Amazon’s Announcing the Best Books Each Month

The best books of the month

I was browsing the Kindle Store this morning when I made a fun discovery. Amazon’s created a special web page where they’re identifying their choices for the “Best Books of the Month.” All of the very best new and just-released Kindle ebooks are being highlighted as “the unique mix of books that our editors have hand picked as this month’s best.”

For a shortcut, just point your web browser to

But in addition to the new book lists, Amazon’s also created links for two more special pages. There’s an “Award Winners” page, which features a list of this year’s Pulitzer Prize-winning books, as well as the books which were recognized by the National Book Critics Circle Awards and the National Book Awards. The page even includes a list for the best mysteries of the year (as chosen by the Mystery Writers of America), as well as the very best children’s picture books, chosen by the American Library Association. The mysteries are all winners of the prestigious “Edgar” awards, including “The Quick Fix,” a noir-style mystery set in a junior high school in which a blackmailer torments the 8th grade’s basketball star, and the case falls to a student private eye who’s “the lone voice for justice in a morass of middle school corruption”. And the children’s section highlights winners of the Caldecott Medal (for illustration), the Newbery medal (for literature), and the Printz Award for young adult literature.

It’s always fun to browse through books that have been selected as the very best in their categories — and Amazon’s offering the same experience with their own picks for Kindle ebooks. Their “Best Books of the Month” page includes special sections for science fiction and fantasy ebooks, nonfiction ebooks, romance novels, and even mysteries and thrillers. They’ve also included a link to one of my favorite collections — Amazon’s list of the “Best Books of 2013 (So Far)”. It’s a great way to browse through some of the most interesting new titles that have just been released this year — which always makes me feel like I’m staying “current” everything that’s new in the world of book publishing!

So how exactly does Amazon determine which books are the best? “Each month,’s editorial team reads scores of books…” they explain at the bottom of the page. “We scour reviews and book news, we swap books amongst ourselves, and spend our nights and weekends tearing through as many of the best books as possible.” It sounds like a lot of fun, but the finalists still have to face one more grueling challenge. “Then we face off in a monthly Best Books showdown meeting to champion the books we think will resonate most with their readership.”

I’d love to be a “fly on the wall” for that meeting — and it sounds like all of the recommendations ultimately come from a place of love. (“The titles that make our Best Books of Month lists are the keepers, the ones we couldn’t forget,” Amazon’s web page explains.) And it does look like they’re putting a lot of thought into their choices, instead of just siding with whatever books are most popular. “Many of our editorial picks for the best books are also customer favorites and bestsellers, but we strive to spotlight the best books you might not otherwise hear about… ”

I always feel like this is the very best time to be looking at the “best books of the month” page, because there’ll be an entirely new selection of “Best books” to browse through just two days from now — on Thursday, August 1st! Amazon claims that they have a “great passion for uniting readers of all ages and tastes with their next favorite read…and drawing more attention to great books by exceptional authors. ” So I’ve really enjoy browsing through the ebooks they’ve highlighted as this month’s very best new releases — and I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ve chosen for next month!

Remember, for a shortcut, just point your web browser to

The Kindle Meets the President of Israel

Shimon Peres

The President of Israel just gave a new interview — and it’s been published exclusively in Amazon’s Kindle Store. It’s available as a “Kindle Single”, but the 42-page interview (priced at 99 cents) also marks a new beginning. Today Amazon announced this was the first in “a new series designed to take full advantage of the Kindle Singles platform by offering major long-form interviews with iconic figures and world leaders.”

See all of Amazon’s Kindle Singles at

“The Kindle Singles Interview” will be an ongoing series, and according to their editor, it’s Amazon’s attempt to modernize a publishing format that dates back more than 50 years. “In September of 1962, novelist Alex Haley’s conversation with Miles Davis launched the Playboy Interview, and pioneered the idea of a long-form, extended dialogue with the great personalities of our time,” Amazon’s David Blum noted in today’s press release. “We hope to carry forward that tradition, and use the unlimited digital space to engage great artists and thinkers in conversation with skilled writers and interviewers.”

