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Comics, Wrestling and Telling the Story of Andre the Giant

Box Brown, the author of the new Andre the Giant graphic novel talks about the similarities between the art of comics and professional wrestling and his admiration for the subject of his new book. AndretheGiant

Comics and wrestling seem like a natural fit to me.  When, as an adult, you tell someone you’re interested in comics you have to be prepared to defend that.  I think there can be a lot of misconceptions about what comics are and what comics can be, like that they’re only for kids or perhaps a generation of older men still living in their parents’ basements.  As a comic artist (and reader) I know this just is not the case.  Comics is a medium capable of an infinite range of expressions—an art form.  I believe that pro-wrestling is an art form too.

Surely then, if pro-wrestling is an art form, it has had no greater master than Andre the Giant.  Andre had a condition known as acromegaly, which caused him to grow too large for his own good.  When he was told he wouldn’t live past the age of forty, he decided to live the life he had to the fullest.  Andre had a leg up in the pro-wrestling business, because he was a huge man who was naturally foreboding. But he didn’t rest on that.  He knew how to work a crowd the way great comedians and MCs do.  He knew how to play both a “babyface” (good guy) and “heel” (bad guy) to perfection.  He also worked constantly for many many years to develop his craft. 

In pro-wrestling when two wrestlers are developing a match they say they are telling a story in the ring.  So, in addition to all the storylines that go into a pro-wrestling television show, the two athletes in the ring are telling a story.  It’s a sequential story that has the qualities we look for in the greatest works of literature.  The hero sets out on a quest and is tested and beaten down and eventually he rises to the occasion to defeat and overcome his detractors.  Each story is different and can be a drama, tragedy or comedy.  Each wrestler has his own unique style and way to depict his character.  Is it that different from using a brush and ink (and Photoshop) to tell this type of story on the comic page? 

I think of Andre’s story as a tragic one.  He was disabled for a large part of his life and he died at only forty six years old.  He was mostly portrayed on TV and spoken of as a kind man with gentle heart.  But Andre was only human.  He had all the flaws and personal idiosyncrasies that we all have.  He was imperfect at times.  He spent a lot of time in pain.  I think he felt disconnected to this world that he didn’t quite fit in.  Every aspect of his life had to be special fitted for him, from his clothes to his cutlery to his cars.

Towards the end of Andre’s career he was in a lot of pain. People said he probably should have retired and he could have, financially, but instead he persevered.  I think this is what I admire most about him.  I think those moments when he was in the ring creating stories were extremely important to him and really made him happy.  I hope one day when I’m nearing the end I continue to persevere and create the way Andre did. 


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Bob Knight and "The Power of Negative Thinking"

KnightIn The Power of Negative Thinking, legendary coach Bob Knight explains why his unconventional approach will produce more positive results in sports and daily life. Drawing on a long and dynamic career as one of the winningest basketball coaches of all time, Coach Knight challenges conventional theory by offering an antidote to thoughtless optimism and wishful thinking. Here are 10 essential insights from the coach's new guide to getting results.

1. Look at this restaurant! No cars! Easy parking, and we’ll get served right away!
Ever notice how often restaurants with bad food do have lots of room to park?

2. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
Translation: Make those free throws, dammit.

3. One more beer can’t hurt.
Unless you’re driving.

4. Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.
Or victories before they’re won.

5. Good things come to he who waits.
If he works like hell while waiting.

6. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Tell me that’s not perfect negative thinking.

7. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
When you have one, it’s time to substitute.

8. Hindsight is 20/20.
And foresight is even better.

9. It’s always darkest before the dawn.
I thought that once or twice...and then woke up.

10. Everything’s coming up roses.
Nice—unless you planted grapes.

One Big Deal for a Limited Time


The Big Deal is back. More than 500 Kindle books are now available for as low as $0.99, including literature, nonfiction, thrillers, romance, cookbooks, books for kids and teens, and more. Shop for yourself, or give Kindle books--delivered when you want--to anyone with an e-mail address. (No Kindle required. Books can be read on Kindle or one of our free reading apps.) But hurry--these deals expire on August 23.

