Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

“Decoration Day” [Memorial Day] by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1882)

May 30, 2016

“Decoration Day” [Memorial Day] by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1882)

Decoration Day
Sleep, comrades, sleep and rest
On this Field of the Grounded Arms,
Where foes no more molest,
Nor sentry’s shot alarms!
Ye have slept on the ground before,
And started to your feet
At the cannon’s sudden roar,
Or the drum’s redoubling beat.
But in this camp of Death
No sound your slumber breaks;
Here is no fevered breath,
No wound that bleeds and aches.
All is repose and peace,
Untrampled lies the sod;
The shouts of battle cease,
It is the Truce of God!
Rest, comrades, rest and sleep!
The thoughts of men shall be
As sentinels to keep
Your rest from danger free.
Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.

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!

*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.

10 books for Earth Day 2016

April 22, 2016

10 books for Earth Day 2016

Today is the 46th annual Earth Day, recognized in nearly 200 countries.

Founded in part in response to the Santa Barbara oil spill, it helped popularize a movement which later resulted in a variety of efforts to protect the global environment.

Books can (and have) uniquely influence and inform people about these issues.

Many environmental issues can be simultaneously too big and too small to be experienced in our daily lives. Too small because they may be very localized, or below our levels of awareness. How many bees live in your neighborhood? Is it as many as it was a decade ago? You aren’t likely to know…the activity of bees doesn’t impact your commute to work. A book can allow you to bring into focus lives and processes outside your own.

I’ve always been aware of animals. My family has made fun of our travel pictures. When I was a child, we traveled to some pretty exotic places. My parents thought that was important…that we see different cultures and environments, and consequently, our family resources had that as a priority. We might go to a city with a thousand years of history, and I would come back with a picture of…a lizard and a pigeon.😉 I didn’t even take many photographs of my family, just animals who were likely ignored by the people who lived there.

Wherever we went, we would go to the zoo. I remember a particular orang in a Japanese zoo. This orang was stacking rocks carefully…several little piles of them. Tourists were fascinated, leaning over the fence to look. The orange would cast sidelong glances at them. I noticed that the people who appeared to be regulars were standing back a few meters (maybe ten feet) from the fence, so I suspected something was up. All at once, the orang scooped up a pile of rocks and threw them at the crowd! Then the next pile, and the next, and the next! No one was hurt, and the regulars had a good laugh about it.  This was obviously a regular activity.

Back at home, my proudest achievement (outside of family) was hand-taming a wild scrub jay. Scrub jays are smart and brave, but it still took months. Initially, the bird would hop towards my offering (a tiny bit of bread), then hop away. Once it would take the bread, I moved the bread closer until it was on my hand. Eventually, I could literally open the door to my apartment and whistle a special tune. The bird would fly in from across the street…into the apartment and land on my hand. It would sit on the bar on my typewriter which was designed to hold the paper flat.

Most movingly, I hadn’t seen the bird for a while…and then it showed up outside my apartment door (which I would commonly leave open…it opened into an inner courtyard. The bird had a baby! The bird I knew swept the baby into the apartment with a wing (“Here, darling, this is where you get food.”). That didn’t go all that well. Understandably, the baby panicked. No one was hurt, and I have always been grateful to the parent bird for that.

Even today, I take pictures of animals at work or on walks at the weekend. We have a “wall” (a social site for comments and pictures) at work, designed to promote fitness, and I post them there. Here’s one from last week at our favorite dog park, Point Isabel in Richmond, California:

Reflected Egret

Reflected Egret

I see some lizards regularly at work…they sun themselves along the path to my car in the parking lot. I can tell them apart, and have named a few. The first one I recognized,  I called “Taylor” (as in “Liz(ard) Taylor”). I’m pretty sure I’ve seen Taylor on successive years. When another one appeared, that one was naturally “Burton”. A third? “Fischer” (as in Eddie Fischer). My Significant Other asked me if I was going to name lizards after all of Elizabeth Taylor’s spouses…I said that there weren’t that many lizards.😉

Taylor and Burton

Taylor (foreground) and Burton

In another area, there was first another lizard (these are Western fence lizards, I believe). That one is “Morrison” (as in Jim Morrison…”The Lizard King”). When I saw a second with Morrison, that one became (Janis) “Joplin”.

We are vegetarians, we don’t use leather, we recycle…and we read e-books.😉

Why is the last one Earth Day friendly?

I’ve seen analyses about e-books versus p-books (paperbooks) in terms of ecological impact. In some cases, the process of making paper for books can use a lot of mercury. Electronics, of course, aren’t usually ecologically friendly when they die, but Amazon does have a recycling program.

Amazon’s recycle your device page (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit by shopping*)

Generating electricity (needed to charge our Kindles) can be challenging, although we don’t need to do that as often as we used to have to do.

However, driving (and sometimes flying) the physical books around may have the biggest impact. From the publisher to a warehouse, from the warehouse either directly to you (if from Amazon or another e-tailer) or to a store, that is generally done with traditional vehicles.

Actually, the biggest factor is the human one.😉 People can make choices, and that’s where books like the below come into the picture.

* Silent Spring by Rachel Carson…this isn’t the only Carson book in the Kindle store, and there is at least one book intended to refute Silent Spring
* A Sand County Almanac: With Other Essays on Conservation from Round River by Aldo Leopold
* The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert
* The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers, and Ranchers Are Tending the Soil to Reverse Global Warming by Kristin Ohlson
* Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness (Edward Abbey Series Book 1) by Edward Abbey
* Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv
* Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water, Revised Edition by Marc Reisner
* Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey by Jane Goodall
* John Muir: Nature Writings (Library of America) by John Muir
* The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

That’s ten! There are many others, of course. If you would like to suggest others to me and my readers, feel free to comment on this post.

