Showing posts with label Authors on My Radar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Authors on My Radar. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

365 Books a Year Challenge: 27 Books in October

I'm in the final stretch of reading this year with just two months to go and 332 books read.  It seems safe to say I will make the 365 book mark and in all likelihood pass it.  This will put me at over 100+ books than last year.  Not a bad year in terms of reading I would say.  Clearly, this month I didn't make the 31 count to match the days, but since last month I hit 47 and October was incredibly busy, I'm ok with that. 

What I'm less ok with is that I didn't read any traditional books but graphic novels and audiobooks.  I am into some degree of at least 4 books that will make the list for November in all likelihood but I'm sure some people are snickering at my claims of "reading" 27 books despite they not being traditional "books".  Of course, interestingly, if I read every one of Shakespeare's writings, those also would not constitute "books"--they are plays and poetry collections.  

In terms of works that stuck out this month, there wasn't a lot.  There were a few disappointments (The Design of Future Things by Donald A. Norman and Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now by Douglas Rushkoff) but only three that stuck out to any degree.  

Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville

To be fair, I've read Bartleby before but it came through as a title to review this month and it had been a while so I figured another listen was worth it, since I do enjoy it.  I'll save talking about the narration as that's part of the professional review I wrote.  But Bartleby is on of my favorite Melville stories and I love to teach it.  The tension and consternation of the narrator with Bartleby is wonderful to watch as he knows not how to deal with such a direct force as Bartleby and his "preferences."

You Are Now Less Dumb: How to Conquer Mob Mentality, How to Buy Happiness, and All the Other Ways to Outsmart Yourself by David McRaney

Books like McRaney's are great as I find them to help center me and keep a wide open perspective about how people come to see the world (including myself) and how even when we may think we are right or see something clearly, we are substantially bogged down by external and internal forces that lead us to believe we know more than we might.   It earned a 5-Star rating (meaning I think it's required reading for everyone!) because I think so much of dialogue on so many different subjects could be enhanced through learning about the different ways in which despite our best efforts, we often fail at communication.

Doctor Sleep (The Shining, #2) by Stephen King

King returns to the world of one of his most famous and classic books with Doctor Sleep and it's a great trip.  King manages to deliver another story in the world without it being a sequel per se but rather, a continuation of the journey started in The Shining.  He loads it with his typical features (supernatual, characters devoid of morals, cross-country treks, and good folks with power never quite sure of what they are supposed to do).  I continue to enjoy King for his dedication to the story and writing style; he tells great stories that are always worth listening to.

So there are my highlights from this past month.  For those keeping track, here's the full list of books thus far (or check it out on GoodReads):
And for those who want to know what books I enjoyed, here is the list:  


  • Social TV: How Marketers Can Reach and Engage Audiences by Connecting Television to the Web, Social Media, and Mobile by Mike Proulx
  • Doctor Sleep (The Shining, #2) by Stephen King
  • Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist by Bill McKibben
  • The Design of Future Things by Donald A. Norman
  • Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville
  • Sister Mother Husband Dog: Etc. by Delia Ephron
  • You Are Now Less Dumb: How to Conquer Mob Mentality, How to Buy Happiness, and All the Other Ways to Outsmart Yourself by David McRaney
  • Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now by Douglas Rushkoff


  • Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi, Vol. 1 - Force Storm by John Ostrander 
  • Domovoi by Peter Bergting
  • The Last of Us: American Dreams by Neil Druckmann
  • Bandette Volume 1: Presto! by Paul Tobin
  • Wonder Woman, Vol. 3: Iron by Brian Azzarello
  • The Answer! by Mike Norton
  • Daredevil: End of Days by Brian Michael Bendis
  • X-Treme X-Men, Vol. 2: You Can't Go Home Again by Greg Pak
  • Wolverine Volume 1: Hunting Season by Paul Cornell
  • The Superior Spider-Man, Vol. 2: A Troubled Mind by Dan Slott
  • Star Wars, Volume 1: In the Shadow of Yavin by Brian Wood
  • Superman Beyond: Man of Tomorrow by JT Krul
  • Commencement (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, #1) by John Jackson Miller
  • The Defense of Kamino and Other Tales (Star Wars: Clone Wars, #1) by John Ostrander
  • Star Wars: Vaders Quest by Darko Macan
  • The Ahakista Gambit (Star Wars: Rebellion, #2) by Rob Williams
  • Star Wars: Jango Fett by Ron Marz
  • Star Wars: Chewbacca by Darko Macan
  • The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Ship That Sank Twice by Mike Carey

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

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

365 Books a Year Challenge: 47 Books in September

This month I cruised passed the 300 mark (306 to be exact) and am well on the path to topping 365 books and maybe hitting the 400 mark.  We shall see.  I was in full gear this month and ready 47 books.  Granted 19 of which were traditional books and the other 28 were graphic novels, but that's still a fair feat for a month I would say.