The Big Deal's diverse range of categories includes:

Literature & Fiction as Low as $0.99

Literature and Fiction as Low as $0.99






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Children's Books, $2.99 or Less

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Health, Mind & Body Books: $3.99 or Less

Health, Mind & Body Books $3.99 or Less

August's Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less

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Looking for great books at a low price? Browse this month's 100 Kindle books for $3.99 or less, a diverse offering available all month. These deals expire on August 31, 2012.

Literature & Fiction 

The Magic Kingdom by Stanley ElkinThe Magic Kingdom by Stanley Elkin, $2.99

Written with deadpan humor and poignancy, this striking and honest portrayal of life and death follows a grieving father's epic trip to Disney World with seven terminally ill children.



General Nonfiction

Desert Solitaire by Edward AbbeyDesert Solitaire by Edward Abbey, $2.99

First published in 1968 and written while Abbey was working as a ranger at Arches National Park outside of Moab, Utah. It's a rare view of one man's quest to experience nature in its purest form.


Kids & Teens 

Favorite by Karen McQuestionFavorite by Karen McQuestion, $1.99

After young teenager Angie Favorite narrowly escapes a kidnapping attempt, the culprit's mother seeks to apologize. Angie allows the gesture and learns this woman may hold the key to her mother's disappearance.


Mysteries & Thrillers

Solo by Jack HigginsSolo by Jack Higgins, $1.99

This classic thriller follows piano virtuoso and skilled assassin John Mikali. After he kills a young woman while fleeing a murder scene, the woman’s father, a British special-forces soldier, seeks vengeance and begins hunting down Mikali.


Science Fiction & Fantasy 

Anno Dracula by Kim NewmanAnno Dracula by Kim Newman, $3.99

Acclaimed novelist Kim Newman explores the darkest depths of a reinvented Victorian London in his best-selling novel, a vampire tale that deftly combines horror, politics, mystery and romance.



Biographies & Memoirs

Heart in the Right Place by Carolyn JourdanHeart in the Right Place by Carolyn Jourdan, $2.99

Carolyn Jourdan, an attorney on Capitol Hill, thought she had it made, but when her mother has a heart attack, she returns to the mountains of Tennessee where her father is a country doctor. With great humor and great tenderness, Jourdan shows that some of our biggest heroes are the ones living right beside us.



The Healthy College Cookbook by Alexandra NimetzThe Healthy College Cookbook by Alexandra Nimetz, $2.51

Written by students for students, this collection offers hundreds of simple and healthful alternatives to dreary cafeteria fare. Even the most discerning young palates are sure to appreciate these tried and true recipes.


Be sure to browse August's entire selection of 100 Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less to discover great fiction and nonfiction titles catering to all tastes.


Note: Deals expire on the last day of each month. Individual books may have additional territory restrictions, and not all deals are available in all territories.

May's Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less

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From great literature to inspiring cookbooks, May's selection of 100 Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less has something for everybody. Here are a few of our favorites:


Literature & Fiction

CursesCurses! by J.A. Kazimer, $3.99

This hilarious and witty romp through the twisted fairy-tale world of New Never City follows "ugly stepsister" princess Asia as she tries to figure out who killed her sister, Cinderella. Asia enlists the help of the villainous R.J., a.k.a. Rumplestiltskin, who's suffering from a curse to only do good deeds.


Mystery & Thrillers

KaleidoscopeKaleidoscope by Darryl Wimberley, $1.99

Jack Romaine's addiction to speakeasies and cards turns him into an unwilling recruit for a Cincinnati gangster wanting to recover his stolen cash and railroad bonds. The trail leads south to Kaleidoscope, a "beddy" for freaks when carnival season over. Unfortunately, Jack's competition is a sadistic killer.


