Science Fiction Author Neal Stephenson
Each month Amazon throws a big sale, with 100 new Kindle ebooks discounted to just $3.99 or less. But I’m really surprised this month by just how many of the ebooks I’d actually want to read! Here’s my picks for some of the most interesting ebooks discounted by Amazon for the month of August.
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Reamde: A Novel by Neal Stephenson ($2.99)
Neal Stephenson is one of the best-known science fiction writers of his generation, and a pioneer in the “cyberpunk” genre. Now Amazon is describing his newest novel, Reamde, as “a high-stakes espionage thriller about a wealthy tech entrepreneur caught in the very real crossfire of his own online fantasy war game!” One reviewer called it one of 2011’s “smartest, fastest-moving, and most consistently enjoyable novels,” adding that it was “painstakingly-researched, deftly-plotted roller-coaster of gigabytes and gunplay, a pitch-perfect pastiche of Robert Ludlum or Tom Clancy-style techno-thrillers and a comment on contemporary digitality and the ubiquity of online interconnectivity
Factotum by Charles Bukowski ($2.99)
I was thrilled to discover Amazon was discounting another Charles Bukowski book for the Kindle this month — this one described as a “beer-soaked, deliciously degenerate novel” following an aspiring writer as he drifts across America, “always needing money but never badly enough to keep a job….as he makes his bitter, brilliant way from one drink to the next.” But then I noticed that Amazon’s Kindle Store was actually showing discounts for several of Bukowksi’s books — including many priced at just $1.99. Also on sale are the novels Women and Pulp (Bukowski’s last novel), as well as a collection of poetry (Love is a Dog From Hell<) and a collection of short stories called Hot Water Music. There’s even a nice introductory collection called Run With The Hunted: A Charles Bukowski Reader — priced at just $1.99. If you’ve never read any Charles Bukowski, this is a great month to give him a try on your Kindle!
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford: A Novel by Ron Hansen ($2.99)
“I Shot Jesse James” has always been one of my favorite movie westerns, delving into the true story of the notoriety that clung to the man who claimed the reward for killing outlaw Jesse James — because he’d shot him in the back. Apparently that same story also fascinated author Ron Hansen, who’d already begun mixing stories about America’s Old West into the novels he was writing in the 1970s. When he turned his attention to the story of Robert Ford, his novel almost immediately became a finalist for the prestigious PEN/Faulkner Award for the best work of fiction of 1983. Nearly 25 years later, it was finally adapted into a movie (starring Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck), and was nominated for two Academy Awards. One Amazon reviewer this novel “a wonderful blend of history and narrative,” noting that the author’s extensive research — using old newspaper articles, courtroom transcripts, and memoirs — all helped to create an “intelligent, exceptionally well-written tale.”
Miss Lonelyhearts & The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West ($2.99)
It’s “one of the most shocking works of 20th century American literature,” according to the books description at Amazon, “as unnerving as a glob of black bile vomited up at a church social: empty, blasphemous,and horrific.” Miss Lonelyhearts starts innocently enough — a newspaper columnist is assigned to write an advice column answering questions from the paper’s readers, “but as time passes he begins to break under the endless misery of those who write in, begging him for advice.” This Kindle ebook pairs the novella with Nathanel West’s second most famous work, The Day of the Locust, another critical look at American society, and the ebook comes with a new introduction by author Jonathan Lethem (author of the novel Fortress of Solitude). When Modern Library created their prestigious list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century, Day of the Locust was ranked #73!
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