So what were some of this month's highlights?  Let's check them out!
Image:  Book cover to In the Body of the World

In the Body of the World: A Memoir by Eve Ensler.  

In two words, this book is "brutally beautiful."  I've enjoyed Ensler's work--not just the now-famous Vagina Monologues but her other work (e.g. The Good Body) and her overall activism.  She has her share of critics about how she presents her message but the amount of good work and its impact on the world is palpable.  She has certainly been an inspiration to me on how to be a feminist.  This memoir meshes the world of her childhood violence with the continued violence of women around the world; all of which is superimposed on her battle with cancer.  In the Body of the World jumps from topic to topic at an almost frantic pace, mixing poetry, essays, and reflections.  Each piece conveys various facets of her experience and how the violence experienced by her body is connected to much of the violence throughout the world.

I listened to this as an audiobook and Ensler reads it in her typical dramatic flair.  This adds greatly to the experience and it's clear from her pace, emphasis and tone when she is ready poetry or an essay.  The various emotions from her writing boil over into her voice and it is extremely hard not to be moved by this book.
Image:  Book cover  to Who Owns the Future by Jaron Lanier

Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier.  

This book is not as emotionally charging as Ensler's but it is equally important for the world today.  As a well-known technologist of the 1980s and 1990s, Lanier has much to say about the modern interconnected world and his concerns about it.  Continuing on from his last book, You Are Not a Gadget, he explores the world of mega-servers, their powers to influence the world and the impact that can have on human affairs, particularly the world of economics and trade.  His biggest concern is that the information individuals are willing to give companies, as he claims, "for free" is setting up a system that will inevitably come back to bite us in our collective asses.  He offers up a new approach to the exchange of information that takes place every time an individual sits at a computer and accesses the internet.  His idea would be to create a system of micropayments so that everyone is given something for every piece of information that another person, company, entity uses.

Some people might not fully understand but every time they interact with a computer, there are numerous note-takers recording much of what you do in terms of what you click, what you look at, how long you look at it, etc.  Many have argued that Google and the like do much more in terms of surveillance than NSA ever could.  Lanier believes individuals should be paid for such information, even if it is micropayments (with the belief that it will amount to some small streams of revenue given the amount of information that is actually collected on us).  I do like the idea but I find Lanier still fails to prove his point.  His most basic argument is that companies are taking information from us without our consent and without due compensation.  Yet, that's not entirely true.  In many cases, we are exchanging services.  I provide information about me and in return, I get  use and access to tools that I would not have had otherwise.  He never substantially addresses this.  Otherwise, it's a fantastic and thought-provoking book.
Image:  Book cover for Like One

Like One: Poems for Boston edited by Deborah Finkelstein

 I'm not a big fan of poetry, which is why I find it amusing that two of my big picks for this month have a strong poetry component (the other being Ensler's book).  Like One: Poems for Boston is a great anthology filled with contemporary and classic poets (e.g. Walt Whitman and Robert Frost) that celebrates togetherness.  Editor, Deborah Finkelstein was inspired to edit this anthology in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings--not to put the focus on the tragedy, but to capture the unity that emerged in its aftermath.  The collection's proceeds go to help victims of the bombing.

Overall, I surprisingly liked this collection.  That's not because I expected less from it but mostly because I'm not usually as captured by poetry as other forms of writing.  I appreciate it, but am just not driven to read it.  However, Finkelstein not only selected a great and accessible collection of poems, she also did a great job of organizing the poems as they often flow from one to another in a way that's hard to fully explain but feels natural.  As one reads through the poems, it's easy to understand why the order fit; each one seems in part born of the previous poem and preparing to birth the next.  In that, there is a harmony to this collection that beautifully captures the purpose in celebrating the unity of Bostonians.

