Archive for the ‘Recommendations’ Category

Amazon’s 4th quarter financials: wow, these are good!

January 29, 2016

Amazon’s 4th quarter financials: wow, these are good!

Blue Origin isn’t Jeff Bezos’ only company blasting through the stratosphere! ;)

Amazon has their fourth quarter 2015 (covering the holiday season)

press release

out, and you can download slides and listen to today’s conference call about it here:

http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?p=irol-eventDetails&c=97664&eventID=5215069

To listen to the Webex, you’ll need to do a free registration, including a company. You can just put “independent” for the company, if you want.

There are so many positives overall, as well as on the consumer side!

I’ll quote this one for the overall:

“Net income was $596 million, or $1.25 per diluted share, compared with net loss of $241 million, or $0.52 per diluted share, in 2014.”

As to other stats…well, if you want to read some good news, check the press release. ;)

Just some of the consumer side points:

  • Fire TV remains the #1 best-selling streaming media player in the U.S [that means more than Apple TV, more than Chromecast]
  • The $50 Fire tablet has been the #1 best-selling, most gifted, and most wished-for product across all items available on Amazon.comsince its introduction 19 weeks ago
  • In 2015, worldwide paid Prime memberships increased 51% — 47% in the U.S. and even faster outside the U.S.
  • In the fourth quarter, Prime Music streaming hours more than tripled in the U.S. compared with fourth quarter 2014

Not mentioned? Kindle EBRs (E-Book Readers) and e-books.

I’m not worried about that, though. We have to admit it’s a small part of Amazon’s business (even if it did launch their now mighty devices portion).

During the Q&A portion, people asked about AWS (Amazon Web Service) growth slowing (they explained that pretty well, I thought), and how shipping has gotten a bit more expensive for Amazon…but generally, I think the investors who asked questions on the call sounded reasonably pleased.

Greatly increased profits, greatly increased sales, market dominance…so, naturally, the stock dropped after the news. :)

No, seriously…it is down:

Financial Times article by Leslie Hook

However, that was after it went up today:

chart at Money.CNN

Investors were disappointed because, while it was great, it wasn’t as great as they expected.

It feels a little bit like a C student coming home with straight As and the parents saying, “You couldn’t have gotten A+s? Go to your room!” ;)

As a consumer, I’m happy with what I see. Low cost devices worked for Amazon…that’s where I think they should be.

What do you think? I have some financial savvy readers…fill me in on insights I’m missing. :) Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Bonus recommendation:

Autumn Angels (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) by Arthur Byron Cover

This isn’t for everyone, but if you are a geek, you may really like this Nebula nominated novel. There are so many allusions to characters (in addition to fascinating original ones). Regular readers know I’m a big Doc Savage fan, and “The Lawyer” here is based on Ham Brooks. This is one of those unspoilable books…it’s not about the plot. :) I’m mentioning now because it is available through

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

Amazon’ subser (subscription service). If the concept of wildly disparate geeky characters being together in the same novel sounds intriguing to you, give it a shot. :)

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.

Book related 2016 Oscar noms (and two you can watch with Amazon Prime)

January 14, 2016

Book related 2016 Oscar noms (and two you can watch with Amazon Prime)

The Oscar nominations were announced this morning: I cover those pretty extensively in The Measured Circle, another blog of mine:

2016 Oscar noms

However, I did think it was worth noting book-related nominations here…you might want to read them, and yes, movie adaptations effect which books are available to us. While most authors can’t count on an adaptation, it’s clearly part of the appeal to publishers…can the rights be sold for a movie, TV show, videogame, and so on?

Before I do that, I wanted to mention something I thought was cool. :)

I could actually watch two of the Oscar-nominated movies right away as part of

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

I could do it on my (now discontinued) Kindle Fire HDX, or really, any of the Fire tablets (or my now discontinued Fire Phone).

I’d be more likely to watch them on our

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

or our

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

We use one of each. :)

The two movies are:

Ex Machina (at AmazonSmile*)

which was nominated for Special Effects and Original Screenplay (note: this one is NSFW…Not Safe For Work, with nudity and violence)

and

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (at AmazonSmile*)

which was nominated for Makeup and Hairstyling.

Only one of those was based on a book…we’ll get there next. :)

Again, you can watch those at no additional cost as part of your Amazon Prime memberships. Other nominees are available on Netflix, Hulu, or HBO Go (for no additional cost streaming).

Okay…books credited as being the basis (at least in part) for 2016 Oscar-nominated movies:

Best Picture nominees:

The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge (at AmazonSmile*) by Michael Punke
Room (at AmazonSmile*) by Emma Donoghue (who also wrote the screen adaptation)
Brooklyn (at AmazonSmile*) by Colm Tóibín
The Martian (at AmazonSmile*) by Andy Weir (originally published in novel form as a Kindle indie)
The Big Short (The Big Short (at AmazonSmile*) by Michael Lewis

Lead Actor nominees:

TRUMBO (at AmazonSmile*) by Bruce Cook
The Revenant (see above)
The Martian (see above)
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (not linked due to text-to-speech being blocked**)
The Danish Girl (at AmazonSmile*) by David Ebershoff

Lead Actress nominees:

Carol (at AmazonSmile*) by Patricia Highsmith
Room (see above)
Brooklyn (see above)
45 Years (In Another Country: Selected Stories) (at AmazonSmile*) by David Constantine

Supporting Actor nominees:

The Revenant (see above)
The Big Short (see above)

Supporting Actress nominees:

