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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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Kindle with Special Offers and Amazon Visa Deal

kindleWow, owners of the new Special Offers Kindle can gets some pretty sweet deals through Amazon (NASDAQ: Amazon).  One of the current offers is, when you order select bestsellers or classics for your Kindle, you can get a $10 Amazon.com credit.

The additional catch is that you have to use your Amazon visa card.  Now I will say this, I recently got one, and have heard great things about it.  You get points with your purchases, and can get extra points for purchases from Amazon.  Once you accrue enough points, you can redeem them for amazon.com credit and many other goodies.  So far, there haven’t been any annoying fees or promotions that most credit card companies push.

Some of the bestsellers include the recent hit Water for Elephants, The Hunger Game series and Michael Lewis’s The Big Short.  You’ll also find classics from old favorites such as Mark Twain, the Bronte sisters, and Lucy Maud Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables).

Check out this page for a complete list of bestsellers and classics that you can choose from.

The current offer goes until May 21st.  Happy reading!

 

Kindle Screensavers – What Do They Mean?

Ever wondered about the story behind the Kindle and Kindle DX screensavers?  Here are a few tidbits about them.  If you ever get a chance to go to New England, you will find the artifacts of the lives of many of these famous literary figures.

Famous Authors, Playwrights and Poets

Harriet Beecher Stowe – She is the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  Stowe was born on June 14, 1811 and was the daughter of the well known religious leader, Lyman Beecher.  Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a revolutionary anti slavery novel that set the anti slavery movement into motion.  Stowe publicly spoke out against slavery and included her views in her other writings.  She wrote 20 books total.  You can visit her house in Hartford Connecticut.  It is right beside the Mark Twain house.

Mark Twain – One of my favorite authors.  He wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  Both are hilarious, and I love the way Twain writes in the the jilted dialogue that they speak in.  His house is in Hartford, Connecticut, and is a sight to see.

John Steinbeck – Also a favorite of mine.  His most well known novel is The Grapes of Wrath, which is set during the Great Depression, and follows a family of Oklahoma sharecroppers who face economic hardship and desperation.  They somehow manage to hold on to a glimmer of hope for the future as they travel to California to find work and a better future.  Of Mice and Men is another one of his famous works and describes the tragic journey of two ranch workers, one of whom is mentally retarded.

Agatha Christie – Bestselling writer of detective novels.  She has sold 4 billion copies of her novels which is the most copies of books sold short of the Bible.  Many of her books are available on the Kindle, including the Secret Adversary, which is free.

Jane EyreCharlotte Bronte – Well known for her novel, Jane Eyre.  This is a gripping story that involves many plot twists and turns, a tragic fire and a crazy ex wife.

James Joyce – He is most well known for his book, Ulysses.  The protagonist, Leopold Bloom and the other characters of this book are modeled off of Homer’s Odyssey.  Ulysses is one of the greatest works of modern literature.

Virginia WoolfMrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse are two of her most major literary contributions. Woolf struggled mentally with sexual abuse and from nervous breakdowns following the death of her mother and father.  You will find her life experiences reflected in her works.

Alexandre Dumas – He began his career as a playwright, but later switched to novels including Count of Monte Cristo and The Three MusketeersThe Count of Monte Cristo chronicles the resurgence of Napoleon and the events of the Bonaparte family’s reign.  The novel gets its name from an island that Dumas visited where Louis Napoleon, Napoleon’s cousin was imprisoned. It also discusses the racial prejudice against his father, who was of Haitian descent and a general in the French Army.  The Three Musketeers features d’Artagnan, a guard over the musketeers.  The three musketeers are three friends who have an extremely tight bond.  They look after each other at all times.  This novel is the first of three novels in a series called the d’Artagnan Romances.

Jules Verne – One of the founders of science fiction.  Well, what was considered science fiction in the nineteenth century that is.  His novels, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, The Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Around the World in Eighty Days all explored sea and space travel before they were even invented.  Considering how mainstream those are now, it is really interesting to have historical reference to these ideas as something far fetched or futuristic.

Emily Dickinson – Most of her fame came after her death when most of her poems were Emily Dickinsondiscovered.  She lived in the Dickinson family homestead in Amherst, Massachusetts her whole life with the exception of her brief stint at Mt. Holyoke Seminary.  Death of loved ones throughout her life resulted in a great struggle with depression.  I visited her grave not too long ago, and got a glimpse of her house.  The Complete Poems by Emily Dickinson is available on the Kindle

Jane Austen – For more information about Jane Austen and her novels, check out the Pride and Prejudice Kindle Blog Post or the Jane Austen Kindle Blog post.  She does a great job of capturing the social atmosphere of the early nineteenth century.

Durer – An important figure in the Northern Renaissance and one of the first European landscape artists.

Authors Formerly Used as Screensavers

Edgar Allan Poe – He is known for introducing the detective-fiction genre and also was a contributed to the science fiction genre. His poem, “The Raven” was a huge success.  Poe completed one semester at the University of Virginia, but left due to lack of money.  He also tried and failed as an officer’s cadet.  So, you can probably see how his life struggles influenced the tone of his writings.

Oscar Wilde – An Irish writer, playwright and poet, his most well known works are The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being EarnestEarnest is a play that puts a humorous spin on the Victorian social scene.