A Christmas Story: The Book That Inspired the Hilarious Classic Film by Jean Shepherd.  

The less serious pick of the month is one that I'm betting most people did not even know was a book first.  Most people know A Christmas Story for the classic 1983 film that many of us relish watching around the holidays.  Some may even know that it's a musical now too.  But most, never knew it was a book first.

I really enjoyed the book.  It's a collection of short stories rather than one singular text like the film and it's easy to see how they turned it into a film so seamlessly.  It's not a case of the book is better, though I wouldn't say the film is better either.  They each do things that the others cannot and compliment one another quite well.  The only significant different between the two ends up being the time of the stories.  In the film, the story is situated in the 1950s, while in the book, the stories are situated in the 1930s.  Otherwise, they capture the epic adventure that is childhood quite well.

So there are my highlights from this past month.  For those keeping track, here's the full list of books thus far (or check it out on GoodReads):
And for those who want to know what books I enjoyed, here is the list:  


  • Like One: Poems for Boston by Deborah Finkelstein
  • The Dream Boss by Carrie Stack
  • African History For Beginners by Herb Boyd
  • The Tombs of Atuan (Earthsea Cycle, #2) by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Jane Austen For Beginners by Robert Dryden


  • Hollywood Said No!: Orphaned Film Scripts, Bastard Scenes, and Abandoned Darlings from the Creators of Mr. Show by David Cross & Bob Odenkirk
  • Science Fiction: A Very Short Introduction by David Seed
  • Survival 101: The Essential Guide to Saving Your Own Life in a Disaster by Marcus Duke
  • David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
  • Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives by Nicholas Christakis
  • In the Body of the World: A Memoir by Eve Ensler
  • Myth: A Very Short Introduction by Robert Segal
  • Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier
  • The Truth by Michael Palin
  • A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming: Mastering the Art of Oneironautics by Dylan Tuccillo
  • Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper
  • The Butler: A Witness to History by Wil Haygood
  • If This Isn't Nice, What Is?: Advice for the Young by Kurt Vonnegut
  • A Christmas Story: The Book That Inspired the Hilarious Classic Film by Jean Shepherd


  • Before Watchmen: Ozymandias/Crimson Corsair by Len Wein
  • Five Ghosts, Vol. 1: The Haunting of Fabian Gray by Frank Barbiere
  • East of West, Vol. 1: The Promise by Jonathan Hickman
  • Transfusion: Vampires Versus Robots by Steve Niles
  • The Black Beetle in No Way Out by Francesco Francavilla
  • Green Hornet: Year One Vol 1: The Sting of Justice by Matt Wagner
  • Colder by Paul Tobin
  • Supercrooks by Mark Millar
  • Lobster Johnson, Vol. 2: The Burning Hand by Mike Mignola
  • Willow: Wonderland by Jeff Parker
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Welcome to the Team (Season 9, #4) by Andrew Chambliss
  • Angel & Faith: Death and Consequences (Angel & Faith, #4) by Christos Gage
  • Swamp Thing, Vol. 2: Family Tree by Scott Snyder
  • Animal Man, Vol. 3: Rotworld: The Red Kingdom by Jeff Lemire
  • Nightwing, Vol. 2: Night of the Owls by Kyle Higgins
  • Infinity Incoming! by Stan Lee
  • Cable and X-Force, Vol. 1: Wanted by Dennis Hopeless
  • Avengers - Volume 2: The Last White Event by Jonathan Hickman
  • Orchid, Volume 3 by Tom Morello
  • Orchid, Volume 2 by Tom Morello
  • Orchid, Volume 1 by Tom Morello
  • Star Wars: Purge by John Ostrander
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars - The Sith Hunters by Henry Gilroy
  • The Dark Side (Star Wars: Jedi, #1) by Scott Allie
  • My Brother, My Enemy (Star Wars: Rebellion, #1) by Rob Williams
  • Betrayal (Star Wars: Empire, #1) by Scott Allie
  • Path to Nowhere (Star Wars: Dark Times, #1) by Mick Harrison
  • Parallels (Star Wars: Dark Times, #2) by Mick Harrison
So hey, what are some of your best reads this year?  What has grabbed your attention fro good or bad reasons?

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

Monday, September 9, 2013

365 Books a Year Challenge: 35 Books in August

Another 35 books on the list, bringing me to 260 books for the year!  It's safe to say that I'll hit my mark, I think.  This month had a couple reads that I wanted to talk a little more about than I usually do.

