Favorite Freebies on Amazon Part 1 of 2

So I have never bought the Amazon Kindle.  When it first came out, I was curious but dubious.  And I never found a full need for it in my life (this coming from someone trying to read 365 books this year).  However, when Amazon released the Kindle as an App for use on smartphones, tablets and even computers, I found myself signing up for it and beginning my journey down ebooks.  In the interim, I've bought over 850 ebooks on Amazon, but I have spent a total of $0.00.  You read that right.  I spent nothing, but now I have some 850+ books in my Kindle app (Note:  When I started this blog post, I had about 800 but over the course of researching, I added 50 more books).

Tips and Tricks to Searching Amazon

Freebies to be found on Amazon.
So how do you find these awesome books.  The simplest way is to go to Amazon itself.  Type an author into the search engine.  On the search results page, click "Books" (or "Kindle Store" if it shows up--it doesn't always depending on your search).  On the right screen, click the drop down menu "Sort By" and select "Price: Low to High."  Depending on the author, particularly if it is contemporary, it is likely to wield poor results.  If it is a work in the public domain, it's much more likely to be found on Amazon  for free.  This means practically all works written before 1923.  From 1923 and beyond, it gets a bit trickier but there are still lots of works to be found.  (A follow up post will show some science-fiction,  fantasy, and horror that is available from after 1923).  You can also search by genre name and title and then sort by low to high.

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought.  On most product pages on Amazon, there is a row of icons and products of "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought..."  There can be anywhere between 1 to 16 subpages that you can scroll through.  I find this is also a good opportunity to move through related products since in addition to the product item, the price is also posted.

OneHundredFreeBooks.  This is one of the many sites and apps out there that will inform you of the latest free books on Amazon.  I like it because it has a webpage but also updates on its Facebook page several times a day.

Twitter Hashtags.  Twitter is also a great place to look for hashtags related to "free" "Amazon" and/or "Kindle" and you'll find daily numerous tweets of various free ebooks.




Below are listed some of the purchases that I've made over the last 2 years of book-buying on Amazon. I link to the product page but then also when relevant, a listing to the author's works sorted by price from low to high so you can see what else is offered by the author.  As of June 27, 2013, all the links work, but that's the other thing to consider is that some items come and go.  Enjoy and come back (or subscribe via email or RSS) to catch Part 2 of this listing wherein I cover a good amount of classic sci-fi, fantasy, and horror.  The categories below are Classic Literature, Cooking and Homestead, Fairy Tales, and Miscellaneous.

CLASSIC LITERATURE

Babylonian and Assyrian Literature.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum  free on Amazon Kindle.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
L. Frank Baum
L. Frank Baum titles.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
Lewis Carroll
Lewis Carroll titles.

The Awakening and Selected Short Stories.
Kate Chopin
Kate Chopin titles.

The Last of the Mohicans; A narrative of 1757.
James Fenimore Cooper
James Fenimore Cooper titles.

The Red Badge of Courage.
Stephen Crane

A Christmas Carol.
Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens titles.

Poems by Emily Dickinson, Series One.
Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson titles.

The Idiot.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Fyodor Dostoyevsky titles.

The Lost World.
Arthur Conan Doyle
Arthur Conan Doyle titles.

The Souls of Black Folk.
W. E. B. Du Bois
W. E. B. Du Bois titles.

The Man in the Iron Mask.
Alexandre Dumas
Alexandre Dumas titles.

This Side of Paradise.
F.Scott Fitzgerald
F Scott Fitzgerald titles.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin

The Scarlet Letter.
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne titles.

Leviathan.
Thomas Hobbes

The Odyssey.
Homer
Homer titles.

A Treatise of Human Nature.
David Hume
David Hume titles.

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself.
Harriet Ann Jacobs

Ulysses.
James Joyce
James Joyce titles.

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling free on Amazon Kindle.
The Jungle Book.
Rudyard Kipling
Rudyard Kipling titles.

Sons and Lovers.
D. H. Lawrence
D. H. Lawrence titles.

Love of Life and Other Stories.
Jack London
Jack London titles.

The Prince.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Niccolo Machiavelli titles.

Maha-bharata The Epic of Ancient India Condensed into English Verse.

Moby Dick: or, the White Whale.
Herman Melville
Herman Melville titles.

Beyond Good and Evil.
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche titles.

The Yellow Wallpaper.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Charlotte Perkins Gilman titles.

The Persian Literature, Comprising The Shah Nameh, The Rubaiyat, The Divan, and The Gulistan, Volume 1.