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

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

*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.

 

For National Poetry Month: original poems from authors, courtesy of Amazon

April 9, 2016

For National Poetry Month: original poems from authors, courtesy of Amazon

First, a special heartfelt thanks to Amazon for contacting me and giving me permission to share these with you! Thanks, Amazon! They originally appeared here:

Omnivoracious: “Our Favorite Authors Write Poems for National Poetry Month”

April is the

Academy of American Poets’ National Poetry Month (since 1996)

Poetry is a special form of literature. I have really loved some poetry books, although they probably aren’t the ones which most people would name. In fact, I can be very sure of that.😉 Here are a couple, neither of which are available from the Kindle store:

The Cole book was simply brilliantly edited. The basic theme was animal poems, but it went to so many styles, and included animals you won’t find in your zoology book. Even though I first read it as a child, I still remember some of the poems. I did get the book again as an adult (you can buy it for a penny at time of writing).

The other one is a bit of a rarity. It’s an anthology of poems where yes, many of them are about The Three Stooges. It has my favorite poem, which is free verse and just a couple of lines. It has to do with a fear of acrobats, but I don’t have permission to reproduce it.

I’ve never written much poetry myself, outside of song lyrics (and those have mostly been song parodies). Poetry and song lyrics aren’t quite the same thing, although there are obvious parallels.

I did write this once…I don’t know why, and I still don’t know what it means.🙂

“Grunk a nile,
Stay awhile,
Sip a bit of tea.

Have a knife,
Take a life,
Do it all for free.”

Nope, I don’t know what “grunk a nile” means, and it’s an odd sentiment for a pacifist.😉

I don’t think we can extrapolate from that that writing poetry is hard, but let’s take a look at what famous writers wrote for Amazon:

KATE DiCAMILLO, author of Raymie Nightingale

I read like I breathe.
I need the inhale of words
the exhale of hope.

L.S. HILTON, on her book Maestra

There once was a woman from Liverpool
Who was took by her boss for a fool.
So she travelled the Med
And left many men dead
And did things they don’t teach at school…

CHUCK PALAHNIUK, author of Fight Club 2

“Blondes!”

Switch the initials
Donald Trump, Tyler Durden
No coincidence.

CYNTHIA D’APRIX SWEENEY, about her book The Nest

There once was a family named Plumb,
Though book-smart, their choices were dumb.
Now they are broke
And Leo’s their hope
But can his heart (and pocket) be won?

RICK RIORDAN, channeling Apollo from The Trials of Apollo

Reading’s pure pleasure
If the subject is awesome.
Like me, for instance.
—Apollo

CHUCK KLOSTERMAN, author of But What If We’re Wrong?

It’s the juice of life
To write as if from Japan
Home of Godzilla

DAVID DUCHOVNY, author of Bucky F*cking Dent

There once was a Yankee named Bucky
Whose name rhymed with words quite unlucky
He beat the Sox
And New England’s jocks
And made D. Duchovny quite lucky

JOE HILL, author of The Fireman

Buy my book and you’ll have my thanks
And what’s more (to be terribly frank)
I’d be wild with glee
If you bought three
And picked up my Amazon sales rank

RICK YANCEY, on his book The Last Star

Sunlight falls away
from the land, and a single
star crushes the dark.

RICH COHEN, author of The Sun & the Moon & the Rolling Stones

Best thing to say
On that first trip back home
Is “Sorry I missed you,
But I was traveling with the Stones.”
26 and writing for a great music magazine
Having fallen into the record
like waking in a dream.
Mick, Keith, Charlie, crazy Ron Wood
And me dancing “Satisfaction” in the wings
like every fan should.
Years later I’ve turned it all into a book
The tours, the music, the history
and don’t forget the look
Keith gave me when he discovered I was born
A year before the death of Brian Jones.
“You’ve never known a world without
the Sun and the Moon and the Rolling Stones.”

ANGELA DUCKWORTH – poem written by her daughter, age 8, about Grit

Angela Duckworth studies grit;
Sticking to things,
Not throwing a fit.
Working real hard,
Practicing well,
If you are gritty,
Angie can tell.
Trying until you have it right,
Just like Edison and his light.
Grit will help you,
Later in life.
“Grit is good” says Jason’s wife.
Messing up sometimes is okay.
But not trying at all?!
We give it a nay.
Being gritty might not be that fun,
But when racing, you’ve already half won.

AMAZON BOOKS EDITORS FRIENDS

If there’s one thing I know that I need
It’s a great and spectacular read
When I don’t have a book
My brain’s stuck on half-cook
Like a horse who’s gone off her feed
—Sara Nelson

Double-stacked in the book case
How can I find one more place?
For another favorite tome
That must have a home
I think I just need much more space…
—Seira Wilson

lost: small white haiku
notebook, lined, half empty, half
full—if found, please read
—Jason Kirk

A book is a wonderful thing
As we see what an author can bring
To our spry active minds
Though we sit on behinds
Our brains and our hearts take wing
—Chris Schluep

One day I met Margaret Atwood
And nervously babbled more than I should
She was quite witty
Patient, as I was giddy
Until security parted us, for good
—Erin Kodicek

There you go!

What do you think? How do you generally feel about poetry? Are there poets you would particularly recommend? I find I tend to like whimsical, funny poetry, as opposed to dark and epic…how about you? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Thanks again, Amazon, for  the permission to reproduce these for my readers!

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!

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

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

Today (March 2nd) is Read Across America Day

March 2, 2016

Today (March 2nd) is Read Across America Day

Today is the NEA’s (National Education Association’s) Read Across America Day!

Official Site

This is an event…actually, lots and lots of events, focused on children reading, and especially on reading to children.

You can even pledge to do your own event at the site above.