So what happened in this two-hour conversation between political journalist David Samuels and the 89-year-old President of Israel? “In the interview, Peres insists that peace talks arranged by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry are serious, and he calls for a peaceful resolution to his country’s conflicts with Iran…” according to the Single’s description at Amazon. The interviewer has contributed thoughtful pieces to The New Yorker and The Atlantic, and it looks like he was able to draw out some interesting reflection from Shimon Peres. “‘[H]e also speaks candidly and insightfully about history — from his mentor David Ben Gurion and the Yom Kippur War to the Oslo Peace Accord and the personal psychology of Yasir Arafat. But he is just as engaged by developments in brain science and by social networking technologies, at one point describing Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as the most important revolutionary leader in the world today.

” ‘Karl Marx never forecast Zuckerberg,’ Peres said. ‘He made a revolution with a billion people.’ ”

That comment made me remember a 2010 article which noted that the much of the early development for the Kindle actually took place in Israel. Sun Microsystems had a special team in Israel devoted to writing the computer code for handheld devices besides cellphones, and developer Lilach Zipory remembered that in 2006, “Amazon contacted Sun in California and said they wanted a small device that could be used to read e-books.” They ultimately spent several years working with Amazon until eventually they’d developed the perfect device. Amazon ordered 100,000 of them, remembered Eran Vanounou, the group’s development director, “and we were frankly skeptical they would sell all of them.

“But when they sold out a couple of months later, we realized what we were involved with.”

The article had a touching story about what happened the development director flew on an airplane, and spotted many of the other passengers reading on a Kindle. Once he even ended up talking to a passenger, who apparently raved about how much she enjoyed using her Kindle. “I didn’t let on how much we in Oracle Herzliya were a part of her experience,” he’d told the reporters. But finally she told him point blank, “I love my Kindle,” he remembered.

“I could have sworn I felt a tear in my eye.”

Free Kindle eBooks by My Favorite American Authors

Each summer I have a special Kindle tradition. On the fourth of July, I try to read ebooks written by some of America’s greatest authors. It’s a way to try to appreciate the true meaning of our “Independence Day” holiday. And this year I discovered some of my all-time favorite American authors now have ebooks available in the Kindle Store — for free!

But first, I’d like to tell you about my 4th of July…

4th of July parade

There’s always a parade down the streets of our town, and this year a friend invited me to ride on his float. So instead of watching the 4th of July parade, I was in the 4th of July parade! What a rush — the whole town, it seemed, was smiling and waving at us as we rode by, and everywhere on that hot Thursday afternoon, you saw red, white, and blue. I was feeling a strange euphoria when I finally got home. And that’s when I started reading on my Kindle.

There’s a book called the U.S. A. Trilogy that reminded me of my favorite author, John Dos Passos. He used a stream-of-consciousness technique to mix together newspaper headlines and lyrics of popular songs with longer descriptions of his characters and the challenges they faced in every day life. The book flashes to the lives of his characters before (and after) World War I, though unfortunately, it’s not available as a Kindle ebook. But that afternoon I discovered something even better in Amazon’s Kindle Store: free editions for each of the author’s first four novels!

“The Early Works of John Dos Passos” is available in the Kindle Store as a 514-page collection of those four novels for just $1.99. Amazon named the collection one of their Best Books of 2013 (So Far), and it’s from a publisher called Halcyon Classics. But there’s also a free edition available for each one of the four books in the collection! Dos Passos was inspired partly by his own experiences in World War I, and he writes vivid and intimate stories for the characters in all four of his early novels.

One Man’s Initiation – 1917
Three Soldiers
Rosinante to the Road Again
A Pushcart at the Curb

For $1.99, you can even purchase the professionally-narrated audiobook version for each of these ebooks (except A Pushcart to the Curb.) But because of the Kindle, I was also able to enjoy reading reviews of these American classics from new readers who’d recently discovered them on One reviewer argued that Three Soldiers may be set during the war, but it’s more about one man’s struggle to retain his individuality. (Wikipedia points out that at least one of the soldiers has a military career which is virtually identical to that of John Dos Passos!) And another reader said these four earlier novels really capture the author’s tremendous growth. “It was refreshing to see through this collection how he came to eventually writing the great American classic USA Trilogy and developed a modern style, more complex and textured than any of the other members of the lost generation with the possible exception of James Joyce….”

