≡ Menu

Robert’s Roundup of Ebooks (Jan 2019 — Week 3)

View the post series | Read how I compile this list. || How to Submit Smashword deals || How to Submit your own Ebook Deals in the Comment Section

View previous roundup and next roundup.

Preface

As mentioned before, I skip hyperlinks to speed up posting (It takes forever to dig up the URLs). It would be a futile and time-consuming task for me to list all the worthy deals when they hit free or some other low price point. (I would literally have to post every day!) Unlike Smashwords and other booksellers, Amazon sharply restricts an author’s ability to give away titles for free (5 days in a 90 day period, and only if the author agrees to sell the title exclusively on Amazon). To be notified when it goes free again, just set a price alert on erereaderiq. (if you install the 1-click watcher on your browser, you can make one just by clicking a browser button!) I try to link to the author’s website when I can.

OK, I know some descriptions are missing, but let me publish this first, add later.

Finally I discovered a massive trove of free titles by university presses. Links to how to search for them are under the Creative Commons/Free titles below.

Blue Moon Deals

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. 1.30. Unknown how long this sale will last, but my Butler collection is ever-widening. The Lilith’s Brood trilogy is on sale for $2.99 on the day I posted this (Update: Nope, not anymore!)

How to Live: Or a Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an answer. by Sarah Lakewell. 1.99 I heard an amazing podcast a few weeks ago about Montaigne and thought I’d eventually buy an academic title by the always wonderful Timothy Hampton (his blog). Turns out Lakewell’s title came to me first. On the bright side, I just realized that Hampton did another 2011 podcast lecture about Montaigne to keep me entertained further.

Under the Radar

I’ve been finding lots of very cheap ebooks on Roman history by military scholars. Haven’t decided what to buy, but they all look interesting and reasonably well-written and by modern historians and costs only $1.30 See Roman Empire and the Silk Routes by Raoul McLaughlin and Patricians and Emperors: The Last Rulers of the Western Roman Empire by Ian Hughes.

Empire of the Mind by Roger DeBlanck. (FREE!) Deblank is a Nevada librarian who has written 3 novels and this book of poetry. Here’s his other novels  which take place in historical eras (Pearl Harbor, Cuban Revolution, etc) and involve spirituality, redemption and discovery. Sounds great! (Author website)

We are Data: Algorithms and the making of our digital selves by John Cheney-Lippold 83 CENTS! This academic book ponders the social and political implications of our digital footprints. Although some Amazon reviewers complained about the dense writing style, most have described it as an important contribution

Thanks, PG!:Memoirs of a Tabloid Reporter by John Isaac Jones

In the future this will not be necessary by Paul Samael. 99 cents.

Jesse Stuart — various things. Stuart was a Kentucky author who wrote all kinds of things — and was very popular in the 1940s and 1950s. Some of his things are in ebook form. They are still pricey ($10) , but available in Kindle Unlimited at least. The best place to start is Best Loved Short Stories of Jesse Stuart which is on KU, so I will probably have a chance to read it before my trial KU subscription runs out. Apparently even ereaderiq didn’t know about most of Stuart’s titles until I added it to their system, so there is no pricing history to be able to tell if Stuart’s titles are ever discounted. I will surely report back if I see them discounted! Also on KU is Jesse Stuart Reader.

I Was Geeky When Geeky Wasn’t Cool by Marc Allie

2 books by Joseph Hannay: Greater Fool and Beast in Me. (website) Hannay is a UK author of 2 books with a dark almost satirical bent. Fool is about a real-estate hotshot who falls from grace, while Greater Fool is a Kafkaeque tale of an actuary made to undergo a regimen of self-improvement by his boss.

Someone to Remember Me: by Brendan Mancilla (Author site). 1st sci fi novel about dormant memory, unfamiliar cities and malevolent beasts. Sounds like a desolate videogame, but I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.

Stray Dogs and Lonely Beaches by Maria Elena Sandovici

Carnival by Joan Colby (FREE!) is a poetry collection that celebrates the quirky, odd, and an audience of participants and voyeurs. Colby is an accomplished poet who frequently discounts her titles. (Author website).

