Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I Could Get It For Free, But It's Not For Me!

You remember how I said before that I would read anything, no matter what it was? Yeah, well, perhaps I misspoke.

In doing my daily search for free e-books with which to further clutter up my Kindle on both Amazon.com and other free e-book sites, I have run across some truly diverse books, ranging from the completely absurd (I usually go for those) to the intriguing (I usually pick those up too) to the horribly mundane (if I buy those it's 'cause I fell asleep with my finger hovering over the "BUY" button by accident).

Rather than bore you with the weird (been there, done that!) or intriguing books I have downloaded, I figured it'd be way more entertaining to give you a few examples of the boring, stupid, and utterly pointless books that even I won't read. And that's saying something! So here we go...

1)  Adventures In The Land Of Singing Garbage Trucks by Adam Tervort

"What happens when a normal guy from the Midwest finds himself on the other side of the world? How does one cope with the shock of spiders, snakes, and scooters seemingly around every turn? Adventures In The Land Of Singing Garbage Trucks is a memoir of a life in Taiwan by Adam Tervort, Midwesterner, Chinese-speaker, and arachnophobe extraordinaire."

Normally, an absurd title like this would pique my interest so much that I'd download it without even reading the description. But in this case, I was not too hasty and read what it was about, and was thoroughly unimpressed. Big whoop! A guy moves to Taiwan and is scared of spiders. Does it really take 41,812 words to tell that story? I just summarized it 10 words. No, thanks!

2)  I Was Attacked By A Shark and (its companion piece) I Almost Died In The Grand Canyon by Ryan Barlow

Aren't they kind of irrelevant in this case?

First of all, neither of these would actually qualify as a "book." Both are simply articles taken from travel blogs in which the author was published. Secondly, why would I waste my time reading these "books" when the entire story is told in the title? Okay, he was attacked by a shark, and later (or earlier – whatever!) he almost died in the Grand Canyon. Obviously, he survived both because he wrote a "book" about each experience. Thirdly, what kind of rotten luck does this guy have to both be attacked by a shark and nearly die at a national landmark? I'm betting this is not coincidence and he's just making junk up to draw attention to himself. Finally, I can't and won't support (even by downloading his free books) an author who also wrote books called God Is Dead: My Fall From Fundamentalist Christianity and The Argument For Post-Term Abortion. Moving on...

3)  How To Become A Successful Independent Female Escort by Ashly Lorenzana

"A short guide to starting out as a professional escort."

Well, first of all, I'm not female. So certain aspects of the book wouldn't really apply to me. Secondly, I am not now nor have I ever been nor do I ever aspire to be an escort, either as a professional or an amateur. So, yeah, not gonna be downloading or reading this one. Ever.

4)  Shamanic Psychopomp: Guide Of Souls by F.J. Fritz

"Throughout time, the shaman has carried the responsibility of escorting the souls of kindred members to the realms of beyond. Today this service is still greatly needed. Although the knowledge of how to accomplish this task has faded as the close-knit tribal community has given way to modern civilization, shamanic practitioners are discovering the call to guide souls, or to act as a psychopomp, inadvertently through their ecstatic journeys..."

There's way more description where I left off, but that's enough for me. I agree with part of this book's title: It's definitely psycho. I don't claim to understand the tenets of whatever kind of religion this book is endorsing, but I know mumbo-jumbo when I hear it. I'll take a pass on the "Psychopomp."

5)  Remembering 'Star Search' by Dave Rodway

"A story about the process of auditioning and performing on the national TV show Star Search with Ed McMahon."

I remember Star Search, too. Vaguely, because I was quite young when it was still on, but I do remember it. But I don't want to read a book about the process of auditioning and performing on the show. I'd rather just watch the first couple of episodes of a new season of American Idol. And I really don't want to do that either. So, no, I won't be reading this one – sorry, Dave!

6)  Easy Gingerbread Tiki Hut by Lisa Turner Anderson

"Dreaming of the Caribbean? Well, building a fabulous gingerbread tiki hut is as easy as 1-2-3 with this no-bake take on the classic. This no-bake house is made from graham crackers and is put together with our secret recipe for royal icing! Includes pattern, simple step-by-step instructions, and a list of candy add-ons."

First of all, I don't often dream of the Caribbean; but if I did, I'd be dreaming of lying on a beautiful beach, the warm crystal-blue water tickling my toes, sipping a tall glass of ice-cold lemonade – not dreaming of constructing a tiki hut out of graham crackers. That thought probably wouldn't even rank in my Top 10 Caribbean Dreams. Secondly, my mama always told me: "Don't play with your food." Since I've always been fairly obedient in that respect, why spoil things now? Thirdly, I wouldn't want to risk losing what little self-respect I currently possess by making a gingerbread tiki hut and then showing it off to my friends. There are much better, less embarrassing ways to lose my self-respect, and I'd be more likely to try some of those first.