Of course, I read some other interesting books as part of my all-American afternoon. I flipped through a wonderful postcard-sized print book called Traveling Route 66, which features photographs of highway scenes you might see in the 1950s, from neon signs to various roadside attractions. That book quoted a poem by Walt Whitman called “Song of the Open Road”, which led me to look a free online copy of the complete poem on my Kindle. The poem is also available as a Kindle ebook for 99 cents.

But I couldn’t let the day end without reading at least a few lines of The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere. What’s forgotten is that poem is part of a larger work – a kind of American version of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, where six different characters each take a turn reciting a poem on a topic that’s dear to their heart. (It’s also available as a free Kindle ebook.) Tales of a Wayside Inn was written in 1862, during the American Civil War, when poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was struggling with his wife’s death and the injuries of his son, who was serving in the Union army. So in the longer poem, “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” is referred to as “The Landlord’s Tale”, and after its conclusion, there’s a few more poignant lines that always remind me that holidays are often just a way of remembering, in your own way, all of those who came before you.

The Landlord ended thus his tale,
Then rising took down from its nail
The sword that hung there, dim with dust,
And cleaving to its sheath with rust,

And said, “This sword was in the fight.”

More Great Discounts on Kindle eBooks

Steve Martin biography book cover - Born Standing Up

I made a mistake when I wrote that Amazon was discounting 100 Kindle ebooks for $3.99 or less. Because there’s a lot more Kindle ebooks on sale at big discounts in other sections of the Kindle Store. For example, Amazon has another page offering “20 Kindle Books for $2 Each” — and then another page offering 30 Kindle Books for $3 Each. And Amazon’s also offering similar discounts on ebooks in popular genres, including Popular Romance and Mysteries and Thrillers.

But fortunately, you can find all of these discounted ebooks linked to on one page — the main page that Amazon’s created for their big July sale, “100 Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less.” (For a shortcut, just point your web browser to .) Here’s some of the most interesting and intriguing “finds” from all of these discount pages.

Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life by Steve Martin ($2.99)

Yes, it’s that Steve Martin — whose goofy appearances on Saturday Night Live as a “wild and crazy guy” made him a comedy superstar in the 1970s. He moved on to big-budget Hollywood movies and a second career as a serious fiction writer, but this fascinating memoir takes a bittersweet look back to the earliest days of his stand-up career. As a teenager he’d worked at both Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm, and he describes what he learned from performing jokes for an amusement park audience that had just learned that President Kennedy was assassinated. I always knew that behind the comedy, Steve Martin was an intelligent and thoughtful man, and The New York Times calls his book “smart, serious, heartfelt and confessional without being maudlin.” But I was really impressed that Jerry Seinfeld goes even further, calling it “One of the best books about comedy and being a comedian ever written.”

In One Person: A Novel by John Irving ($2.99)

Amazon picked this as one of the best books of the month when it was released in May of 2012. John Irving has written some of the most famous novels of the last 50 years — everything from The World According to Garp and The Hotel New Hampshire to The Cider-House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany. But this time, he’d written a more poltical story, according to Amazon description of the book, which calls it “precisely the kind of astonishing alchemy we associate with a John Irving novel…, brilliant, political, provocative, tragic, and funny!”

The Adventures of Shrinkman R. L. Stine ($1.99)

R.L. Stine created the popular series of scary children’s stories, Goosebumps. (One newspaper even called him the Stephen King of children literature.) But last year he released a fascinating new story about a boy who imagines a comic strip where a boy shrinks down to the size of a bug — only to discover that he actually is shrinking! “Soon he’s fighting for his life against a grasshopper, a colony of ants, and even his own dog,” reads the book’s description at Amazon, which calls the book “Funny and terrifying and filled with BIG surprises”, proving that to overcome life’s impossible challenges, sometimes you need more than just size!

