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Topics - Mike D. aka jmiked

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The Book Corner / Newly enKindled Ellery Queen mysteries
« on: January 22, 2013, 07:03:24 pm »
Due to be released 5 Feb:

For those of us who like classic, puzzle-oriented mysteries.  ;D ;D

There goes my book budget for the next two months.


The Book Corner / SF eBooks by J.T. McIntosh published
« on: January 15, 2013, 02:21:31 pm »
A dozen or so science fiction ebooks by J.T. McIntosh (pseudonym of James Murdoch MacGregor, Scottish writer and journalist) have just shown up in the Kindle store.

For people that like traditional/classic SF, these are a very welcome addition to the SF offerings at Amazon, IMHO. I immediately bought three.

I got:

It has the distinction of being the book that got me into SF at an early age when I read it from a hotel library in Garmisch, Germany while on holiday with my parents. Must have been in 1954. It was also in my introductory three books from the Science Fiction Book Club, which I joined shortly thereafter.

I also bought:

Probably my favorite work by this author. It's sort of a post-apocalyptic novel about experiments to increase animal intelligence that went amok. It has one event that creeped the bejeesus out of me at age 11, and stills gives me chills when I think about it. Pretty tame compared to most things in books these days, though, even in YA books.

The last of the three I bought is:

I read this  back in the fifties, but have no clear recollection of it other than the premise.


The Book Corner / New Pendergast novel
« on: December 11, 2012, 08:39:47 am »
The new Pendergast novel is out for the Kindle as of last night.

I pre-ordered, and the price, IIRC, was $12.99. However, I was only charged $2.99 plus tax. Did this happen to anyone else? Did the pre-order price go down when I wan't looking (entirely possible)? Or did I order it at $2.99 and forgot (also entirely possible)?

There's also a Pendergast short story titled Extraction which I bought this morning. It's a prequel to all the books, and is only available in ebook and audio form.

I'm looking forward to reading the new book, even if I thought the last one was a bit disappointing in spots (I won't go into details for fear of spoilers).


The Book Corner / Travis McGee novels coming
« on: October 20, 2012, 04:12:38 pm »
Looks like all the Travis McGee novels are slated for ebook publication this coming January. A curious mixture of either $7.99 or $11.99 for prices. Very strange.


The Book Corner / New novel in the Vorkosigan series by Bujold
« on: October 15, 2012, 01:11:24 pm »
Woo-hoo! A new book, Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold was just released over at Baen books.

Latest in the Vorkosigan series, this one has Ivan Vorpatril as the main character. I'm at location 319/1281 in the ePub version, and Miles Vorkosigan has not shown up yet, and may not be in the book at all. That's OK with me, it's a hoot so far.  ;D ;D

Not available as a DTB yet, and as with other Baen books, not likely to be on Amazon.

Available in Mobi, ePub, and other formats.


The Book Corner / Cozies upcoming on Kindle
« on: September 17, 2012, 06:46:18 pm »
In the next month or so, there are some pretty good mystery reads in the "Cosy" genre listed for release in the Kindle store. The ones I've read and can recommend are the ones from Charlotte MacLeod (she had several series going) and Lydia Adamson (a series about an unemployed actress who cat-sits).

There are also a number of Mystery/Detective books by Hugh Pentecost and William Kienzle listed, but these are not quite in the cosy category (but not far from it, IIRC).

I plan on picking up several of the Pentecost and Kienzle books.


The Book Corner / James Bond on the Kindle
« on: September 17, 2012, 06:28:48 pm »
Stumbled across this earlier while searching the upcoming publications list. It appears that all the James Bond novels will hit the Kindle on 16 Oct, at $8 each. They are listed for Prime Lending, also.


The Book Corner / Mr. Moto books for Kindle
« on: September 16, 2012, 08:06:13 pm »
I just found 6 of John P. Marquand's "Mr. Moto" series on Mobileread. I think most of them were originally serialized in The Saturday Evening Post. Some of these were filmed with Peter Lorre as Mr. Moto back in the thirties and forties.

Along with Earl Derr Biggers' "Charlie Chan" books (which were nothing like the movies), the Mr. Moto books are good fun reads.

