Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Discounted eBooks - October 31, 2007

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I don't necessarily pick them but I am always interested to see what our readers ask for each week! Sandworms of Dune is back by popular request -- get your copy this week at a 23% discount. To get your discount on any of the titles use coupon F398K at check out.

Be sure to add your discount request to our NEW google group Go to Discounts on Demand and tell us what you want to see discounted next week
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Bill of Wrongs eBook edition
by Ivins, Molly/ Dubose, Lou
Throughout her long career of “afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted,” the cause closest to Molly Ivins’s heart was working to protect the freedoms we all value. Sadly, today we’re living in a time when dissent is equated with giving aid to terrorists, when any of us can be held in prison without even knowing the charges against us, and when our constitutional rights are being interpreted by a president who calls himself “The Decider.”
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List Price : $l17.95
Your price $13.82 (Using your 10% discount and $ .73 in eBook Reward points)
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Sandworms of Dune eBook Edition
by: Herbert, Brian/Anderson, Kevin
Based directly on Frank Herbert's final outline, which lay hidden in two safe-deposit boxes for a decade, Sandworms of Dune will answer the urgent questions Dune fans have been debating for two decades: the origin of the Honored Matres, the tantalizing future of the planet Arrakis, the final revelation of the Kwisatz Haderach, and the resolution to the war between Man and Machine.
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List Price : $27.95
Your price $21.51 (Using your 10% discount and $1.13 iin eBook Reward points)
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Basic Black
by: Black, Cathie
Cathie Black is the wise, funny mentor that every woman dreams of having . . . No matter where you are in your career, Basic Black offers invaluable lessons that will help you land the job, promotion, or project you’re vying for. At the core of the book are Cathie’s candid, personal stories.
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List Price : $17.95
Your price $13.82 (Using your 10% discount and $ .73 in eBook Reward points)
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All Through The Night
by: Brockmann, Suzanne
Brockmann's 12th Troubleshooter thriller opens with gay FBI agent Jules Cassidy's marriage proposal to gorgeous A-List movie star Robin Chadwick (recently out of the closet and out of rehab). The two men's Boston wedding shower is crashed by Globe reporter Will Schroeder, and the tape of Will's revealing interview with Robin ends up on the Net.
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List Price : $17.95
Your price $13.82 (Using your 10% discount and $ .73 in eBook Reward points)
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AIX 5L ADMINISTRATION (Adobe Reader) eBook
by: Michael, Randal K.
Maximize the powerful capabilities of AIX version 5L--the fastest growing UNIX operating system--with help from this exceptional guide. Emphasizing everything system administrators need to know--this complete guide contains professional-level coverage of key topics.
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List Price : $49.99
Your price $38.47 (Using your 10% discount and $2.02 in eBook Reward points)
Our guarantee: If you have bought one of these titles in the last 15 days we will gladly offer you a coupon for the difference between this price and the price you paid; just contact us.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Blogging Heros -- no eBook yet

Interested in Blogging? Well, here’s the deal: if you have the time and energy you might actually snag all of Blogging Heros, a collection of interviews with 30 top bloggers, "for free.”

It’s up to you: preorder it from the Publisher, wait and buy it on December 10 or download chapters and start reading now.

Here’s is the story:

Michael Banks spent months interviewing Bloggers and asking them for advice on how to start and maintain a blog, what tools to use, how to research, how to attract and measure audiences, and how to make money from blogging. He even asked them to share the single most-important element to their success.

Last week John Wiley and Sons, his publisher, started an active marketing campaign. One of their ploys is to encourage each of the Bloggers interviewed to post their interview on their own blog so that anyone who is interested can download it for free. Very smart idea!

The Wiley site gives you a partial list of bloggers intereviewed and sites:

  • Thomas Dolby (
  • David Rothman (
  • Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Wired
  • Mark Frauenfelder (
  • Michael Arrington (
  • Robert Scoble (
  • Peter Rojas (
  • Ina Steiner (
  • Gina Trapani (
  • Alex Pareene (

As an interested reader I checked them out. . . I’ll save you a little work here – as of this morning only four of the ten have put up a chapter.

These are great interviews and they certainly whetted my appetite for more. This is a book I will end up buying. The good news is that the PDFs loaded on my UMPC so I am good to go.

My only disappointment is that the publisher, John Wiley, has not announced an eBook edition (yet).

Monday, October 29, 2007

Identical Strangers (eBook Edition)

Imagine a slightly different version of you walks across the room, looks you in the eye and says “hello” in your voice. You discover that she has the same birthday, the same allergies, the same tics, and the same way of laughing. Looking at this person, you are able to gaze into your own eyes and see yourself from the outside. This identical individual has the exact same DNA as you and is essentially your clone. We don’t have to imagine. . .

Identical Strangers was one of those books that immediately grabbed my attention – I had to read it. You see, my Grandfather was a twin and I have two sets of twin cousins. Growing up I was always fascinated by them. They were somehow special and eerily complete in their own separate world. I confess I was a little jealous.

Elyse and Paula, twins separated at birth have written an engaging story about finding each other and negotiating a relationship. They each tell their own story as they discover the story of their past and begin to negotiate a relationship. This very personal memoir reads like a novel. I was captivated from the first page.

The girls were separated as part of a study about nature vs nurture. It does not take a psychologist to look at kids and wonder about what comes as factory installed equipment and what is added in the after market? How much of our personality and point of view is innate and how much is learned? How much are we changed by our attitudes and experiences?

My cousins were so identical as children that the only way anyone, including their Mother, could tell them apart was that one had a mole behind his ear and the other didn’t. Yet as adults they have had very different lives and have evolved into very distinct people. They behave differently. They even look different. You would certainly peg them as brothers, but not necessarily as twins

Any parent, even an “unnatural” (a non-blood related) parent, studies their children and wonders who they resemble in looks, temperament and personality. Twins, so alike and yet so different, give us a glimmer of an idea. And twins, separated at birth, up the ante.