Home from the Sea by William Meikle. 14 tales of Lovecraftian terror.

Coffee Dates From Hell by Jim Tilberry

Office Wars: Mailroom Clerk by James Patton. First of a series. dystopian world and office politics and virtual reality.

Trapped in Russia: An American Family’s Struggle to Survive by Karen Wardamasky Bobrow

Bathe Me by Kevin Farran. Farran was born in a leper colony in Zambia, and writes social dramas in Africa, NYC, Japan, etc. (website).

New York Echoes by Warren Adler. Prolific author of “War of the Roses” writes a three volume set of short stories. (This is volume 1).  As in his celebrated novels, Adler’s themes in “New York Echoes 1” deal primarily with intimate human relationships—the mysterious nature of love and attraction, the fragile bonds between husbands and wives, and parents and children; the divide between generations; the obsessive pursuit of the creative artist and the emotional toll it exacts. Looks like all his titles are on KU, so expect more freebies.

Young Men in Pain Omnibus by Caspar Vega

Pig’s Slaughter by Florin Grancea is a personal account by a journalist about the Romanian Revolution of 1989. .

From King to Obama:Witness to a Turbulent History by Earl Ofari Hutchinson. (free-political memoir) Hutchinson is a prolific journalist who frequently publishes shorts on topical subjects (Trump, Kavanaugh, etc). But he also has written some budget guides about classical music such as Beethoven and Me  (which I will be price-tracking). His Hutchinson Reports are available on HuffPost.

Recession-Proof: How to Survive and Thrive in an Economic Downturn by Jason Schenker

Langdon Codex by R. P. Poe

The Ultimate Survivalist’s Guide to Suicide by Ryan Bohl

Twice Begun  and Silent Bird by Reina Lisa Menasche . Recently Menasche has been offering her ebooks for free. Both books are about romantic turmoil between American women and French men, with psychological secrets and journeys through France. (website)

The Advice Bucket: A Scottish Comedy-Fantasy by Heather Hill

Tomas by Robert Bedick. Also The Zimmerman File and An Argument in Favor of Television and other Stories

Me and Mister Boby by Dan Nimak

Now That I’m Mature by Sylvia Morice. Also Postcards From Home

TOR ebook club: Only Harmless Great Thing: A novelette by Brooke Bolander. (FREE!)

Griefwriting by JOAN ZLOTNICK

A Native’s Tongue by Michael D. Dennis

the river: a memoir by Kevin Weadock

The Crying Bird by E.J. Stillings

The Resume is Dead by Nelson Wang

My Thoughts and Expressions: A Collection of Poetry on Love, Self, and Relationships V.M.Enriquez

Stranger’s Dance by Troy Kechely

A Lucky Day: Finalist in the Indie Literary Prize Contest by Carlos J. Server

Hardscrabble Way by Tina Gordon

When Horses Had Wings by Diana Estill

House of Twelve by Sean Davies is a psychological mystery about 12 strangers who wake up in a strange house with no memory of how they got there. 99 cents.

Cocktails, Caviar and Diapers by Renee Duke is an autobiographical novel about a globe-trotting female artist who experiences many historical events firsthand in farflung countries. The author (who died in 2010) was Paris-educated and worked in media and publishing all over the world.

All Roads Led to Shanghai by Clio Calodoukas

Blink and it’s gone sales

Anatomy of a Song: Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits by Marc Myers. 1.99

Twilight of the Gods: A Journey to the End of Classic Rock by Steven Hyden. 1.99 Also, a KU title Undiscovered 80s Rock by Peter Harris (only 99 cents)

What to Think about Machines that Think: Today’s Leading Thinkers on the Age of Machine Intelligence. by John Brockman. 1.99 Every year Brockman does an anthology asking famous thinkers a profound question. (Here’s a list of these questions). Everything is a fun and provocative read; some of it goes over my head, but there’s a good mix. Fun fact: Edge.org used to publish the responses on a series of web pages, and I used to stick everything into a document and then convert things into an ebook file. I started with the 2005 and 2006 editions which I read on my ebookwise reader. Periodically these books are on sale.

AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley and the New World Order by Kai-Fu Lee. 2.99 A leading AI expert gives his predictions about AI. I bought it with a little bit of buyer’s regret (only a bit). He’s given multiple lectures and talks now on youtube, and usually books by these tech gurus tend to be more for business types and investors than for curious creative minds. Still I’ll probably read it, and my decision to buy had a lot to do with the fact that my local library has a waiting list of 3 months for this book!

Deals on stuff published by Amazon

Everything is 99 cents until the end of the month unless specified otherwise. Here are two very interesting insights about the Amazon Crossing and other imprints. First, these ebooks go on sale often.

  • Two novels by Marcos Aguinas: Passion According to Carmela and Against the Inquisition. Both are 99 cents — a steal! Aguinas is an Argentine author; I greatly enjoyed what I’ve read so far of Against the Inquisition which tells the tale of an Argentine monastic who lives under an Inquisition in the New World. Both spiritual and anti-dogmatic… Highly recommended.
  • WHY I WRITE: ESSAYS BY SAADAT HASAN MANTO.. obscure Urdu writer

Creative Commons/Free Academic/Public Domain titles

Last month, to my delight Cornell U published for free lots of random out-of-print ebook titles. I’ve noticed a few other academic presses doing the same thing — although only for one or two titles. The good thing about academic freebies is that they usually stay free, so there’s no special urgency to download all the titles now. Occasionally I will single out titles of note, but let me mention URLs that will reveal the free things.

  1. University of California has launched their Luminos monograph publishing project. You can obtain PDF/EPUB/MOBI directly from that website or from Amazon. From the book listing page, you can filter by subject category (alas you can’t bookmark these filters; you have to do it every time you visit). So far I’ve noticed a plethora of titles in ethnic studies (esp Asian), economics, labor, public policy and history. Find them on Amazon.
  2. I have mentioned before that Cornell U Press has released several dozen older titles — mainly comp lit, pre-modern history, that sort of that. Find them on Amazon. One notable short is a 40 page Svetlana Alexievich lecture.
  3. Fordham University Press has about 2 or 3 dozen philosophy monographs — usually about US or UK philosophers from the past.
  4. Fourth, for those seeking college textbooks, Openstax (from Rice University) has a few dozen peer-reviewed textbooks (mainly in math and science, but some social sciences as well. Find Openstax textbooks on Amazon.
  5. University of Chicago Press doesn’t offer much for free, but they offer some free “Chicago Shorts” on Amazon. All range from 15-50 pages, and probably the most notable is Ebert’s Shorts (which contains one or two essays, plus a chapter devoted to all his movie lists — a helpful reference.
  6. MIT Press has some free titles — mainly about innovation and other social science topics.
  7. Other custom Amazon queries: University Press + Literature, University Press + History, University Press + Science/Math, University Press + Social Sciences,

Neglectedbooks always unearths titles and authors I’d never heard of, but I was pleasantly surprised to hear about Dorothy Richardson’s Pilgrimage Series. Richardson wrote a series of 13 autobiographical novels modernist in the style of Henry James which relates the world as experienced by females. (One blurb described the book series as “simply life. Shapeless, trivial, pointless, boring, beautiful, curious, profound. And above all, absorbing.” )

To my amazement Harmonium, Wallace Stevens’ classic 1923 book has not been digitalized — although a PDF version is available from a site dedicated to the poet. Luckily, some fool has produced and sold an ebook version for 99 cents. I normally don’t buy public domain stuff.

Other PG authors I’ve discovered: Joanna Godden by Sheila Kaye-Smith and Azure Rose by Reginald W. Kauffman. Also, the entertaining guide, Clock that had no hands and 19 other essays about advertising by Herbert Kaufman. Also Audobon’s Western Journal 1849-1850 is

Texas Titles

(From now on, I’ll give a special section devoted to ebook deals by Texas authors).