The Danish Girl (see above)
Steve Jobs (see above)
Carol (see above)

Directing nominees:

The Revenant (see above)
The Big Short (see above)
Room (see above)

Adapted Screenplay nominees (all listed above):

The Big Short
Brooklyn
Carol
The Martian
Room

Animated Feature nominees:

When Marnie Was There (at AmazonSmile*) by Joan G. Robinson

Cinematography nominees:

Carol (see above)
The Revenant (see above)

Editing nominees:

The Big Short (see above)
The Revenant (see above)

Production Design nominees (all listed above):

The Martian
The Revenant
The Danish Girl

Costume nominees (all listed above):

The Revenant
Carol
The Danish Girl

Score nominees:

Carol (see above)

Song nominees:

Spectre (based on characters by Ian Fleming)
Fifty Shades of Grey (at AmazonSmile*) by E L James

Sound Mixing nominees:

The Revenant (see above)
The Martian (see above)

Sound Editing nominees:

The Revenant (see above)
The Martian (see above)

Visual Effects nominees:

The Revenant (see above)
The Martian (see above)

I thought I’d mention that the last Hunger Games movie was shut out, which did surprise me a bit. :) I thought it was likely for Makeup and Hairstyling at least.

I was also pleased that only one out of these books had text-to-speech access blocked.** That was nice! I recently wrote to another author to inform them about TTS being blocked on a book which I might otherwise have read. That didn’t work last time, but I feel better doing it. :)

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/Fire 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 #314: Discovery Zone, A Truth Worth Tellin’

December 19, 2015

Round up #314: Discovery Zone, A Truth Worth Tellin’

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

This is how Kindle Unlimited should work

I read a good book recently.

Now, that shouldn’t be a rare thing. :) I often say I’ve never read a bad book, and I do believe that. I think I’ve gotten something good out of every book I’ve read…although there have been parts of books I haven’t liked and certainly, there have been some with massive flaws.

That doesn’t mean I’m uncritically accepting, or think that all books are equal. ;)

It was refreshing to read a novel that I felt had a strong voice, good plotting, and wasn’t gimmicky.

That book was

A Truth Worth Tellin’ (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)
by Toni Teepell

This isn’t a case where I know the author at all, or had even heard of the book.

What happened was that my Significant Other wanted a new book to read (especially on the treadmill).

We are happy members of

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

Amazon’s subser (subscription service). People pay $9.99 a month (although there have been discounts for longer subscriptions) for an “all you can read” service. You can have up to ten books out at a time, and multiple people on the account can be reading a book at the same time.

We like to do that. :)

If we both read the same book, we can then talk about it later…it’s a social thing.

I looked for a book, and I started by looking for Southern fiction. That’s something my SO particularly likes…both more serious, like Pat Conroy, and funny, like Fannie Flagg.

I think I searched for “Southern fiction” in Kindle Unlimited, then limited it to Contemporary Fiction, and then sorted by average customer review.

I skipped what appeared to be romance (I read that sometimes, but it’s not my SO’s preference)…the publishers pick the classifications, by the way.

Then, the cover of A Truth Worth Tellin’ caught my eye…and it currently has 18 customer reviews, all 5-star.

I don’t want to build this up too much, ;) but that was a good rating…so we tried it.

It is, in a sense, a bit old-fashioned. By that I just mean that it isn’t saying, “Hey, look at how I’m disrupting the traditional novel by adding graphic sex, non-linear storytelling, and characters you hate!” ;) I’d say it could have been written in the 1950s…not in a bad way. :)

It was interesting: I didn’t even look at the price of it until I started writing this post. It’s $4.99.

I’m hoping that some of you read it and enjoy it…both for your benefit and for the author’s.

When people criticize KU, they tend to bring up the alleged lack of well-known novels (although there are actually a lot of famous books, they don’t tend to be current bestsellers). A Truth Worth Telllin’ (a first novel) exemplifies the argument for KU as discovery for lesser known novels.

And of course, if you borrow it, read a bit of it, and don’t share my opinion, you can just move on to another book…

Why Star Wars: The Force Awakens is an argument for permanent copyright

More than five years ago, I published what may be my most controversial post:

Should copyright be permanent?

In it, I explored the idea of making copyright permanent in exchange for greater Fair Use provisions.

In other words, an author and the author’s estate would continue to control the commercial use of a creation (which might, of course, include having licensed it to a publisher) in perpetuity, but the work could be used for educational and research purposes generally without compensation.

That’s the simplified version.

There are reasonable arguments on both sides.

One thing I hear from people is that a work staying in copyright deprives society of a common culture…that te world (or, at least the USA) should own works like Shakespeare and Alice in Wonderland.

Well, I have to point out: is Star Wars any less of our shared culture than Romeo and Juliet?

Do people know “May the Force be with you” less than they know “Wherefore art thou, Romeo?”

Do they talk about Star Wars less than they do about Shakespeare? Are fewer kids named after Star Wars characters and actors than Romeo & Juliet ones? Well, okay, there are a lot of Romeos out there…but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were many Lukes and Leias born in early 1978. ;) There also aren’t that many Mercutios…

You might guess it’s because Star Wars is more contemporary…but, based on the original copyright terms in the USA, it would have been in  the public domain by now (the original term was 14 years, renewable once for a total of 28, if the author was still alive…not as probable then as it is now).

