Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Told You I'd Read Anything

I was just browsing through the thousand-plus titles I've downloaded to my Kindle e-book reader since I got it back in November, and was struck by the number of oddly-titled books that I've acquired.

Most of the stuff I download is free, because I don't like to pay for stuff if I don't have to. There are plenty of sites where you can legally download free e-books by new and established authors who are trying to promote their work. So, granted, I probably didn't pay a cent for any of these books.

But still, most people would judge a book by its title (at least by some of these titles) and deem it unworthy to even take up space in their e-reader. Not this guy. I'll read anything. And the weirder it is the better, as far as I'm concerned. (This shouldn't really be that surprising, coming from the author of The Plural Of Hyena blog!)

Anyway, since I'm having a hard time coming up with anything better to write about today, I figured I'd share the names of these oddball books that I either am reading or am planning on reading in the near future with you, and share some links where you too can find one-of-a-kind e-books to clutter up your own e-reader, if you have one. Even if you don't have one, if you're reading this right now you probably have a computer, and most of these books are also available as PDF's which can be read right on your computer.

In most cases, I haven't read these books yet, so I'd hardly recommend them sight unseen. Read the synopses for yourselves, and decide if you'd like to give them a whirl or not...

1)  How To Cook Husbands and (its companion piece) The Gentle Art Of Cooking Wives:  Both by Elizabeth Strong Worthington, these humorous fictional tales were written in the latter part of the 19th century with the intent of shedding light on issues of gender equality (or inequality, as was often the case at the time).

2)  Princess Callie And The Totally Amazing Talking Tiara:  This young adult fantasy novel, written by Daisy Piper, is a familiar-seeming tale of a teenage girl who is whisked away to a magical kingdom where she is, in fact, a princess, and is the only one who can save the kingdom from certain destruction. I'm currently reading this one, and while there isn't a whole lot of originality to the story, it's written very tongue-in-cheek and is a fun, light read.

3)  That Bear Ate My Pants!:  This is the true story of a guy (the author Tony James Slater) who went to Ecuador to volunteer at an animal refuge, and bit off more than he could chew. Or, conversely, was bitten more than he could handle being chewed. Anyway, it's supposed to be as crazy as it sounds – probably highly exaggerated but still worth a read, I hope.

4)  Disembodied Spider Meat:  This ten-story collection from horror author Mark Wheaton is advertised as being "full of madness, murder, and mayhem" (aren't those the three "M"'s of most horror stories?). I'm sure it's probably every bit as gruesome as it's purported to be, but why the oddball title? Who knows! Will I read it? Of course.

5)  They Had Goat Heads:  Another short-story collection, this one written by D. Harlan Wilson. Described as "ferociously mind-bending", these stories are said to include things like "egg raids, hog rippers, monk spitters (?), [and] fathers who take their children to pet stores to buy them whales." Well, at least they sound highly imaginative. We'll see.

6)  God Drives A Tow Truck:  This compilation of true stories by author Vicky Kaseorg details her quest to find God. "In her voyage from atheist to believer, she gradually discovers that while God's face may not be clearly seen, the brush of His fingertips is often felt." Interesting. Wonder if she's writing a sequel: "The Devil Is An IRS Auditor"? I'd read that one, too.

7)  Assault With A Deadly Glue Gun:  Apparently, this cozy mystery story by writer Lois Winston is Book 1 of the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series. Now, some of you out there might be thrilled to know that there's a crafting mystery series in existence. Or maybe you already know, and you've read it, and you like it. Me, I'm disappointed. I got this book strictly for its absurd-sounding title, and didn't know it had anything to do with crafting (which doesn't interest me in the least). Oh well, maybe my wife will like it?

8)  Bubba And The Dead Woman:  Does this sound like a redneck murder mystery? Well, good, 'cause that's exactly what it is. This quirky novel by C.L. Bevill takes place at the Snoddy Mansion in the small town of Pegramville, and includes colorful characters such as Bubba's mother, Miz Demetrice, who runs a gambling ring, and their Basset hound, Precious. Oh boy, I don't know whether or not I'm ready for this one just yet!

9)  Chico: The Story Of A Homing Pigeon:  Written by Lucy M. Blanchard, this is the true story of a homing pigeon from Italy that wins a medal for bravery in World War One. Come on, admit it, you'd read that! Right? Oh.

10)  The Fabulous Clipjoint:  This 1948 Edgar Award-winning pulp mystery novel by Fredric Brown is centered around an 18-year-old boy named Ed who teams with his Uncle Ambrose to find out who killed Ed's dad. I want to read this one just to find out what a clipjoint is, and why it's a fabulous one. Sure, I could just Google it, but reading it is bound to be more fun. Hopefully.

11)  Land Of Corn Chips: The blurb for this young adult novel by Angela Carlie is so great that I simply can't put it into my own words any better: "Eleven-year-old Nate Hansen never believed in dragons before an eccentric man with a purple-feather hat kidnaps him. Spirited to the Land of Corn Chips on the back of a mechanical yellow dragon, Nate must find a way to avoid being ground into compost. His only hope of escape is to earn the friendship of the local wrestling gang and zombie kids, and to believe in a parent he no longer trusts." 'Nuff said. 

12)  Ambrotox And Limping Dick:  This thriller novel by Oliver Fleming is so obscure that I can't even find a plot synopsis anywhere on the Internet! Suffice it to say, it can't be as bad as it sounds by the title. What I could find out about it was that "Oliver Fleming" was a pseudonym for Philip MacDonald, and that this book was co-authored by Philip and his father, Ronald. Yes, Ronald MacDonald. Insert juvenile snicker here.

13)  Charlie Woodchuck Is A Minor Niner:  This young adult novel by Dalya Moon follows the title character through her early days in high school, circa 1988, as she attempts to find out whether or not she's adopted. Her best friend, an expert blackmailer, and her other friend, the class clown, will attempt to solve the mystery while staving off "the biggest bullies of all": the school board! Gasp!

14)  I Thought My Uncle Was A Vampire, But He Was Just A Creep:  This strange-as-it-sounds novel by Richard Cassone pretty much tells you the entirety of its plot in the title. Apparently, there are also unscrupulous lawyers, overzealous detectives, and plenty of slapstick comedy involved. What about the kitchen sink? Is that thrown in there, too?

15)  Elvis Has Not Left The Building:  The first book in the Elvis Mystery series by J.R. Rain, this quirky novel tells what happened after Elvis faked his own death in 1977. Apparently, he underwent massive facial reconstruction surgery, changed his name to Aaron King, and moved to a small apartment in Los Angeles where he's now a septuagenarian private investigator. Yeah, okay, I'll read that.

Sites With A Good Number Of Free 
(And Legal) Books That You Can Download:

www.gutenberg.org   (public domain books, mostly classics)

www.smashwords.com  (old and new books –  click "Activate 
Adult Filter" at the bottom of the home page if you 
want to filter out the smutty books listed there)

www.feedbooks.com  (old and new books – this one doesn't have an Adult
Filter, so just be aware that some titles aren't appropriate for everyone)

www.manybooks.net  (lots of books to choose from here – mostly public 
domain books and classics, but there are some new ones, too)

www.getfreeebooks.com  (this is basically a blog site that gathers free 
e-book listings from across the web, and provides links to exterior sites to 
download them – it's a good resource, just not a great first place to look)

Of course, if you have a Kindle, there's always www.amazon.com. And for you Nook readers, there's www.barnesandnoble.com. There are plenty of free books to choose from on both of those sites, too.

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