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.
Wow, July was a big book-buying month. August will definitely be a minor burp in comparison. Also, I’ve been busy writing my Robert Hillyer introduction. Update: Well, I’m buying several more ebooks this month as well (sigh).
Rant: How to Ruin the Poetry of one of America’s greatest poets.
I was really shocked to realize this, but do you know that Amazon still does not carry a decent ebook of the poetry by Robert Frost.
Let me elaborate.
First, Robert Frost was a long-lived poet who published many books over his lifetime. Quite a number of his poems were published before 1925, which means that Project Gutenberg carries it. But Frost published about 15 additional poetry books after that (although it is true that some were compilations).
The best edition is Poetry of Robert Frost: The Collected Poems, Complete and Unabridged, edited by Edward Connery Lathem. Actually I bought this paperback book in the 1980s!
But the digitization of this ebook is terrible! Apparently the ebook just scanned the ebook and arranged the images sidewise — presuming that you would read them in landscape mode on your tablet. This particular ebook is a ghastly 85 MB file. For frame of reference, when I produce novel ebooks, they usually are 2-5 MB. Most poetry ebooks are 1 or 2 MB, maybe up to 10 MB if you are including images.
There are several other editions of poetry for sale. Mostly they are of early works (still very fine!) which are already available from Project Gutenberg (PG). News flash — PG ebooks are the best; they are the gold standard in ebooks! Ebook fans also know that Canada’s PG (called fadedpage.com) often contain more recent books because their public domain rules differ from that of the US. The fadedpage.com page for Robert Frost includes poetry books from the 1920s and 1930s as well.
Indie Author Spotlight
Under the Radar
When Lions Roar by Karen Gruber
Montana 1948 by Larry Watson. Early and most successful novel by this author.
Thousand Miles from Nowhere by John Gregory Brown. Teacher flees the Katrina hurricane in New Orelans and has to piece together his life. Brown wrote a book Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery
Writer’s Legal GPS: Guide to navigating the legal landscape of publishing by Matt Knight. Knight runs the helpful Sidebar Saturdays group blog about IP law and publishing. Indispensable, and the 2020 book collects the best of the blog’s writings. A lot of the blog is of the “better see a lawyer” kind of advice and I think the fair use coverage is skimpy and not current. Other than that, this guide covers a ton of topics, including some that I had never really pondered before. I expect to learn a lot from this volume.
Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life
by William Deresiewicz. William D. comes from elite English departments, and his essays tend to be anti-elitist but always engaging. Here’s some online essays . Aha, Stephen Colbert grills him about this very book. He’s done a lot of podcast about more serious topics.
Human Errors: A Panorama of Our Glitches, from Pointless Bones to Broken Genes by Nathan H. Lents (author website).
Mine Alone by Ari Nemsira. Marriage, sex and infidelity.
Blink and It’s Gone
I’m a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After 20 Years Away. by Bill Bryson. 1.99
Library Purchases/Printed books
How to Make Your Advertising Make Money by John Caples. Apparently Caples ran an advertising agency and was very famous for the ad copy he wrote. Although an ebook is available, an important part of the book consists of reprints of ads, so I bought the print book. (Update: The reprinted ads don’t look particularly good in the print book — they might even be more readable as an ebook
Even This I Get to Experience by Norman Lear. I am in awe of Norman Lear, and I’d love to read a memoir of how he got started. (I heard an interview with Lear on Gilbert Gottfried’s podcast where he talked about it at length).
Lately I’ve been browsing through poetry books in the early 20th century. What pleasures. You can browse them by looking at the “year in poetry” pages on Wikipedia. See for example 1914 in poetry.
Literary Articles and Essays
Capsule Book Reviews
Book Roar Review
Nice facebook zoom interview with Valerie Trueblood and Toni Mirosevic. Counterpoint authors (I love Valerie Trueblood’s stories).
Classic interview with Ray Bradbuy by Don Swaim.
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 is available from most audiobook streaming services like |Audible $6 | Apple $3 | Google Play $3 |
- 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.