Three quick tips

  • On a touchscreen device, “long press” (hold your finger or stylus on something for about a second) for more options
  • Menus often look like three horizontal lines on top of each other
  • To get help, you can go to http://www.amazon.com/kindlesupport

Help other readers find books

Just a reminder about

ILMK Readers’ Recommendations: book discovery zone

There will be many people new to KU in the next couple of weeks, especially since you can

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

You can help them out by going to the Book Discovery Zone and “voting” in the polls to endorse books, and by narratively suggesting books I can add.

Skipping the Flip(board)

Ooh, this was tough for me!

I skipped my morning

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

read this morning, although I will do it later today.

Why?

To avoid Star Wars spoilers. :)

My favorite thing in entertainment is to be surprised, and it can be hard to do. For that reason, I really don’t like spoilers, myself…and I also think they are…well, when done intentionally, I would consider them morally wrong.

Let me be clear: I don’t mean when you accidentally reveal a twist in a story, or when you do it without thinking about it.

I mean when people do it intentionally.

I read an article recently where the writer recalled standing outside of a movie in the Star Wars franchise, shouting the twist at people before they entered the theatre.

To me, it’s a form of intellectual bullying. That’s not to minimize traditional bullying. I think, though, it comes from similar impulses. You are using your superior power (knowledge, in this case), to take something away from someone else.

I love discussing movies (and books), but only when everybody present wants to do that.

I also think there is no statute of limitations on spoilers.

I believe that a nine-year old reading The Wizard of Oz in 2015 has the right to the same experience of the book as a nine-year old reading it in 1900 had.

I’ve been very pleased to see that mainstream media, and much of social media, has recognized the value of avoiding spoilers with regards to SW: TFA.

However, Flipboard (at least the way I have it configured) contains many non-traditional sources, and I’m guessing there will be spoilers in it this morning.

We are seeing the movie at 11:25 this morning…so I’ll read Flipboard after we’ve seen it. ;)

Jeff Bezos is one of Barbara Walters Most Fascinating People of 2015

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO (Chief Executive Officer) has had an interesting year: space news, an attack on the Amazon work culture, and an explicitly political comment.

Here is an

ABC video

of Barbara Walters’ “Most Fascinating People of 2015” segment with Bezos.

What do you think? How did Jeff Bezos do on Barbara Walters? What will happen to Amazon after Jeff?  Should people make references to plot twists openly (for example, jokes about maybe the Wizard of Oz in relationship to public figures), or should there be spoiler alerts? Have you discovered any books or authors through KU? Feel free to tell me and my readers 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.

Amazon’s The Best Books of 2015

November 11, 2015

Amazon’s The Best Books of 2015

It’s here!

The Best Books of 2015 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I honestly look forward to these lists each year. As a former manager of a brick-and-mortar bookstore, I like to see what they pick. That’s not because I think they necessarily are the best books, or even are books I am likely to read. It intrigues me. :)

It’s also a place I may discover books to buy for other people, and that’s important.

As part of that, it’s key that this isn’t simply a list of 100. It’s a whole storefront. There is a list of the top 100, but you can also see their “best” in a lot of categories:

  • Arts & Photography
  • Audiobooks
  • Biographies & Memoirs
  • Business & Investing
  • Children’s Books
  • Comics & Graphic Novels
  • Cookbooks, Food & Wine
  • Crafts, Home & Garden
  • Fashion
  • Kindle Singles
  • History
  • Humor & Entertainment
  • Literature & Fiction
  • Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
  • Nonfiction
  • Romance
  • Science
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Sports & Outdoors
  • Teen & Young Adult

picks from celebrities, Editors’ Holiday Gift Picks, Best Debuts, and more!

They sent me a press release

Amazon Unveils the Best Books of 2015, Heralding Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies as the Best Book of the Year

with some interesting tidbits in it.

I want to highlight this one:

“Debut authors in the Top 100: 22”

While this list isn’t limited to Kindle e-books, the expansion of independent publishing that e-books enabled has, I’m sure, affected how debut authors are seen. Since authors don’t need to go through the established channels, it allows the unestablished to break out…and then sometimes go tradpub (traditional publisher), sometimes not.

This is specifically

The Top 100 in Kindle Format (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I have read…exactly zero of them. ;)

That doesn’t meant that I think that some of them might not be the best books of the year. There are some there I would like to read.

It’s more that my pattern of reading isn’t likely to include a book the same year that it is released any more.

What do I read?

  • Books that are gifted to me. Those are usually pretty specialized, and may be my family buying from my Wish List. Those don’t tend to be frontlist, newly published titles
  • Public domain books: generally older
  • Books I get from Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), Amazon’s subser (subscription service). Again, those don’t tend to be published this year, at least the ones I choose to read

I recently wrote about a jump in books priced $14.99:

Percentage of books priced $14.99 in USA Kindle store leaps up

In that piece, I wrote about us moving more towards a tiered system of readers:

  • Top tier: pay premium prices for new, brand name releases
  • Middle tier: pay for some books, but don’t pay the top prices for new novels…they read independently published books, books that were on sale, books through KU (this would be my tier)
  • Lower tier: read free books

This list is definitely geared toward the top tier reader in that system. Only two of the books are under $5 at time of writing:

  • Smoke by Catherine McKenzie (which is also available through KU…the only one on the list, I believe)
  • The Wonder Garden by Laura Acampara

Most of the books, by far, are over $9.99.

Here are the top 10:

  • Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Becoming Nicole by Amy Ellis Nutt
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
  • The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
  • H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
  • Purity: A Novel by Jonathan Franzen
  • Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs by Sally Mann
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The average price at time of writing of those top ten? $14.24

Amazon doesn’t appear to have favored books it has published, with the exception of the category for Kindle Singles noted above.