First one here (get the .prc version):


The Book Corner / Thorne Smith (and other) books on Mobileread
« on: September 14, 2012, 12:32:04 pm »
I hadn't been on Mobileread for a while, so I scrolled through several months of new additions to their book offerings. I found new versions of Thorne Smith's humorous novels from the early 20th century. I downloaded them all, it's been quite a while since I've read them... my hardcovers are very fragile at this point. Note that the latest editions/uploads are all in ePub format, but can easily be converted with Calibre (or read on an ePub-capable reader on a Fire or the like). It's not normally the case in my experience that books are on that site are only ePub. Earlier versions are in mobi which the Kindle can read, just search for them. Smith was one of the more popular writers of the day, and two of his books were made into very successful movies: Topper and Topper Takes a Trip.

The search function on MR is a bit, uh, eccentric. It won't find "H. H. Munro" at all, but will list his books if you search for "Munro"

I also noticed a bunch of recently proofed Zane Grey books available for the fans of earlier westerns.

I was scanning the author names, and came across one that seemed familiar: Mildred Benson. It took a few minutes, but I recall seeing a TV program about her a few years ago. She wrote many of the original Nancy Drew mysteries, as well a few others for the Stratemeyer Syndicate. Mobileread has some of her other young-adult mysteries/series for download. I was more of a Hardy Boys fan, but I know there have been a few threads about Nancy Drew here from time to time.


Apple devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod...) / Apple new product announcements
« on: September 12, 2012, 11:22:15 am »
Maybe I'm getting jaded, but so far (an hour and twenty minutes into the spiel) there isn't a single item that offers a compelling reason to upgrade anything I've got.  :(

I'm thinking that I'm not in their target audience anymore.


Not Quite Kindle / Netflix down?
« on: September 02, 2012, 08:11:13 am »
==Cancel that. It came back up a few minutes ago after being down for two days or so.==

Has the Netflix site been down for a day or so? Or is it just me?


Not Quite Kindle / William Windom dead at 88
« on: August 26, 2012, 02:49:03 pm »
Somehow I missed this, he died on the 16th of this month.

He was in so many things that I enjoyed watching, especially My World and Welcome to It, his short-lived series.


Not Quite Kindle / Amazon collection of Texas sales tax starts Sunday
« on: June 29, 2012, 08:50:44 pm »
Just a heads up that Amazon will start collecting the state sales/use tax for Texas starting this Sunday, the 1st of July.


The Book Corner / Louise Penny mystery will be a TV movie
« on: June 16, 2012, 11:50:34 am »

One of my favorite series of recent years. I'm looking forward to it.


Here's an explanation from John Scalzi's* blog of the difference between selling physical books and ebooks in multiple countries/areas, written by a Tor representative (it's a few posts down in the comments section):

Before you comment on why that's not the way it should be done, read the third and fourth paragraphs of the referring blog post:


*SF writer and current president of the Science Fiction Writer's of America.

Not Quite Kindle / Women are the main tech adopters
« on: June 08, 2012, 04:48:50 pm »
According to the The Atlantic magazine.

The summary is interesting:

"So it turns out if you want to find out what the future looks like, you should be asking women. And just before you think that means you should be asking 18-year-old women, it actually turns out the majority of technology users are women in their 40s, 50s and 60s. So if you wanted to know what the future looks like, those turn out to be the heaviest users of the most successful and most popular technologies on the planet as we speak. "


Let's Talk Kindle! / Amazon to start collecting Texas sales tax
« on: April 27, 2012, 06:49:18 pm »
According to the Houston Chronicle:

I figured it would happen at some point. Obviously, the price Texans pay for books will increase. Due to go into effect July 2012.

The scary part is that they seem to want to go after all the past-due taxes as well: "and give states like Texas the ability to obtain all the sales tax revenue that is already due."

Other states probably won't be far behind.


Not Quite Kindle / Adopting rescue cats
« on: April 17, 2012, 10:29:14 am »
I thought I'd give felines equal time with a rescue thread.  ;D

I lost my 9 year-old Aby last week to cancer (see fuzzy picture in avatar). Since I've had one or more cats around the house for the last 25 years, the place is too spooky without one. I looked at getting another Aby, but availability is close to zero within driving distance, and being a retired person, the prices are way too high.