Elric of Melniboné (Elric, #1) by Michael Moorcock

So if you search through my Goodreads books, there is a good amount of fantasy in there but I had never picked up Moorcock's work.  I actually liked this one and am tempted to read a few more.  It's nothing great or inspiring but it had good progression to it--it didn't linger to long (I'm looking at you, late Robert Jordan).  It reminded me a lot (for obvious reasons) of the DragonLance and Forgotten Realms series.

The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind by James Boyle

So everyone should read this book that is ever thinking of making anything in any form that they may or may not want credit for (either in accolades or payment).  It's a great book for understanding the complexities of the public domain and the ways in which ensuring there is indeed a public commons of works after a reasonable time has passed from its creation (that is, current copyright is ridiculous) ensures a rich and vibrant culture.  Additionally, it is a book that practices what it preaches and is indeed available in digital for free on its website.

Sweet Tooth, Vol. 6: Wild Game by Jeff Lemire

I don't often spend much time in these posts talking about graphic novels, but Lemire (who I've talked about before) is just wonderful to read.  The end of this series (Sweet Tooth) was a bittersweet.  It was an enjoyable, quirky, and intriguing story that reminds me why I try to read everything that he contributes to.  It's a post-apocalyptic story with an adoptive father and destine-born strange child, but Lemire still manages to make it engaging and curious.

Screaming with the Cannibals by Lee Maynard

This recommendation comes with a warning.  This book is not for easily offended.  It's a complex book but one with a good amount of swears, sex scenes, and racial epithets.  In earnest, it feels like Huck Finn reinvented for the middle of the 20th century.  However, what's most enjoyable is the audiobook where Ross Ballard II of Mountain Whispers Audiobooks plays the producer, director, and narrator making it a fantastic listening experience.  I actually had the opportunity to interview Ross and that will be published in the near future.  To be forewarned, this is a sequel to the book, Crum, but you can still pick this one up and listen to it without missing much.

Here's the full list thus far (or check it out on GoodReads):
Here are this month's books:


  • Lovers' Yoga: Soothing Stretches for Two by Darrin Zeer
  • Analyzing Performance Problems: Or, You Really Oughta Wanna--How to Figure out Why People Aren't Doing What They Should Be, and What to do About It by Robert F. Mager


  • Elric of Melniboné (Elric, #1) by Michael Moorcock
  • Think Like a Futurist: Know What Changes, What Doesn't, and What's Next by Cecily Sommers
  • The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind by James Boyle
  • The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave, #1) by Rick Yancey
  • Clockwork Fairy Tales: A Collection of Steampunk Fables by Stephen Antczak
  • Screaming with the Cannibals by Lee Maynard
  • Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts by Emily Anthes
  • Police Your Planet by Lester del Rey


  • Sir Edward Grey, Witchfinder, Vol. 2: Lost and Gone Forever by Mike Mignola
  • Batman: Arkham Unhinged, Vol. 1 by Paul Dini
  • Aquaman, Vol. 2: The Others by Geoff Johns
  • Justice League Dark, Vol. 2: The Books of Magic by Jeff Lemire
  • Fairest, Vol. 2: Hidden Kingdom by Lauren Beukes
  • Invincible Volume 18: Death of Everyone by Robert Kirman
  • Star Wars: Agent of the Empire: Iron Eclipse by John Ostrander
  • Great Pacific Volume 1: Trashed! by Joe Harris
  • Sweet Tooth, Vol. 6: Wild Game by Jeff Lemire
  • Captain America, Vol. 1: Castaway in Dimension Z by Rick Remender
  • Bedlam vol. 1 by Nick Spencer
  • Deadpool, Vol. 1: Dead Presidents by Brian Posehn
  • Saga, Volume 2 by Brian Vaughan
  • Blackacre Volume 1 by Duffy Boudreau
  • Action Comics, Vol. 2: Bulletproof by Grant Morrison
  • Teen Titans, Vol. 2: The Culling by Scott Lobdell
  • The Walking Dead, Vol. 18: What Comes After by Robert Kirkman
  • The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks
  • Genius by Steven T. Seagle
  • The Occultist Volume 1 by Tim Seeley
  • Uncanny Avengers, Vol. 1: The Red Shadow by Rick Remender
  • Thunderbolts Vol. 1: No Quarter by Daniel Way
  • Voodoo, Vol. 2: The Killer in Me by Josh Williamson
  • The Victories Volume 1: Touched by Michael Avon Oeming
  • Paradox Entertainment Presents: Kult by Jeremy Barlow

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

Monday, August 5, 2013

365 Books a Year Challenge: 32 Books in July

The numbers are in and I made 32 books this month, putting me at a total of 224 books in total this year, putting me within 40 books of meeting last year's accomplishment.  So what are my thoughts about this month's reads?