I know I’m interested in the analysis, but I also know you may be more interested in the actual books. :)

Please let me know what you think of the choices, and especially, if there were others you would have listed. You can let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Special note: the person who recently arranged

An ILMK interview with Adrian Liang, Amazon Books Editor

has also offered to reach out for me to someone involved with creating this list.

If you have particular questions you would like me to ask them, if I get that opportunity, also let me know that in the comments.

I’m curious, so I’m going to include a couple of polls:

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.

 

Books, Bond books

November 7, 2015

Books, Bond books

With the latest James Bond movie, SPECTRE, opening in the USA this weekend, I thought a look at James Bond books available for the Kindle was in order.

Ian Fleming wrote fourteen original James Bond books (three are short story collections)…coincidentally, one has to assume, the same number as the “Famous Fourteen” original (Wizard of) Oz books by L. Frank Baum.

Not only are all of what Amazon identifies as the

James Bond (Original Series) (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

available for the Kindle, they are in reader-friendly versions: text-to-speech is enabled; they have X-Ray (Amazon’s reference to characters, concepts, and more in a book); they are low price ($2.99 each); and they are available at no additional cost through

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

Amazon’s subser (subscription service) which is $9.99 a month for “all you can read” (and there have been discounts for longer period agreements).

One reason these benefits are available?

The e-books are published by Amazon.

Amazon announced the acquisition of the “backlist” of James Bond for its mystery imprint, Thomas & Mercer back on April 17, of 2012.

Arguably, it’s still the biggest exclusive Amazon has.

I re-read the first book in the series, Casino Royale, in part because of Amazon’s acquisition. I reviewed it here:

Review: Casino Royale

before I generally moved book reviewing to my

Goodreads account

based on feedback from my readers on this blog.

I  found it well-written, although with some (unsurprising) potentially objectionable material.

If I was beginning with Bond, would I start there?

I would…it’s an origin story of sorts.

However, as Tack Carlson noted in my

Surviving “The End”: advice for literary characters (part 1)

first novels are often different…they may shape the characters we then come to know.

That was certainly true for the Oz series (the first and most famous book is my least favorite of the Famous Fourteen…and I often suggest kids start the Oz books with the second in the series), and it’s true here…although this is one of the best of the original Bond books.

Gee, how many parallels are there with the Oz books and Bond? Interesting question which I may explore later…

Anyway, this is a book where Bond has considerable self doubt. There is a notable philosophical debate about the morals of what Bond does…with Bond doing the challenging of the value.

Bond has been huge in popular culture…in addition to the books, there are the movies, and so many other things, including cartoon series, radio, and videogames.

One of my earliest memories is being at a drive-in movie theatre for the original Dr. No movie. Of course, that was so long ago, I wouldn’t consider myself a reliable witness. ;) I’m also sure I slept through most of it…as my parents no doubt intended. :)

The first book was published in 1953, and the series got a huge boost when John F. Kennedy listed one of the Bond books as one of his favorites, and made additional references to Bond.

Fleming’s last Bond book was published posthumously in 1966.

1968 saw famous author Kingsley Amis, who had written a non-fiction book about Bond, continuing the series with

Colonel Sun (at AmazonSmile*)

Unlike the Oz books, though, that didn’t make for a successful, living series.

The series didn’t really resume (although there were novelizations) until 1981’s

Licence Renewed (at AmazonSmile*)

by another author, John Gardner.

That was it: the series was alive again, and has continued since then (Gardner actually wrote more Bond books than Fleming).

Note that License Renewed is not part of what Amazon licensed for Thomas & Mercer. It costs nearly three times as much at $8.99 at time of writing, and is not part of Kindle Unlimited.

I think that’s worth considering, for people who think of Amazon as the “big bad” for readers.

If you want to read James Bond, Amazon is the easiest way to do so. You could get the free month of KU, and if you read quickly enough, read all fourteen of them for free. :) In fact, several people on your account could do it…six at a time for each book. You can only have a total of ten books out at time, so you’d have to coordinate which titles you were all reading to some extent, but it could be done.

If you’d prefer to own them, you can get the 14 e-books for $41.86. Buying them in paperback, they are (again, at time of writing) $7.48 each: $104.72 total.

Now, that doesn’t show that Amazon is better for the publisher or for the author (although it doesn’t show that it isn’t), but for readers who shop at Amazon, we can see the advantages.

If you choose not to shop at Amazon?

Well, that would be a problem if you want to read them as e-books.

Barnes & Noble does carry the Thomas & Mercer p-books…I don’t think you would discover it to be difficult to get the p-books, even if you didn’t shop at Amazon (although you would still be supporting Amazon).

There are so many non-fiction books about Bond! There are fannish specializations, cultural analyses, and trivia books.

A search for James Bond in the USA Kindle store has 775 results, and 235 of those are available through Kindle Unlimited.

If you want to read Bond before (or after) seeing SPECTRE, Amazon makes it easy. Oh, and they also have a single volume

The SPECTRE Trilogy: Thunderball, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, You Only Live Twice (James Bond – Extended Series) (at AmazonSmile*)

By the way, can’t you imagine a scene where Q, Bond’s gadget master, is issuing Bond a top secret, experimental device…

Bond: “Is it a weapon?”

Q: “Some would say so. It’s a portable library: we call it a Kindle.”

Bond: “Books? I’m afraid that would be opening a new chapter in my lethal methodology.”

