For Christmas, my parents (erm, I mean, “Santa”) gave me a Kindle. Considering how often I move around and the ridiculousness of lugging around extra weight in bound printed material, it seemed like a pretty darn brilliant idea. I admit that I was skeptical. I’m still of the era that loves holding tangible books, flipping pages, and opening to a certain page to reread the same section for the umpteenth time. Reading off a screen seems slightly unnatural.
I’m announcing that I’ve been won over by the Kindle.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love tangible, book-flipping, paper-printed books. But for my needs right now, the Kindle is brilliant. My kindle comes with 3G, but in Southern Sudan that’s sort of like asking for a polar bear. Ain’t happenin’. However, much to my glee, I discovered it also works with my wireless network, and therefore I can download books whenever I feel like it.
And then I discovered Kindles free book section.
This is where things begin to become a bit evil.
Recently I’d read a bunch of pretty depressing books about Southern Sudan, but there’s only so much I can read about enslavement, systematic oppression and mass killing before I need a distraction.
Every hour, Amazon updates their ‘top 100’ selling book, and they include a separate list for free books. I expected most books on the free list to be out of copyright titles, like Pride & Prejudice and The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. There are a number of those, as well, but about half the books are random novels and other titles.
A few weeks back I decided that I needed non-depressing books, and started downloading a bunch of free books randomly, just so I’d have things to read. I grabbed everything from classics, to history, politics, young adult, sci-fi, mysteries, etc. If you’ve ever seen my bookshelf, you know I’ll pretty much read anything, so my Kindle sort of looks like a mismatched jigsaw puzzle.
Several of the books have been total flops, bordering on painful (A WWI-era Christian novel about a girl who smuggled herself into Belgium. All for love and God, of course), but others have ranged from “Decent” to “Can’t Put Down.” But I’ve discovered how the free section sucks you in to Amazon’s lair: They post semi-decent books that are part of a series… and once you get sucked in, you just want to keep reading.
Like I said, I’ll read almost anything, and am stubborn enough that once I get far enough into a book, even if it’s awful writing, I’ll follow through to the end of the story. I don’t like not knowing how things resolve.
I’m actually embarrassed to admit this, but I downloaded a random free book that had to do with a Vampire Slaying black ops police force in NYC. I know, sounds bad, right? But c’mon, it’s free. And here’s the thing: it was somewhat groan-worthy… but it was also entertaining enough that I finished the whole thing in one night. And then needed to know what happened after the cliffhanger. And proceeded to buy the following book. Or two.
Stupid brilliant Amazon.
And just this morning I finished another random download I’d grabbed. It turned out to be a Young Adult post-Apocalyptic zombie book. I know. No, really, I know! It sounds ridiculous. Totally crazy. Should have been totally awful. But instead it was awesome. It was like the Hunger Games series, far too effed up to stop reading, and I couldn’t put it down. I decided to suck it up and pay for the next in the series, since most of this author’s stuff is between $0.99 and $5.00.
BUT IT HASN’T BEEN PUBLISHED YET.
I… I… I need resolution! I need to know that zombies don’t destroy the earth!! I need to see more zombies being bludgeoned by their own arms!!!
Uh… Or I need to stop stalking the free section of Amazon.