Cable and Deadpool, Volume 1: If Looks Could Kill ($3.99) by Marvel Comics

Amazon’s selling lots of graphic novels in their Kindle Store from D.C. Comics, so it’s a nice treat when there’s also something available from Marvel Comics. This month they’ve discounted a 136-page collection of the first six issues of Cable & Deadpool. (At $3.99, that’s just 66 cents per issue!) I haven’t read this comic book, but I have to admit that I was intrigued by the description of the heroes href=””> on Wikipedia. Cable “is the time-traveling son of Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor (a clone of Jean Grey),” and his partner Deadpool is literally insane, “a talkative mercenary for hire known as the ‘Merc with a Mouth’… ” Amazon distilled their debut collection into one tongue-in-cheek question: “Can two grown men armed to the teeth with deadly genetic weaponry live together without driving each other crazy?!”

Remember: You can always find all of Amazon’s discounted ebooks at

Free eBooks by Michael Lewis?

Cover of the book Coach: Lessons in the Game of Life by Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis has written at least five books which reached the New York Times best-seller list — and two of them were adapted into Hollywood movies. The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game shares the story of Michael Oher, a troubled teenager who (after being adopted in high school) goes on to become a professional football tackle. And Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game tells the story of how Oakland’s low-budget baseball team devised a player-recruiting strategy which led to a 20-game winning streak in 2002, and ultimately revolutionized the sport of baseball. Lewis has also written some surprisingly insightful books about the financial industry, including Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World. So I was delighted to discover some free caches of Michael Lewis’s writing online — along with an easy way to deliver them to my Kindle!

In the sports section of a tiny California bookstore, I’d discovered a wonderful Michael Lewis book from 2005 that I’d never heard of before. It’s a heartfelt memoir about his own high school baseball coach, and what young Michael Lewis learned when he took the pitcher’s mound in the 9th inning. Coach: Lessons on the Game of Life has a good point to make about today’s education system. But in typical Lewis style, he couples it with a great story.

Lewis remembers coach Fitz as “a 6-foot-4-inch, 220-pound minor-league catcher with the face of a street fighter hollering at the top of his lungs for three straight hours.” The eighth grade students were afraid of him, and his intensity spawned legends about just how tough Coach Fitz really was. Yet when the pressure is finally on, “Fitz leaned down, put his hand on my should and, thrusting his face right up to mine, became as calm as the eye of a storm. It was just him and me now; we were in this together.”

By the end of the story, I was convinced that this 96-page book would make a wonderful gift for a teacher — or maybe even for anybody who’s a parent. So I looked up the book on Amazon, where used hardcover editions of Coach: Lessons on the Game of Life are available for just one cent (plus shipping). “This is exactly the type of book you would want to send your grandchildren,” wrote one reviewer at Amazon, “or have your own children read.” There’s also a Kindle edition, which costs $8.99 — but then I discovered a delightful surprise.

One of the reviewers pointed out that the widely-spaced book was simply re-publishing a 9000-word article that Lewis wrote for the New York Times magazine. So I pulled up the article online, and then send it straight to my Kindle using the plug-in that Amazon built for my web browser. I don’t usually send articles to my Kindle for reading later – but this was the length of a small book.

For a shortcut to Amazon’s Send-to-Kindle browser add-ons,
just point your browser to

And as I was preparing this article, I discovered that it’s not the only Lewis book which is based on articles that are available online. Even his newest book Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World (released in 2011), is available in its entirety online – at least, according to a review on its web page at Amazon. “The entire book with the exception of a short introduction is available for free online…” the reviewer points out. “You can still find it for free by searching for ‘Vanity Fair Iceland’ All other articles can be found for free on VF’s website; just search for ‘Michael Lewis Vanity Fair’ and then click on the index of his articles.”

It looks like the reviewer is correct. Michael Lewis is the managing editor of Vanity Fair magazine, and the site includes an archive with all of his past articles. They’re all there, with enticing titles like Beware of Greeks Bearing Bonds and The Man Who Crashed the World.

So the next time I’m craving the sharp insights of Michael Lewis, maybe I’ll just send those web pages to my Kindle!

100 More Kindle eBooks for $3.99 or Less

Amazon Kindle 399 ebook sale

I really love browsing the discounted ebooks that Amazon makes available each month. Each month there’s a new selection (as part of Amazon’s special sale, “100 ebooks for $3.99 for less”.) Here’s my picks for some of the most interesting ebooks discounted by Amazon for the month of July.