This is a terrific book. Elyse and Paula tell the story with brutal honesty and great charm. Here is the publisher’s synopsis:

Elyse Schein had always known she was adopted, but it wasn’t until her mid-thirties while living in Paris that she searched for her biological mother. When Elyse contacted her adoption agency, she was not prepared for the shocking, life-changing news she received: She had an identical twin sister. Elyse was then hit with another bombshell: she and her sister had been separated as infants, and for a time, had been part of a secret study on separated twins.

Paula Bernstein, a married writer and mother living in New York, also knew she was adopted, but had no inclination to find her birth mother. When she answered a call from the adoption agency one spring afternoon, Paula’s life suddenly divided into two starkly different periods: the time before and the time after she learned the truth.

As they reunite and take their tentative first steps from strangers to sisters, Paula and Elyse are also left with haunting questions surrounding their origins and their separation. They learn that the study was conducted by a pair of influential psychiatrists associated with a prestigious adoption agency. As they investigate their birth mother’s past, Paula and Elyse move closer toward solving the puzzle of their lives.

In alternating voices, Paula and Elyse write with emotional honesty about the immediate intimacy they share as twins and the wide chasm that divides them as two complete strangers. Interweaving eye-opening studies and statistics on twin science into their narrative, they offer an intelligent and heartfelt glimpse into human nature.

Identical Strangers is the amazing story of two women coming to terms with the strange and unbelievable hand fate has dealt them, an account that broadens the definition of family and provides insight into our own DNA and the singularly exceptional imprint it leaves on our lives.

"A transfixing memoir."--Publishers Weekly "Poignant."--Reader's Digest "Absorbing."--Wired "Fascinating . . . An intelligent exploration of how identity intersects with bloodlines. A must-read for anybody interested in what it means to be a family."—Bust

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Quills Awards

Q: What do you get when you combine the Golden Globe and the People’s choice Awards?

A: The Quills Award

Not literally, but it is as close as you’ll get if you are an author. The Quills Literary Foundation sponsors these awards as "consumer-driven awards created to inspire reading while promoting literacy."

The process works like this:

  • The Quills committee picks five books in nineteen categories. The books must have been published in English during the previous year. AND they must have an institutional sponsor.
  • Readers are allowed to vote one favorite in each category

Earlier this month the awards were given in a black tie gala event. The entire Awards Program will be televised by NBC-TV’s Universal Stations on Saturday, October 27, 2007. Be sure to watch.

I will ruin the suspense to tell you that Angels Fall by Nora Roberts won as book of the year. And according to industry news releases it won on the strength of her fan base voting for it.

I do find the whole process a little curious.

The committee is by definition composed of a bunch of industry insiders -- certainly a group of people with an agenda. Note, that the major supporters are: Reed Business Information, NBC/Universal Television, ICM, Sirius Radio, HBO, Borders, Barnes & Nobles, most of the big publishers. They are hardly what you could call dispassionate judges. And yet they act as the gatekeepers of literature and literacy.

Readers are “allowed” to vote and evidently sway the results. Presumably they are very important.

What I want to know is how did readers find out about the award? Over the summer I visited both Barnes & Nobles and Borders on many occasions – market research. Not once did I see any information about the Quills Awards, never mind how to actually vote.

I guess there is no use in being disappointed (or bitter) because I didn’t get a chance to vote. Honestly, I am just thrilled to see books and authors getting any notice at all.

I know what I’ll be doing this Saturday night. Eating popcorn and watching the awards; hopefully you will to.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Discounted eBooks - Readers choices - October 23, 2007

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This is certainly a strange mix of titles! A little coffee, some sci-fi, history, seasonal (I refuse to use the C word yet) fiction and finally from that seasonal holiday to some possible heresy. I don't necessarily pick them but I am always interested to see what our readers ask for each week! To get your discount on any of the titles use coupon CZ93Y at check out.

Be sure to add your discount request to our NEW google group Go to Discounts on Demand and tell us what you want to see discounted next week
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How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else eBook edition
by Gill, Michael Gates
In his fifties, Michael Gates Gill had it all: a big house in the suburbs, a loving family, and a top job at an ad agency with a six-figure salary. By the time he turned sixty, he had lost everything . . .One day as Gill sat in a Manhattan Starbucks when a 28-year-old Starbucks manager offered him a job. With nothing to lose, he took it, and went from drinking coffee in a Brooks Brothers suit to serving it in a green uniform.
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List Price : $23.00
Your price $19.67 (Using your 10% discount and $1.04 in eBook Reward points)
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A Lick of Frost eBook Edition
by: Hamilton, Laurell K.
I am Meredith Gentry, princess and heir apparent to the throne in the realm of faerie, onetime private investigator in the mortal world. To be crowned queen, I must first continue the royal bloodline and give birth to an heir of my own. If I fail, my aunt, Queen Andais, will be free to do what she most desires: install her twisted son, Cel, as monarch . . . and kill me.
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List Price : $17.95
Your price $13.82 (Using your 10% discount and $ .73 in eBook Reward points)
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Forge of Empires: Three Revolutionary Statesmen and the World They Made, 1861-1871 eBook edition
by: Beran, Michael Knox
In the space of a single decade, three leaders liberated tens of millions of souls, remade their own vast countries, and altered forever the forms of national power: Abraham Lincoln, Tsar Alexander II and Otto von Bismarck; the three statesmen forged the empires that would dominate the twentieth century through two world wars, the Cold War, and beyond. Each of the three was a revolutionary. . .
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List Price : $24.99
Your price $20.24 (Using your 10% discount and $1.01 in eBook Reward points)
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Christmas Pearl, The eBook edition eBook edition
by: Frank, Dorothea Benton
Theodora is the matriarch of a family that has grown into a bunch of truculent knuckleheads. While she's finally gotten them all together in South Carolina to celebrate, this Christmas looks nothing like the extravagant, homey holidays of her childhood. . . Luckily for Theodora, a special someone who heard her plea for help arrives, with pockets full of enough Gullah magic and common sense
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List Price : $11.95
Your price $10.76 (Using your 10% discount and $ .48 in eBook Reward points)
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True Grail: What Could Be More Terrifying? eBook edition
by Jones, Jordan, Miller, Meryl, Lee
The TRUE GRAIL: It's real, it's found, and it proves "Christ" never existed. Forget everything you thought you knew; this time it's for keeps. It's terrifying, but it's the biggest thing to happen to the world in 2000 years...and more. We stumbled upon a strange and astonishing "thing"...not a "cup" or ancient bloodline, but something concrete, ubiquitous, intrinsically worthless, and right under your nose.
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List Price : $11.10
Your price $9.49 (Using your 10% discount and $ .50 in eBook Reward points)
Our guarantee: If you have bought one of these titles in the last 15 days we will gladly offer you a coupon for the difference between this price and the price you paid; just contact us.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Penguin and eBooks (one step forward and one step back)