John Milton
– He served under Oliver Cromwell during a time of religious and political upheaval in England.  His most famous work is Paradise Lost, an epic poem about Adam and Eve, their fall from grace and the consequences that follow.  This poem does a great job of exploring the major issues of the time.

Lewis Carroll – Author of the famous Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.  His tales are unique and great for the imagination.

Symbols and Paintings

Sibylla Samia – depiction of the ancient Greek priestess who prophesied Jesus’s birth in the stable.

“Albertus” page – glyphic, serif font named after the thirteenth century German philosopher Albertus Magnus

Hercules Constellation – Fifth largest constellation and is named after the Greek mythological hero Heracles.  The constellation was named by the ancient astronomer Ptolemy.

Man at table with lion in foreground

17th century astronomer & his wife w/ giant sextant

the Audubon finches-in-a-tree

Fish

Illuminated page with Iohannis aquila in upper right corner

Cathedral floorplan

Woman with Book

Kindle 3

Kindle Themed Screensavers

Kindle definition – formerly one with falling letters, now it is the definition with a tree in the background.

Kindle feedback request w/ some sort of coding machine – On the Kindle DX, the feedback email is kindledx-feedback@amazon.com.

These are all of the ones I’ve found so far, if you know of any others that I may have missed, let us know!

Mark Twain, Good Kindle Books at a Glance #2

And now, more good books that are available on Amazon Kindle

When I’m thinking about American classical literature, the name of Mark Twain instantly comes to my mind (actually, it’s his pen name, his real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens). A wonderful combination of a writing talent, rich humor, keen wit and knowledge of colloquial language well served him in creating the array of works, which were popular during his lifetime and are no less enjoyed a century later.

One of my favorite books of his is Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I read it in childhood, reread it in youth, and I’m going to reread it again, many years later. “A seminal work of American Literature that still commands deep praise and still elicits controversy, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is essential to the understanding of the American soul.” Now the book is available in “full” edition, with omitted episodes, which help understand the novel better.

If you want to laugh your head off, give a try to Mark Twain’s short stories -  funny, smart and thought-provoking.  “For deft plotting, riotous inventiveness, unforgettable characters, and language that brilliantly captures the lively rhythms of American speech, no American writer comes close to Mark Twain.

Those who are looking for “a different Mark Twain” may be interested in Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World. It’s a chronicle narration of a steamboat trip, which creates a very vivid picture of people Twain met and places he visited. A very enjoyable and educational book to read.

You may learn more about the author from Chapters From My Autobiography. As Mark Twain states in the introduction, “…this autobiography of mine does not select from my life its showy episodes, but deals mainly in the common experiences which go to make up the life of the average human being, because these episodes are of a sort which he is familiar with in his own life, and in which he sees his own life reflected and set down in print.” You may also like My Mark Twain written by William Dean Howells, who was Mark Twain’s friend for over 40 years. “Warm, compassionate, beautifully written work offers unparalleled perceptions of celebrated humorist’s faults, foibles, and personality, as well as insights into the spirit and style of his writing.”

A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.

-Mark Twain

Mark Twain



Promised Land: Thirteen Books That Changed America

Promised Land 13 Books That Changed AmericaA while ago I heard a piece on NPR on this book about books, and it really grabbed my attention. I even spent 10 minutes sitting in my car in a driveway, so I could hear it completely and not miss a thing. What Jay Parini did is of all the numerous American books and publications he chose 13 that both captured the zeitgeist and at the same time shaped the future of the American nation and made it as we know it today.

Pretty soon I was listening to the “Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin” on my iPhone and really enjoyed it. Later I purchased the “Promised Land” book itself to my Kindle and read it. While all 13 books mentioned are well known few can boast that they’ve actually read them all. I can’t.

I would strongly recommend “Promised Land:Thirteen Books That Changed America” for reading even if you did read all 13 books mentioned, because not only it gives you an overview of these books but also goes into great detail about the context in which these books appeared and how they affected the public. It is one of the most educational books that I’ve read.

And of course this post woudn’t be complete without mentioning the 13 that made the list:

  1. Of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford
  2. The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay
  3. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
  4. The Journals of Lewis and Clark (Lewis & Clark Expedition) by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
  5. Walden by Henry David Thoreau
  6. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  7. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  8. The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois
  9. The Promised Land by Mary Antin
  10. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  11. The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care by Benjamin Spock
  12. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  13. The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan

Unfortunately not all of the 13 are available as Kindle editions.

Free Kindle Books From Amazon

This is the second post in the Free Kindle Books series…

It so happens that there are 4,800+ books that Amazon.com has made available for Kindle owners to download for free. Books are delivered via WhisperNet just like the paid books. But price is $0.00 (you save 100%).

You can find these books by sorting your search results by price from low to high. If you are in luck free books will be on top of the list. You can browse the complete 400 page list.

I’ll gradually build complete list of these books and make it available on this website. For now here is a list of free books by my personal favorite, Mark Twain.

P.S.: As I was building the Mark Twain list I’ve noticed that althogh Amazon website features 4,800+ titles, many books are split into multiple parts so number of actual titles available is lower.