Nov 172012

Can you believe it’s less than a week until Thanksgiving (and Black Friday)? That means it’s almost time to start playing holiday music here (but not until after the first of the month) and I’ve found a great deal for classical with Big Christmas Box, which has over 13 hours of traditional choir music at 99 cents.

The big news this weekend is that Barnes & Noble is shutting down Fictionwise (and all it’s subsidiaries, such as I think we’ve all known it was coming, after they were intentionally crippled in their selection after the acquisition, but it’s sad to see them go. My first purchases from them were in early 2000, back when they were Palm/Peanut Press, with that account rolling over thru several ownership changes until FW purchased them). They’ll keep selling books and magazines until Dec 4, so if you had purchases you were holding off on, now is the time to make them. US customers will then have until December 21 to download any purchases. You can use bulk download to speed that up, but only 100 books at a time. You should also have an email from them with an offer to convert your library over to a B&N account (you can use your existing account or create a new account for just this purpose – which I think I’ll do, to separate them from the free B&N books, especially since there is no search ability on the B&N website version of your library). International users should be able to access their FW libraries a bit longer, but won’t have the option to convert to a B&N account if their country isn’t served by B&N (I think Canada and the UK are the only ones included, other than the US). Not every book will be moved, as B&N doesn’t have any distribution agreement for them (see this list for the ones that don’t transfer). One positive effect of the transfer may be that we’ll be able to get EPUB downloads of some of the books that have been only available in EREADER format over at FW. Otherwise, the DRM on these will eventually orphan our books. You might want to also download the latest ereader apps for your PC/Mac/etc, to keep around, just in case.

In more of the minor news category, Amazon has started shipping the 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD early and a lucky few of you may already have yours (mine is stuck in a truck, somewhere between TN and TX, since it shipped out of AZ, rather than one of several warehouses much closer to here). The 4G versions don’t appear to be shipping yet, just the WiFi versions, but they should ship in just a few days. New orders for both models are still showing a “week of Dec 3″ estimated shipping date, while the Paperwhite is still listed at Dec 21.

Today’s Kindle Daily Deal is Freeman ($1.99), by Leonard Pitts.

Book Description
Freeman, the new novel by Leonard Pitts, Jr., takes place in the first few months following the Confederate surrender and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Upon learning of Lee’s surrender, Sam–a runaway slave who once worked for the Union Army–decides to leave his safe haven in Philadelphia and set out on foot to return to the war-torn South. What compels him on this almost-suicidal course is the desire to find his wife, the mother of his only child, whom he and their son left behind 15 years earlier on the Mississippi farm to which they all “belonged.”

At the same time, Sam’s wife, Tilda, is being forced to walk at gunpoint with her owner and two of his other slaves from the charred remains of his Mississippi farm into Arkansas, in search of an undefined place that would still respect his entitlements as slaveowner and Confederate officer.

The book’s third main character, Prudence, is a fearless, headstrong white woman of means who leaves her Boston home for Buford, Mississippi, to start a school for the former bondsmen, and thus honor her father’s dying wish.

At bottom, Freeman is a love story–sweeping, generous, brutal, compassionate, patient–about the feelings people were determined to honor, despite the enormous constraints of the times. It is this aspect of the book that should ensure it a strong, vocal, core audience of African-American women, who will help propel its likely critical acclaim to a wider audience. At the same time, this book addresses several themes that are still hotly debated today, some 145 years after the official end of the Civil War. Like Cold Mountain, Freeman illuminates the times and places it describes from a fresh perspective, with stunning results. It has the potential to become a classic addition to the literature dealing with this period. Few other novels so powerfully capture the pathos and possibility of the era particularly as it reflects the ordeal of the black slaves grappling with the promise–and the terror–of their new status as free men and women.

The Poacher’s Son ($1.57 / £0.99 UK), the first Mike Bowditch Mystery by Paul Doiron, is the Kindle Deal of the day for those in the UK (the US edition is $9.99).

Book Description
Set in the wilds of Maine, this is an explosive tale of an estranged son thrust into the hunt for a murderous fugitive – his own father.

Game warden Mike Bowditch returns home one evening to find an alarming voice from the past on his answering machine: his father Jack, a hard-drinking womanizer who makes his living from poaching illegal game. An even more frightening call comes the next morning from the police: they are searching for a cop-killer – and Mike’s father is their prime suspect.

Now, alienated from the woman he loves and shunned by colleagues who have no sympathy for the suspected cop killer, Mike must come to terms with his haunted past. He knows firsthand of his father’s brutality, but is he capable of murder? Desperate and alone, the only way for Mike to save his father is to find the real killer – which could mean putting everyone he loves into the line of fire…

Promise the Night ($1.99 Kindle, B&N), by Michaela MacColl, is the Nook Daily Find, price matched on Kindle.

Book Description
This fascinating story will capture any young reader with a thirst for adventure. Like MacColl s Prisoners in the Palace, Promise the Night propels the reader into an evocative story with an unforgettable protagonist, while bringing the setting and time period to life. Immediately compelling and action-packed, this work of historical fiction explores the life of Beryl Markham, the fist person to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west from England to North America. From raising horses and hunting during her childhood in Africa to learning to fly as a young woman, Beryl s inspiring life and adventures will keep readers voraciously turning the pages.

Grade Level: 4 and up

Today’s Kindle Kids Daily Deal is Promises to the Dead ($1.99), by Mary Downing Hahn.

Book Description
When Jesse went down to the marsh on that fateful day, he expected to find a turtle for terrapin soup. Instead, he comes across a dying slave woman who makes Jesse promise he’ll take her young son, Perry, to a relative in Baltimore. Aiding and abetting a slave is against the law, and it also goes against everything Jesse has been taught to believe. But he can’t break a promise to the dead, and, more important, he has to follow what he knows in his heart to be right.

The journey is more treacherous than Jesse ever imagined. At the crossroads of a country about to plunge into civil war, danger lurks around every corner. Will these boys on the run ever find a safe haven?

Grade Level: 5 and up

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