Q.: “Information is power, Bond. Do pay attention. When you open this special cover, the screen will illuminate. To reveal the list of books, simply swipe your finger across the screen like this. You can then find whatever you might need for background on your latest mission. We have also provided you with special intelligence, which you will find under Docs.”

Bond: “May I?”

Q hands Bond the Kindle. Bond takes it…and then throws it across the lab, where it chops off the head of a target dummy.

Bond: “My mother always told me reading would go to your head…”

;)

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

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

Amazon’s 100 Science Fiction & Fantasy Books to Read in a Lifetime

October 8, 2015

Amazon’s 100 Science Fiction & Fantasy Books to Read in a Lifetime

I really appreciated that Amazon sent me an e-mail on this one! For some reason, I’m not seeing a press release, so this definitely gave me a needed heads up.

Amazon has done their latest list of “Books to Read in a Lifetime”, and I figured I would have read pretty much all of the “Science Fiction & Fantasy Books”**. :)

While I do think of myself as an eclectic reader, that wasn’t always really the case. I used to read a lot (a lot!) of SF&F.

After I became the manager of a brick and mortar bookstore, though, I made a conscious effort to broaden my reading. I encouraged (not required) my employees to read a book from every section in the store…and I did that myself.

I suppose the fact that I haven’t read as many as I had anticipated has to do with the chronological distribution.

However, it may have to do with the selection as well. :)

I would certainly recommend some others…that’s not to say that these aren’t all worthy: as I mentioned, I haven’t read quite a few of these.

First, here’s the list on Amazon:

100 Science Fiction & Fantasy Books to Read in a Lifetime (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Second, Amazon was also nice enough to include a table for me of the list…I added a column to indicate whether or not I have read it.

First Pub Title Author Read?
1949 1984 (Signet Classics) George Orwell Yes
2001: a Space Odyssey Arthur C. Clarke Yes
1960 A Canticle for Leibowitz Walter M. Miller Jr. No
1996 A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1) George R. R. Martin Yes
1968 A Wizard of Earthsea (The Earthsea Cycle) Ursula K. Le Guin Yes
1962 A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet) Madeleine L’Engle Yes
2003 Altered Carbon (Takeshi Kovacs Novels) Richard K. Morgan No
2001 American Gods Neil Gaiman No
2011 Among Others (Hugo Award Winner – Best Novel) Jo Walton No
2013 Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch) Ann Leckie No
2014 Annihilation: A Novel (The Southern Reach Trilogy) Jeff VanderMeer No
Assassin’s Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1) Robin Hobb Yes
1985 Blood Music Greg Bear No
1932 Brave New World Aldous Huxley Yes
1953 Childhood’s End Arthur C. Clarke Yes
2004 Cloud Atlas: A Novel David Mitchell No
1998 Daughter of the Blood (Black Jewels, Book 1) Anne Bishop No
1975 Dhalgren Samuel R. Delany Yes
1968 Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Philip K. Dick Yes
1992 Doomsday Book Connie Willis No
1968 Dragonflight (Dragonriders of Pern – Volume 1) Anne McCaffrey Yes
1965 Dune Frank Herbert Yes
1985 Ender’s Game (The Ender Quintet) Orson Scott Card Yes
1953 Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury Yes
1994 Foreigner: (10th Anniversary Edition) C. J. Cherryh No
1818 Frankenstein Mary Shelley Yes
1990 Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch Neil Gaiman No
2008 Graceling Kristin Cashore No
1989 Grass Sheri S. Tepper No
2002 Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Book 1) Laurell K. Hamilton Yes
2005* H. P. Lovecraft: Tales (Library of America) H. P. Lovecraft Yes
1997 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone J.K. Rowling Yes
2010 How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe: A Novel Charles Yu No
1986 Howl’s Moving Castle Diana Wynne Jones No
1989 Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos) Dan Simmons No
1954 I Am Legend Richard Matheson Yes
1950 I, Robot Isaac Asimov Yes
1976 Interview with the Vampire Anne Rice Yes
2004 Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: A Novel Susanna Clarke No
2003 Kindred Octavia E. Butler Yes
2001 Kushiel’s Dart (Kushiel’s Legacy) Jacqueline Carey No
1977 Lord Foul’s Bane (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Book 1) Stephen R. Donaldson No
1984 Neuromancer William Gibson Yes
1984 Nights at the Circus Angela Carter No
2005 Old Man’s War John Scalzi No
1991 Outlander Diana Gabaldon No
1982 Pawn of Prophecy (Belgariad) David Eddings Yes
2000 Perdido Street Station China Miéville No
2011 Ready Player One: A Novel Ernest Cline Yes
1993 Red Mars (Mars Trilogy) Kim Stanley Robinson No
2014 Red Rising Pierce Brown No
1976 Riddle-Master Patricia A. McKillip No
1970 Ringworld (A Del Rey book) Larry Niven Yes
1995 Sabriel (Old Kingdom) Garth Nix No
2009 Sandman Slim: A Novel Richard Kadrey No
1969 Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut Yes
1992 Snow Crash Neal Stephenson No
1961 Solaris Stanislaw Lem Yes
1959 Starship Troopers Robert A. Heinlein Yes
2010 Stories of Your Life and Others Ted Chiang No
1961 Stranger in a Strange Land Robert A. Heinlein Yes
1983 The Color of Magic (Discworld) Terry Pratchett No
2001 The Curse of Chalion (Chalion series) Lois McMaster Bujold No
1984 The Dark is Rising (The Dark is Rising Sequence) Susan Cooper No
1974 The Dispossessed (Hainish Cycle) Ursula K. Le Guin Yes
1988 The Dragonbone Chair: Book One of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn Tad Williams No
1990 The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time, Book 1) Robert Jordan No
1974 The Forever War Joe Haldeman No
1995 The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials Philip Pullman Yes
2013 The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel (P.S.) Helene Wecker No
1982 The Gunslinger: (The Dark Tower #1)(Revised Edition) Stephen King No
1990 The Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood No
1979 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams Yes
1937 The Hobbit J. R. R. Tolkien Yes
2008 The Hunger Games (Book 1) Suzanne Collins Yes
1968 The Last Unicorn Peter S. Beagle Yes
1969 The Left Hand of Darkness (Ace Science Fiction) Ursula K. Le Guin Yes
1984 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 2) C. S. Lewis Yes
1954 The Lord of the Rings: 50th Anniversary, One Vol. Edition J.R.R. Tolkien Yes
2009 The Magicians: A Novel (Magicians Trilogy) Lev Grossman No
2014 The Martian Andy Weir Yes
1950 The Martian Chronicles Ray Bradbury Yes
1983 The Mists of Avalon Marion Zimmer Bradley Yes
2007 The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicle) Patrick Rothfuss No
1987 The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure William Goldman Yes
2009 The Road Cormac McCarthy No
2012 The Rook: A Novel Daniel O’Malley No
1996 The Sparrow: A Novel (Ballantine Reader’s Circle) Mary Doria Russell No
2003 The Speed of Dark (Ballantine Reader’s Circle) Elizabeth Moon No
1956 The Stars My Destination Alfred Bester Yes
1977 The Sword of Shannara Terry Brooks No
1895 The Time Machine H. G. Wells Yes
2003 The Time Traveler’s Wife Audrey Niffenegger No
2010 The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive, The) Brandon Sanderson No
2009 The Windup Girl Paolo Bacigalupi No
1870 Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea Jules Verne Yes
2005 Uglies Scott Westerfeld No
2015 Uprooted Naomi Novik No
2011 Wool Hugh Howey Yes
2006 World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War Max Brooks No

