Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Letters from the Earth by Mark Twain


Mark Twain is one of my favorite American authors and I was surprised upon reading this book that I had not heard of it before, even though I had read the classics by him, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, and I loved those. Letters from the Earth is a short work, that basically takes religion and the hypocrisy of society to task.


The story is told from Satan’s point of view upon visiting earth. He is writing back to the other angels in heaven and reporting on what he sees on earth, how the humans behave and their beliefs. He does not hold any punches and still manages to be funny. It has many memorable lines and insights.






The commentary by Satan is very harsh and seems contrary to Twains, more humorous writings, but according to Wikipedia:


Letters from the Earth is one of Mark Twain's posthumously published works. The essays were written during a difficult time in Twain's life; he was deep in debt and had lost his wife and one of his daughters.


If you don’t have a Kindle or eReader click to check them out: Kindle


One of the many quotes that I marked was:


“Adam and Eve entered the world naked and unashamed - naked and pure-minded; and no descendant of theirs has ever entered otherwise, All have entered naked, unashamed, and clean in mind. The have entered it modet. They had to acquire immodesty and the soiled mind; there was no other way to get it. A Christian mother’s first duty is to soil her child’s mind, and she does not neglect it. her lad grows up to be a missionary, and goes to the innocent savage and to the civilized Japanese, and soils their minds. Whereupon they adopt immodesty, they conceal their bodies, they stop bathing naked together.”

Download a sample and read some of Mark Twain’s most honest writings from a time when even America’s leading humorist could not publish such biting criticism.

See my other posts by Twain:

Tom Sawyer
Autobiography
Biography


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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Amazon’s new ebook subscription service seems like a winner, until you realize there’s a better, free option. Including easy 3 step setup.



Amazon’s new Kindle Unlimited plan is a ebook borrowing service that makes it easy to download as many books as you can read for a monthly fee of $9.99. You can read on any Kindle device or app, as many books as you want, without any limits. It’s like Netflix for movies or Spotify for music, you can download as much or as little as you like to read or not read.

Sounds like a great deal for $9.99 a month or about $120 bucks a year. There’s just one problem, there’s already a competing service that allows you to read on any Kindle device or app, with a huge selection. You can also find the latest bestsellers for free.

Whether you read on your Kindle app for iPad or your amazingly simple paperwhite, you can download free Kindle books with Overdrive.

“OverDrive, Inc. is an American digital distributor of eBooks, audiobooks, music, and video titles. The company provides secure management, digital rights management and download fulfillment services for publishers, libraries, schools, and retailers.”

This great app that lets you download an amazing selection of books for free. You can read on your: Kindle, iPhone, smartphone, iPad, Nook, Mac, PC, and everything else. This free  service is available at your local public library.

Overdrive provides download services to thousands of libraries across the country. All you need is your library card! Set up is a breeze.

Step 1. Get your library card, if you don't already have it. Libraries are still a great place for communities and offer many services besides the ole “find a book check it out to read.” Libraries provide many community services including free classes, computers to use, and now free ebooks.

The selection of downloadable titles varies from library to library. The catalog of books available is impressive. You can also utilize multiple libraries to increase the number of books available. You can get a library card at most libraries in your state to access their ebook collections online.

Step 2. Setup Overdrive. Overdrive has been growing for a number of years and now has a link on most library websites. Set up your overdrive app by finding and adding your libraries and log in info. Then you can search the libraries for available ebooks. You can also head over to their main site and find libraries near you that support the service. Getting up in running doesn’t take too long and you will be all set up for future downloads. Overdrive even syncs across all your devices so you can read on whatever you have handy.

https://www.overdrive.com/

You can set up Overdrive to send the books to your Kindle devices and apps and read without having to purchase them from Amazon.

Step 3. Download books. Overdrive allows you to check out up to 12 books at once (depending on your library). I usually read 4 or 5 books at the same time so that if one book is a little slow, I can switch over to another. Best sellers and popular books may not be available immediately, but with countless free options you will be reading right away. You can get on their  waitlist and be notified when the book is available. The number of copies depends on the number of licenses that the library purchased. You might have to wait a few days to read a book, a small price to pay to read it for free.

You get to keep the books for 2 weeks before they are returned. In the Overdrive settings you can change the default checkout time to 3 weeks.

Everyones selection will be different and it will depend on the libraries you are registered with. Once you have set up the app, you can download books to your device to read in the Kindle app. You can catch up on all those books you have been meaning to buy!

Conclusion: Amazon’s new Kindle Unlimited plan is very convenient. Amazon specializes in making purchases as easy as possible. Plus, you will never have to wait in line for a new book. The only thing that doesn’t make this plan a must have is there’s already a better free service that provides unlimited reading. If you are a voracious reader and want to save yourself $120 bucks a year, follow the three easy steps outlined above and begin reading free Kindle books. Happy reading.