I was interested to see that there are also events taking place outside the USA (Hong Kong; Alexandria, Egypt; Minsk, Belarus…), although they seem to focus on English-speaking and perhaps American students.

Why March 2nd?

It’s the birthday of

Dr. Seuss (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I would suggest that Theodor Geisel (birth name) may be one of the most influential authors to get children into the fun of reading.

Certainly, the rhyming helps…it makes it possible to memorize an entire book before you can read it, which makes it easier to then associate the words with the sounds (since you know which words go with which pictures and pages).

However, I think it’s also important that not everything is happy in a Seussical world.

There are real conflicts and concerns. There is even social commentary.

The Cat in the Hat is certainly not the sort of completely even-keeled, happy, conformist type of character that some people think exemplifies children’s literature.

The Cat is a rebel. Even though there is a voice of reason (in a fish bowl) arguing against the mischief, it’s there.

Green Eggs and Ham is all about a conflict.

I think having real emotions, and real reactions to events, helps the Dr. Seuss books resonate with children (and other humans).🙂

I recently got for my birthday and read

Dorothy of Oz (at AmazonSmile*)

by Roger S. Baum, the great-grandson of L. Frank Baum.

I’m a big Oz fan, and I really appreciated getting the book (I actually got a hardback as a collector’s item, and then bought the above Kindle version to read).

However, it didn’t feel very much like my beloved Oz books, despite having a pretty good knowledge of the points of fact from the originals.

One of the biggest things that stood out to me is that there was really no conflict between the “heroes”.

In the originals, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, and Dorothy often have conflicts of opinion. They have to at least talk out their different points of view. They respect each other, certainly, and they are really friends…but that doesn’t mean they instantly agree on everything all the time.

Roger S. Baum’s version doesn’t have that…it appears that being a good person means that you agree with all of the other good people all of the time.

That’s not the world Dr. Seuss shows us…

Lest I be taken for a dogmatic Zax, though, I can understand people wanting to read conflict-free books to their kids…this just wasn’t a good tonal match for the Baum (or Ruth Plumly Thompson, for that matter) books.

That’s one of the great things about reading! Every book is a way to see the world from a different viewpoint than yours, which I think is one of the most valuable things in the world.

Enjoy Read Across America (and the world) Day!

What do you think? Are you involved in any events today? Does conflict belong in children’s 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!

*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.

Happy my birthday, 2016!

February 12, 2016

Happy my birthday, 2016!

February 12th is my birthday, and continuing a tradition, I’m giving you presents!

This is to thank you for making another year of my life richer. I have a lot of fun writing this blog, and I sometimes get to help people…and what could be better than that?

Part of KDP Select (the program through which users of Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing make books available for eligible Prime members to borrow through the KOLL…Kindle Owners’ Lending Library) is the ability to make books free for five days (they need not be consecutive) in a ninety-day period.

Please check that a title is free for you before buying it.

I have asked Amazon to make them free on February 12, but I can’t say exactly when it will happen. I think they may also only be free to customers in the USA.

Some might be fun to give as a little Valentine’s Day present…you can buy it today as a gift, and schedule delivery for the 14th.

So, you can click on the titles before, but please make sure it is free when you click the 1-click buy button.

The Mind Boggles: A Unique Book of Quotations (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

When this one was first published in December of 2012, it was the number one bestselling book of quotations at Amazon…including paper! That didn’t last long, but it was fun while it did. :)

Love Your First Generation Kindle Fire: The ILMK Guide to Amazon’s Entertablet (at AmazonSmile*)

This one has been a bestseller. It was written before the Kindle Fire HDs and HDXs, so it doesn’t match up exactly with those. If you do have the first generation Fire, though, I think you’ll find it useful.

The Kindle Kollection: Three Early Books about the Kindle (at AmazonSmile*)

This one combines the three below into one volume:

* ILMK! (I Love My Kindle): Being an Appreciation of Amazon’s E-Book Reader, with Tips, Explanations, and Humor
* Free Books for Your Kindle
* Frequently Asked Kindle Questions

ILMK! (I Love My Kindle!): Being an Appreciation of Amazon’s E-Book Reader, with Tips, Explanations, and Humor (Revised Edition)(at AmazonSmile*)

This has some fun stuff…and other things that are out of date. If you want The Happy Little Bookworm, this one has it. :)

The Collected I Love My Kindle Blog Volume 1 (at AmazonSmile*)

This is the first 101 posts in this blog. :) I did 101 posts so I wouldn’t cut off Doctor Watson’s Blog: A Kindle Abandoned (which is a four-part story). I’m still working, off and on, on a “best of” book. I’ll include posts that are less time-dependent…if you have any opinions on ones that you remember, feel free to let me know. I don’t know when that book will happen…as I mentioned recently on

My February 5th interview on The Kindle Chronicles

I am working on a different sort of project which should go live on February 29th. That is taking some of my focus (although this blog comes before that, of course). I’m guessing it might happen before it grows into the best of the first ten years, but we’ll see.😉
Remember, double-check that they are  free to make sure before buying.

Happy birthday! ;)

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.

2015: Things I’m thankful for in e-books, Kindles/Fires, and at Amazon

November 28, 2015

2015: Things I’m thankful for in  e-books, Kindles/Fires, and at Amazon

Yesterday, on Thanksgiving, you may have taken some time with your friends and family to reflect on thing for which you feel grateful. As I’m sure is the case with most of you, I could name meaningful things in my circle.

For this post, I wanted to focus on something a bit different, but continue in the spirit of  thankfulness.

