Once you've purchased an Amazon Kindle e-book reader, the wonderful world of public domain, Creative Commons and free e-book promotions opens up to you. This regular Kindle Reader feature points you to a few of the most interesting new free (or very cheap) e-books available for download from the web.
Free selections for this week include a history of e-books from 1971 to the present, a Regency novel whose hero bears the unlikely name of Barnabas Barty, science fiction by Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick, and Andre Norton, a memoir that inspired a popular Claudette Colbert/Fred MacMurray film back in the '40s, a Damon Runyon Omnibus, and a detective story involving a mysterious Egyptian cat statue.
A Short History of EBooks, by Marie Lebert. NONFICTION. Download site: Manybooks. Format: .azw for Kindle. Price: Free.
"A short history of ebooks - also called digital books - from the first ebook in 1971 until now, with Project Gutenberg, Amazon, Adobe, Mobipocket, Google Books, the Internet Archive, and many others. This book is based on thousands of hours of web surfing and 100 interviews conducted worldwide." - Manybooks.
The Amateur Gentleman, by Jeffery Farnol. ADVENTURE. Download site: MobileRead. Format: .prc for Kindle. Price: Free.
"The Amateur Gentleman is an early novel by the popular author of Regency period swashbucklers, Jeffrey Farnol, published in 1913. The novel was made into a film in 1936 with Douglas Fairbanks Junior starring as the protagonist, Barnabas Barty. The format of the novel is essentially that of a bildungsroman. It tells the story of the Barnabas Barty, the son of John Barty, the former champion boxer of England and landlord of a pub in Kent. At the start of the tale Barnabas comes fortuitously into the possession of a vast fortune - £700,000, an astronomical amount by Regency standards - and determines to use this fortune to become a gentleman." - Wikipedia.
Youth, by Isaac Asimov. SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORY. Download site: MobileRead. Format: .prc for Kindle. Price: Free.
Red and Slim found the two strange little animals the morning after they heard the thunder sounds. They knew that they could never show their new pets to their parents.
The Eyes Have It, by Philip K. Dick. SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORY. Download site: Manybooks. Format: .azw for Kindle. Price: Free.
Excerpt: "It was quite by accident I discovered this incredible invasion of Earth by lifeforms from another planet. As yet, I haven't done anything about it; I can't think of anything to do. I wrote to the Government, and they sent back a pamphlet on the repair and maintenance of frame houses."
Galactic Derelict, by Andre Norton. SCIENCE FICTION. Download site: Feedbooks. Format: Mobipocket/Kindle.
"Time-travel for archaeologists was a well-guarded secret; but when the remains of an interstellar spaceship are uncovered along with the usual fossils, the time agents must call on a modern Apache Indian, Travis Fox, to guide them in the ways of his ancestors in their trip to the past. But the explorers become trapped in space as well as time, on a mad journey in an automatic starship; not even Travis Fox can tell whether any of them will ever see Earth again." - www.iblist.com.
The Egg and I, by Betty McDonald. HUMOR. Download site: MobileRead. Format: .prc for Kindle. Price: Free.
An amusing memoir recounting the author's experience as a newly-wed working on a chicken farm in Washington State. It was a huge bestseller at the time and in 1943 it was made into a popular movie starring Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray.
A Damon Runyon Omnibus. SHORT STORIES. Download site: MobileRead. Format: .prc for Kindle. Price: Free.
"This collection of 41 short stories was compiled by forum member, Ralph Sir Edward, who has added a short Introduction and a Glossary, which he has generously put into the public domain. RSE has also done most of the proofreading. I’ve done the layout, formatting, and a cursory proofing; also a cover." - Patricia at MobileRead.
"[Runyon] was best known for his short stories celebrating the world of Broadway in New York City that grew out of the Prohibition era. ... He spun humorous tales of gamblers, hustlers, actors, and gangsters, few of whom go by 'square' names, preferring instead colorful monikers such as 'Nathan Detroit,' 'Big Jule,' 'Harry the Horse,' 'Good Time Charley,' 'Dave the Dude,' or 'The Seldom Seen Kid.' Runyon wrote these stories in a distinctive vernacular style: a mixture of formal speech and colorful slang, almost always in present tense, and always devoid of contractions." - Wikipedia.
The Egyptian Cat Mystery, by John Blaine. YOUNG ADULT MYSTERY. Download site: Manybooks. Format: .azw for Kindle. Price: Free.
In Chicago, a man speaks into the telephone: "The cat is ready!" With these four words a chain of harrowing events is set into motion which involves Rick Brant and his pal Don Scott in ten days of danger, intrigue, and suspense. Simultaneously, on Spindrift Island off the New Jersey coast. Rick and Scotty accept the well-meant invitation from Dr. Parnell Winston, of the Spindrift Scientific Foundation stall, to join him on an assignment in Egypt to investigate mysterious signals from a radio telescope recently constructed by the Egyptian Astronomical Society. And when an affable merchant asks Rick and Scotty to deliver a small statue of a stylized Egyptian cat to a bazaar in Cairo, the boys agree, never dreaming that the harmless-looking model will place them directly between two ruthless adversaries