Robert’s Roundup of Ebooks #1 (Nov 2018 — Week 4)

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 || Commercial Disclosures


(View next week’s roundup.)

Welcome to the first installment of Robert’s Roundup (a collection of ebook deals and discoveries). At least once a week this blog will report about remarkable ebook deals and authors who have discounted their ebooks to free or very cheap. (Read more). Most ebooks listed here were things I acquired for free or a very low price.  If you want to mention an ebook deal, you can do so in the comment section, but first  read the rules.  Once a month I post a Robert’s Roundup about Smashwords ebooks. The first SW roundup will go live here  Saturday November 24. (If you are interested, read how I select titles and what each category means).

Blue Moon Deals 

  • Four Chinese Classics: Tao Te Ching, Analects, Chuang Tzu, Mencius by David Hinton. $1.99  (Recent translations of everything, plus good notes. This sale has lasted for over 2 weeks, so maybe it’s here to stay?)
  • Mind for Numbers by Barbara Oakley.  1.99 Well-regarded book about mathematical/scientific thinking — quite brilliant actually. This goes on sale 1 or 2x a year. 
  • Complete Stories by Clarice Lispector. 2.99 700 page volume of highly regarded stories by this Brazilian  best love author. (Surprised to see that this sale has gone on for 2 weeks. Get it while you can!) 

Under the Radar

(Set price alerts for these books and authors… When the sale prices return, they are worth seeking!)

  • Charlie Close is a prolific fiction writer who has been discounting his Amazon titles one by one. So far, I’ve ensnared for free  Childish Things: Stories of Growing Up and Before the Ripcord Broke: Stories. (the first can be obtained at any time by signing up for his mailing list). All his other titles are $3.99.  His Amazon bio says, “I believe that ordinary people and situations are interesting and important. That’s where we live every day.”
  • What Remains Unsaid by Audrey Kalman. 99 cents. A son takes his mother hostage so for once she can listen to him. 
  • Not so Complete Birds Afoul of North America by Bill McGill. Hilarious drawings of actual birds, with funny commentary. This is a three part series, and I got this first volume for free on a Kindle promotion. Warning, the file sizes are large and best viewed on a large tablet.
  • Practice what your preach (Edward Vernon’s Practice Series Book 2). 99 cents. Vernon is a UK physician who wrote a 3 volume set of memoirs. I started reading Volume 1 (light-hearted, fun) but waited too long to purchase it. Maybe next time… 
  • One Way Time Traveler by Tom DeMarco. 99 cents. Scifi adventure about a person who travels to the future and discovers a world controlled by women.
  • One Apart: A Novel by Justine Avery. FREE!  Tres is about to be born… with the biggest burden any has ever had to bear. He is beginning again—as an ageless adult trapped in an infant body.
  • Throwing Madonna: Essays on the Brain by William H. Calvin. 99 cents. This wonderful collection of essays about topics in biology and neuroscience was first published in the early 1990s. He’s published more recent (and expensive) titles since then. 
  • Too Good for the Hood by Michael and Danny D’Agostino. FREE! 2 brothers from Chicago write a lot of light-hearted novels about their adventures growing up. Several titles are free on the US Amazon store, including this one. (Lots of other free and low-cost titles)
  • It Happened in Wisconsin by Ken Moraff. FREE!  This recent Breakthrough Novel Award winner is about a talented but ragtag baseball team who set out to change the world during the Great Depression.
  • Ray vs. the Meaning of Life by Michael F. Stewart. FREE! “Booby-trapped with guns, grizzly bears, and homemade fireworks, the cartoonish park setting skillfully gives wheels to a larger, more intriguing philosophical question. … A tale spins its answer to an age-old question into an inclusive, hilarious, and thought-provoking yarn.” (Kirkus). This won a Booklife prize also.  Mainly for younger/YA readers.
  • A Body’s Just as Dead by Cathy Adams. FREE COMIC SOUTHERN NOVEL. FREE!  “A Body’s Just as Dead is hilarious and wrenching, a portrait of a family’s mistaken pride in its own self-deception. You read it in bursts of laughter, followed by sustained sympathy for characters striving to maintain their dignity in a world they don’t understand or control.”
  • Asphalt Warrior (8 book series) by Gary Reilly. Reilly died prematurely before publishing anything major. Since his death,  his unpublished works have been digitalized; each volume of the Asphalt Warrior series (about a likable Denver cabdriver named Murph) sells for $4.  I got Circumstantial Man for Free! and Asphalt Warrior (Book 1) for 99 cents. I started reading Book 1 and enjoyed the humor and atmosphere. Reilly is really a first class writer and you should be on the lookout for specials on his other volumes. 
  • First William Peskett Story Omnibus. 99 cents.  Peskett is a prolific Irish author and poet now living in Thailand. He’s published a lot of single story ebooks and smaller collections, but this one is the biggest (350 pages).  I started reading these stories: interesting, mundane, plot-oriented. 
  • Various ebooks by Jessica Barksdale Inclan. I’ve set an author alert for any price drops and snatched 8 titles so far. Many of her ebooks seemed geared for the YA audience, but I’m seeing a variety of styles and themes. A major talent….Update: about half of her ebooks are  on Smashwords, so I’ll probably cover her in a Smashwords roundup. 
  • Love and Other Afflictions: A collection of literary short stories by Jonathan Finch. I went ahead and paid full price 1.99 for this one. The first 2 stories had fantastic/metaphysical/Kafkesque elements. 
  • Waco Variations by Rhonda Rizzo. Free!   Story about a musician affected by the Branch Davidian fiasco who turns her life around and discovers music. 
  • Odds and Endings: Fiction Short and Otherwise by Joe DeRouen. A collection of tales of ghosts and the macabre….