Biographies & Memoirs

As Seen On TVAs Seen On TV by Lucy Grealy, $2.99

Whether she's discussing promiscuity, The New Testament, or learning to tango, Lucy Grealy's writing seduces and surprises at every turn. Wit, unflinching honesty, and peerless intelligence are the hallmarks of this essay collection.



Holy WarsHoly Wars: 3000 Years of Battles in the Holy Land by Gary L. Rashba, $3.99 

Today's Arab-Israeli conflict is merely the latest iteration of violence in the Holy Land. Gary L. Rashba sheds light on this unending history of conflict by focusing on pivotal battles to describe the region's 3,000 years of war, from the Israelites' capture of Jericho to Israel’s assault against Lebanon.


Kids & Teens

What Color is My WorldWhat Color Is My World? by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, $3.99

Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar champions a lineup of little-known African-American inventors in this lively, kid-friendly book. Filled with engaging profiles, Abdul-Jabbar gives a nod to the inventors whose perseverance made our world safer, better, and brighter.


More Great Deals

Fast, Fresh and GreenFast, Fresh, and Green by Susie Middleton, $3.99

This go-to reference for all things vegetable holds more than 100 recipes for appetizers, snacks, entrees, and side dishes. Perfect for vegetarians, vegans, and omnivores alike, the book also features a veggie shopping guide.


Be sure to browse May's entire selection of 100 Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less to discover great fiction and nonfiction titles catering to all ages.


Note: Deals expire on the last day of each month. Individual books may have additional territory restrictions, and not all deals are available in all territories.

April's Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less


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Spring has arrived, and so has this month's selection of 100 Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less. Here are a few of our top picks we're excited to share with you:


Russell Wiley Is Out to LunchRussell Wiley Is Out to Lunch by Richard Hine, $1.99

Media executive Russell Wiley's career is about to collapse along with his struggling daily paper and his sexless marriage. Sardonic, humorous, and true to life, this gripping novel offers an insider’s view into a newspaper's inner sanctum.


The PistoleerThe Pistoleer: A Novel of John Wesley Hardin by James Carlos Blake, $1.99

This stunning portrayal of Texas outlaw John Wesley Hardin exposes the many different sides of the legendary man. From his blood-soaked youth to his time in prison where he studied law, Blake masterfully retells the story of Hardin's life.


The Monkey Wrench GangThe Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey, $2.99

Set in the canyon lands of the Southwest, a mismatched group of preservation-minded misfits set out to destroy the eyesores that threaten their desert environment's natural beauty. This wildly funny novel is among Abbey's most famous works of fiction.


I Wish I Were Engulfed in FlamesI Wish I Were Engulfed in Flames by Jeni Decker, $1.99

Jeni Decker's brash, personal, and shocking memoir chronicles her effort to raise two healthy kids with autism is an eye-opening read. Her surreal anecdotes will have you either shaking your head in disbelief or nodding with recognition.


Daring the HighlanderDaring the Highlander (The Legacy of MacLeod) by Laurin Wittig, $1.99

The sweeping Scottish saga that began with Charming the Shrew continues in this page-turning sequel where Ailig MacLeod returns to Castle Assynt after his brother was killed for plotting against the king. Can the beautiful widow Morainn MacRailt help rebuild his family's legacy.


A Matter of HonorA Matter of Honor by Jeffrey Archer, $2.99

A British colonel bequeaths a mysterious letter to his only son, Adam Scott. Soon after opening the yellowing envelope, Scott's pursued through Europe by the KGB, the CIA and his own countrymen. They intend to kill him before the letter's truth comes out.


Check out April's entire selection of 100 Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less. We've created a diverse list for all tastes, whether you're interested in explorations of contemporary culture, imaginative young-adult fantasies, innovative cookbooks, or intense thrillers.


Note: Deals expire on the last day of each month. Individual books may have additional territory restrictions, and not all deals are available in all territories.