7)  Little Mama's Family Secrets by Suzanne Apruzzese-Brame, Darlene Sirmans, and Connie Apruzzese

"Little Mama welcomes you to make your next meal experience the most flavorful it can be by making your family dishes of home-style proportions. This book includes recipes for main dishes, side dishes, desserts, and even drinks, all of which are true family favorites. If you really want to make your guests say 'WOW!' just make one of Little Mama's batches of Peanut Blossom cookies or some Stuffed Meatballs...One hundred percent of the profit from each sale will be donated to the fight against Domestic and Date Violence monetarily to the local domestic violence shelter for families."

Even if I were an avid cook (and I'm not), I wouldn't be diving into Little Mama's recipe book. First of all, Little Mama and her kitchen are more than a little scary-looking. If you disagree with that statement, that's okay. I just get creepy vibes from looking at her, that's all. Secondly, what's the big deal here? Are Little Mama's recipes really so distinctive that any good cook couldn't come up with these on their own? Every good cookbook needs a gimmick – what is Little Mama's? She could've gone with Little Mama's Creepy Cookbook or Little Mama's Redneck Remedies For Fast-Food Fanatics, or some such thing. Family Secrets is just boring – unless, of course, the "secret" is that the meat Little Mama uses is actually ground-up people parts like in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Now THAT would be an interesting cookbook! Thirdly, it's a noble gesture to donate 100% of the profits of each book sale to domestic violence shelters, but that doesn't really do them much good if you're giving the book away for FREE! Think about that, Little Mama.

8)  What Is HTML5? by Brett McLaughlin

"HTML5: Everyone's using it, nobody knows what it is. I realize that sounds more like a line out of an existential movie – maybe Waiting For Godot or a screenplay by Sartre – than a statement about HTML5. But it's really the truth: most of the people using HTML5 are treating it as HTML4+, or even worse, HTML4 (and some stuff they don't use). The result? A real delay in the paradigm shift that HTML5 is almost certain to bring. It's certainly not time to look away, because by the time you look back, you may have missed something really important: a subtle but important transition centered around HTML5."

Dear Mr. McLaughlin, Nobody cares about your stupid book. Predicting some doomsday "paradigm shift" if we all don't download your book and catch up with you and the rest of your computer-geek friends isn't going to make us download your stupid book. It's going to make us laugh at you behind your back, or maybe to your face, because you're stupid enough to actually care about whether the whole world knows and understands the difference between HTML5 and HTML4+ and whatever other numbers you tack onto "HTML." Short answer: We don't care. Most of us just want to know how to check our email and get on Facebook. The 1% of people worldwide who actually care about what you have to say about HTML5 probably already know all about it anyway. And they're probably making fun of you for that one comment you made on page 5 that was "so 2011!" Sorry, but it's true. Your book is irrelevant, sir. And I, for one, won't be reading it.

9)  Sagen aus Sachsen by Unbekannter Verfasser

Bel diesem Werk handelt es sich um eine urheberrechsfreir Ausgabe. Der Kauf dieser Kindle-Edition beinhaltet die kostenlose, drahtlose Lieferung auf Ihren Kindle oder Ihre Kindle-Apps.

I don't speak German, so I have no clue what this book's about, much less how to read it. Good enough reason not to download it, eh?

10)  How To Make A Shoe by John Parker Headley

DESCRIPTION:  (in verse, no less!)
"Shoemakers are known both far and wide,
As men who always cut up side
Horse sometimes, also cow leather,
To meet the changes in the weather.
Sheep and goats are often slain;
Both unite to make it plain
That sheep is used for lining nice,
When goat alone would not suffice;
Just so with calf as well as kid.
Some use these linen-lined,
And think it quite the best, for those
Who feel themselves refined.
Refined or not, we think it true
Our feet need some protection;
To do whate'er they have to do,
We make our own selection.
Select at all times the best we can,
Both of shoemakers as well as shoes,
This is much the better plan,
And learns us how to choose."

That's why department stores and shoe stores and Zappos.com were invented. So I can go there and buy the shoes I want. I don't have to make my own shoes, so I won't be reading about how to do so in an e-book, thank you very much.

So, what are some books you've seen or heard of that you've never read in a million years? Comment to add your own "un-favorites."

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