Penguin Publishers is in the news this week. For all of us eBook readers it basically amounts to one step forward and one step back.

Step Forward

Back in June I complained about Publisher’s and eBook pricing. One of the publishers I sited as having eBook pricing that made no sense was Penguin. At that time Angel Falls by Nora Roberts was selling in hardback for $25.95 and in paperback for $ 7.99. But the real disconnect came from the fact that the publishers suggested retail price for the eBook is $25.95!

I mean, really!! eBooks essentially cost the publisher nothing to produce – no paper, binding, printing or returns. Admittedly there as costs associated with distribution and marketing but the distribution costs are far less and the marketing costs generally fall to the eBook sellers.

Evidently, Penguin got at least part of the message. They put out an announcement to booksellers last week that they are planning to discount eBooks by 20% from the printed editions. Of course, they did not bother to specify which kind of printed editions – hardback or trade paper. If they follow through, however, you will see the eBook edition of Angel Falls retailing at $6.39. BTW there is not sign (yet) of them lowering our cost for the eBook.

Step Back

Penguin Audio, one of the five original publishers participating in eMusic's audiobook downloading program, begun last month, has withdrawn its 150 available titles, according to the New York Times. The reason: "concerns about digital piracy."

Evidently, even though Random House says they have not seen any piracy, Penguin executives are too nervous to even give non-DRMed books a chance.

You would think that the Publishing industry could look at the Music industry and see the future. Digital downloads, ultimately, change everything! Mega publishers should realize that they probably won't thier clout from piracy. The real danger is that best selling authors will do what Madonna has done to Warner and go directly to a promoter for a better deal. They can artifically inflate the price of a digital file, but for how long?

Last time I checked, one step forward and one step back, pretty much leaves you in the same old place. But I am trying to stay positive (making lemonade and all that).

Perhaps it is more like two steps forward and one back. DRM is a nuisance but one I have learned to live with. A cut in price has a much more immediate and practical benefit to me as a reader; one I am eager to take advantage of.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Clapton, The Autobiography (eBook edition)

Memoirs are always dicey. Naturally the writer wants to come off looking good even while settling a few scores along the way. Emptor caveat certainly applies!

So it is with a jaundiced eye that I picked up "Clapton: The Autobiography." I suppose I should tell you that one of my favorite possessions is my very tattered and faded “Clapton is God” tee shirt. So I am not exactly a dispassionate reader/reviewer. I started out wanting to like the book and it is not surprising that I did.

Like all Clapton fans I knew the broad outlines of his story – the groups, the drugs, the women (including Patti), the famous friends, the recoveries and the death of his son. The book recounts all of this and much more; it fills in many of the details.

He chronicles the making of some of his albums. It is rather a ramble down memory lane for Clapton fans (and contemporary Blues enthusiasts). He talks about the musicians he played with, how some of the albums were produced and even why. I especially like the fact that he admits a lot of his recorded music was disappointing and that drugs and alcohol destroyed much of his potential.

Not surprisingly there are not a lot of details about some of those years – I suspect he can’t remember much of them. And you have to remember that much of the material about those years is taken from the diaries he wrote – usually half in the bag – during the ‘80s. At least some of it is highly suspect.

The story becomes more nuanced when he writes about his recovery and relapses.

The most disappointing part of the book is the last couple of chapters. He rushes through the last 10 years at break neck speed and you can’t help feeling it was written on a tight deadline. But I am a sucker for a “happy ending” and this memoir gives you that. You end with the picture of a dedicated musician who has finally found a little serenity and now has a story to tell.

For Clapton fans this is a MUST read; for everyone else, it is at the very least a long look at the history of Blues and Rock and Roll.

Here is the official synopsis:

"I found a pattern in my behavior that had been repeating itself for years, decades even. Bad choices were my specialty, and if something honest and decent came along, I would shun it or run the other way.”

With striking intimacy and candor, Eric Clapton tells the story of his eventful and inspiring life in this poignant and honest autobiography. More than a rock star, he is an icon, a living embodiment of the history of rock music. Well known for his reserve in a profession marked by self-promotion, flamboyance, and spin, he now chronicles, for the first time, his remarkable personal and professional journeys.

Born illegitimate in 1945 and raised by his grandparents, Eric never knew his father and, until the age of nine, believed his actual mother to be his sister. In his early teens his solace was the guitar, and his incredible talent would make him a cult hero in the clubs of Britain and inspire devoted fans to scrawl “Clapton is God” on the walls of London’s Underground. With the formation of Cream, the world's first supergroup, he became a worldwide superstar, but conflicting personalities tore the band apart within two years. His stints in Blind Faith, in Delaney and Bonnie and Friends, and in Derek and the Dominos were also short-lived but yielded some of the most enduring songs in history, including the classic “Layla.”

During the late sixties he played as a guest with Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan, as well as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and longtime friend George Harrison. It was while working with the latter that he fell for George’s wife, Pattie Boyd, a seemingly unrequited love that led him to the depths of despair, self-imposed seclusion, and drug addiction. By the early seventies he had overcome his addiction and released the bestselling album 461 Ocean Boulevard, with its massive hit “I Shot the Sheriff.” He followed that with the platinum album Slowhand, which included “Wonderful Tonight,” the touching love song to Pattie, whom he finally married at the end of 1979. A short time later, however, Eric had replaced heroin with alcohol as his preferred vice, following a pattern of behavior that not only was detrimental to his music but contributed to the ventual breakup of his marriage.

