A question arose in a comment thread on an earlier post. To wit: I love reading, and Kindle is cool, but books are expensive. (Okay, that’s really more of a statement than a question. You get my point.)
It’s true. Now granted, the average e-book is a lot cheaper than even a paperback, but still, if you read a lot you can run up a hefty tab in a hurry. Amazon is thriving for a reason.
The good news is that there are a lot of sources for free Kindle and e-book content. Here are a few:
You can also get Kindle books on loan. There are e-book lending libraries. Here are some more. Apparently, the whole e-book loan idea is a hit, at least with some folks.
Another thing to note: if you find e-books that aren’t in Kindle format and you’d like to convert them, Calibre is straightforward and easy (and free).
So there you go. Get to reading, and happy ArtsWeek.
If you’ve been paying attention you know that our boy Jim Booth recently published a novel. And that it’s really good. And that it presents us with the opportunity to consider fame and substance at war over the soul of an artist.
He has now authored a guest essay on “Southern Rock Stardom, Postmodernism, and the Persistence of Memory” over at Melinda McGuire’s outstanding Southern lit-focused site, concluding, appropriately enough that:
Here in the South, rock stars respect memory as all good Southerners do and, after all their wanderings, come back home where memory matters, Thomas Wolfe and postmodernism be damned.
Hear, hear. Give it a read.
I’ve been thinking about Completeness of the Soul: The Life and Opinions of Jay Breeze, Rock Star, the third novel from my friend and fellow scrogue Jim Booth. I finished reading it a few days ago, but for me it’s been a slightly disjointed experience because I’ve seen most of it in its pieces before: chapters like “Fins” and “The Balcony Scene” have been previously published as standalone short stories and there are sections (the “Rock Star Handbook”) that Jim originally developed as an offering for an SMS entertainment company in which I was a partner. So I’ve been familiar for years with the component elements, but this was my first encounter with the unified book in context.
After several days of reflection, I find myself musing on things that many readers and reviewers might not have twigged on. Read more
I’m currently reading Christopher Moore’s 2006 novel, A Dirty Job, and am nearing what I expect to be a slam-bang, fun-filled, rollicking climax. I picked it up because I thought Lamb, the story of Jesus Christ’s life as told by his best friend Levi, who is called Biff, was one of the funniest things I’d ever read. If you haven’t run across these books yet, consider them recommended.
Anyway, last night, as we got deeper into protagonist Charlie Asher’s investigation of the doings at the mysterious Buddhist center in San Francisco’s Mission district, my pique finally got the better of me. To wit, why the hell is this not yet a movie?! Seriously, A Dirty Job is box office magic waiting to happen. So I hit the Internets and discovered that the rights were indeed picked up, in 2006, by Chris Columbus and 1492 Productions. CC is the guy who brought us the first two films in the Harry Potter series and Home Alone, as well as Reckless, Gremlins, The Goonies, Mrs. Doubtfire and Night at the Museum. While he’s had some missteps along the way – who in Hollywood hasn’t? – he’s clearly a man who knows a thing or two about the aforementioned box office magic, right? Read more
Teresa Milbrodt is earning a good bit of acclaim lately, and her new short story collection, Bearded Women: Stories, should only amplify her reputation. Fiction Editor Dr. Jim Booth will have a review of the book in the coming days, and in the meantime we were able to persuade the gracious but extremely busy Milbrodt to field a few questions.
Scholars & Rogues: Bearded Women presents the reader with such a wonderful menagerie of freaks – there’s a gorgon, a set of conjoined twins, a giantess, a three-legged man, a woman with a parasitic twin, a woman with four ears, a Cyclops, women with beards, and the list goes on. I know this is a wide-open question, but can you explain for our readers where all these characters came from?
Milbrodt: I have always been fascinated by people who look different or those who don’t fit in. Read more
Oh, yeah. Oooh, ahhh, that’s how it always starts. Then later there’s running and screaming. – Dr. Ian Malcolm
Mary Shelley spent the summer of 1816 at the Villa Diodati near Lake Geneva, Switzerland with her husband, poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and their close friend Lord Byron “watching the rain come down, while they all told each other ghost stories.” Thomas Pynchon says that by that December Mary Shelley was working on Chapter Four of her famous novel Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus.
It was the challenge of writing ghost stories to amuse each other that set Mary upon the idea of a different kind of horror story – one not based in the supernatural, but in science.
I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. Read more
If you’ve been off-planet for the last few months you may have missed the news: Jon & Kate have split, and in the process migrated from the relative banality of the TV listings over to the hyper-banality of the tabloids. I’m still not sure what the future holds for the popular “reality” show, but whatever it is, Gosselin family 2.0 equals Jon minus Kate.
It occurs to me that these events represent something significant in our culture. Since about 1980 or so we’ve been in one of our periodic “childrens is the most preciousest things in the whole wide world” phases. (For more on the generational cycles that produce this dynamic, see Generations, 13th Gen and Millennials Rising by William Howe and Neil Strauss, two men whose work I have referenced a number of times in the past.) In the previous generation (Gen X), children were an afterthought for most parents, who had been socialized in far more self-centric times. Read more
It has been alleged that Scholars & Rogues is not, strictly speaking, a political blog. Sure, we write about overtly political issues and devote our share of time to things like media policy, energy and the environment, business and the economy, and international dynamics. Yes, we were credentialed to cover the DNC, but we don’t really do hard, insider, by god politics. Daily Kos is a political blog. Firedoglake is a political blog. Little Green Footballs, The Agonist, Politico, The Seminal – these are real poliblogs.
S&R, on the other hand, writes about music. About literature and poetry. About art. Education. Sports. Culture and popular culture. The Ramsey case and what it tells us about the state of media. And now that the election is over, S&R is writing about politics less than ever.
So really, what is S&R? Read more
“I’m interested in what motivates you, and how you understand the world.” He glanced sideways at her. “Rausch tells me you’ve written about music.”
“Sixties garage bands. I started writing about them when I was still in the Curfew.””Were they an inspiration?”
She was watching a fourteen-inch display on the Maybach’s dash, the red cursor that was the car proceeding along the green line that was Sunset. She looked up at him. “Not in any linear way, musically. They were my favorite bands. Are,” she corrected herself.
– William Gibson, Spook Country
I’ve always been intrigued by the curious dynamic of influence. Read more
And now, a few more things that didn’t quite fit into other articles, or that arrived late, or that we forgot, or whatever. The fact that these are all being lumped under a miscellaneous category doesn’t mean they’re not well worth the time and effort. So here are some scattered thoughts about food, neighborhoods, recreation, sports, shopping and more. Read more
Our friend Ubertramp sent along this little video, which certainly provides food for thought:
There’s much to empathize with here. Read more