So I'm going with rescue cats. I stumbled across a web site called PetFinders... it's great. I found a number of promising candidates reasonably close by, and have narrowed the selection down to three (two are sisters). I have the unsettling sensation that I may end up with three new little friends.  :-\

I'm spending my free time preparing the house. I have to shampoo all the carpeting to try to get rid of the traces where my other cat threw up on it (there's a lot). I'm hoping the shampoo will work satisfactorily, I have always hit the spots with an enzyme cleaner in a timely fashion. Cats and dogs have an amazing sense of smell, though.

Then I have to decide whether to go with new litter boxes or try and clean the old ones (enzyme cleaner and bleach). Probably a good idea to go with new ones; the present ones are probably 20 years old.

Strangely enough, I'm looking forward to be awakened at 3AM by a cat deciding to play with the catnip mouse on the middle of the bed, or two cats chasing each other across my stomach.  ;D ;D

I'm not entirely catless. There is a little gray female tabby that's been living in the back yard for several years (one of a dozen strays or so that have shown up and stayed for a while in the last 20 years or so). She comes over a kicks the back door when it's feeding time. It sounds like Arnold Schwarzenegger trying to get in.


The Book Corner / Jokes, Hoaxes & Other Literary Frauds
« on: April 01, 2012, 10:48:53 am »
Interesting article on the ABE Books web site:

Not directly Kindle-releated, but interesting, nonetheless. It's probably a pretty good bet that none of these will show up on the Kindle.  ;D


Not Quite Kindle / How is Hollywood like the publishing industry?
« on: March 09, 2012, 10:42:59 am »
The mid-list is being crowded out. Interesting article on


The Book Corner / Why we re-read books?
« on: February 21, 2012, 08:33:35 am »
Interesting article speculating on why we re-read books and re-watch movies:


The Book Corner / Hopscotch - a thriller/spy novel
« on: February 19, 2012, 05:19:29 pm »
Hopscotch, by Brian Garfield, has just made its appearance as an ebook, published by Otto Penzler's new ebook imprint.

Some of you may have seen then 1980 movie (same title) that was made starring Walter Matthau as Miles Kendig, a spy who got side-lined late in his career and then decided to write an expose that got everybody on both sides hunting him. A chase ensues.

This is the source material for the movie, and other than making the movie a bit tongue-in-cheek to suit Matthau's persona, it wasn't changed much. I liked the movie quite a lot, and I liked the book also. It's a book of its time (mid-seventies), not much in the way of explicit anything, just a good read. Just the way I like them.  :)

I will likely end up reading more of Garfield's work soon. This was the first thing of his that I've read. Penzler has more of Garfield's novels released as ebooks.


Tips, Tricks, and Troubleshooting (Kindle) / New feature in Calibre 0.8.40
« on: February 17, 2012, 02:18:54 pm »
You can now add a column to the Calibre book list which will display the number of pages on your Kindle book. I don't know if this applies to both Amazon-generated and Calibre-generated page numbers, I won't be able to try it out until this weekend.


The Book Corner / Six Days of the Condor coming on the 22nd
« on: November 21, 2011, 07:31:48 pm »
James Grady's The Six Days of the Condor is going to be released tomorrow for the Kindle. This was the source material for one of my favorite movies: Three Days of the Condor*, starring Robert Redford.

I hope the book is as good as the movie.


* They must have left out half the book  ;D ;D

The Book Corner / Galaxy magazine SF stories being re-published
« on: October 21, 2011, 07:35:21 am »
I just saw that some of the old SF stories from Galaxy magazine (always my favorite) are being published as ebooks. Rosetta Books is bringing them out with the original Galaxy covers on them. The interview referenced below has several covers shown, including one at which I laugh out loud every time I see it:

I don't think the cover art is for the Knight story, though. I think it is just the one for the issue.

Stories are being selected by Barry N. Malzberg. Interview here:

The 23 stories can be found on Amazon with a search for "galaxy project series". Some great stuff there if you are a fan a 50's SF, as I am.


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