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Abbreviations: KU means Kindle Unlimited, LE means that lending of this Kindle title is allowed, and APUB means it was published under an Amazon imprint.
As strange as this sounds, I like to put up incomplete posts and then add to them over the month. (By the end of the month, it is full of all kinds of good stuff — although maybe not for every category).
Indie Author’s Spotlight
Ebooks published by Amazon Imprints
Under the Radar
Thin for Life: 10 Keys to Success from People who have lost weight and kept it off by Anne Fletcher (2.99). Use this for shedding your extra COVID year pounds. I discovered this 2003 book the last time I tried losing weight. Although Fletcher is a dietician, the most interesting thing about the book is how she identifies what behavioral strategies worked for successful dieters. Fletcher didn’t spend much time talking about nutrition or what to eat or how to exercise — and in fact, this makes the book still current today. I’m now trying to lose weight, and my first thought was go back and read this book again.
Invisible Pyramid by Loren Eiseley. 1.99
Emotional Rescue: Essays on Love, Loss, and Life–With a Soundtrack by Ben Greenman
Shakespeare’s Secrets – Romeo & Juliet: Essays and Reflections on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet by David Blixt.
Blink and It’s Gone Sales
Penthouse Uncensored series (I have to admit, I enjoyed reading one of these).
Creative Commons — Academi/Public Domain
Once in a Lifetime Deals
There There by Tommy Orange.
Indie Titles/Other ebook distributions
None this time
Review Copies Received
None this time
Library books & Printed books bought (Better World, Amazon, etc)
Bought a haul from Better World Books this time.
Love, Life, Goethe: Lessons of the Imagination from the Great German Poet by John Armstrong.
Goethe: The Poet and the Age: Volume I: The Poetry of Desire (1749-1790) by Nicholas Boyle
Collected Stories by Carol Shields
Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems by Mark Doty
Terminal Experiment by Robert S. Sawyer. I enjoyed the TV adaptation of his Flash Forward book, so I’m trying to read his others.
Demolished Man by Alfred Bester. Called by several people the best sci author and this is his best book.
Starting Over: Stories by Elizabeth Spencer
Festival of Insignificance: By Milan Kundera. Crap, I just realized that I bought the wrong book. I had meant to buy the essay collection, Encounter instead. (I probably will end up buying it).
What Light Can Do by Robert Hass — essays on poetry
Hell or High Water by Joy Castro (college friend)
Question of Bruno: Stories by Aleksander Hemon. Also, Love and Obstacles.
Pomegranate Lady and her sons: Selected Stories by Sara Khalili. Autobiographical stories by Iranian woman from pre-Shah days.
American Poetry Since 1970: Up Late by Andrei Codrescu. Alternative anthology of Codrescu rounding up stuff by his friends. Some really off the beaten path poets here, including Lorenzo Thomas
Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami. Really looking forward to this. Story about a Muslim who explored the Gulf coast of America in the 1500s with Cabeza La Vaca (and based on real events!)
Also, I’m going on a diet, so I found two books on that: The Diet Myth: Why the Secret to Health and Weight Loss is Already in Your Gut by Tim Spector and The FastDiet – Revised & Updated: Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, and Live Longer with the Simple Secret of Intermittent Fasting by Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer.
Literary Articles and Essays
Maria Popova has a wonderful short essay about the unrequited loves of H.C. Andersen. His permanent infatuation with Jenny Lind is well documented (aka, the Swedish nightingale), but apparently he had tender/erotic feelings for a man named Edvard Collin. In a related post, Popova writes of the intense relationship that Emily DIckinson had with Susan Gilbert:
To make art out of heartache is, of course, the most beautiful thing one could do with one’s sorrow, as well as the most generous — no artist knows how the transfiguration of their pain into beauty will salve another heart, give another sorrower the language of their own truth, the vessel for navigating their own experience.
Popova of course has a famous and wonderful literary newspaper which always amazes me every time I find time to read it. Apparently portions of Popova’s essays are found in the very expensive ebook Figuring (which despite the price is always something I’ve wanted or planned to buy).
Here’s a great elegy by poet Edward Hirsch on Adam Zagajewski: (Hirsch’s website and Z’s website)
Adam challenged those students. He chided them gently, “So you all have been writing a lot of small poems about small things. I would like for you to try something larger.” He assigned one class to write elegies to the 20th century. He made space for students to probe big questions with utter seriousness and depth. The course titles speak for themselves: The Imagination and Its Enemies. End of the Century, End of the World. Memory and Oblivion. Poetry and Doubt.
He preferred to use traditional free verse (“Rhymes actually irritate me, a bit like the bell calling you to kneel in church”) and avoided poetic experimentations as his focus was on communication and understanding, yet still engaging in “a dialogue with the imagination”. He demanded that poetry tell the truth (“we write to understand the world,” he claimed), and once wryly concluded that “some French poets say Polish poetry is just journalism, because you can understand it”.
As an aside, I’m depressed at how expensive poetry books are. Apparently if you sign on with a prestige publisher, the price of your ebooks stay above $10. Who on earth has the dough to pay that much!? I have bought a few expensive poetry books in my day — usually they are collected poems, not individual titles. I remember that at grad school I paid $20 for a collected works of Richard Wilbur and another for Howard Nemerov. Also, one for Elizabeth Bishop. More recently, I paid $10 for a collection by Paul Otrembra, a young Houston poet who died recently. I suppose you could say that I’ve paid a handsome price for a nice bilingual collection of sonnets by Petrarch, a collection of Bhartrahari poems and Columbia Book of Chinese Poetry : From Early Times to the Thirteenth Century by Burton Watson. Maybe if the poet is extremely well known and beloved, I could justify paying 9 dollars, but even then I bitch about how expensive it is.
Literary Audio /Multimedia
U. Penn has an incredible website of poets on audio. Notable poets included here are Gertrude Stein, John Ashbery, Ezra Pound, Donald Hall, HD, Kenneth Rexroth, Ferlinghetti, Jorie Graham. Lots of names I don’t recognize, looks like there’s a NY/New England bias, but still just an incredible number of names here!
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 DRM-free copies of ebooks from Smashwords (and often at a substantial discount over the ebook’s price on Amazon). Alternatively, you can buy ebooks from Google, Amazon, BN, Apple and Kobo. In May 2021 you can sign up for the Personville Press mailing lists to stay informed about upcoming sales and publications.
- Minor Sketches and Reveries by Alberto Balengo. ($4) Introspective tales involving animals, allegories and the melodrama of everyday life. Amazon | Smashwords |Google | BN | Apple | Kobo.
- Interview with the Sphinx. By Jack Matthews. ($2.99). 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.
- A Worker’s Writebook by Jack Matthews . $1.75 Matthews distributed a photocopied version of this writing guide to his Ohio U. creative writing students over the decades.
- Soldier Boys: Tales of the Civil War by Jack Matthews. $3.00 Philosophical Stories Taking place during the US Civil War.
- Abruptions: 3 Minute Stories to Awaken the Mind by Jack Matthews. Flash Fiction. $1.50
- Hanger Stout, Awake (50th Anniversary Edition). by Jack Matthews. Coming of age novel. $3.00
- 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: Epub, Mobi.