In the eighties he would battle and begin his recovery from alcoholism and become a father. But just as his life was coming together, he was struck by a terrible blow: His beloved four-year-old son, Conor, died in a freak accident. At an earlier time Eric might have coped with this tragedy by fleeing into a world of addiction. But now a much stronger man, he took refuge in music, responding with the achingly beautiful “Tears in Heaven.”

Clapton is the powerfully written story of a survivor, a man who has achieved the pinnacle of success despite extraordinary demons. It is one of the most compelling memoirs of our time.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Romance eBooks

eBooks About Romance

Before there were eBooks, I used to joke that my criteria for what I would read was whether or not it was printed. The dictionary, cereal boxes, newspapers or any old book I found lying around.— didn’t matter. But my ultimate favorite and long time guilty pleasure is Romance.

It started innocently enough, as these things do. I found a copy of Little Women. I stayed up all night (under the covers with a flashlight) to finish it. Before long I found Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.

But the real infatuation began when I found some Reader’s Digest Condensed book volumes and each of them had a Victoria Holt novel. They were riveting to a junior high student!

I read them over and over. Finally one of our neighbors took pity on me and gave me Rebecca. A couple of weeks later she gave me a big box of dirty paperbacks. That was a treasure trove! I found Mary Stewart, Anya Seton, Jean Plaidy and Georgette Heyer. By the time I was in high school I had “graduated” to books I wanted to hide from Mom (like Jacqueline Suzanne). And I read a whole lot of christian fiction for her to see.

Over the years I have indulged myself in suspensful and historical romances including Regency and Western stories. I have consumed chick lit, especially the British kind, since even before there was chick lit. And have recently started reading “hen lit” --- chick lit for us aging boomers.

I have taken alot of ribbing from my family and friends over the years about my Plebian taste in reading material. I won't apologize for what I like! And I point out to them that they watch trashy TV to escape. I read.

This week I am armed with numbers since I came across these statistics about last year's book sales numbers. I will point out the them that Romance:

  • outsold every market category with the exception of religion/inspirational
  • represents 26.4% of all books sold
  • generated $1.37 Billion in sales Compare that to sci-fi/fantasy ($495 million), literary fiction ($448 million), and mysteries ($422 million)?

In case you're wondering about my weekend plans; here they are:

  • Browse the eBooks About Romance Store to find the perfect book
  • Buy it and get it downloaded on my eReader
  • Settle down in my favorite armchair with a little food (preferably chocolate) and a box of tissues (the good ones make you cry at the end)
  • Ignore the TV and the rest of the family
  • Have a wonderful mini-vacation in a far away place where everything works out perfectly!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Discounted eBooks - October 17, 2007

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Here are the eBooks you asked for last week. To get your discount on these fabulous tiltes use coupon code CDT38 at check out.

Our guarantee: If you have bought one of these titles from us at eBook About in the last 15 days we will gladly give you a coupon for this price and the price you paid. The coupon is good for use anywhere at eBooks About Everything contact us.
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Clapton eBook edition
by Clapton, Eric
With striking intimacy and candor, Eric Clapton tells the story of his eventful and inspiring life in this poignant and honest autobiography. More than a rock star, he is an icon, a living embodiment of the history of rock music. Well known for his reserve in a profession marked by self-promotion, flamboyance, and spin, he now chronicles, for the first time, his remarkable personal and professional journeys.
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List Price : $17.95
Your price $13.82 (Using your 10% discount and $ .731 in eBook Reward points)
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Bloodfever eBook edition
by Moning, Karen Marie
MacKayla Lane’s ordinary life underwent a complete makeover when she landed on Ireland’s shores and was plunged into a world of deadly sorcery and ancient secrets. . .In her fight to stay alive, Mac must find the Sinsar Dubh–a million-year-old book of the blackest magic imaginable, which holds the key to power over both the worlds of the Fae and of Man.
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List Price : $16.95
Your price $13.05 (Using your 10% discount and $ .69 in eBook Reward points)
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Angels of a Lower Flight: One Woman's Mission to Save a Country . . . One Child at a Time eBook edition
by Krabacher, Susan Scott
The inspiring story of how one woman's message of hope and opportunity will change the lives of an entire generation.Three schools, two orphanages, a hospital, and an abandoned-infant home -- constructed in the poorest country in the western hemisphere -- were the result of one quick television commercial. The ad was for a charity, asking for donations to help impoverished children in a third world country.
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List Price : $16.99
Your price $13.07 (Using your 10% discount and $ .69 in eBook Reward points)
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Fatal Revenant eBook edition eBook edition
by Donaldson, Stephen R.
The long-awaited sequel to The Runes of the Earth returns readers to the Land-and opens with the reunion of Linden Avery and Thomas Covenant! Linden Avery, who loved Thomas Covenant and watched him die, has returned to the Land in search of her kidnapped son, Jeremiah.
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List Price : $27.95
Your price $21.51 (Using your 10% discount and $1.13 in eBook Reward points)
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Call Me Gene- Third Edition eBook edition
by Bailey, N, C, Eskeland, N, L
Call Me Gene-Third Edition is a science book describing the genetic code and the scientific advances in biotechnology. The book is appropriate for late elementary/middle-school students, either in the classroom or home school. The book is written in a narrative and easy-to-read approach. There are numerous colorful illustrations throughout the book.
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List Price : $14.95
Your price $12.78 (Using your 10% discount and $ .67 in eBook Reward points)

Monday, October 15, 2007

All about Green

Water Phone?

Amazing the things you see surfing the net! Yesterday it was this headline: “Get Ready for Water-Powered Cell Phones.”