March's Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less

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It's time to celebrate the change of seasons with a fresh list of 100 Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less. Here are some of our favorites from this month's selection:


Under the March SunUnder the March Sun: The Story of Spring Training by Charles Fountain, $1.99

Spring training, baseball's annual six-week ritual, dates back nearly 150 years. In this fascinating history, the full history of spring training is revealed for the first time: from its start as a shoestring-budget road trip to burn off winter calories to today's billion-dollar-a-year business surrounding the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues of Florida and Arizona.


A Little Death In DixieA Little Death In Dixie by Lisa Turner, $2.99

Rich with the atmosphere of the American South, this expertly plotted suspense novel tracks Detective Billy Able as he works to uncover why one of Memphis' most seductive and notorious socialites has vanished. What starts as ordinary procedural work for Able soon morphs into a twisted trail of corruption, tragedy, and disturbing truths.


The Crossroads CafeThe Crossroads Café by Deborah Smith, $1.99

This sophisticated and poignant romance follows a beautiful Hollywood actress's escape to a secluded mountain cabin in North Carolina. A car accident has left her severely scarred, but in the Appalachians she finds unexpected love with a man who lost his family in 9-11.


I Will Teach You To Be RichI Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi, $2.24

Written with refreshing irreverence, Ramit Sethi's six-week personal finance program takes a practical approach with a nonjudgmental style. The book's core centers around the four pillars of personal finance—banking, saving, budgeting, and investing—as well as the wealth-building ideas of entrepreneurship.


Born at MidnightBorn at Midnight (Shadow Falls) by C. C. Hunter, $2.99

After mixing with the wrong crowd, Kylie Galen gets sent to Shadow Falls camp by her mother. Kylie discovers her fellow campers aren't just "troubled," they're supernatural. The first book of this richly imagined young-adult fantasy series is filled with humor, teen angst, and a good dose of romance.


Be sure to browse through March's complete list of 100 Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less. We've taken care to select something for everybody, including taut thrillers, engaging romances, inspiring biographies, well-crafted cookbooks, and histories covering everything from Abraham Lincoln to the legendary punk band Black Flag.


Note: Deals expire on the last day of each month. Individual books may have additional territory restrictions, and not all deals are available in all territories.

Guest Blogger: Michael Lewis

Swing Your Sword

Michael Lewis is the best-selling author of Moneyball, The Blind SideThe Big Short, and the forthcoming Boomerang, among other works. Here, he talks about Mike Leach--former Texas Tech football coach and author of Swing Your Sword: Leading the Charge in Football and Life. Michael Lewis wrote the foreward.

A few years ago I flew to Lubbock to write an article about the Texas Tech football coach, Mike Leach. At the time Texas Tech was beating teams with whom it had no business being on the same field. It was hard to see how Leach was doing what he was doing, but it was clear that he was ignoring a lot of football’s conventional wisdom. Leach spread his linemen across the field and didn’t fully distinguish between the running game and the passing game. Fourth down deep in one’s own territory wasn’t a problem, but an opportunity to go for it. On the sidelines, Leach didn’t hide behind one of those giant laminated play charts, all he needed was a scrap of paper with some plays scrawled on it.

When I went to Lubbock I thought I was writing a piece mainly about football. Pretty quickly it became clear that I was writing a piece about an endlessly innovative and original character, who happened to coach football. If you want to think originally, it helps to actually be original, and Leach was. At some level he knew it, too, and so did his players—who adored him. They adored him because he helped them to win, but they adored him also because they knew he was acting in their best interests—and making their lives more interesting in the bargain.

It borders on a sin that Mike Leach isn’t coaching football right now. But he’ll be back, and in the meantime we have this book to remind us that he simply isn’t like other football coaches, or other people. Few other coaches, or anyone else, would respond to an aggressive dog that insists on peeing on his possessions by peeing on the dog. But if you want to live your life the way it needs to be lived, peeing on the dog is sometimes just what you have to do. The trick is to think of it.

