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The Trials of “Van-Dwelling”

WaldenBroke and desperate but determined, 26-year-old Ken Ilgunas decided to buy a cheap van and secretly live in it in a Duke University parking lot to afford grad school. Walden on Wheels, his self-deprecating travel memoir, is a frank, funny, and brutally honest portrait of life in a van.

Though living in a van on a college campus was, in many ways, as ordinary as living in a dorm (albeit a cheaper, tighter, and somewhat smellier dorm), there were instances when the peculiar hardships of “van-dwelling” made me question whether living cheap was worth it. It turned out to be totally worth it—I graduated debt-free—but for your entertainment, I present some of the stranger, unexpected, and more unpleasant aspects of two years in a home on wheels. 

A mouse lived in the van's ceiling for three days. During this period, I got little sleep as I obsessively watched the imprint of its tiny paw prints scurry across the upholstery.

Once a family had a picnic next to my van. For four hours! Living in there was a secret, so I couldn’t make a sound, let alone open the door. For those four hours, I remained fixed in the same sprawled position on my bed for fear it would squeak and I'd be discovered.

During my first rainstorm in the van, I discovered there was a leak in the roof. It dripped down onto the bed and left a pancake-size circle of wetness, making it look like I'd had a terrible accident.

I was so excited and nervous about going on a date with a girl (a rare occurrence, I assure you), I accidentally crashed the van into a concrete cylinder, leaving permanent scars that would ultimately make it unsellable.  

Ants, thousands of ants, invaded my storage container one fall afternoon and carried off my food.

Without the luxury of refrigeration, I scoffed at the supposed need to keep some food items “fresh,” not bothering to chill my month-old bottle of squirtable butter. This resulted in a nightlong food-poisoning extravaganza that culminated in my throat discharging the entirety of my stomach’s contents into my wastebasket in one impressive burst.

When my secret was finally discovered, a student in the adjacent apartment complex told campus administration that my van made her feel “uncomfortable.” I was given a new parking spot next to the campus police station—and a law was created that more or less bans students from living in their vehicles.

Ken Ilgunas

October's Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less

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 October 31, 2012. Here's a selection of our favorites from October's great collection:

 

Literature & Fiction 

When It Happens to You: A Novel in Stories by Molly Ringwald, $3.99

When It Happens to You--A Novel in Stories by Molly Ringwald

General Nonfiction 

All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew, $2.99

  All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew

Kids & Teens 

The Secret Zoo by Bryan Chick, $1.99

  The Secret Zoo by Bryan Chick

Mysteries & Thrillers

77 Days in September by Ray Gorham, $1.99

  77 Days in September by Ray Gorham

Romance

Wild Montana Sky (The Montana Sky Series) by Debra Holland, $1.99

  Wild Montana Sky (The Montana Sky Series) by Debra Holland

Science Fiction & Fantasy 

American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (Enhanced Edition) by Neil Gaiman, $3.99

American Gods--The Tenth Anniversary Edition (Enhanced Edition) by Neil Gaiman

Biography & Memoir 

The Master of Disguise: My Secret Life in the CIA by Antonio J. Mendez, $0.99

The Master of Disguise--My Secret Life in the CIA by Antonio J. Mendez

September's Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less

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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 September 30, 2012.

Literature & Fiction 

John Dies at the End by David WongJohn Dies at the End by David Wong, $3.99

A book with a cult following for a reason, David Wong has managed to channel the Lovecraft horror tradition, inject it with humor, and produce a markedly more terrifying result.  

 

 

General Nonfiction

AWOL on the Appalachian Trail by David MillerAWOL on the Appalachian Trail by David Miller, $2.99

In 2003, software engineer David Miller left his job, family, and friends to fulfill a dream and hike thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, the entire 2,172 miles from Georgia to Maine.

 

 

Kids & Teens 

Touch of Frost by Jennifer EstepTouch of Frost by Jennifer Estep, $2.99

Gwen Frost can know any object's history just by touching it. But after she has a magical meltdown, the 17-year-old girl is sent to Mythos Academy, a school catering to people like her.

 

 

Mysteries & Thrillers

Wahoo Rhapsody by Shaun MoreyWahoo Rhapsody by Shaun Morey, $1.99

Captain Winston Weber makes an honest living running fishing charters between Mexico and California. He has no clue his first mate, Weevil Ott, is smuggling marijuana inside the tuna stacked in the boat’s hold, until drug-lord goons come calling.

 

 

Romance

Touch of a Thief by Mia MarloweTouch of a Thief by Mia Marlowe, $3.99

Lady Viola Preston is London's most talented criminal, but she's careful to wear gloves when she steals jewels: touching a gemstone with her bare skin yields disturbing visions--visions almost as unsettling as the cool-eyed stranger who catches her red handed.