Since more than 60% of all eBooks purchased are read on cellphones of some sort, any changes that benefits cell phones will ultimately benefit me as an eBook reader. Of course this headline piqued by curiosity.

I clicked through to a Korean news site that told me that by 2010 my mobile phone might be powered with a fuel cell that uses water not methanol to create hydrogen (and I always thought that methanol was just plain old wood alcohol).

But other than silly pictures in my head and an interest in eBook technology, I still wasn’t sure why this was newsworthy. Well, it turns out that using water to make hydrogen will not add carbon to the air. Very environmentally friendly AND the “water cell” lasts 10 time longer than the current rechargeable battery technology. No CO2 produced and no toxic batteries to dispose of. Maybe cellphones will become the next consumer item to go "Green."

And speaking of "Green"

I have to note Al Gore's 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Al and the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change."

I started this piece hoping to make a crass commercial opportunity to plug An Inconvenient Truth, but sadly, it is not an eBook format. Which, BTW, I think is really odd!

But back to Al. He certainly has his detractors, enemies and critics! But no matter. His very public campaign has garnered a great deal of notice for the idea of global climate change and it ramifications.

Agree with him or not; he has certainly raised awareness! Congratulations, Al Gore.

Call me Gene (eBook edition)

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The best thing about my job is that I now get paid for doing what I have always done – reading. All my life people have been handing me books saying “You have to read this.” And mostly I have ‘cause I love to read. Then I got into publishing and people started “handing me books” by mail and these days by email. How cool is that!

Last week a woman by the name of Celeste Bailey sent me an email telling me about her books on genetics: Call Me Gene. She even sent me a copy to read.

I have had special interest in genetics since the day I tried explaining hereditary traits to a very precocious seven year old.

She listened to my explanation very carefully. You could almost see the wheels turning in that little brain. After a moment she said. “Well, I think I have more of my Daddy’s genes than my Mommy's”. She was quiet for a moment and then added “But I’m not bald.”

Right then and there I decided that I should probably stick to reading and not try to be a teacher!

Fortunately, there are people in this world who are teachers. They seem to have a gift for making complex information simple and interesting! Celeste Bailey and her sister Lucy Eskeland are two of them.

Call Me Gene is quite literally fun! Yes, it is a kid’s book, aimed at 7th and 8th graders but I actually leaned a couple of things I didn’t know.

The graphics are great – simple, colorful and informative. By the time I was done, I had refreshed my knowledge about basic genetics, cell structure, cell reproduction, Mendel's heredity experiments, and dominant and recessive genes. The discussion on mutant genes and cloning was well written. You may or may not agree with their opinion about human cloning, but I do applaud them for at least addressing it.

This is a great book for anyone who is interested in genetics from the precocious seven year to her grandparents; and of course, her teachers.

Here’s the official stuff:

Call Me Gene-Third Edition is a science book describing the genetic code and the scientific advances in biotechnology. The book is appropriate for late elementary/middle-school students, either in the classroom or home school. The book is written in a narrative and easy-to-read approach. There are numerous colorful illustrations throughout the book.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Congratulations to British author Doris Lessing!

Yesterday, the Swedish Academy announced her award: The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2007 . She was sited as "that epicist of the female experience, who with skepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilization to scrutiny."

I am not sure exaclty what all those words mean, but I do agree with the things about her skepticism and fire. This is a woman who has had an incredible life and career. It is worth a trip to the Doris Lessing site just to read her bio.

My first memory of her is from my college years; staying up half the night to finish The Golden Notebook . The Golden Notebook and Marilyn French's The Women's Room were practically required reading for young women of my generation. Unfortunately, neither of these books are currently in eBook format. But I digress. . .

The reason I am so delighted about ther winning the price is related to the story of the Jane Somers caper.

The short version is that in the eighties she wrote two books under the pseudonym, Jane Somers. Her long time publisher actually rejected them! She finally found a publisher (Knopf). The books were published and largely ignored by both the critics and the buying public. Bascially, they tanked.

She later exposed the hoax and said that she was trying to prove a point about the difficulty new authors have finding a publisher. She told the New York Times that ''I wanted to highlight that whole dreadful process in book publishing that 'nothing succeeds like success.' If the books had come out in my name, they would have sold a lot of copies and reviewers would have said, 'Oh, Doris Lessing, how wonderful.'"

That story makes her a star in book in spite of the fact that I sometimes find her writing to be a little hard to read. She will always have a special place in my library (and in my heart).

Check out her latest book – The Cleft.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Odd bits of publishing news this week

What about Oprah and her Book of the Month Pick? With Love in the Time of Cholera Oprah has picked (IMHO) a rather bad chick lit title. It is supposed to be literature when in fact it is a rather boring tale full of high drama and unrequited love.

OK, I confess -- I couldn’t make myself finish it. My analysis: a big bunch of romantic claptrap! And boring to boot. Really, any one of us could come up with at least a dozen more deserving books.

Author Jennifer Weiner, however, has the best has the best quote on the Oprah's pick:

An author who's won the Nobel Prize? Who's got a movie coming out next month? Who's already been an Oprah pick?. . . Seriously, what's the Girlfriend Of Us All going to choose next? The Bible?"

Speaking of Bibles Here is an interesting press release from the Green Press Initiative. They are announcing that Publisher Thomas Nelson will be shipping out a new Bible next week.

The hook? This is purportedly the first to be published entirely on on paper that has been recycled and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council as coming from trees harvested according to environmentally sound practices.

Nice – but it makes me wonder if the Green Press Initiative has ever heard of eBooks.

The Most Creative Book Teaser Ever Author Kelly DiNardo has a new biography in the works: Gilded Lili, the story of striptease artist Lili St. Cyr. She invited her blog readers to create an ad for her. Here is the winning entry:

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

eBooks by Request for 10/10/07

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Here are the eBooks you asked for last week -- we have a brand NEW way for you to tell us about the books you would like to see discounted. . . The new google eBooks About group -- visit the Discounts on Demand and tell us what you want to see discounted next week Use coupon code S2VJM9 at checkout for this weeks great discounts!