The Republic.
Plato
Plato titles.

The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket.
Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe titles.

The Argonautica.
Apollonius Rhodius

King Richard III.
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare titles.

King Coal : a Novel.
Upton Sinclair
Upton Sinclair titles.

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.
Adam Smith

Oedipus Trilogy.
Sophocles

Walden.
Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau titles.

Democracy in America - Volume 1.
Alexis de Tocqueville
Alexis de Tocqueville titles.

Anna Karenina.
Leo Tolstoy
Leo Tolstoy titles.

Life on the Mississippi.
Mark Twain
Mark Twain titles.

A Journey to the Centre of the Earth.
Jules Verne
Jules Verne titles.

The Aeneid of Virgil.
Virgil

Up from Slavery: an autobiography.
Booker T. Washington
Booker T. Washington titles.

Leaves of Grass free on Amazon Kindle.
Leaves of Grass.
Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman titles.

The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde titles.

Faust.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe titles.

FOOD AND HOMESTEAD

100 Year Old Recipes You Can Still Make Today: HOMEMADE CANDIES.
Kirsten Anderberg

Things To Do While Avoiding Things To Do: And 56 More Fun Lists for Procrastinators.
Mark J. Asher

Basically Bread, The Fundamentals of Making Great Bread.
John Barnes

Best Ever Fruit Cobbler & Crisp Recipes (Best Ever Recipes Series).
Lori Burke

The American Frugal Housewife.
Lydia Maria Francis Child

Survival 101: The Essential Guide to Saving Your Own Life in a Disaster.
Marcus Duke

Smart School Time Recipes: The Breakfast, Snack, and Lunchbox Cookbook for Healthy Kids and Adults.
Alisa Marie Fleming

The Wonders of Kale: "Green it Up" with New and Unique Recipes!
Meigyn Gabryelle

Homemade Quirk

Create your dream garden (52 Brilliant Ideas).
Infinite Ideas
Infinite Ideas titles.

Incredible Cardboard!
Instructables Authors
Instructables titles.

Culinary Herbs: Their Cultivation Harvesting Curing and Uses.
M. G. (Maurice Grenville) Kains

Survival Guide for Beginners.
Vitaly Pedchenko

Home Vegetable Gardening -a Complete and Practical Guide to the Planting and Care of All Vegetables, Fruits and Berries Worth Growing for Home Use.
F. P. Rockwell

Survival Tactics.
Al Sevcik

Woodcraft and Camping.
George Washington Sears

The 30 Minute Wine Expert: Amaze Your Friends with Your Wine Expertise.
Michael Sullivan

All About Coffee.
William H. Ukers
/ref=kinw_myk_ro_title

Knots, Splices and Rope Work: A Practical Treatise.
A. Hyatt (Alpheus Hyatt) Verrill

FAIRY TALES


More Fairy Tales titles.

MISCELLANEOUS

Well Played 2.0: Video Games, Value and Meaning.
Drew Davidson
/ref=kinw_myk_ro_title

It's a Dog's Life, Snoopy!
Charles M. Schulz

How I Found Livingstone.
Sir Henry M. Stanley

United States Presidents' Inaugural Speeches.
United States' Presidents

Charles River Editors (Titles change often but lots of free history stuff).

So where else do you find free ebooks for the Kindle or elsewhere?



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Standing Desks: 1 Year Later

So it's been a year since I started doing the standing desk and I'm still a major advocate of it.  In this post, I'll talk a bit about the experience over the last year and why I will probably continue to use the stand up desk.

I initially started with my desk at home and liked the results.  It ultimately led me to create what I can only an "active living room" instead of a passive living room.  The standing desk was comfortable and I've found it even easier to slip in and out of the computer screen.  This lead me to set up my own standing-desk at work.  My first attempt was similar to my first attempt at home; mostly to try out before I invested some money into the project.  But it was enough to get me put into the work newsletter when my friend snapped a picture of me and sent it to the editor.
My final standing desk at home.

Originally, I was considering going through the hoops and loops to have work cover one given that I could make an argument about both my health and productivity for such a thing, but that would require chasing down signatures and appointments and more time than was worth it.  So I dropped the $30 on the materials I needed and assembled a standing desk at work as well (see below for more details on how I created it).

Overcoming Awkwardness
The biggest challenge to the standing desk isn't necessarily the task of standing an extra 6-8 hours than one normally does.  No, it's the awkwardness of standing at a desk while surrounding by colleagues who sit or even at home.  It's not how we've been programmed to think about and associate with computers.  We have desktops and laptops--no standtops.