I've picked up a couple of Mike Mignola's graphic  novels.  He's most famous for his Hellboy series but he does a variety of other projects and titles.  I tend to like his art and some of his more interesting characters.  Additionally, I like the universe that he's slowly crafted with Hellboy, B.R.P.D., and other characters.  He's worth picking up for a look at the fictional supernatural worlds that he creates and how his characters move through them.

Best Reads of the Month

A quick view of the books thus far by covers.
Hands down, Dan Savage is someone I admire and appreciate even before reading American Savage.  His work with the It Gets Better project is a great contribution to the progress of the human condition in our country.  I've listened to his podcasts and read his previous book, The Commitment.  American Savage was just delightful.  His articulate and cunning prose coupled with a good sense of humor destroys all logical argument for some of the most caustic and negative elements of our culture and its values.

Star-Begotten by H. G. Wells is a book that few have read but many should.  After having read it and considered it's place within the wider culture upon publication, I'm contemplating writing an article about it.  It's not a novel where much happens but given the time and place of the book, it has some curious implications.

As I've passed the half-way mark and am thinking about future challenges when it comes to reading, I've come up with a couple that I thought might be interested (even more so if others want to join in with me and share our experiences--either though conversation, co-blogging, or some other dynamic).  I'd love to hear people's thoughts on these challenges:

1 Short Story a Day

 I have about 20+ anthologies of different sorts.  I'm a bit of a short-story fan and find they're a great way to get a taste of different authors.  I'm thinking that maybe dedicating myself to reading 1 short story a day.  This may seem like a step back from the 365 books a year of this year, but I see it as a slightly different interest and approach.

The entire work of a fairly prolific author:  

After reading Star-Begotten and doing a little research, I can see how prolific he was and that has me wondering, what if I tried to read all of his books in a year.  This could be interest.  Finding the right author would be key.  I couldn't do Isaac Asimov whose works come in around 450+ books, but someone who has a hefty oeuvre to them.  I'd say Stephen King, but I've already read at least 50% or more of his works.

A year of the big books:  

Here, I'm thinking of tackling the "big books."  I'll need to better define that but books that are "classic" maybe and 500+ pages.  I've done The Count of Monte Cristo, which is still one of my favorites, but I'm thinking Moby-Dick, War & Peace, Anna Karenina, Don Quixote any number of Dickens books, etc.  The goal would be to read one a month.

So there are my potential challenges, what do you think?

Here's the full list thus far (or check it out on GoodReads):
Here's a breakdown of the books for this month:


  • Star Begotten: A Biological Fantasia by H.G. Wells


  • Christine Jorgensen: A Personal Autobiography by Christine Jorgensen
  • Social Engineering: The Art of Human Hacking  by Christopher Hadnagy
  • Stoker's Manuscript by Royce Prouty
  • American Savage: Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics by Dan Savage
  • Artful by Ali Smith
  • A World Out of Time (The State, #1) by Larry Niven