Check out the great discounts at

Kingdom of Fear by Hunter S. Thompson ($2.99)

The infamous gonzo journalist who wrote Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas finally sat down to write a memoir at the age of 65 — just two years before his death in 2005. The former political/cultural correspondent for Rolling Stone finally revealed his experiences as a war correspondent during the 1983 Reagan-era invasion of Grenada — and how he escaped legal action on various charges in a 1990 Colorado trial. It was a wild life, and Amazon promises that the book even covers “his stint in the Air Force…the beginning of his journalism career; his unsuccessful, though illuminating, bid for Sheriff of Aspen, Colorado in 1970 as the Freak Power candidate…and numerous examples of present-day injustice and hypocrisy–all with his characteristic mix of brutal frankness laced with humor.”

The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut ($1.99)

This was Kurt Vonnegut’s second novel, according to the book’s description at Amazon, and it was immediationely nominated for 1959’s prestigious Hugo award for outstanding fantasy/science fiction. (It eventually lost to Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, “in what Harlan Ellison has called a monumental injustice.”) I like how Amazon describes the book as a “picaresque” novel “which almost defies being synposized [following] lead character Malachi Constant, a feckless but kind-hearted millionaire as he moves through the solar system on his quest for the meaning of all existence…” They describe this 338-page novel as “more hopeful” than most Vonnegut stories, and Amazon’s top-rated customer review describes this as possibly Vonnegut’s very best book.

Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five and Hot Seven Recordings by Brian Harker ($1.99)

Louis Armstrong was just 26 when he released the first jazz records under his own name, but “Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five” had deep roots in New Orleans. They’d all performed together when Louis was just a teenager growing up in Louisiana — except for the fifth member of the band, Louis’s wife Lil Hardin (who played the piano). In a fascinating analysis, music historian Brian Harker calls these recordings “a revolution” in music history, and last month Amazon picked his book as one of the Best Books of 2013 (so far). Applauding the book’s thoughtful and original approach, one jazz site calls Armstrong’s journey through his first recording group “a great adventure story” — and the book has already become Amazon’s #1 best-selling ebook about jazz.

2010: Odyssey Two by Arthur C. Clarke ($1.99)

Have you ever wondered what happened in the sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey? 14 years after the original science fiction novel about astronauts lost in space, Arthur C. Clarke released a sequel that picks up the story, according to the book’s description at Amazon. “Nine years after the ill-fated Discovery One mission to Jupiter, a joint Soviet-American crew travels to the planet to investigate the mysterious monolith orbiting the planet, the cause of the earlier mission’s failure — and the disappearance of David Bowman.” The mission includes the computer scientist who designed the notorious HAL computer, but they stumble into what Amzon describes as “an unsettling alien conspiracy – surrounding the evolutionary fate of indigenous life forms on Jupiter’s moon Europa, as well as that of the human species itself.” When the novel was released in 1983, it won the Hugo award for the best science fiction novel of the year — and when the ebook version was finally, released this year, Amazon named it one of the best ebooks of 2013.

See all of Amazon’s discounted ebooks at

The Kindle and “The Office”

Darryl reads his Kobo with Dwight and Andy at the skating rink on the Office

May 26th saw the broadcast of the very last episode of The Office, an American “workplace comedy” set in Scranton, Pennsylvania. NBC aired one final nostalgic episode that looked back at how things changed for the characters over their eight years together — and it reminded me of an odd episode back in 2011 that had something to say about the Kindle! Later that year, Amazon would release the Kindle Fire, so it was actually possible to watch episodes of The Office on your Kindle. But in January, an episode aired with a discussion about New Year’s resolutions that leads to a plot that’s all about ebooks!

Creepy Dwight Schrute would eventually marry the office’s conservative accountant, Angela, in the show’s final episode. But just two years earlier the couple had broken up, and Dwight was insisting loudly that his goal for 2011 was to “Meet a loose woman”. (And his co-worker Andy agreed…) “You know what you guys should do?” suggests Darryl from the warehouse. “Go to the bookstore at lunch. There’s tons of cuties and it’s easy to talk to them. ‘Hey, what book is that? Cool, let’s hang out tonight. Sex already? Whoa…!'”