These are some of the things for which I’m grateful in the areas covered by this blog, or related to this blog. Even though the title says “2015”, by no means did I just start getting the benefits of all of these this year.🙂

These also don’t cover everything…I’m a pretty grateful person.😉

Here they are, in no particular order:

  • Well, I said no particular order, but I do want to say this one first.🙂 I’m thankful for you, my readers. I’m thankful when you catch my errors, or when you respectfully disagree, or when you make me think something new or see something from a new perspective. Yes, I’m also thankful when you tell me you like something🙂
  • I’m also particularly thankful  for subscribers! You are one of the main things that makes it possible for me to do this and share it with you🙂
  • I’m thankful for increasable text sizes
  • I’m thankful for text-to-speech! I use it typically for hours a week in the car
  • Thank you to WordPress for having a free blogging platform!
  • I’m thankful for the copyright laws that make older books legally available free, and for the people and organizations (especially Project Gutenberg) digitizing and distributing those books**
  • I’m thankful for Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), and for all the publishers that have worked out agreements to have their books available through the subscription service
  • I’m thankful for the triple tap on my Fire tablets which magnifies whatever is on the screen
  • I’m thankful for the normal Kindle store licensing, which means that my Significant Other and I can usually read the same book at the same time for just one download price…which means we can talk about it together after we are done reading it
  • I’m thankful for dictation on my Kindle Fire HDX…and for the free Swype app for my Fire, 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)
  • I’m thankful for the comfortable frontlighting on my Voyage and Paperwhite
  • Thanks for the long battery charge life on my EBRs (E-Book Readers)!
  • Thanks to Amazon for having their customer forums
  • I’m thankful to Amazon for Kindle Direct Publishing…not just for what opportunities it has given me, but for how it has changed the publishing landscape
  • I’m thankful for always being able to have books with me…and to not have to carry a separate suitcase with me just for books when I travel
  • I’m thankful for always having enough to read
  • I’m thankful for being able to go back to a book, and have it be right where I left off
  • Oh, I’m really thankful for being able to search books!
  • I’m thankful for readers of the blog who are tolerant of posts that aren’t all their favorite kind😉
  • I’m thankful for everybody who comments, and participates in the polls
  • I’m thankful the person at Amazon who recently arranged an interview for me, and for Adrian Liang for such interesting and informative answers
  • I’m thankful to Amazon’s Customer Service, which has been friendly, professional, and helpful when I’ve needed them
  • I’m thankful to Amazon for continuing to innovate
  • I’m thankful to the authors for giving me new worlds to visit, and new perspectives on this one and everything (and everyone) in it

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 may seem contradictory to some of you, because I have explored the idea of permanent copyright in exchange for greater Fair Use provisions. While I think that’s an interesting way to go, that doesn’t make me ungrateful for the current system. I don’t think the current system is illegitimate or unfair or exploits authors…I’m just looking at other possibilities

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.

 

A Halloween classic to read aloud

October 31, 2015

A Halloween classic to read aloud

This is one of the classic horror stories.  It was first published in 1843 and written by Edgar Allan Poe, who died in 1849.   The story should be in the public domain everywhere.  As a Halloween treat, you may want to read it to each other out loud.  You can take turns, or one person can read it all.  You could let your Kindle take a turn…but that won’t be the same.  This shows the advantage of free distribution of the classics that e-books facilitates.  Be prepared, though…it’s scary!   It should take about fifteen minutes…hokey Halloween voices optional.  Parents, be advised…this could cause nightmares.

Enjoy?  Or at least…experience.  I now present…

THE TELL-TALE HEART (by Edgar Allan Poe)

TRUE!–nervous–very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses–not destroyed–not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily–how calmly I can tell you the whole story.

It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture–a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees–very gradually–I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.

Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded–with what caution–with what foresight–with what dissimulation I went to work! I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him. And every night, about midnight, I turned the latch of his door and opened it–oh so gently! And then, when I had made an opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern, all closed, closed, that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my head. Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in! I moved it slowly–very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the old man’s sleep. It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed. Ha! would a madman have been so wise as this, And then, when my head was well in the room, I undid the lantern cautiously-oh, so cautiously–cautiously (for the hinges creaked)–I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye. And this I did for seven long nights–every night just at midnight–but I found the eye always closed; and so it was impossible to do the work; for it was not the old man who vexed me, but his Evil Eye. And every morning, when the day broke, I went boldly into the chamber, and spoke courageously to him, calling him by name in a hearty tone, and inquiring how he has passed the night. So you see he would have been a very profound old man, indeed, to suspect that every night, just at twelve, I looked in upon him while he slept.

Upon the eighth night I was more than usually cautious in opening the door. A watch’s minute hand moves more quickly than did mine. Never before that night had I felt the extent of my own powers–of my sagacity. I could scarcely contain my feelings of triumph. To think that there I was, opening the door, little by little, and he not even to dream of my secret deeds or thoughts. I fairly chuckled at the idea; and perhaps he heard me; for he moved on the bed suddenly, as if startled. Now you may think that I drew back–but no. His room was as black as pitch with the thick darkness, (for the shutters were close fastened, through fear of robbers,) and so I knew that he could not see the opening of the door, and I kept pushing it on steadily, steadily.

I had my head in, and was about to open the lantern, when my thumb slipped upon the tin fastening, and the old man sprang up in bed, crying out–“Who’s there?”

I kept quite still and said nothing. For a whole hour I did not move a muscle, and in the meantime I did not hear him lie down. He was still sitting up in the bed listening;–just as I have done, night after night, hearkening to the death watches in the wall.