Texas litblogger & book reviewer Michelle Newby does a excellent roundup of Top 20 Texas Books of 2018

My antenna for Texas books stays up, but it normally takes a while for me to get around to Texas authors. Natalia Sylvester Everyone Knows You Go Home is published on Amazon’s Little A — (I had already bought her other novel Chasing the Sun for 99 cents a few months ago). It’s a virtual certainty that the latest title will be discounted soon.


Mind Views: A Little Book About Thought by Bart Hopkins Jr. Also, Like  and Texas Jack. Hopkins hails originally from Texas (website) and writes in a variety of genres.

Geromino’s Bones by Darrell Bryant is a debut historical novel about a Native American warrior who is sent to “Indian School” in Oklahoma and at his mother’s deathbed learns that his father’s last wish was to be buried in his own lands. This story is about his effort to accomplish just that. The author (a military guy with lots of adventures under his belt) lives in Galveston. (website).

Titles from Smashwords and Other Places

None this time!

Interesting Reviews Everywhere

I’ve been enjoying the NYT column The Enthusiast where a writer raves about one author from the past. The latest column is on Iris Murdoch (whose The Sea, The Sea I have still not read after years of being near the top of my stack). To my delight, there is an earlier column schools me on Margery Sharp.

This might interest nobody, but over the years I’ve been keeping a list of digital music purchases I’ve made from emusic. Emusic sells stuff at a discounted rate lots of obscure music — but not so much the top 40 stuff. Some of the links work no longer, and some of the sale prices are no longer valid, but stuff I purchased is mostly great and well-worth hunting out. I don’t write capsule reviews of music albums as much as I used to, but if you want to look at my music database on Google Docs, here it is.

Miscellaneous (Used Books. Library Titles, Book-related Articles, etc)

Used books from the library: Stonedial by George Konrad. (Hungarian author whose Case Worker influenced me a lot at college). This later work was not reviewed favorably (except here and here ) , but frankly most reviews don’t know what to do with literary books. (I once met Konrad in New York at a reading; I told him his book changed my life!) Also 2 AM at the Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino. Bertino writes breezy/stylish/quirky books and has gotten a lot of good press from the usual places; I almost passed, but the librarian took pity on me and sold the Konrad for $1 instead of $2.

Review Copies Received

Personville Press Giveaways and Deals

I run Personville Press, a small literary book press where all the ebooks cost less than $4. You can buy these titles at the main ebook stores (Amazon, Kobo, BN, Apple, etc.), but I regularly run promotions on Smashwords, so the same titles usually sell on Smashwords for half the price that you see them on Amazon. Pay attention to any 100% coupon codes which I occasionally list below — they can be redeemed only a small number of times, so first come, first serve. Smashwords only sells epub versions of these titles, but you can easily convert them to Amazon’s mobi format by using Kindle Previewer or Calibre.

  • Interview with the Sphinx. By Jack Matthews.  (FREE until 3/16/2019, no coupon code required) Hyperintellectual Tom Stoppard-like play which reads like a novel about a strange interview  with the ancient Sphinx character. Freud and Florence Nightingale show up too.   I loved this play and even produced an audio version of it (3.99 on cdbabyand itunes), but the script  reads well too.
  • Soldier Boys: Tales of the Civil War by Jack Matthews. $1.50 Philosophical Stories Taking place during the US Civil War.  (FREE coupon — use code: KD45Y.  maximum: 2 uses).   
  • Abruptions: 3 Minute Stories to Awaken the Mind by Jack Matthews. Flash Fiction. $1.30  (FREE coupon — use code: LQ42XK.  maximum: 2 uses). 
  • Hanger Stout, Awake (50th Anniversary Edition). by Jack Matthews. Coming of age novel. $1.50
  • Three Times Time Story Sampler by Jack Matthews (Always Free!) US Amazon customers can sometimes get it for free, but to make things easier, you can down these files directly without having to register: EpubMobi.

Closing Thoughts

As may be obvious by now, these posts are becoming overlong and time-consuming to compile. Also, I still want to do those book reviews! I’m still trying to work out the compile amount of content/publishing frequency. Hang on, there folks, and be sure to follow assiduously the rules of logic.

{ 0 comments… add one }

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.