Guest Post: Jordan Conn on Manute Bol and "The Defender"

Jordan Conn is the author of The Defender, a new Kindle Single that chronicles the life of Manute Bol.

Manute-bol-defender-jordan-conn-kindle-single When I arrived in the remote village of Turalei, Sudan, this April, I quickly realized I'd crashed a party. The first sign was the chanting. I could hear it as I approached the center of town, erupting in attempted unison, the villagers punctuating their screams with "Oyee!" a word meant to celebrate whichever phrase precedes it.

On this night, they cheered a man who was no longer alive and a country that did not yet exist. I was there to learn about both.

The man was Manute Bol, the NBA's first African-born player and the tallest in league history. But in Turalei, his native village, Manute was most famous for his philanthropy and his tireless political activism on behalf of his people. As I walked around, some revelers paused to ask why I was there. When I mentioned I'd come to research Manute's history, many responded with "That's my cousin!" or "That's my uncle!" Familial titles, I would learn, have looser definitions among the Dinka tribe. But related or not, soon everyone drummed and danced and sang. "Manute Bol Oyee!"

The country that did not exist was the Republic of South Sudan, at the time still a few months from being born. On July 9, the region would declare its independence, and stake its claim to freedom after decades of nearly incessant war. In years gone by, they'd dodged bombs and survived disease. But now they were ready to celebrate a new future, and Manute Bol was one of the reasons why. That night they chanted and sang, celebrating peace and impending freedom well into the morning.

A month after I returned to the U.S., as I sat down to write the remarkable story of Manute's life in The Defender, I learned that violence had found Turalei again. A renegade militia attacked. Eleven people died. When I reached my contact in the village, I was told that that two were Manute's cousins. Yet the villagers pushed forward with the rest of their countrymen, and last week, they had another reason to celebrate. South Sudan declared its independence, becoming the world's 193rd country. For the national motto, officials chose the same words that rang through Turalei's streets on that dusty night in April.

"South Sudan Oyee!"


The Defender is available now for $1.99. Highly recommended.

     --Jason Kirk

Guest Blogger: Don Van Natta, author of "Wonder Girl"

Wonder Girl Don Van Natta is an investigative correspondent for the New York Times, and has been a member of three Pulitzer Prize-winning teams.

Ruth. Ali. Jordan… Didrikson?

When Sports Illustrated named its Top 10 Athletes of the Twentieth Century, only one woman was included -- Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias. In writing Wonder Girl, I came to believe that Babe, whose birthday centennial was June 26, deserves to be crowned the greatest all-sport athlete of all-time.

Babe was an all-American basketball player, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in track and field, an outstanding softball and baseball player, swimmer, driver, bowler, tennis player.

She had to overcome ridicule from sexist male sportswriters, who wondered whether she was a she, he or an “it.” “It would be much better if she and her ilk stated at home, got themselves prettied up and waited for the phone to ring,” a sports columnist named Joe Williams wrote.

She did not put the troubles behind her until she took up golf.

In 1946-47, Babe won 14 consecutive tournaments--a record among male and female golfers that still stands. She was the first woman to play and win money in a PGA Tour event. The LPGA tour was literally created to showcase Babe’s long drives and the effortless way she entertained the crowds.

“I just loosen my girdle and let the ball have it,” Babe liked to say.

When she was diagnosed with cancer in 1953, doctors declared she would never play professional golf again. Fifteen months after a colostomy, Babe won the U.S. Women’s Open by an incredible 12 strokes. She shared her victory with her doctors and the thousands of cancer patients who rooted for her.

Babe died 26 months later. President Eisenhower saluted her: “She was a woman who, in her athletic career, certainly won the admiration of every person in the United States, all sports people all over the world, and in her gallant fight against cancer, she put up one of the kind of fights that inspire us all.”

I hope Wonder Girl will leave you with those same feelings.

--Don Van Natta