing I like is they are super light…I have taken our old one to work easily for a game night there.

However, our recorded Tivo programs looked quite muddy on it (while the Fire TV Stick looked fine). That might be a matter of recabling the Tivo (we also are using an old one of those).

So the question became: could we do without Tivo and the programs it records?

One element of that: Hulu Plus.

We haven’t had it. My Significant Other doesn’t want to watch TV on a mobile device, so Hulu couldn’t be a replacement for us easily until we had a TV that could show it…simply.

The Fire TV Stick and the new TV makes that combination work.

I still have to go through and compare our season passes and see what we can’t do (although mirroring my Kindle Fire HDX or my Fire Phone to the Fire TV Stick might solve some problems, if new episodes are available on network/studio websites…for free, of course) through Hulu to decide.

We aren’t heavy duty TV watchers, I’d say, although I have the CBS app running in the other room and I’m listening to it as I write right now.

Let me revise that: we don’t follow a lot of current TV shows. I watch Survivor live, usually, to avoid spoilers in the apps I use in the morning (Flipboard, CNN, Washington Post). Otherwise, seeing things as they happen is not that important to us…I’d say we could generally wait until the next season.

The exception would be that I have CNN on…a lot. However, I now have some other news apps that could take that place. Watchup, CBS, BBC…oh, I should mention: my BBC news app works on our Fire TV at this point but not on the Fire TV Stick. I assume they’ll work that out.

We’ll probably make the decision this weekend…well, before the next time we pay a cable bill, at any rate (rate…so to speak). 😉

goodreads CHOICE AWARDS 2014

The Goodreads Choice Awards 2014 (I went with their capitalization above) have been announced:

https://www.goodreads.com/choiceawards/best-books-2014

First, I have to say: why isn’t there an easy page for this at Amazon in the Kindle store?

There is a page

Goodreads Choice Award Winners (at AmazonSmile*)

but the 2014 ones aren’t there yet as a sub-page…and I didn’t see any link from the main Kindle store.

This is where I’d like a bit more synergy, Amazon. 🙂 As I’ve said before, SMMSA (Sell Me More Stuff, Amazon). 😉

Here are the winners:

Enjoy! These might be safe gifts, as well…there are a lot of Goodreads users, so if you were looking for the mainstream choice, this might be a good way to go. You recipient (and you can delay the delivery until the appropriate date) will have the option to exchange it for a gift card.

What do you think? Have you ever had a situation where you found one element of a book offensive, but liked the rest? What did you do…did you read it? Do you have alternatives to suggest to the Goodreads winners? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

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

** A Kindle with text-to-speech can read any text downloaded to it…unless that access is blocked by the publisher inserting code into the file to prevent it. That’s why you can have the device read personal documents to you (I’ve done that). I believe that this sort of access blocking disproportionately disadvantages the disabled, although I also believe it is legal (provided that there is at least one accessible version of each e-book available, however, that one can require a certification of disability). For that reason, I don’t deliberately link to books which block TTS access here (although it may happen accidentally, particularly if the access is blocked after I’ve linked it). I do believe this is a personal decision, and there  are legitimate arguments for purchasing those books. 

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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