Presently I heard a slight groan, and I knew it was the groan of mortal terror. It was not a groan of pain or of grief–oh, no!–it was the low stifled sound that arises from the bottom of the soul when overcharged with awe. I knew the sound well. Many a night, just at midnight, when all the world slept, it has welled up from my own bosom, deepening, with its dreadful echo, the terrors that distracted me. I say I knew it well. I knew what the old man felt, and pitied him, although I chuckled at heart. I knew that he had been lying awake ever since the first slight noise, when he had turned in the bed. His fears had been ever since growing upon him. He had been trying to fancy them causeless, but could not. He had been saying to himself–“It is nothing but the wind in the chimney–it is only a mouse crossing the floor,” or “It is merely a cricket which has made a single chirp.” Yes, he had been trying to comfort himself with these suppositions: but he had found all in vain. All in vain; because Death, in approaching him had stalked with his black shadow before him, and enveloped the victim. And it was the mournful influence of the unperceived shadow that caused him to feel–although he neither saw nor heard–to feel the presence of my head within the room.

When I had waited a long time, very patiently, without hearing him lie down, I resolved to open a little–a very, very little crevice in the lantern. So I opened it–you cannot imagine how stealthily, stealthily–until, at length a simple dim ray, like the thread of the spider, shot from out the crevice and fell full upon the vulture eye.

It was open–wide, wide open–and I grew furious as I gazed upon it. I saw it with perfect distinctness–all a dull blue, with a hideous veil over it that chilled the very marrow in my bones; but I could see nothing else of the old man’s face or person: for I had directed the ray as if by instinct, precisely upon the damned spot.

And have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but over-acuteness of the sense?–now, I say, there came to my ears a low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I knew that sound well, too. It was the beating of the old man’s heart. It increased my fury, as the beating of a drum stimulates the soldier into courage.

But even yet I refrained and kept still. I scarcely breathed. I held the lantern motionless. I tried how steadily I could maintain the ray upon the eve. Meantime the hellish tattoo of the heart increased. It grew quicker and quicker, and louder and louder every instant. The old man’s terror must have been extreme! It grew louder, I say, louder every moment!–do you mark me well I have told you that I am nervous: so I am. And now at the dead hour of the night, amid the dreadful silence of that old house, so strange a noise as this excited me to uncontrollable terror. Yet, for some minutes longer I refrained and stood still. But the beating grew louder, louder! I thought the heart must burst. And now a new anxiety seized me–the sound would be heard by a neighbour! The old man’s hour had come! With a loud yell, I threw open the lantern and leaped into the room. He shrieked once–once only. In an instant I dragged him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him. I then smiled gaily, to find the deed so far done. But, for many minutes, the heart beat on with a muffled sound. This, however, did not vex me; it would not be heard through the wall. At length it ceased. The old man was dead. I removed the bed and examined the corpse. Yes, he was stone, stone dead. I placed my hand upon the heart and held it there many minutes. There was no pulsation. He was stone dead. His eye would trouble me no more.

If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body. The night waned, and I worked hastily, but in silence. First of all I dismembered the corpse. I cut off the head and the arms and the legs.

I then took up three planks from the flooring of the chamber, and deposited all between the scantlings. I then replaced the boards so cleverly, so cunningly, that no human eye–not even his–could have detected any thing wrong. There was nothing to wash out–no stain of any kind–no blood-spot whatever. I had been too wary for that. A tub had caught all–ha! ha!

When I had made an end of these labors, it was four o’clock–still dark as midnight. As the bell sounded the hour, there came a knocking at the street door. I went down to open it with a light heart,–for what had I now to fear? There entered three men, who introduced themselves, with perfect suavity, as officers of the police. A shriek had been heard by a neighbour during the night; suspicion of foul play had been aroused; information had been lodged at the police office, and they (the officers) had been deputed to search the premises.

I smiled,–for what had I to fear? I bade the gentlemen welcome. The shriek, I said, was my own in a dream. The old man, I mentioned, was absent in the country. I took my visitors all over the house. I bade them search–search well. I led them, at length, to his chamber. I showed them his treasures, secure, undisturbed. In the enthusiasm of my confidence, I brought chairs into the room, and desired them here to rest from their fatigues, while I myself, in the wild audacity of my perfect triumph, placed my own seat upon the very spot beneath which reposed the corpse of the victim.

The officers were satisfied. My manner had convinced them. I was singularly at ease. They sat, and while I answered cheerily, they chatted of familiar things. But, ere long, I felt myself getting pale and wished them gone. My head ached, and I fancied a ringing in my ears: but still they sat and still chatted. The ringing became more distinct:–It continued and became more distinct: I talked more freely to get rid of the feeling: but it continued and gained definiteness–until, at length, I found that the noise was not within my ears.

No doubt I now grew _very_ pale;–but I talked more fluently, and with a heightened voice. Yet the sound increased–and what could I do? It was a low, dull, quick sound–much such a sound as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I gasped for breath–and yet the officers heard it not. I talked more quickly–more vehemently; but the noise steadily increased. I arose and argued about trifles, in a high key and with violent gesticulations; but the noise steadily increased. Why would they not be gone? I paced the floor to and fro with heavy strides, as if excited to fury by the observations of the men–but the noise steadily increased. Oh God! what could I do? I foamed–I raved–I swore! I swung the chair upon which I had been sitting, and grated it upon the boards, but the noise arose over all and continually increased. It grew louder–louder–louder! And still the men chatted pleasantly, and smiled. Was it possible they heard not? Almighty God!–no, no! They heard!–they suspected!–they knew!–they were making a mockery of my horror!-this I thought, and this I think. But anything was better than this agony! Anything was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die! and now–again!–hark! louder! louder! louder! louder!

“Villains!” I shrieked, “dissemble no more! I admit the deed!–tear up the planks! here, here!–It is the beating of his hideous heart!”

Bonus: Quoth My Kindle

I originally published Quoth My Kindle (with apologies to Edgar Allan Poe) in this thread in the Amazon Kindle forum.   It is based on Edgar Allan Poe’s classic poem, The Raven.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore-
As I reached to slide to sleep mode, suddenly I found my hand slowed
As if driving up a steep road, driving with a heavy load
“I can’t seem to move it forward, as if some Kowboy had ‘whoa’d,
It’s a fluke and nothing more.”