 

 

Science Fiction & Fantasy 

I Am Legend by Richard MathesonI Am Legend by Richard Matheson, $2.99

Robert Neville witnessed the end of the world: the entire population obliterated by a vampire virus. Somehow, Neville survived, and he must now struggle to make sense of everything and protect himself against the vampires who hunt him constantly. 

 

Cooking

Put 'em Up! by Sherri Brooks VintonPut 'em Up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton, $2.51

Preserving is back, and it's better than ever. Flavors are brighter, batch sizes are more flexible, and this handy book will guide you through the modern methods that make preserving safer and easier.

 

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.

One Big Deal for a Limited Time

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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

 

 

 

  

 

Romance as Low as $0.99

The Big Deal--Romance as Low as $0.99

 

Nonfiction Books as Low as $0.99

Nonfiction Books as Low as $0.99

 

 

 

 

 

Biographies & Memoirs as Low as $0.99

 Biographies and Memoirs as Low as $0.99

 

 

 

 

 

Teen Books for $2.99 or Less

The Big Deal--Teen Books for $2.99 or Less

 

 

 

 

Children's Books, $2.99 or Less

The Big Deal Children's Books, $2.99 or Less

 

 

 

 

 

Health, Mind & Body Books: $3.99 or Less

Health, Mind & Body Books $3.99 or Less


Noah Gordon’s "The Winemaker" Debuts in English

For the first time ever, Kindle owners can read seven titles by internationally best-selling author Noah Gordon, including his long-awaited novel The Winemaker.

The Winemaker by Noah GordonAlready an international best seller, The Winemaker is now available for the first time in English. Also, it’s available as an e-book before its traditional print publication.

Gordon, a master of historical fiction, takes readers to the vineyards of 19th-century Spain, where he portrays the life of a vintner—the grapes he grows, the wine he makes, the women he loves—and his struggle against an evil that seeks to destroy him.

The Winemaker is a classic Gordon novel in the depth of its research, the beauty of its descriptions, and its epic story arc.

The Physician by Noah GordonSix other Gordon classics join The Winemaker on Kindle, including The Physician, the start of the well-loved Cole Family trilogy. This sweeping tale of an 11th-century British man who travels to Persia to learn healing arts was voted “one of the ten best-loved books of all time” at the 1999 Madrid Book Fair.

The two other Cole Family titles for Kindle include Shaman, which won the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for historical fiction, and the contemporary Matters of Choice. In The Rabbi, The Death Committee, and The Jerusalem Diamond, Gordon explores histories both vast and personal.

Whether you’re a longtime fan or new to Gordon’s work, these e-books make a wonderful addition to any library.

In this video, watch Gordon describe his passions for both medical and historical fiction, as well as his near brush with a career as a doctor.

“I could think of absolutely nothing finer in the world than to become a writer,” Gordon says.

Fortunately, he followed that dream.

 

June's Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less

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Start your summer reading off right with the exciting titles in June's selection of 100 Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less. Here are few we don't want you to miss:

 

Literature & Fiction 

The Long Way Home by Karen McQuestionThe Long Way Home by Karen McQuestion, $2.99

Brought together by a chance meeting, Marnie, Laverne, Rita, and Jazzy head out on a road trip from Wisconsin to Las Vegas to support Marnie as she tries to reunite with Troy, the boy Marnie raised as her own and has been separated from since her boyfriend's death.

 

Nonfiction 

Mastering the Grill by Alison MikschMastering the Grill by Alison Miksch, $3.99

Grilling is a science, and it's only when you understand the science of grilling that you can transform it into an art. In addition to hundreds of tips and techniques, this ultimate guide is packed with how-to illustrations, mouthwatering photographs, and 350 surefire recipes.

 

Biographies & Memoirs 

Waiting for Daisy by Peggy OrensteinWaiting for Daisy by Peggy Orenstein, $2.99

Peggy Orenstein's widely hailed and best-selling memoir of her quest for parenthood begins when she tells her new husband that she's not sure she ever wants to be a mother; it ends six years later after she's done almost everything humanly possible to achieve that goal.  

 

Kids & Teens

Nickel Plated by Aric DavisNickel Plated by Aric Davis, $1.99

This edgy thriller introduces Nickel, a canny, precocious anti-hero the likes of which young-adult readers have never seen. At just 12-years-old he's blackmailing adults with souls as evil as the devil and working as a private investigator.

 

More Great Deals

Fury of Fire by Coreene CallahanFury of Fire by Coreene Callahan, $1.99

A clandestine race of dragon-shifters lives among us, and these half-dragon, half-humans are sworn to protect humankind at all costs. An extraordinary blend of action, fantasy, and steamy romance, Coreene Callahan brings to life a dangerous new world that explores the meaning of honor and the nature of true love.

 

Be sure to browse June'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.

UNO Comes to Kindle E-Readers

UNO for KindleFor more than 40 years the family card-game UNO has captivated friends and family members around the world with its fast and fun action, rule variations, and portability. It's an undisputed classic game for all ages that never grows old and consistently inspires big smiles and bursts of raucous laughter.