One of the first things that stands out to me is the lack of books that are putatively for children. No Oz? No Wind in the Willows?

Second, and it’s understandable, it looks like it’s one book per author. :)

I may add to this post later (have to start my two hour commute this morning). :) I’m hoping to be able to give you a little more insight into the list, but before I do…here are a few I might have included (sticking to my presumed rule above, one book per author):

  • The Circus of Dr. Lao by Charles G. Finney
  • The Land of Oz by L. Frank Baum (I think the Wizard of Oz is actually the one in the series I like the least)
  • The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (illustrated by Jules Feiffer)
  • Stormbringer by Michael Moorcock (not sure if that’s necessarily the Elric of Melniboné book I’d pick but it’s the first one that comes to mind…and Elric would be included)

Hm…interesting to me that actual science fiction novels aren’t coming to mind first as much as fantasy. That might be because of how I’m reacting to the list.

What do you think? How many have you read? What would you include? What do you think of their selections? If you had questions to ask of the editors who compiled the list, what would they be?  Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Update: an earlier version of this post mistakenly thought they limited the list to books published in 1949 and later, because that was the first year in the first column. :) Sorry about that…it’s not sorted by date.

Update: I want to thank my readers, and apologize to them at the same time. :) I sent this post out this morning when it was half-baked: certainly, the sloppiest post in the more than six years that I’ve been doing ILMK. There were some mitigating factors, but that’s not important. The main thing is that my readers kindly pointed out true deficiencies in the post, and I have improved it because of that. Thanks, readers!

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. 

** For my take on science fiction and fantasy genre definitions, see Content, tone, or intent: what makes a genre?

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.

My sibling’s new book: We Can Do It!: A Problem Solving Graphic Novel Guide for General Physics

October 4, 2015

My sibling’s new book: We Can Do It!: A Problem Solving Graphic Novel Guide for General Physics

My sibling, Scott Calvin, has a new book out today in the USA Kindle store!

We Can Do It!: A Problem Solving Graphic Novel Guide for General Physics

It uses cartoon characters to explain physics (Scott is a physics professor at Sarah Lawrence).

It’s only $3, and even better, it’s part of

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

so members can borrow it at no additional cost.

It’s too soon for there to be any reviews, and as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to review my own family’s books for you. :)

One important point:

Regular readers will know that I don’t knowingly link to books where text-to-speech access has been blocked.

They may be surprised to see that the Amazon product page says that this book is “not enabled”.

That’s come up with other books in the blog. It’s not that text-to-speech has been blocked in this case: it’s that the words aren’t accessible to the program because they are part of the illustrations.

The text-to-speech software that our Fire tablets (and older EBRs…E-Book Readers) with text-to-speech capability use needs to be able to read the text. It has to be text: not in an illustration.

I know in this case that Scott’s publisher did not block it…it’s just a technical thing.

That’s why it is concerning that Amazon puts this on the product page:

“The publisher has requested not to enable Text-to-Speech for this title.”

I believe that is inaccurate in this case.

My guess is that that explanation appears on every book’s product page when it says that text-to-speech is “not enabled”.

I suggested to Scott that Amazon be contacted, and a request be made to have that language removed.

I’ve found Amazon to be pretty responsive in the past…I hope this is something that they can change in this case and others where it would be appropriate.

I’d be interested in hearing what you think about the book, and I’m sure Scott would appreciate that as well. You can do that by making a comment on this post, and/or leaving a review at Amazon/Goodreads.

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.