Suddenly, a wheel was spinning, a face appeared, and it was grinning
I gasped and nearly dropped my m-edge, dropped it on the hardwood floor
I shook my head, I couldn’t take it; wasn’t sure if I would make it
Then that voice: speakers of portent – portent I would know the score
Then the robot quirkily intoned words that shook me to the core
Quoth my Kindle: “READ SOME MORE.”

“I need sleep!” I firmly stated, yet I found I hesitated
Reading – reading how it drew me like it never had before
So I sat there, pushing buttons, appetite of sev’ral gluttons
Bestsellers, public domain, ’til I think I filled up my brain
“Tis some magazine I’ve never even purchased at the store”
“I need to get up early!” I heard myself again implore
Quoth my Kindle: “READ SOME MORE.”

My eyes opened and I woke up; knew I dreamt my Kindle spoke up
So I dragged myself off to what had become my bedtime chore,
Although fact is what it did seem, I knew it was just a weird dream
So as I brushed my teeth, I felt safe behind my bathroom door
I kept my head beneath my covers, as I sailed to Morpheus’ shore…
Quoth my Kindle: “READ SOME MORE.”

For more Edgar Allan Poe, try this search (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) for Poe freebies in the Kindle store. If you want to keep it simple, you can get this collection (at AmazonSmile*), which has an interactive table of contents.

Some of you may have recognized this post from previous years…yeah, ILMK has been around long enough to have annual traditions. 😉

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.

Halloween reading: non-fiction from Kindle Unlimited

October 25, 2015

Halloween reading: non-fiction Kindle Unlimitd

Let’s talk about something first.

There are people who strongly oppose anyone reading about the “supernatural”.

This opposition could come from religious beliefs, or, contrastingly, from people who think that it encourages “unscientific” thinking.

Both start with the proposition that you can be uncontrollably affected by what you read. Good people can become evil, impressionable people can then be “molded” into people who are no longer open to being convinced by science.

This has always been a bit of a tricky (or trick-or-treaty, given the time of year?😉 ) area for me.

I’m a strong believer in the strength of reading everything.

I especially think it’s valuable to read advocatory works by authors who have ideas which are different from yours.

Intellectually, I’m inclined towards tolerance of disparate beliefs. My Significant Other has commented that “tolerance” is the hallmark of my family…even when, perhaps, we shouldn’t be. If we see a family member getting ready to participate in something we think is…ill-advised, we don’t try to prevent it. We may present other ideas, but not as better than the original plan. If you announce you are about to go cliff diving in Mexico, and you can’t swim, we don’t lock you in the house or say, “That’s too dangerous!” We tend to ask about how you have thought about the risks and benefits.🙂

If a group advocating intolerance wants to publish a book, have a TV show, or a march down our town’s main street, I’m fine with that.

I want people exposed to the ideas, so they can decide on their own what they think. I don’t want those ideas to stay hidden, unavailable for review and consideration.

If you don’t think people should read about, say, ghosts, or witchcraft, you probably aren’t going to read these books.🙂

If you want to (respectfully) explain that position in comments to this post, feel free.

I also want to be clear: I don’t think you need to be a “believer” to enjoy these books. I’m specifically picking book where I have read the author (I may actually own the title listed in p-book ((paperbook)) form). I like the reading…not just the subject matter.

There are a few other criteria for a book making this post.

The book needs to be available in the American

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

That’s Amazon’s subser (subscription service): people pay $9.99 a month (although there have been longer term discounts) for an “all you can read” program with more than a million books in it. These books are also available outside of that program, but if you are a member (I’ve been a happy member since it started), you can borrow these at no additional cost.

Second, I’ve gone with authors who have a history, and/or have impacted the field. That’s pretty subjective, of course…my call.😉

Third, I chose to do books which are basically a series of essays: you can read just a chapter or story or two. That way, you aren’t committing to reading a 200 page book in the next week.🙂 These are going to be short pieces: read a piece or more at lunch, or if you like me, listen to one or more on text-to-speech (TTS) in the car while running an errand.

Fourth, these books are presented as non-fiction…some of you will believe that the author doesn’t think these events actually happened. That’s fine, but it’s not the way the book is positioned.

One other thing: I did do a similar post last year, and there will be some overlap. This year, the big tweak is focusing on KU and on short pieces.

“You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to…The Outer Limits.”

😉

Ghosts: True Encounters with the World Beyond (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping* by Hans Holzer | 4.1 stars out of 5 | 66 customer reviews | $1.99 to purchase

Holzer is a charming writer: the books are European and urbane, but still experiential. Without Holzer’s 1963 Ghost Hunter book, we wouldn’t have a lot of our current conception of “Ghostbusters”. This is a good collection of short pieces of Holzer’s investigations. Typically, someone will contact Hans Holzer (who is a popular culture figure by the time of the events in this book) to investigate something happening at their property. Holzer gathers information about the case, and then brings in a “sensitive” who hasn’t been told any of the details. The sensitive gives more information. There may be interactions with the “ghosts” through the “medium”. Holzer, who had studied history, will research (pre-internet, of course), the information received through local records…and may find confirmatory facts. You can dismiss the whole thing as Holzer being a fraud, if you want, but the stories are entertaining.🙂 It’s like good travel writing…with ghosts.

Strange Creatures From Time and Space (at AmazonSmile*) by John A. Keel | 4.4 stars | 10 reviews | $9.99 to buy | Audible narration available

There’s a lot of this practical Fortean’s (someone influenced by Charles Fort) writing available through KU…not the most famous book, The Mothman Prophecies, but a lot of other ones. I have this one as a 1970 paperback edition. It’s a great collection with a number of different topics. Reading Keel is like reading urban fantasy, in the sense that it seems very immediate…like it could happen to you.

Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft (at AmazonSmile*) by Sir Walter Scott (yes, that Walter Scott) | 4.0 stars | 34 reviews | Also free to own, whether a KU member or not

Originally published in 1830, and written in an epistolary style (it’s a series of letters), Scott is a skeptic…but there are some creepy stories here.

Monsters Among Us (at AmazonSmile*) by Brad Steiger | 4.0 stars | 3 reviews | $9.99

This is one of close to 200 (!) books by Steiger, and is from 1982. It covers vampires, werewolves, ghouls…even creatures from inside the hollow Earth.

here are a lot of choices…here’s one of the main categories:

Kindle eBooks : Religion & Spirituality : Occult (at AmazonSmle*)

Be aware that some of the books in there may be fiction…publishers get to choose their categories, and they don’t always make the categorizations that you or I might make. In some cases, it’s for marketing purposes, in others, it’s just not knowing which one to pick.

If you have questions about any specific titles, feel free to ask me. If you have any other comments for me or my readers, I look forward to those. Perhaps you think children should be protected from occult books, or you don’t want them to be led astray. Maybe you have other books you’d like to recommend (advocatory for the paranormal, or skeptical)…either way, happy Halloween! 🙂

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.

Presidents’ Day: most reviewed books by President

February 17, 2015

Presidents’ Day: most reviewed books by President

February 16th, 2015 was Presidents’ Day in the USA.

That’s still something I consider to be a combined holiday.

When I was a kid, we got Lincoln’s Birthday and Washington’s Birthday as two different holidays.

That mattered to me, because my birthday happens to be the same as Abraham Lincoln’s. That meant that my birthday was always a day off from school…and we could invite my friends to a party accordingly.😉

Then, they decided that having two Presidential holidays was too much, so they combined it into one day honoring all of the Presidents.

I still took my birthday off this year, though.🙂

So, in case a day of scholarly reflection on and discussion of our Chiefs of State (that’s how you spent the day, right?)😉 whetted your appetite for more, I thought I’d take a look at the Kindle store to look for the most reviewed books about the Presidents. Note: I did do a bit of choosing to get a book which really focused on the President, or at least not on several Presidents. Otherwise Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln would have shown up for several Presidents as the most reviewed in the search.😉

  1. George Washington: George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution
    by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger
  2. John Adams:
    John Adams
    by David McCullough
  3. Thomas Jefferson: Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power
    by Jon Meacham
  4. James Madison: James Madison: A Life Reconsidered
    by Lynne Cheney
  5. James Monroe: The Last Founding Father: James Monroe and a Nation’s Call to Greatness
    by Harlow Giles Unger
  6. John Quincy Adams: John Quincy Adams
    by Harlow Giles Unger
  7. Andrew Jackson: American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House
    by Jon Meacham
  8. Martin Van Buren: Martin Van Buren: The American Presidents Series: The 8th President, 1837-1841
  9. William Henry Harrison: William Henry Harrison: The American Presidents Series: The 9th President,1841
    by Gail Collins and Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr.
  10. John Tyler: John Tyler, the Accidental President
    by Edward P. Crapol
  11. James K. Polk: A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent
    by Robert W. Merry
  12. Zachary Taylor: Zachary Taylor: The American Presidents Series: The 12th President, 1849-1850
    by John S. D. Eisenhower and Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr.
  13. Millard Fillmore: Yo, Millard Fillmore! (and all those other Presidents you don’t know)
    by Will Cleveland and Mark Alvarez
  14. Franklin Pierce: Franklin Pierce: The American Presidents Series: The 14th President, 1853-1857
    by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. and Michael F. Holt
  15. James Buchanan: James Buchanan: The American Presidents Series: The 15th President, 1857-1861
    by Jean H. Baker and Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr.
  16. Abraham Lincoln: Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever
    by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
  17. Andrew Johnson:
    Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy
    by David O. Stewart
  18. Ulysses S. Grant: Grant
    by Jean Edward Smith
  19. Rutherford B. Hayes: Fraud of the Century: Rutherford B. Hayes, Samuel Tilden, and the Stolen Election of 1876
    by Roy Morris Jr.
  20. James A. Garfield: Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President
    by Candice Millard
  21. Chester A. Arthur:
    Chester Alan Arthur: The American Presidents Series: The 21st President, 1881-1885
    by Zachary Karabell and Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr.
  22. Grover Cleveland: The President Is a Sick Man: Wherein the Supposedly Virtuous Grover Cleveland Survives a Secret Surgery at Sea…
    by Matthew Algeo (Kindle Unlimited)
  23. Benjamin Harrison: Benjamin Harrison: The American Presidents Series: The 23rd President, 1889-1893
    by Charles W. Calhoun and Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr.
  24. Grover Cleveland (again)
  25. William McKinley: The President and the Assassin: McKinley, Terror, and Empire at the Dawn of the American Century
    by Scott Miller
  26. Theodore Roosevelt: The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism
    by Doris Kearns Goodwin
  27. William Howard Taft: The Roots of Modern Conservatism: Dewey, Taft, and the Battle for the Soul of the Republican Party
    by Michael Bowen
  28. Woodrow Wilson: Wilson
    by A. Scott Berg
  29. Warren G. Harding:
    Warren G. Harding: The American Presidents Series: The 29th President, 1921-1923
    by John W. Dean and Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr.
  30. Calvin Coolidge: Coolidge
    by Amity Shlaes
  31. Herbert Hoover: Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover’s Secret History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath
    by George H. Nash (Kindle Unlimited)
  32. Franklin D. Roosevelt: Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship
    by Jon Meacham
  33. Harry S Truman: Truman
    by David McCullough
  34. Dwight D. Eisenhower: Ike’s Bluff: President Eisenhower’s Secret Battle to Save the World
    by Evan Thomas
  35. John F. Kennedy: Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot
    by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
  36. Lyndon B. Johnson: The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson IV
    by Robert A. Caro
  37. Richard Nixon: The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan
    by Rick Perlstein
  38. Gerald Ford: Gerald R. Ford: The American Presidents Series: The 38th President, 1974-1977 by Douglas Brinkley and Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr.
  39. Jimmy Carter: Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis
    by Jimmy Carter
  40.  Ronald Reagan: The Reagan Diaries
    by Ronald Reagan
  41. George H. W. Bush: 41: A Portrait of My Father
    by George W. Bush
  42. Bill Clinton: Blood Feud: The Clintons vs. the Obamas
    by Edward Klein
  43. George W. Bush: Decision Points
    by George W. Bush
  44. Barack Obama: The Amateur
    by Edward Klein