  • Darth Vader and the Lost Command by W. Blackman
  • Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison by W. Blackman
  • B.P.R.D., Vol. 2: The Soul of Venice and Other Stories by Mike Mignola
  • Gandhi: A Manga Biography by Kazuki Ebine
  • Trinity of Sin: Phantom Stranger, Vol. 1: A Stranger Among Us by Dan DiDio
  • Captain Atom, Vol. 1: Evolution by JT Krul\
  • Abe Sapien, Vol. 1: The Drowning by Mike Mignola
  • B.P.R.D., Vol. 1: Hollow Earth and Other Stories by Mike Mignola
  • Cherubs! by Bryan Talbot
  • All-New X-Men, Vol. 2: Here to Stay by Brian Michael Bendis
  • Baltimore: The Plague Ships (Baltimore, #1) by Mike Mignola
  • Alpha Girl, Volume One by JP Bonjour
  • Detective Comics, Vol. 2: Scare Tactics by Tony Daniel
  • X-O Manowar Vol. 2: Enter Ninjak by Robert Venditti
  • X-O Manowar Vol. 1: By The Sword by Robert Venditti
  • Archer & Armstrong Vol. 1: The Michelangelo Code by Fred Van Lente
  • X-Men Legacy, Vol. 1: Prodigal by Simon Spurrier
  • First X-Men by Neal Adams
  • Harbinger Vol. 1: Omega Rising by Joshua Dysart
  • The Superior Spider-Man, Vol. 1: My Own Worst Enemy by Dan  Slott
  • Alabaster: Wolves by Caitlín Kiernan
  • The Ravagers, Vol. 1: The Kids from N.O.W.H.E.R.E. by Howard Mackie
  • The Creep by John Arcudi
  • Superboy, Vol. 2: Extraction by Tom DeFalco
  • Indestructible Hulk, Vol. 1: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. by Mark Waid

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

Thursday, July 4, 2013

365 Books a Year Challenge: 25 Books in June!

So I wasn't as successful with June as I was with May, but alas, getting caught up from being away for nearly a month, starting classes, and picking up on my training left me with less time to get a lot of reading done.  But I did manage reasonably enough.  25 out of 30--not bad and with the bump from last month of 41 books, I'm still in good shape to hit my target.  Like every month, I had some "meh" reads but also a good share of good reads and these three are the ones that I found most appealing.  

A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe It or Not!" Ripley by Neal Thompson.  

I've know of Ripley's "Believe It or Not!" but have never been in any of the actual museums or even watched the TV show (I think it was a TV show?).  But when my editor sent this to me, I was slightly curious and that certainly paid off.  I was familiar with the outrageous and borderline-spectacle that Ripley is known for, but I had not clue about his start in comics.  He was definitely as quirky as those people in which he collected but seeing his life move from sports illustration reporting to comics to eventually radio and so on was excellently explained and connected through Thompson's work.  I'm very curious to look at and read any collections of his cartoons now.

The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum by Temple Grandin.  

A co-worker first introduced me to Temple Grandin when telling me about a biopic of her featuring Claire Danes.  I watched the movie (being a fan of Danes) and was impressed to find out about Grandin's work in a variety of fields.  So when this book came across my desk to review I was pretty excited and it definitely came through.  Grandin and Panek do a great job exploring autism through the brain and understanding through the latest technology and research how to make sense of autism, recognize the challenges it can represent, but also the innumerable ways it can add value to people's lives.  She doesn't present it as a gift by any means but she does excellent in emphasizing what benefits and opportunities are available if we more consciously and sincerely integrate autism into our culture.  

Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life by Annette Lareau.  

Lareau's book explores the challenges that class offer up to children particularly as it comes to outcomes and opportunities.  What I really liked about this book is how she is able to connect the various ways that class does substantively change what youth are aware of and available to act upon based upon the class dynamics of their upbringing.  This is particularly true when it comes to the education and job process.  

Here's the full list thus far (or check it out on GoodReads):

This month's readings:  


  • The Synchronous Trainer's Survival Guide: Facilitating Successful Live and Online Courses, Meetings, and Events by Jennifer Hofmann
  • Great American Short Stories by various


  • The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
  • A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe It or Not!" Ripley by Neal Thompson
  • Size Matters Not: The Extraordinary Life And Career Of Warwick Davis by Warwick Davis
  • The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More by Chris Anderson
  • The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum by Temple Grandin
  • Twerp by Mark Goldblatt
  • Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life by Annette Lareau
  • The Humanoids and With Folded Hands by Jack Williamson
  • Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty by Abhijit Banerjee


  • Avengers Arena, Vol. 1: Kill or Die by Dennis Hopeless
  • Smallville Season 11 Vol. 1: Guardian by Bryan Miller
  • Peter Panzerfaust Vol 1: The Great Escape by Kurtis Wiebe
  • Stormwatch, Vol. 2: Enemies of Earth by Peter Milligan
  • The Lovecraft Anthology, Vol 1 by various 
  • Mind Mgmt Volume One: The Manager by Matt Kindt
  • The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume 2 by various 
  • The Manhattan Projects, Vol. 2: Above Beyond by Jonathan Hickman
  • Batman Incorporated, Vol. 1 by Grant Morrison
  • Batman: The Night of the Owls by Scott Snyder
  • Avengers - Volume 1: Avengers World by Jonathan Hickman
  • Dial H, Vol. 1: Into You by China Miéville
  • All-New X-Men, Vol. 1: Yesterday's X-Men by Brian Michael Bendis
  • X-Treme X-Men - Volume 1: Xavier Must Die! by Greg Pak