Suddenly this strange sitcom was veering towards a visit to the bookstore, and I’ve always suspected that the show’s producers had a “product placement” deal. (it was the first and only episode of the show that featured a digital reader this prominently in the plot.) The episode flashed to a private interview with Darryl, who revealed that he wasn’t really going to the bookstore because he wanted to pick up women. Darryl’s New Year’s resolution was to read more books — and he’d just wanted a ride to the store!

And that’s when the digital reader appears…

Kobo reader with Daryl from The Office

“Well, if you read a lot, you should check out our ereaders,” a sweet, middle-aged cashier tells Darryl at the register, adding…

“They’re really neat.”

“I work at a paper company. Those things terrify me. They could put us out of business. I heard those things hold like 10 books at once.”

“Actually, it’s 10,000.”

“Holy ####! What? Let me see it…”

Darryl is impressed. (“It’s so light. Like a croissant.”) But his co-workers are having no luck picking up women, and Dwight announces “This place is kind of tapped out, so let’s roll.” But as they’re leaving the store, it turns out that Darryl is carrying a bag that he doesn’t want his co-workers to see. He claims it contains “A book about oceans,” then later tries to claim that it’s pornography. But later in the episode — as the men somehow end up at a roller-skating rink — Darryl is seen slipping away, to read on his brand new digital reader.

It’s only been two years since it was broadcast, but it’s almost like a time capsule from a far-away past. The store that they’d visited was a
Borders bookstore, the episode makes clear — and just weeks later, Borders went bankrupt. The chain wasn’t even able to find a buyer in the months that followed, according to Wikipedia, and by July it began liquidating its last 399 remaining stores. The reader that Darryl buys in the episode is a Kobo — and in the end, the Kobo has lasted longer than the bookstore where he purchased it! (Maybe the person who should’ve been terrified of it was the bookstore employee who sold it to him!)

Interestingly, all the remaining Borders stores were purchased by Barnes and Noble, who offer their own competitor to the Kindle –the Nook. And judging by today’s headlines, it’s the Nook’s turn to confront the possibility of its own extinction.. (“Is Barnes & Noble Killing the Nook to Save the Stores?” asks a headline at Yahoo! Finance…) USA Today even bluntly asked a publishing industry source if the same fate was ultimately waiting for Barnes and Noble, America’s last national bookstore chain. His answer came in two parts: “Imminently, no…” and “Ultimately, yes.”

Our world is changing fast, and the signs are everywhere. In 2011 I was just delighted to see a digital reader in a television sitcom, and within two years later, we’re watching hundreds of retail bookstores start closing their doors. Sometimes I feel a little like those
workers at The Office — wondering if the people in charge really know what they’re doing. I’ve always said that popular culture is more of a “broken mirror”, reflecting part of the changes in the world, sometimes directly, and sometimes indirectly.

But it does give us one more way to look back at how much things have changed over the years — and not just for people at The Office!

4th of July Sale on Kindle Accessories!

“>Amazon 4th of July Electronics Sale 2013

Promising “40% Off or More”, Amazon’s just announced a special sale on Kindle accessories (and other electronics). They’ve discounted over 300 different accessories for their entire line of Kindles, including the black-and-white Kindle readers and the larger Kindle Fire tablets. And if you buy one of the qualifying accessories, Amazon will even throw in $2.00 of free music downloads!
Check out all the low prices at

“>Amazon 4th of July Electronics Sale

I was stunned when I found a precision-molded skin for my Kindle Touch marked down to only $3.37! (Normally Marware sells these “SportGrip” models for $19.99) . Another $6.98 would be tacked on for “shipping and handling” — but fortunately, I’m an Amazon Prime member, so there weren’t any shipping costs. My final price was $3.37 – and it still qualified me for the $2.00 in mp3 downloads!

