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.NYP means “Name Your Price” (that’s an option on Smashwords and other booksellers). If you’d like to submit an ebook to me for review or mention in this column, see my instructions here.
Indie Author Spotlight
Under the Radar
Disasters in the First World: Stories by Olivia Clare (author’s website)
A Train to Moscow: A Novel by Elena Gorokhova (author’s website)
North to Paradise: A Memoir by Ousman Umar, Kevin Gerry Dunn (author’s website)
Flight Risk: A Novel by Joy Castro (author’s website)
Life is Big: For Life’s sake, Death has to meet, Alma-Jane, the happiest girl alive! by Kiki Denis, Liya Kebede (author’s website)
Escape into Rain: A Rick Blaine Novel
Third Button by Rohit Dharupta
My Only Sunshine by Shannon Jump (free)
Last Cow in the Chute and other stories: Memoirs of a Country Vet by David Larsen
We turn to Face the Sun by Stephanianna Lozito
Stories from Persia: Anthology of Persian Short Fiction.
Play the Devil by Scott Laudati
Homecoming by John Strother
Broken Things — Faded Photographs Series
Cranky Uncle vs. Climate Change: How to Understand and Respect to Climate Science Deniers.
Blink and It’s Gone
The Age of Movies: Selected Writings of Pauline Kael by Pauline Kael, Sanford Schwartz
What Do Women Want?: Adventures in the Science of Female Desire by Daniel Bergner. (author’s website)
Three books by sci fi legend Robert Silverberg. Reflections and Refractions (essays about sci fi, writing, etc), Stochastic Man and Sailing to Byzantium (6 novellas). I was reading Dying Inside which is justly famous. But the essay collection — on sale for 1.99 at Amazon — is loaded with great essays and not a single Amazon review.
Aren’t You Forgetting Someone? Essays from my Mid-Life Revenge by Kari Lizer. 3.18 The first chapter or two was only somewhat great, but Lizer is a world-class TV writer and showrunner for two of my favorite shows, New Adventures of Old Christine and Call Your Mother.
Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur Clarke. $2. Already read it, but like to keep it for referral.
Library Purchases/Printed books
Literary Articles and Essays
Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt (author website) on whether labeling mainstream novels literary is counterproductive.
Also, in response to her article about negative reviews, I commented:
One critic once wrote, “Critics are people who come on the battlefield after the fighting is over and shoot the wounded.” Of course, book reviews are such a scarce commodity these days that that many authors wouldn’t mind getting shot a few times rather than being ignored outright.
Actually though I can think of other reasons for negative reasons (other than the fact that the reviewer is just cantankerous). Sometimes successful authors write too frequently and think that a story which is “good enough” is worth reading. A more common problem is that readers started a book with a notion of what the book was going to be about and then found the actual book to be completely different. Sometimes that can be addressed simply by describing the book accurately and fairly. Sometimes negative reviews can simply be the result of having the book mass marketed when the book was actually suited for a more limited audience. You’ll have to read my long essay about the most negatively reviewed novel in the world to see what I’m talking about .
(Ehrhart has a Phd in nuclear engineering and recently published the first novel of a trilogy, Pride’s Children: Purgatory , about a female novelist who is intrigued by an actor she meets and finds herself caught in some kind of love triangle.. Amazon reviews praise the style and character portrayals a lot.
Capsule Book Reviews
Book Roar Review
Personville Press Deals
I run Personville Press, a small literary book press where all the ebooks cost less than $4. Prices normally appear highest on Amazon, Apple, Kobo and BN, somewhat lower on Google Play Books and lower on the two DRM-free stores which are Smashwords and Payhip. Personville Press is committed to selling DRM-free ebooks and audio files directly from the Personville Press payhip store or from Smashwords.
- Second Death of E.A. Poe and other Stories by Jack Matthews. Did Edgar Allen Poe fake his death? That’s what a Baltimore doctor needs to figure out in the title tale for this 11th story collection. Payhip| Smashwords | Google Play |BN | Apple | Kobo | Amazon US | Amazon UK |
- Minor Sketches and Reveries by Alberto Balengo. ($2) Introspective tales involving animals, allegories and the melodrama of everyday life. Payhip | Amazon | Smashwords |Google | BN | Apple | Kobo.
- Interview with the Sphinx. By Jack Matthews. ($1.50). 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 which you can buy for $2 on payhip (mp3/m4a) but the script reads well too. The audio book will be available on audible and other platforms very soon.
- A Worker’s Writebook by Jack Matthews . $2.25 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. $1.25 Philosophical Stories Taking place during the US Civil War.
- Abruptions: 3 Minute Stories to Awaken the Mind by Jack Matthews. Flash Fiction. $2.25
- 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.