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

Monday, July 1, 2013

Favorite Freebies on Amazon Part 2 of 2: Horror & Sci-Fi Edition

So last Friday, I talked a bit about my favorite ways of finding free ebooks on Amazon.  I saw that a lot of people visited the site and shared it with others (thank you!).  I hope part 2 is equally rewarding.  In particular, I've focused on Science-fiction, fantasy, and horror.  So enjoy and let me know what you may have found that I didn't know about!

A couple other places that I found that regular post free Kindle books include:

There is of course, the Free Book Collections site on Amazon itself.  There's also Freebook Sifter, which sorts books into categories for you to explore better than the Amazon interface.

There's also these Twitter accounts that are fairly prodigious in their outpouring:
Free eBooks Daily
Free Kindle Books
Free Kindle Ebooks
Free Kindle eBooks
Free Kindle Fiction
Kindle Free Books
Hundred Zeros

And here are some more of my favorites "free" purchases that I've found on Amazon, including some very popular science-fiction, fantasy, and horror authors.

Sentiment, Inc.
Poul William Anderson
Poul William Anderson titles.

Looking Backward 2000-1887.
Edward Bellamy
Edward Bellamy titles.

The Dueling Machine.
Ben Bova
Ben Bova titles.

The Planet Savers.
Marion Zimmer Bradley

The Monster Men.
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Edgar Rice Burroughs titles.

Invaders from the Infinite.
John Wood Campbell
John Wood Campbell titles.

Let'Em Breathe Space.
Lester Del Rey
Lester Del Rey titles.

The Hanging Stranger.
Philip K. Dick
Philip K. Dick titles.

Northworld Trilogy.
David Drake
David Drake titles.

Rastignac the Devil.
Philip José Farmer

The Misplaced Battleship.
Harry Harrison
Harry Harrison titles.

Operation Haystack.
Frank Herbert
Frank Herbert titles.

Wool - Part One.
Hugh Howey

The Moon is Green.
Fritz Leiber
Fritz Leiber titles.

News from Nowhere, or, an Epoch of Rest : being some chapters from a utopian romance.
William Morris

The Time Traders.
Andre Norton
Andre Norton titles.

The Hated.
Frederik Pohl
Frederick Pohl titles.

Starman's Quest.
Robert Silverberg

Clifford D. Simak
Clifton D. Simak titles.

The Big Trip Up Yonder.
Kurt Vonnegut

On Basilisk Station (Honor Harrington).
David Weber
David Weber titles.

The Invisible Man.
H. G. Wells
H. G. Wells titles.

Famous Modern Ghost Stories Anthology.

The Book of Were-Wolves.
S. Baring-Gould
S. Baring-Gould titles.

The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce, Volume 1.
Ambrose Bierce
Ambrose Bierce titles.

The Wendigo.
Algernon Blackwood
Algernon Blackwood titles.

This Crowded Earth.
Robert Bloch

The Dark Star.
Robert W. Chambers
Robert W. Chambers titles.

The Sword of Welleran and Other Stories.
Lord Dunsany
Lord Dunsany titles.

The Screaming.
Jack Kilborn
Jack Kilborn (A.K.A. J. A. Konrath regularly has his titles for free on Amazon).

A Stable for Nightmares or Weird Tales.
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu titles.

The Great God Pan.
Arthur Machen
Arthur Machen titles.

Varney the Vampire Or the Feast of Blood.
Thomas Preskett Prest

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Mary Shelley titles.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Stevenson titles.

Bram Stoker
Bram Stoker titles.

So what are some of the interesting treasures you've discovered on Amazon for free?

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

Friday, June 28, 2013

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.


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.

Thomas Hobbes

The Odyssey.
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

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 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.

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.

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.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe titles.


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

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


More Fairy Tales titles.


Well Played 2.0: Video Games, Value and Meaning.
Drew Davidson

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?

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