Check out our other posts available at http://kindleliterature.blogspot.com/ .

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Friday, August 15, 2014

The House on Mango Street


Sandra Cisneros
Published 1984


The House on Mango Street is a coming of age story by Sandra Cisneros first published in 1984. I remember reading this story in Middle School and thinking that this was the first time I was able to really relate to a character. The short novel is written in a series of vignettes dealing with memorable experiences growing up in a poor Hispanic neighborhood in Chicago. The stories deal with issues of identity and growing up to relationships and sex. The main character describes her experiences and her friends who are discovering many things about relationships and what it means to become a woman.


We are currently planning an introduction to literature course and this is one of the books that keeps coming up because we are looking at different recurring themes in literature including banned books and why people protest literature. This and the rest of Sandra Cisneros works were banned in Arizona in 2012 following a law banning works that “gave students a one-sided approach to history promoting Latino Activism.” Cisneros gave a reading at my University in 2012 promoting her new book and in the Q and A was asked what she thought about Arizona banning her books. She said it was great, that she was having one of her best years in book sales. The unintended publicity found a new generation of readers for her and she was grateful.


The House on Mango Street is available on the Kindle for $5.99. Pick up your copy of the latest banned “anti-American” book and see what all the fuss is about.


For more on the Arizona debacle follow this link.


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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Song of the Lark


Song of the Lark
By Willa Cather
Published 1915
Free on Kindle


I previously wrote about another novel by Willa Cather (1873-1947), The Professor’s House, and cover her history a bit more in that one. She is one of the best American novelists, considered in the top 10 and won the Pulitzer Prize for  One of Ours in 1922, a novel set in World War 1.


The Song of the Lark was written in 1915 and the story takes place in 1890s Colorado. The area is still being settled and there are many different groups of people living together during the frontier days. The story follows a young musician, Thea Kronberg, as she develops as an artists.
Novels that follow a character from early youth to adulthood are called Bildungsroman, a German term meaning a “novel of education.” Other notable Bildungsromans are A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and my favorite novel Of Human Bondage. See my post.
I have started work on my Master’s Thesis and I am writing about The Song of the Lark using a postcolonial theory lens to analyze characters. The idea for this paper came about because of readings I was doing for an American literature class on Modernism. Thats the early 20th century. I was reading the book when I started to get a real positive portrayal of the Mexican characters. This stood out because I had finished a previous novel, Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, where the Mexican characters were portrayed or described very negatively. I kept reading the novel and got a more complex approach, in that some of the white characters insult the Mexican characters and other are looked down upon for being friends with them. I thought that Cather was doing something interesting with the race relations in the novel and wanted to explore that a bit more.  I wanted to do an analysis of the characters so that I could understand more about what was going on with them and what Cather was saying implicitly and through the narration.
Cather is a very skilled writer and can put two sentences together to give meaning and complicate ideas without having to say anything. She did not want to be limited in her interpretation so she leaves things unsaid, using silence to leave open the many possible interpretations of the text.
The Song of the Lark is the latest novel I have read by Cather and is currently my favorite. This is the second book in her “Prairie Trilogy,” following O Pioneers! and preceding My Antonia. Both of which are free in ebook. Download some samples and start reading some of the best American Literature.




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Saturday, August 2, 2014

These Dreams of You


These Dreams of You
By Steve Erickson
Published January 2012


The latest work by Steve Erickson is different from his previous novels but contains some of the same great writing techniques. Erickson emphasizes repetition in his stories. He repeats certain lines and ideas often in different characters or scenes. He interweaves plot points that make it so that you know what is going to happen and you enjoy how he cleverly incorporates the repetition. Hes connected different novels by having a character from one novel be the main character in another. This novel is not post-apocalyptic American, like his usual books, but covers more contemporary and controversial topics.

Repetition is an important aspect of storytelling because readers and listeners can connect with what is being said and follow along. This is a recurring technique used for thousands of years. All stories are newer versions of other ones and how they are written and told is what makes them new and interesting.

In These Dreams of You Erickson manages to interweaves different fictions that can be a little confusing. You really have to pay attention and stay on track with the writer to follow along. That is not a problem with the great writing that you can expect from one of the best American Novelists and a Guggenheim fellow. He has been producing great novels now for over 20 years. Download a sample and enjoy this latest novel by Steve Erickson.

Check out Amazon’s new Kindle Unlimited for $9.99 You can read an unlimited amount of books for a monthly fee. It’s like Netflix for ebooks.

Check out our Facebook Page and Like us to keep up to date on the latest Kindle Literature news. You can share this post or any others on your social media of choice and bookmark the site for future post. Make sure you subscribe and check back for more. Follow me on twitter @seframos. Happy Reading.