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Anna's Story: A Journey of Hope eBook Edition
by: Bush, Jenna
Ana's life is a collection of bits and pieces of her past. Infected with HIV at birth, she's unaware of many details of her early childhood and barely remembers her mother. Living with her strict grandmother, she learns how to keep secrets. Jenna Bush tells of Ana's struggle to break free from the cycle of abuse, silence, and illness with passion and eloquence. But this is not just Ana's story. It is also the story of many children around the world who are marginalised, neglected and mistreated.
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List Price : $14.95
Your price $11.51 (Using your 10% discount and $ .61 in eBook Reward points)
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Men Made in America eBook Edition
by: Wilson, Gayle
The Men Made in America series features stories from all fifty states starring all-American cowboys, sailors, policemen, businessmen, ranchers and more! The first Men Made in America Mega-Bundle includes stories by popular Harlequin authors you know and love like Ferrarella, Greene, Herron, Stuart, Rosemoor and many others.
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List Price : $39.60
Your price $30.27 (Using your 10% discount and $1.59 in eBook Reward points)
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Fitness4x4: The Way of Dragan eBook Edition
by: Radovic, Dragan
This is a book that challenges conventional teachings on fitness and equips the reader with a totally new understanding of exercise. The book is not only a guide to reaching peak fitness; it also tackles the fundamental issues of lasting vitality and what it means to be healthy. Combining scientific principles with analogies, personal experience, and practical examples, 56-year-old Dragan takes the mystery out of his incredible fitness feats by explaining them in a straightforward manner.
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List Price : $39.99
Your price $34.19 (Using your 10% discount and $1.80 in eBook Reward points)
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Shoot Him If He Runs eBook Edition
by: Woods, Stuart
In the newest addition to the bestselling series, Stone Barrington and Holly Barker pursue a master spy and murderer in a tropical paradise where very little is as it seems. Teddy Fay, a rogue agent last seen escaping an imploding building in Iron Orchid, has been considered dead for some time now. But President Will Lee thinks Teddy may still be alive.
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List Price : $25.95
Your price $19.97 (Using your 10% discount and $1.05 in eBook Reward points)
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The Glass Castle: A Memoir eBook Edition
by: Walls, Jeannette,
The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. . . The Glass Castle is truly astonishing -- a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar, but loyal, family. Jeannette Walls has a story to tell, and tells it brilliantly, without an ounce of self-pity.
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List Price : $9.99
Your price $7.69 (Using your 10% discount and $ .40 in eBook Reward points)
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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

eBook Readers - eBook hardware overview

Since the demise of my Illiad, I have been reading on my Palm TX and mulling over the idea of buying a new eBook Reader. Last week was a bonanza week for eBook news:

  • Sony announced the PRS 505-SC; an upgraded version of the reader released earlier this year with more storage capacity and better speed.
  • Rumors of the Amazon Kindle imminent release are everywhere with much speculation on when and how it will be released. Last week “Kindle Edition” started showing up on random books
  • Bookeen delayed the release of their latest Cybook GEN3 offering until next month to add additional features.

Since I am an accountant at heart, I sat down and made a spreadsheet comparing these three eBooks. Decide to add my current Palm TX and a Treo (the Palm PDA smart phone) for kicks. After putting together a whole lot of info I realized that there are really only three things I truly care about (the rest are just fluff).

The Display – acuity and size

The Sony, Kindle and Cybook all have grey scale e-Ink screens which is notoriously fragile. The display is wonderful to read -- it really does look like paper and can be read even in the brightest sunlight. And yet, it is maddingly slow to refresh so that going from page to page requires a great deal of patience. And then there is the ongoing problem with ghosting (white shadow of the last page which lingers on). None of the e-Ink screens are backlit so you must always read in a relatively bright light.

The Palms use color TFT crystal displays and are backlit. Admittedly, they are a challenge to read in bright light, but you can take them to bed and read in the dark.

The e-Ink devices all have nice size screens more or less 5x7 which is the size of a regular book. The Palm TX screen is about 2 and by 3 which is adequate even if it is small. The Palm Smart Phone only has a 2x2 screen.

Available eBook formats and retailers

Sony is sticking to it’s proprietary format although it is still promising to add Adobe Digital Editions sometime “soon”. This means that you can only by new (as opposed to public domain) DRM protected books from the Sony Connect store. And no, publishers show no sign of letting go of DRM anytime soon. Which means that I wouldn’t even be able to read books from my own store.

The Kindle and Cybook both use the Mobipocket format. For the Kindle this makes sense, Amazon owns Mobipocket. Bookeen delayed the release of the Cybook specifically to add Adobe capability but no one knows if that is Digital Editions or the old fashion, basic PDF file. This gives me a wide range of retailer to pick from when I go to buy a book – I will of course be buying from eBooks About Everything.

The Palms read eReader and Mobipocket formats with ease, which also means I can buy books from a wide range of retailers including my own store.

Value for the Price

Value means the most bang for the buck, right? So if I spend money on a new reader, does the new device only read books or can I use it for something else? I want to be able to use any electronic device in a variety of ways – at the very least to read many types of documents.

All of these devices allow limited uses. You can read RTF and TXT documents on all of them. And they are all sorta useful in other ways. Being able to write is good; viewing pictures is highly desirable. Well, the e-Ink devices have a limited writing capacity but great screen clarity (and no color). The Palm has pretty good writing capabilities and let’s me see beautiful color photos. The Smart phone version even allows me to take them.

Finally, direct communication with the outside world is valuable. The Cybook, which only connects through a computer of some sort, gets and F in that regard. Purportedly the Kindle does allow you to connect to the internet in some fashion, but it is unclear if it is with the world at large or merely with the Amazon store. The Palms communicate freely; the cell phone model even lets you talk.

My conclusion – surprises even me!

Sony and Bookeen (Cybook) sure wants a lot of money for a pretty dumb machine. In the case of Sony the want $300 to read books that only they can provide. Bookeen wants the same or even more money but at least you get a choice about where to buy books.