There's also a decent amount of awkwardness to overcome as other people see what you're doing.  I've had to explain my standing desk dozens of times in the last year (And sometimes, repeatedly to the same person).  So, you'll get some raised eyebrows to be sure; they are mostly harmless.

Getting used to standing at the computer is just something you gradually ease into.  Paying mindful attention to your body and posture, you can slowly customize the height, your distance, etc until it feels natural.

The Health Benefits
While I knew ultimately it would be healthy for me to switch, but it was nice to be vindicated from others places about the benefits of not sitting so much throughout the day.  But I have found it healthier in general by standing.  I move more while standing (yes, that includes dancing in place--sorry coworkers!) and I also stretch my legs more.  I'm more apt to stretch the hamstrings, the calves, the quads, and the back almost without thinking while standing at the desk whereas this was something I had to continually (fail to) remind myself with while sitting.

My primary standing desk.
I've also found that I'm urinating more (Yeah, I know--readers, if you're still here, you are asking why I'm sharing this with you as well as following up with why would this be a "health benefit" and not down under the challenges section, but stay with me!).  I'm drinking the same amount of liquid I usually do but I need to make more bathroom trips.  The reason is of course, I'm standing erect and not sitting in chair. We all know the trick that if you are sitting, you're more likely to stave of urinating longer.  We all notice when we feel the bladder full but are still far from a toilet, we tend to bend or even sit to alleviate the pressure.  With a standing desk, you're largely left to go with less delay and stress on your bladder.  I know that when sitting I'd often put it off as long as I can because I wanted to finish something, was too involved with a project, or not even fully mindful of the ache in the bladder.  But when standing, you recognize that you can't stave it off and since you're already standing, just trot right off to the bathroom.

But this increased bathroom visits has two wonderful secondary effects.  The first is that it gets me moving more (bathroom is about a 300 step round trip), which is always a good thing.  But it also helps me "refresh" my mind by having me step away from work.  This helps my work and productivity remain constant throughout the day.

Finally, despite the extra bathroom trips, I am more productive and attentive.  We all know the experience--sometime, after lunch, our brains start to fog out.  Sitting at the chair, we may start to get a case of the jello-head-neck-bob, fighting off (failingly) the heavy desire for a nap.  Eyelids are heavy, the screen is blurry, and you can feel your body begging for a nap.  This never happens with a standing desk.  I've loved this part of the experience.  I am always awake and attentive when standing.

The Cost and Arrangement

Set up at office location #2
As the Chronicle of Higher Education points out (yes, they apparently write regularly about such things--who knew?), you don't need to break the bank to make a feasible standing desk.  Instead of throwing out the old desk, use it as your base for your new one.  I've relied largely on the plastic container drawers that you can find at a variety of stores.  They range from $10 to $30 depending on how many and how big.  But a secondary result is more storage space.  So if you already have some storage bins or containers, you might save yourself money and use those.

I consider the height that would be necessary for my hands and the screen and determine what would work best.  There will be some adjustments so save receipts and try several different mixes.  It can be trickier with a laptop because screen and keyboard are attached.

The Challenges
Occasionally, I do need to return to sitting.  I find this particularly true with certain types of writing.  But I'm still not sure if this is dynamic of standing or if it's the place since I find long concentration in my apartment a bit challenging with the abundance of distractions therein.  That still needs to be determined.

The other major challenge is that I'm less tolerant of sitting for longer periods.  Whether it's a class or a long meeting, I find myself getting antsy and needing to stand within an hour.  It's also harder for me to remain attentive while sitting.  I slip faster into sleepy mode and get distracted with uncomfortable chairs, desiring to be standing instead.

Regardless, the challenges are marginal compared to the benefits reaped and I sold when it comes to standing desks.  Anyone else out there trying a standing desk or something similar?  I would love to hear from you about how it's going.  




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Letter to the Editor: Don't scapegoat drivers who text

So here is another letter to the editor--this one is about texting and enforcement.  It's in response to this editorial on June 10 in the Salem News.

"To the editor:

The Salem News is all cheers for “tough enforcement” against “texters” and all other “erratic drivers,” but in reality, they can’t help but fixate on those cellphone users. They are scapegoating cellphone users. For whatever reason, people want to rally against emergent cultural artifacts rendered possible through technology. The same thing happened with film, radio, comic books, video games, etc. They simply don’t get it, and rather than understand it, they attack it."

To read the rest at the Salem News, click on through.