Blink-and-it’s-gone Sales

Deals on ebooks published by Amazon 

Here’s what sounds buyable on the 99 cent monthly deals. I haven’t finished deciding what to buy (and I’ve only started looking at fiction), so I’ll be adding more titles next Tuesday. 

  • Edible: An Adventure into the World of Eating Insects and the Last Great Hope to Save the Planet by Daniella Martin. Ok, this makes me squeamish, but it sounds useful!
  • Alfred Hitchcock: The Man Who Knew Too Much (Icons) by Michael Wood. (Only a 150 page monograph, not in depth, but Wood is a distinguished film critic. 
  • The Art of Youth: Crane, Carrington, Gershwin, and the Nature of First Acts by Nicholas Delbanco (Sounds thought provoking; first chapter was great!).
  • Five Night Stand: A Novel by Richard J. Alley. “Tells the story of three people whose lives intersect over the course of five nights in New York City—a debut novel set to a pounding jazz beat of triumphs, failings, uncertainties, secret sins, and tragedies.”

Smashwords Titles 

White Mythology: 2 Novellas by W.D. Clarke. I’m reviewing this Smashwords novella  for my upcoming Smashwords roundup.  

Non-Amazon & Non-Smashwords Titles

Tor’s free ebook of the month: Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang (Oopsie, unfree after Nov 16, sorry guys).

Creative Commons/ Public Domain Goodies

Miscellaneous (Used books, library titles, book-related articles, etc)

Fivebooks, a website where famous people and nonfamous people recommend 5 books on a certain topic. Brilliant and useful! 

Bought these paperbook books  for practically for less than a dollar each:

  • Stick Dog by Tom Watson (illustrated chapter book with stick figure drawings — quite funny!)
  • It’s all Right Now by Charles Chadwick. Apparently famous only novel published by 70 year old British civil servant. Diary of a nobody, sort of an homage to Joseph Heller (his favorite author) but one critic notes that the tone sounds like Philip Larkin. 
  • Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke. YA Sci Fi by Austin author
  • What to Read (with 33 Annotated book lists) by Mickey Pearlman. Out of print book of annotated lists of titles by subjects. Examples: Fairy Tales for Grownups, The Impact of Illness, etc.   Intended to be a resource for book clubs, it actually is fun and brilliant! 
  • Out of the Woods by Chris Offutt. Coincidentally, I almost bought other Offutt titles a few months ago. 

Lendle/Libby/Library Titles (i.e., didn’t pay for!). This list is longer than usual because it covers cool stuff I’ve found in the 2 months. 

  • Monarchy of Fear by Martha C. Nussbaum. America’s foremost philosopher explains why fear can be a fair and valid and constructive  response to external circumstances. Some mentioning of the Trump context… 
  • Story Grid by Shawn Coyne (via Lendle). A brilliant but overpriced (8 dollar) ebook by a well-known editor about how to write a commercial fiction title. To Coyne’s credit, a lot of free content is available on his website
  • Bloodchild by Octavia Butler. Mindblowing short stories. Ok, now I understand what all the fuss is about. 
  • Hype by Nina Shapiro MD
  • Playwrights at Work: Interviews with Albee, Beckett, Guare, Hellman, Ionesco, Mamet, Miller, Pinter, Shepard, Simon, Stoppard, Wasserstein, Wilder, Williams, Wilson . (This is an incredible book!)
  • Tales with a Texas Twist: by Donna Ingham. Remarkable live storyteller from Texas whose book of  stories is even more remarkable.
  • Mindware: Tools for smart thinking. richard nisbet Outstanding book on cognitive psychology. 
  • Hans Christian Andersen: Life of a storyteller by Jackie Wullschlager
  • Fantasyland by Kurt Anderson. Fun trek through American history and seeing generation after generation of people who could be duped. I waited on the first ebook deal, then started reading and loving it, but that sale has not returned! 
  • Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli

Closing Thoughts

I have been trying to read Celine’s Journey to the End of the Night for a long time. I bought the book out of graduate school and still haven’t read the first chapter. If you have read it and can think of a compelling reason why one should read it, let me know! 

Have comments? You can use the comment section to tell me which deals are expired or to mention your own ebook deals (please read these rules first). (The rules for submitting a Smashwords title are somewhat different).






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