 

Amazon’s 100 Children’s Books to Read in a Lifetime

July 31, 2015

Amazon’s 100 Children’s Books to Read in a Lifetime

Amazon has created a lot of lists of books to read, and I certainly don’t always agree with them.

I have to say, on this one…I think they got a lot of them right:

100 Children’s Books to Read in a Lifetime (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Given that they didn’t do two books from the same author (although they cheated by doing an omnibus for Dr. Seuss and others), I’m not immediately seeing a glaring omission. That might sound like d*mning with faint praise, but it is unusual in a list like this.

They also didn’t title it in such a way that it was clear that it was going to be fiction only, if it wasn’t, that would have changed things…but given those rules, I’m pleased.

I read quite a few of these as a child…and some others later.

Let’s see…here’s the list and what I’ve read:

  • A Wrinkle in Time (yes)
  • The Classic  Treasury of Aesop’s  Fables (yes)
  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
  • Alice in Wonderland (yes)
  • Amelia Bedelia (yes)
  • And Tango Makes Three
  • Anne of Green Gables (yes)
  • Are You My Mother? (yes)
  • Are You There God?  It’s Me, Margaret
  • Beatrix Potter: The Complete Tales (yes)
  • Betsy Tacy
  • Black Beauty (yes)
  • Bread and Jam for Francis
  • Bridge to Terabithia (I saw the movie…and I wouldn’t recommend that children watch it.  Not sure about the book, though)
  • Caps  for Sale (yes) (and I watched it on Captain Kangaroo)
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (yes)
  • Charlotte’s Web (yes)
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (yes) (and we’ve given it many times as a gift)
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
  • Coraline
  • Corduroy (yes)
  • D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek  Myths  (yes) (and yes, this specific version)
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid
  • Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
  • Dr. Seuss’ Beginner Book Collection (yes)
  • Encyclopedia Brown (yes)
  • Esperanza Rising
  • From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E.  Frankweller
  • Goodnight Moon (yes)
  • Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site
  • Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales (yes)
  • Guess How Much I Love You
  • Harold and the Purple  Crayon (yes)
  • Harriet the Spy (yes) (and we watched the movie multiple times)
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (yes)
  • Holes
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins (yes)
  • Jumanji (yes)
  • Little  House on the Prairie (yes)
  • Little Women (yes)
  • Llama Llama Red Pajama
  • Madeline (yes)
  • Make Way for Ducklings (yes) (and another Captain Kangaroo books)
  • Maniac Magee
  • Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel  (yes) (thanks again, Bob Keeshan!)
  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins (yes)
  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (yes)
  • Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
  • My Side of the Mountain
  • Olivia
  • Owen
  • Paddle-in-the-Sea
  • Pat the Bunny (yes)
  • Peter Pan (yes)
  • Pippi Longstocking (yes)
  • Press Here
  • Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
  • The Bad Beginning (yes)
  • The Borrowers (yes)
  • The Boxcar Children
  • Call of the Wild (yes)
  • The Complete Adventures of Curious George (yes)
  • The Cricket in Times Square (yes)
  • The Day the Crayons Quit
  • The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
  • The Giver
  • The House at  Pooh Corner (yes)
  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret
  • The Jungle Book (yes)
  • The Lightning Thief
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (yes)
  • The Little Engine That Could (yes)
  • The Little Prince (yes)
  • The Mouse and the Motorcycle (yes)
  • The New Way Things Work  (I read the original)
  • The Paper Bag Princess
  • The Phantom Tollbooth (yes)
  • The Real Mother Goose (yes)
  • The Secret Garden (yes)
  • The Secret of the Old Clock (yes) (Nancy Drew)
  • The Snowy Day
  • The Story of Babar, The Little Elephant (yes) (right back to childhood just seeing the name!)
  • The Story of Ferdinand (yes)
  • The Tale of Despereaux
  • The Tower Treasure (yes) (The Hardy Boys)
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar (yes)
  • The Watsons Go to  Birmingham
  • The  Wednesday Wars
  • The Westing Game
  • The Wind in the Willows (yes)
  • The Wizard of  Oz  (yes) (as a huge Oz fan, I would actually start children with the second book)
  • Treasure Island (yes)
  • Tuck Everlasting
  • Walk Two  Moons
  • Watership Down (yes)
  • Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
  • Where the Red Fern Grows (yes)
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends (yes)
  • Where the Wild Things Are (yes)
  • Wonder

Also interesting? Almost all of the books are available in Kindle editions. That wasn’t true initially with children’s books and Kindles…and the Fire Tablets have been part of that, certainly.

How about you? Have you read most of these? Are there any books you absolutely think should have been in this list? I’ve cited Captain Kangaroo as an influence for me on several of these books…for some of you, I’m guessing it might have been Reading Rainbow or Wishbone. Are there other childhood reading influencers (besides friends and family…something in the public) you would name? Classics Illustrated comics, perhaps? 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.

10 books from my Wish List…and why

July 29, 2015

10 books from my Wish List…and why

My book buying habits have changed, in part because of

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

I’m a happy member of Amazon’s subser (subscription service), but it does make me feel a bit…guilty when I pay for a book outside of that (at least for myself).

There are a lot of books I’d love to read which are not part of KU: at this point, the Big 5 (the biggest publishers of trade books…the ones you would have bought in a bookstore, not things like textbooks) are not participating. I do keep saying that I expect that at least on the Big 5 will put at least some of the backlist titles in KU by the end of the year. We’ll see. :)

So, what I do is put those books on an Amazon Wish List.