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Misadventures in Social Media: What's It All About?

This series of blog posts will focus on social media and my experiences, thoughts, challenges, and of course, mistakes in social media.  It stems in part from trying to be reflective about what I do in the digital world just as much as I try to be reflective about what I do in the physical world.  It also resonates with my Social Media Approach page in getting me to have more conversations about what it is we do when we step into the world of bits and bytes.

It's not entirely new for me to talk about social media and it's role in our lives.  I have talked about inherently sexist messages in Facebook memes, engaged educators and students about their educational usage of social media, issues with social media and higher educationreflected on how social media has made me a more sensitive person, its role in tragic events, poorly executed memes (by me, no less) and many other similar posts.  But this series of posts provide some insight (for myself as much as others) about social media, its challenges, and its benefits.  Ultimately, I hope that my reflecting on the process helps me better a communicator in general and also in social media, which is a tricky and new-found territory that many of us are trying to navigate successfully or otherwise.

Though some are apt to disregard or be wary of social media, I do think it is a powerful and compelling tool for human connection.  I'm less inclined to buy into the often disparate views of a Nicholas Carr or Sheryl Turkle (a summation of her book can be found in her TED Talk) or more to recognize that social media's benefits outweigh its limiting consequences.  Too often, I see people contending that social media is a threat or a sign of decline and see the direct parallels (and false arguments) that have been made with the internet in general, video games, horror films, horror comics, the dance hall, the printed word, and the written word; thousands of years of technological progress and enhanced human communication and we still get weak in the knees.

Social media does change the ways we interact, the customs we've come to expect (keeping in mind, they are just customs--representations of civilization--not civilization itself), and most importantly, for the individual, the power he or she wields to control her or her environment.  It's this last one that vexes people the most.  Nothing seems to enrage people (often in the name of "decency"--to which they often exhibit their own lack thereof by talking about said people behind their backs in often judgmental and insulting tones) more than the insolent person using his or her digital device to engage with conversations and meaning-making beyond the immediate physical place.  Yes, people use their social media networks and often accompanying devices to check out of the immediate physical and social space and check into a digital space with peers or even strangers.  Many dislike this; they find it disrespectful; and they see it that "kids today are...."  But how is this different from checking out from a social space by choosing to engage with other people's fictional friends (in the form of say reading a book while in that same space) or withdrawing into one's own world (by daydreaming in one's head or through physical exultation such as doodling)?

So that's my angle--to recognize the value of and development of social media.  But in doing so, I also want to acknowledge the mistakes, mishaps, and opportunities to learn and understand more about social media in this newly emergent landscape of communication.  I'm also likely to discuss different social media events, books, and talks/podcasts that catch my attention on the subject matter. So wish me luck with it and I hope to hear about your own adventures (perchance a guest blogpost!).



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365 Books a Year Challenge: 41 Books in May!

Ok, so I did not expect to read 41 books this month.  If you remember (those 3 people who are reading this), my forecast for May was going to be low since I was going to be travelling for 3 weeks but apparently, I was quite wrong about this.  The various flights and train rides allowed me much time to read and the many miles walked and bike-riding afforded me some good time to listen as well.

This is actually good since I really don't think I'll make the count for June, since we're at June 9 and I've only read 2 books (there is at least one I'm very close to finishing, another I'm about 2/3 through and another about half).  Upon returning  from my trip, I've had very little time to catch up on the reading.

So here are a few of my favorite reads from the month!

The Devil's Church And Other Stories by Marchado de Assis 

This was my first introduction to Marchado de Assis and the anthology was off to a great start but stumbled along the way.  However, I did enjoy the stories overall, even if the later ones didn't live up to the earlier ones.  I found this anthology in a second-hand bookstore in Zwolle and it was handy since it was small enough to fit into my pocket or took up a small space in my travel bag.

Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn

I quite enjoyed this book and the approaches to mindfulness that Kabat-Zinn offers up.  His discussion and easy explanations about how to move into mindfulness coupled with good examples and methods of doing so were useful.  What was reassuring in some ways was to learn that I was already practicing mindfulness in varying degrees and that his explanations help me better understand why I do some things and how that helps to center me.

A Queer and Pleasant Danger: The True Story of a Nice Jewish Boy Who Joins the Church of Scientology and Leaves Twelve Years Later to Become the Lovely Lady She is Today by Kate Bornstein

I loved Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women and the Rest of Us but was a little hesitant to pick up A Queer and Pleasant Danger--where can one really go after providing such a fascinating look and exploration of sex, gender, and sexuality.  Wow--Bornstein sends readers in some awesome directions in this memoir that leaves you in stitches with some of the more zany events in her life.

Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness by Scott Jurek

Jurek is now the second book on ultra-marathon running that I've read.  Born to Run was the first.  Though inspiring and motivating as I train to run a marathon this year and who knows what, next year, I found the book couldn't quite decide if it was a memoir or a how-to guide.  There was some great information and tips but Jurek's goal felt a bit diluted.  Regardless, it's a must read for runner looking for some extra pep and encouragement.

The Revolution Was Televised: The Cops, Crooks, Slingers and Slayers Who Changed TV Drama Forever by Alan Sepinwall

Sepinwall's book reminded me to some degree of Steven Johnson's Everything Bad for You Is Good in that he creates a strong and coherent argument about the amazing complexity of modern television--one that destroys the idea that the television is an idiotbox.  In his exploration, Sepinwall shows the depth and power of storytelling provided by some of the best shows of the last 15 years including Oz, Sopranos, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Mad Men, and The Shield.

Red Diaper Baby: Three Comic Monologues by Josh Kornbluth

Josh Kornbluth is awesome.  If you have not seen Haiku Tunnel yet and are a fan of office comedies, go see it now!  This collection of monologues, performed by Kornbluth (I listened to it) is a fun and quirky trip through his childhood and second childhood (or what some might call adulthood).

Here's the tally so far or you can check the full list of books this year at GoodReads:

BOOKS

  • Selected Fables by Jean de La Fontaine
  • The Devil's Church And Other Stories by Marchado de Assis 
  • Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • The Genius Of William Hogarth by William Hogarth

AUDIOBOOKS

  • Aging as a Spiritual Practice: A Contemplative Guide to Growing Older and Wiser by Lewis Richmond
  • A Queer and Pleasant Danger: The True Story of a Nice Jewish Boy Who Joins the Church of Scientology and Leaves Twelve Years Later to Become the Lovely Lady She is Today by Kate Bornstein
  • Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness by Scott Jurek
  • The Revolution Was Televised: The Cops, Crooks, Slingers and Slayers Who Changed TV Drama Forever by Alan Sepinwall
  • Echoes of my Soul by Robert Tanenbaum
  • Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation Is Changing Your World by Don Tapscott
  • Final crisis by Greg Cox
  • The Way Hollywood Tells It: Story and Style in Modern Movies by David Bordwell
  • Red Diaper Baby: Three Comic Monologues by Josh Kornbluth
  • Seduction of the Innocent by Max Allan Collins
  • Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of Business by Jeff Howe
  • Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge by Cass Sunstein

GRAPHIC NOVELS

  • Two Guns by Steven Grant
  • Possessions, Vol. 2: The Ghost Table by Ray Fawkes
  • Clay County by Bruce Brown
  • Possessions, Vol. 1: Unclean Getaway by Ray Fawkes
  • Nothingface by Kel Nuttall
  • The Black List by Salvatore Pane
  • The Traveler Vol. 1 by Stan Lee
  • The Traveler Vol. 2 by Stan Lee
  • Salem: Queen of Thorns by Kevin Walsh
  • Spike: A Dark Place by Victor Gischler
  • Butcher Street by Justin Robinson
  • The Curse of Dracula by Marv Wolfman
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 9, Volume 3: Guarded by Andrew Chambliss
  • Ark by Peter Dabbene
  • Unemployment Adventures of Aqualung by Alex Schumacher
  • Green Hornet, Vol. 1 by Kevin Smith
  • Happy! by Grant Morrison
  • Crossed: Wish You Were Here Volume 1 by Simon Spurrier
  • Moving Pictures by Kathryn Immonen
  • Daredevil, Volume 1 by Mark Waid
  • The Incredible Hulk, Vol. 1 by Jason Aaron
  • The Incredible Hulk, Vol. 2 by Jason Aaron
  • Avengers: Season One by Peter David
  • Superman: Earth One, Vol. 2 by Michael J. Straczynski
  • Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E., Vol. 2: Secrets of the Dead by Jeff Lemire

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Travel Updated #13: Coming Home & Reflections

So I came back to the US on May 31, 2013 in the evening but have been quite busy since I came home.  I finally had a few minutes to reflect on my travels and bring this video journal to a close.  I appreciate everyone that's been reading it and enjoying the videos.  They were fun to make and experiment with and I hope they weren't too painful to watch!





Today's random images from the photo archive:

A scrumptious English breakfast!
The Eye of London
Camden Town Marketplace




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