But Amazon’s also offering discounts on hundreds of other Kindle accessories. There’s genuine leather covers and easy-grip silicone skins, as well as dozens of cases in a surprising variety of colors! (Snake Skin! Camoflauge! Plaid…! Plus skins for dozens of professional sports teams — and even some colleges…) If you own a Kindle Fire, Amazon’s discounted the fancy “microshell folio case” — and there’s even a rotating stand that lets you prop up your tablet like its a widescreen TV. For even more protection, you can purchase a discounted “gumdrop cases” (with a sturdy hard rubber “bubble” shell for easy gripping and extra protection and falls) — and there’s also a discount on touchscreen styluses. Even noise-isolating headphones are on sale, as well as some Bluetooth speakers.

If you’re enjoying a long, hot holiday weekend, maybe this will give you a good excuse to stay indoors and shop!

Check out all the low prices at

“>Amazon 4th of July Electronics Sale 2013

The Best Kindle eBooks of the Year (So Far)


Amazon’s just announced their choice for the best books of the year (so far). “Just in time for summer reading season…” their press release says, “customers looking for a new summer read can browse the hand-selected list of top books…” And the new list has a lot of surprises…

For the 25 best books of 2013 , point your web browser to

The list was prepapred by the editors at Amazon’s Canadian site, so they’ve indicated the two books (in the top ten) which were written by Canadian authors. Their #1 pick for the best book of 2013 is by Canadian novelist Lisa Moore. (Caught, ” A thrilling adventure…the absorbing, suspenseful tale of David Slaney, a normal guy who chooses to make his way into the drug business…”) Interestingly, it’s the only one of the 10 that is not available on the Kindle!

Stephen King’s Joyland came in at #11, and David Sedaris took the #17 spot with his new collection of humorous essays, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls. But Amazon’s list also included a lot of new author’s that I hadn’t heard of. Here’s Amazon’s complete list of the 10 Best Books of 2013 – along with their description of each book!

Caught by Lisa Moore
A thrilling adventure and a superbly written novel. Customers will enjoy it for the absorbing, suspenseful tale of David Slaney, a normal guy who chooses to make his way into the drug business, and for the brilliant sentence-to-sentence writing.

The Son by Philipp Meyer
A multigenerational Western spanning the 1800s Comanche raids in Texas to the 20th century oil boom, The Son is a towering achievement.

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud
The story of a suburban middle-aged teacher who never became the artist she thought she would be — if this novel were to have a subtitle, it would be: No More Ms. Nice Guy.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
What if you could be born again and again? This brilliant, multi-layered novel answers that question as Atkinson’s protagonist moves through multiple lives, each one an iteration on the last, flirting with the balance between choice and fate.

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
Following The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, Hosseini has written another masterwork, one that moves through war, separation, birth, death, deceit, and love—illustrating how people’s actions, even the seemingly selfless ones, are shrouded in ambiguity.

Frozen In Time by Mitchell Zuckoff
Two adventures in one… recounting the 1942 crash (and subsequent struggle to survive) of a U.S. cargo plane crew in Greenland, and describing the author’s own participation in a modern day mission to uncover the mystery behind their disappearance.

Tenth of December by George Saunders
Saunders’ first collection of short stories in six years introduces his ironic, absurd, profound, and funny style to an army of new readers.

The Demonologist: A Novel by Andrew Pyper
This captivating supernatural thriller takes the genre to a higher level as renowned Miltonian scholar David Ulin is drawn to a mystery in Venice that eventually has him battling demons, internal and otherwise, to save his daughter.

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach
Roach is about as entertaining a science writer as you’ll find, and this book about how we ingest food will make you think, laugh, and wince as she covers all things alimentary.

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman
Forty years ago, our narrator, who was then a seven year old boy, unwittingly discovered a neighboring family’s supernatural secret. What follows is an imaginative adventure that could only come from the magical mind of Neal Gaiman.

It’s also fun to compare this list to one Amazon released last month, of the top 100 best-selling Kindle ebooks of 2013 )at Top2013eBooks .) Because it turns out that none of Amazon’s picks for the best books of 2013 are on their list of the 100 best-selling ebooks of 2013. Not a single one — although maybe Amazon’s editors were deliberately trying to choose new books that people hadn’t heard of. And after the top 10 books, 8 of their remaining 15 choices were also written by Canadian authors — so maybe they’re just focusing on a different market.

But it’s another yet another fun way to find new things to read on your Kindle!