It’s a special tradition. Every month, Amazon picks 100 ebooks to offer at a discount of $3.99 or less. Thereâ€™s always a new selection on the first day of the month, and I’m pretty excited about the discounted ebooks for February. To see the selection, point your computer’s web browser to tinyurl.com/399books
So which 100 ebooks did Amazon choose for their big discount this month??
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut ($2.99)
One of Vonnegut’s favorite novels tells the story of a U.S. Senator’s eccentric son, a millionaire who becomes a wandering philanthropist. Vonnegut’s next novel was Slaughter-house Five, and the New York Times Book Review says this book shows the author “at his wildest best.” But in researching this story, I discovered there’s also two free Vonnegut ebooks in the Kindle Store — both short stories. (There’s “The Big Trip Up Yonder” and “2 B R 0 2 B”). And according to Wikipedia, that second story is actually referenced in the novel “God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater,” attributed to Vonnegut’s own fictitious character, a science-fiction author named Kilgore Trout.
The Borrowers by Mary Norton ($1.99)
It was one of the 10 most important children’s novels of the last 70 years, according to the judges of a Carnegie Medal awards program. In a grand English manor, a tiny family is secretly living in the floorboards of the kitchen. They “borrow” what they need for their homestead, until one day disaster strikes, and the father is seen by a little boy. The culture of the “big people” confronts the question of the existence of the little people, and the change in perspective makes this story unforgettable. “Like all great books for the young, The Borrowers can be read as an enthralling story of adventure,” writes one reviewer on Amazon, “but also contains many layers of meaning…”
The Door into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein ($2.99)
The master of science fiction wrote this novel in 1957 — in which a hard-drinking inventor travels forward through time to the year…2000. There he discovers that the robots he’d been building in the 1950s have become a popular fixture in society — and tracks down a relative of the business partner who’d double-crossed him. It’s often been voted one of the 50 best science fiction novels of all time — and I love this explanation of the book’s title. According to Wikipedia, it came from a joke by the author’s wife about a cat that was refusing to leave its house through any of numerous doors, because it saw snow on the ground. “He is looking for The Door into Summer….”
What Would Keith Richards Do?: Daily Affirmations from a Rock and Roll Survivor by Jessica Pallington West ($1.99)
“To me, the main thing about living on this planet is to know who the hell you are and to be real about it…” So says the hard-living guitarist for the Rolling Stones, who became both a legend and a punchline after surviving a wild life of rock and roll. This 256-page collection offers a fun alternative to other self-help advice books, with quotes and analysis about what we all can learned from the life of Keith Richards himself. “I’m here because I’ve taken the trouble to find out who I am,” Richards says at one point — echoing the advice he gave to Captain Jack Sparrow in that Pirates of the Caribbean movie. (“It’s not whether you can live forever. It’s whether you can live with yourself.”) And I enjoyed how the advice was grouped into chapters with clever titles, like “Keith and Nietzsche” or “Keithisms: The 26 Ten Commandments of Keith Richards.”
Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded by Ann VanderMeer ($2.99)
This 431-page anthology offers some of the best “steampunk” science fiction around – including a short story by William Gibson, and another by “original” steampunk author, H.G. Wells. “Steampunk” is a trendy fiction genre that a lot of my friends love, a kind of reaction to our technology-saturated times (and the popularity of edgy “cyberpunk” science fiction stories.) Steampunk science fiction is often set in the Victorian era, where the most powerful technology available is a steam-powered engine!