That was fun and interesting! I tried to avoid books labeled as fiction, and I’m guessing I did. I wouldn’t have thought that the President who wrote a book on another President and who had two books on this list would have been…George W. Bush. If I’d thought about it, I might have gotten that, though. Jimmy Carter is another President with a book on the list. One reason for that might be that more recent books tend to be reviewed more…just the nature of when book reviews became possible at Amazon, and that people don’t tend to write reviews of books they read a long time ago.

Bonus deal:

Disney app sale for $0.99 each (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

This is a good deal which might be ending today on more than ten Disney apps…in some cases half off, in some cases two thirds off.

What do you think? Do you have a favorite book you have read on a President? I stayed away from fiction, but what about something with a President as a character in fiction? 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.

For Valentine’s Day: most reviewed books with “love” in the title

February 14, 2015

For Valentine’s Day: most reviewed books with “love” in the title

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I don’t think I’ve ever used one of my own tips more than when I figured out how to get search results at Amazon to be ranked by most reviewed!

I’m always looking for interesting ways to do book discovery, and this “most reviews” search tends to give me ones which I think are well-known or impactful within a category.

This time, I used the Kindle advanced search to find

USA Kindle store books with love in the title by most reviewed (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

There were 56,459 results, out of 3,216,657…about 2%. Seems like love is alive and well.😉

Here are the top ten at time of writing (I’m writing ahead by a couple of days, so I can concentrate more on my Significant Other on the 14th):

The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts (at AmazonSmile*)
by Gary D. Chapman
4.7 stars out of 5 | 4,955 customer reviews at time of writing
$7.95 | available through Kindle Unlimited (KU)

Interestingly, the most reviewed book by far is not a romance novel, but non-fiction. The author has a radio show about relationships. The publisher has also chosen as one of the categories “Christian living”…I have noticed that faith based books often get a lot of reviews, and often get quite good ratings.

Eat Pray Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia (at AmazonSmile*)
by Elizabeth Gilbert
3.6 stars | 3,555 customer reviews
$7.99

A very popular book, which became a Julia Roberts movie…neither of which are reviewed particularly well, but clearly, the book has generated a lot of interest. I’m thinking some of you might have guessed this one.🙂

The One You Love (Emma Holden Suspense Mystery Trilogy, Book 1) (at AmazonSmile*)
by Paul Pilkington
3.8 stars | 3,455 reviews
free

The top reviewed “love” novel is listed as a thriller, not a romance. Maybe not so much of a surprise: hm, who was it that observed that if you wanted to read news stories about love, you should turn to the crime pages rather than the wedding announcements? I’m not finding that right away.This is a case of the “first one free” in a series.

Love You Forever
by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Sheila McGraw
4.4 stars | 3,055 customer reviews
$3.16

It looks to me like the words in this book could be accessible to text-to-speech, but they are not. I’m not sure if they were blocked or if they appear in the book as images, so I’m not linking.** I found this book really quite horrifying when we had it when our kid was a kid. It’s a bit like Bridge to Terabithia or The Red Pony in that way…I’m sure it’s traumatized a lot of people. Still, many folks love it.

Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, Expanded Edition: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment (at AmazonSmile*)
by Steve Harvey
4.3 stars | 3,105 reviews
$4.99

Yes, that Steve Harvey…and it’s been the inspiration for two movies so far.

Redeeming Love (not linked because the publisher, Random House, blocked text-to-speech access**)
by Francine Rivers
4.8 stars | 2,788 reviews
$7.99

I thought this one might be categorized as a romance, based on the cover. Nope, it’s Christian historical fiction. Gee, somebody should make up a saying about judging books by their covers…😉

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin (at AmazonSmile*)
by Erik Larson
4.2 stars | 2,403 reviews
$5.99

A memoir…so it does look like “true love” is trumping fictional love, for the most part.😉 Takes place in part in 1933 Berlin…sounds interesting!

Flat-Out Love (at AmazonSmile*)
by Jessica Park
4.4 stars | 2,293 reviews
$3.99 | available through Kindle Unlimited

Finally! One actually categorized as a romance!😉

Archer’s Voice (Sign of Love Book 4) (at AmazonSmile*)
by Mia Sheridan
4.9 stars | 2,457 reviews
$3.99

That’s a remarkably high rating with that many reviews! They say it was a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller, and despite the title saying it is part of a series, it is a standalone romance (gee, is that a contradiction in terms?).😉 Based on the cover, I’m guessing they don’t mean Sterling Archer…

Ugly Love (not linked because the publisher, Simon & Schuster, has blocked text-to-speech access**)
by Colleen Hoover
4.7 stars | 2,040 reviews
$7.99

Categorized as “women’s fiction”.

And then there were ten!

Regardless of what your current romantic situation is, I wish you a lovely day.

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

** 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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