The jury is out on the Kindle; much depends on the pricing. At a $100 price point it would be worth the investment just to be able to read anywhere, although I worry about the fragility of the screen.

The Palm Smart phones are probably the best value, but the small screen really does make them a “no go” for these old eyes.

Which leaves me with my Palm TX. I have already spent the $200, so I am not out another dime. And yes, the screen is a little small and hard to read in bright sunlight, but really, it works just fine. And I love reading in the dark! Better yet, I can use it to read and write email, browse the net and even create more spreadsheets. For the moment, I can’t come up with a compelling reason to change.

But what I find really fascinating is that I can’t come up with a compelling reason for anyone to buy one of new e-Ink readers. On every criterion except screen size a Palm wins hands down.

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Glass Castle -- eBooks edition

Reading this book was a bit like watching the proverbial train wreck. I am not sure how to convey the horror/fascination that I experienced while following Jeannette’s childhood journey.

In this brilliant memoir Walls tells the story of growing up with parent’s who are past-masters at the art of rationalization. One of the most poignant examples is when Rose Mary Walls, the mother, explains to her children that “being homeless is an adventure”.

There are many words to describe this memoir: sad, funny, wrenching, heartbreaking, quirky. None of these words, however, do justice to the emotional wallop the book delivers. The juxtaposition of dire poverty and huge dreams, of sheer chaos and near-comic situations make this a “can’t put it down” kind of tale.

Perhaps the most startling thing is that Walls obviously loves her parents, no matter how it worked out. She is seemingly free of bitterness and anger even though she has few (if any) illusions about her parents or her childhood.

The Glass Castle in this title refers to Jeanette’s father’s dream home; a transparent palace he promised to build for his family. It is also an apt metaphor for Jeannette’s view of her parent – distinctive, stunning and absolutely impractical.

In the end she managed to walk away with the best parts of both of her parents. And clearly sees that, yes, her childhood was horrific in some sort of way, but it was also filled with loyalty, great stories and much laughter. Her body was often hungry, but her imagination was nourished.

Out of her hardscrabble upbringing she emerged optimistic, creative and resilient. Not to mention that she is brilliant story teller. There is no mystery to why The Glass Castle has been on the New York Times best seller list for almost two years. I whole-heartedly recommended it!

Here is the publisher’s synopsis:

Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly.

Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn't stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an "excitement addict." Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.

Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town -- and the family -- Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents' betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.

What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.

For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story. A regular contributor to, she lives in New York and Long Island and is married to the writer John Taylor.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Barnes & Noble, the Bible and the Law

First a Bible Story: the story of Richard Dorazio of White Plains, New York. Richard was sentenced to 30 days in jail Thursday after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor petty larceny charge. He admitted to City Court Judge JoAnnFriia that he had stolen a $14.01 Bible from the Barnes & Noble bookstore.

Ironically, he will have plenty of Bible reading time in the Westchester County Jail because “… the jail's clergy provides free bibles to any inmate who requests one”. B&N is hoping to give him the time to find Exodus and the Eighth Commandment that says “Thou shalt not steal.”

Barnes and Nobles doesn’t stop at protecting it’s physical property . . .

At Harvard, of all places, B&N is actively creating their own unique interpretation of intellectual property law. You see, the Harvard Co-op that they run along with the University has concluded that prices are their "intellectual property."

This is the culmination of an ongoing battle between the store and the students. Of course, the students are sick of paying inflated prices. So to get around that many of them started to do a little comparison shopping. They went into the Co-op and started copying down the book information -- including ISBN numbers and prices. Presumably they were planning to go online to find the cheapest possible copy of the required texts.

First the Co-op began kicking students out of the store for “for taking too many notes on pricing”. Outraged students and parents confronted the store asking for an explanation.

That’s when B&N upped the ante. They came up with the ridiculous notion that their pricing, when associated with the specific ISBN number of a given book, was protected under intellectual property laws. The argument is that since the ISBN number identifies the specific edition of a required text; and the pricing formula for the specific edition was devised by the B&N owned Co-op, it was de facto their intellectual property.

I suspect that this argument is the only real intellectual property to emerge in this dispute. But maybe I should check with my attorney.

In the telling of these stories I have come across a real dilemma -- is it worse to steal or to lie?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

eBooks by Request 10-03-2007 - Save an extra 10%

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Long life, society, prosperity, imagination and autism are the topics you picked this week. The mix is as interesting and as eclectic as you are! Remember you earn points for everytime you review a book.

If there is a title you specifically want to see discounted go to our NEW google group and post to the Discounts on Demand section. Tell us about the book you would like to see discounted: it's as easy as giving us the Title and Author.

Use this weeks coupon code S1GXQ1 at check out to get your 10% discount.
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Ultralongevity: The Seven-Step Program for a Younger, Healthier You eBook Edition
by: Liponis, Mark
Dr Liponis shows that aging and aging-related diseases---including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes---are autoimmune problems, and that a well-managed immune system is the key to healthy aging.Cutting-edge research makes this the first and only book to explore aging within the context of the immune system --it will change the way we look at health forever.
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List Price : 17.99
Your price $15.38 (Using your 10% discount and $ .81 in eBook Reward points)

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The Vixen Diaries eBook edition
by Steffans, Karrine
This titillating expose chronicles the personal and professional adventures of this tabloid-laden socialite, dispelling some rumors, while confirming others. Diaries unveils the heavily shrouded Hollywood backrooms and its coveted secrets. Offering her ardent fans answers to burning questions and presenting lessons learned, this book will surely not disappoint.
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List Price : $16.99
Your price $13.07 (Using your 10% discount and $ .69 in eBook Reward points)

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Money for Nothing eBook Edition
by: Ugel, Ed
Ed Ugel takes the readers inside the captivating world of lottery winners and shows us how lotteries and gambling have become deeply inscribed in every aspect of American life shaping our image of success and good fortune. Money for Nothing is a witty, wise, and often outrageously funny account of high expectations and easy money.
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List Price : $19.95
Your price $17.06 (Using your 10% discount and $.97 in eBook Reward points)