Then, I share it with my family at the holidays.

My Significant Other used to be so happy to find a book I didn’t have. On certain topics, I pretty much bought every title that came out…or that I could get used.

Now, there is my Wish List.

When I look at it, it almost feels like going into a bookstore. I now have over 200 things on my main list (I have several lists for different purposes), although not all of them are books.

A bookstore in an airport might have something like that number…oh, they might have a thousand or so titles. Eventually, e-books and print-on-demand (POD) may really change that experience!

I thought I’d list ten of the books, and tell you what interests me about them.

Note: I am not doing this because I’d like you to get them for me. :) I’m going to ask that you not do that:  I want to save that for my family. :)

You do enough for me just by being readers (and subscribers…thanks, subscribers!).

My Wish List isn’t public, it’s just shared with specific people.  That’s an option at Amazon.

For more information on Wish Lists, see

Wish Lists Amazon help page (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

So, in no particular order, here are ten of the books on my main Wish List:

The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favorite Board Game
by Mary Pilon
4.2 stars out of 5 | 57 customer reviews

In addition to managing a bookstore, I managed a game store. Games have always been an interest of mine, and I always love the stories behind our pop culture.

The Secret History of Wonder Woman
by Jill Lepore
4.4 stars | 182 reviews

Another look behind pop culture. I already know something about Wonder Woman and the unusual life of the superhero’s creator. This one sounds like an interesting accounting of it. Wonder Woman is amongst my favorite heroes.

Fool Moon (The Dresden Files, Book 2)
by Jim Butcher
4.4 stars | 747 reviews

I’ve seen the TV series and read (and enjoyed) the first of these…I’d like to get further into the book series.

Authorisms: Words Wrought by Writers
by Paul Dickson
4.5 stars | 14 reviews

Another interest of mine: words! Paul Dickson is quite good at this sort of thing.

Heroes in the Night: Inside the Real Life Superhero Movement
by Tea Krulos
4.8 stars | 10 reviews

Yes, this is a real thing. Thee are people who actually wear costumes and fight crime. I’ve seen a documentary about this: fascinating!

Struck by Genius: How a Brain Injury Made Me a Mathematical Marvel
by Jason Padgett, Maureen Ann Seaberg
4.0 stars | 91 reviews

Oh, the human brain! We still don’t understand all that much about how it works. Many people have approached it as thought it were a machine, with different parts performing different functions. It appears that perhaps interactions of multiple features may be crucially important.

Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism (Digital Picture Book)
by Ron Suskind
4.8 stars| 202 reviews

Suskind is a Pulitzer Prize winner whose autistic child communicated through Disney cartoons. I heard an interview: really intriguing!

1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed: The Year Civilization Collapsed (Turning Points in Ancient History)
by Eric H. Cline
3.9 stars | 350 reviews

I also like more general history…and again, particularly when it illuminates something other than the surface version of what happened.

Generational Insights
by Cam Marston
4.0 stars | 1 review

I’ve been blown away by Marston’s observations on what were the four generations in the workplace. We actually had a presentation on it at work: that’s how I first encountered it…and I want more (I have already read a book of Marston’s, bu not this one).

Forry: The Life of Forrest J Ackerman
by Deborah Painter
3.5 stars | 10 reviews

I didn’t know Forry, but was personally helped by the editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland. Geek culture might not exist without Uncle Forry (legendarily the first person to ever cosplay at a convention, for one thing). I’m not convinced this a great book, based on the reviews, but I’d still like to read it.

There you go! I’d love to get any of these from my family!

What about you? What sorts of books are on your Amazon Wish Lists? Feel free to tell me and my readers 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.

Top 10 Political Crime Fiction Thrillers by Kris Calvin (in The Strand Magazine)

July 25, 2015

Top 10 Political Crime Fiction Thrillers by Kris Calvin (in The Strand Magazine)

Some of you may be familiar with The Strand Magazine, which published many of the original Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle (starting for them with A Scandal in Bohemia in 1891). I have a connection with them, since I republish the public domain Sherlock Holmes stories (including ones originally published in The Strand) in my blog

221B Blog Street

I also have a connection with

Kris Calvin

first time novelist author of

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

In that case, the connection (well, one of them, anyway) is a genetic one: we are siblings. ;)

One Murder More is a mystery which stars a Sacramento lobbyist, and politics is definitely a main theme.

Like most good authors, Kris reads…a lot. I was proud (not that I get to take any responsibility for it) ;) to see

Top 10 Political Crime Fiction Thrillers by Kris Calvin

in The Strand’s online version.

While unabashedly subjective (as lists like this generally are), I think it’s an interesting set of choices. I don’t want to take away from you reading it, but I suspect that you’ll agree with the inclusion of at least some of these titles. I was happy to see

Lud-in-the-Mist (at AmazonSmile*) (available through  Kindle Unlimited(at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*))

by Hope Mirrless included, since it is undeniably geek-friendly (I’m a proud geek)…and that would often make many people exclude it.

There have been lots of science fiction and fantasy books which focus on politics, and could be called political thrillers.

One of the first ones that comes to mind is Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series…but certainly 1984 and Animal Farm qualify, as would The Hunger Games (and many dystopias). Even my beloved Oz series has very clear political plots, including a women’s rights revolution that overthrows the Scarecrow as ruler of the Emerald City.

What do you think? What are your favorite political thrillers? What makes for a good one? Would you include Game of Thrones?  Tarzan (there is a battle for power to lead the Mangani, the “apes” who raise Tarzan)? 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.


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