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Curious Accounts of the Imaginary Friend eBook Edition
by Gifford, P., S.
Who am I? Well, I am the imaginary friend. You know - the one you conjure up to talk with when you're consumed with loneliness, greed or visions of eminent doom. And that's how this manuscript came into being.
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List Price : $6.45
Your price $5.81 (Using your 10% discount and $ .29 in eBook Reward points)

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Louder than Words eBook Edition
by: McCarthy, Jenny
Jenny McCarthy creates a roadmap for parents who are concerned about their own autistic child. Jenny does more than just reveal the winning formula that worked for Evan. Her story shares the frustrations and joys of raising an autistic child and shows how with love and determination a parent can shape their child's life and happiness
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List Price : $23.95
Your price $18.43 (Using your 10% discount and $ .97 in eBook Reward points)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Writing eBooks on a cell phone

Last week I bemoaned the idea that cell phones have become such a popular eBook reading device. That was last week – in the meantime the whole cell phone and book thing has been raised a notch!

Admittedly I have trouble reading my cell phone, but trust me, it is minor trouble compared to what happens when I try to text message. My thumb is way too big (and clumsy) to make this a pleasant experience. And I lack patience – all that pressing just to get an “S” seems wildly inefficient! My kids assure me, however, that there are all kinds of ways to solve that problem.


Imagine my surprise when I saw the Wall Street Jounal . Right there, big as life, was a story about Satomi Nakamura who writes eBooks on her cell phone. And I had spent the day before bitching about reading on a cell.

Evidently her books are not exactly eloquent but they sell -- millions of copies. In fact her stories are so popular that a movie is coming out in November based on one of them.. It may not be eloquent, well plotted, or literary, but it is readable. Come on – its about love. How can you loose!

I’ve been thinking about this all week. The more I think about it, the more I am intrigued with the possibilities. Maybe this is the magic device that will rocket eBooks into the public consciousness. And maybe this is the medium and the device that will finally promote teenage literacy.

Educators ought to sit up an take note!

No money for text books? Beam a copy of the required reading to your student’s cell phone. Kill two birds with one stone: get the students to read and turn a noxious nuisance into an educational opportunity.

Having trouble getting the students to write? Hold a contest for the best “paper” written on a cell phone. More opportunities – students write and this might do a great deal to upgrade the quality of the typical text message.

The opportunities are enormous both for educators and the medical profession. Think of all of those Doctors waiting anxiously for the emerging repetitive stress thumb injury surgery field to really heat up. "Blackberry thumb" was only the tip of the iceburg!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Seduced by Madness eBook edition

Sometimes I just have to do it. The voyeur in me gets an overwhelming compulsion to see how the other half lives. The nice thing about reading true crime is that I end up reveling in how "normal" my family really is.

Seduced by Madness is the story of Susan Polk, an Orinda housewife who murdered her psychiatrist husband. This is the tale of an apparently perfect marriage in the apparently perfect town and a most unlikely murderess.

Pogash does a masterful job on dissecting the dynamics of the marriage and the family bonds . She tells a compelling story of two brilliant (and deeply disturbed) partners. Neither one of these people are particularly sympathetic or likable. Pogash carefully dissects both partners and their marriage and somehow manages to this in a most unjudgmental way. The author never stoops to demonizing either one of them.

Her analysis of Susan, Felix and their children is put into the context of the times and the psychological movements of the day. And creates an detailed on complex backdrop for the actual murder and trail.

The real tragedy is not that Felix was murdered; or that Susan did it. The real tragedy lies in the children’s stories. The circus they created around their son Adam and his preschool experiences, the alternative therapies they pursued and the ultimate destruction of the entire family; leaving each of the children fighting (in their own ways) to make sense of any of it. In the end the children lost not only thier parents but each other as well.

This story goes beyond the standard true crime genre and is a fascinating social, psychological and legal analysis that will keep you reading way past lights out time.

Here is the publisher's synopsis:

She was fifteen when she visited the therapist; still a teen when they had sex. She was twenty-five when she married him and forty-four when she killed him. In October 2002, the quiet northern California town of Orinda was rocked by murder when Susan Polk, the mother of three teenage boys, was arrested for stabbing her husband and former therapist, Dr. Felix Polk, to death. The arrest and subsequent trial quickly became one of the most talked about murder cases in the country, as spectators and reporters learned the strange history behind this shocking killing.

Now in Seduced by Madness, Carol Pogash—the leading journalist working the case—has written the definitive account of the Polk family saga, offering a rich and textured re-creation of this disturbing and tragic American tale. Examining the decadent culture of California in the 1970s, Pogash looks at how, in this period of drugs and sexual exploration, a fifteen-year-old Susan found herself caught in the grasp of Felix, her therapist—who, like others in the mental health profession, fell for every passing trend in mental health therapy.

Culled from years of careful research, Pogash reconstructs the vague beginnings of the couple's sexual relationship in the therapist's office, exploring how Felix's relaxed attitude toward therapy blinded him to the complex nature of Susan's mental state, and how their mutual obsession with each other sealed their fate.

With lyrical prose, Pogash skillfully traces the Polks' story—from their early yearnings for one another through their flawed marriage, which produced three highly intelligent but emotionally divided sons. Weaving a complex narrative of a family who lived in multimillion dollar homes but lingered in the shadow of dysfunction, Pogash reassembles their life in the years and months before Felix's death, intimately describing what led this soft-spoken wife to murder.

Three years after Felix's death, Susan Polk was tried for first degree murder, and here Pogash provides a first-hand account of the wild, media-circus trial in which Susan defended herself and cross-examined two of her sons. Illustrating how the prosecution and the court responded to Susan's volatile behavior, Pogash takes you inside the deliberation room and uncovers how jurors reached their surprising verdict.

Filled with the most complete case facts and interviews available, Seduced by Madness offers an unparalleled look at one of the most captivating murder cases in recent years.


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