Now, UNO has been faithfully reproduced for play on Kindle, Kindle Touch, Kindle Keyboard, Kindle DX, and second generation Kindle devices.

Instead of the game's traditional card colors of red, blue, yellow, and green, UNO for Kindle features four easy-to-see patterns customized exclusively for the Kindle e-ink displays. In addition to the four different patterns, UNO for Kindle cards are numbered from 0 to 9, just like in the original card version of the game.

For the uninitiated, play begins when you place a card from your hand into the discard pile to match either the color or the number laid down on the pile by the previous player. The first person to get rid of all their cards is the winner.

UNO for Kindle--game playA selection of special cards keeps the game play fresh and adds an element of surprise; whenever a Wild, Reverse, Skip, Draw Two, or the dreaded Draw Four Wild card is laid down, fortunes quickly turn! Just as someone thinks they're about to win the game, the momentum can suddenly swing against them. Another hallmark rule twist is the need to call out "Uno!" when you're down to one card. If not, you'll be forced to draw two cards.

UNO for Kindle lets you pick up and play a round right from your Kindle's main menu with the choice of either "Quick Play" or "Tournament Mode." Once selected, UNO for Kindle gives you the choice of nine different varieties of the game, including 7-0 (if a zero card is played, all players give their cards to the next player) and Jump-in (if you have a card with the same number and pattern in your hand as on the discard pile, you can play it at any time).

With smooth game play, sharp graphics, easy-to-learn rules, and loads of in-game achievements, playing UNO for Kindle continues the game's tradition of fast fun for everyone.

Guest Blogger Heather Poole Shatters Five Flight Attendant Myths

Guest post by Heather Poole, author of Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 FeetHeather Poole

In her more than 15 years as an airline flight attendant, Heather Poole has seen it all. Here, she dispels the top five misconceptions about her profession:

1. A college degree is not required to become a flight attendant. But there are very few flight attendants who do not possess one. Being a flight attendant is considered a profession, not just a job. When Delta announced 1,000 openings in 2010, the airline received 100,000 applications. Only the most qualified are hired: being able to speak a second language helps, and so does having customer service experience.

Cruising Attitude by Heather Poole 2. Flight attendants are paid well. No one becomes a flight attendant for the money. The average salary for a first year flight attendant ranges between $14,000 and $18,000. Each year we get a standard raise across the board. Major carriers tap out around 13 years. This is one of many reasons why seniority at an airline is so important.

  3. Flight attendants barely work. Eighty five hours a month might sound pretty great, but those hours are flight hours only. Time during boarding spent cramming bags into bins and helping displaced families get seats together never shows up in our paychecks. The clock doesn’t start ticking until the plane backs away from the gate.

  4. Flight attendants love to date pilots. One flight attendant wrote down a few tips on the back of a beverage napkin for me: 1. Don’t do it. 2. Don’t do it. 3. Don’t do it. 4. If you do mess up and do it, don’t do it again. It’s only fair to mention I’m pretty sure there are plenty of pilots who feel the same way.

 5. Flight attendants party on layovers. Most domestic layovers average 10 hours. Add a delay into the mix and it’s nine hours. By the time we check-in to the hotel, it’s now an eight and a half hour layover. Keep in mind I need an hour and a half to get dressed and get back to the airport in the morning, which totals to seven hours of sleep if I can fall asleep the second I walk into my room. Sometimes there’s not enough time to eat, sleep and shower.

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.

 

History

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.

Top 10 Kindle Books for March

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From Theodore Roosevelt's quest to clean up sin-soaked New York City to the travails of a Tokyo pickpocket, our editors' selections for the Best Books of March features engaging nonfiction, imaginative new novels, and a moving short story collection.

 

The VanishersThe Vanishers by Heidi Julavits
A paranormal detective story, an affecting exposition of familial and female dynamics, and a hilarious satire of academic politics: Heidi Julavits has crafted an ambitious and strange novel.

 

 

Island of ViceIsland of Vice: Theodore Roosevelt's Doomed Quest to Clean Up ... New York by Richard Zacks
Overrun with gambling and bootleg liquor, NYC was known as the "Island of Vice." Zacks's fun, enthusiastic style makes this well-researched history memorable.

 

 

Half-Blood BluesHalf-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
Looping from Nazi-occupied Europe to modern-day Baltimore and back, Esi Edugyan's Giller Prize winner is an electrifying, musical novel about racism and what we're willing to surrender for love and art.

 

 

The Sond of AchillesThe Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Betrayal, ardor, war, and prophecies... Author Madeline Miller gathers to love about Homer's "Iliad" without the labor of epic poetry, resulting in an absorbing, gratifyingly modern story.

 

 

The ThiefThe Thief by Fuminori Nakamura
Nakamura's protagonist weaves through the streets of Tokyo, pickpocketing his way through the flow of humanity, but the thief begins to realize a noose is being drawn around his neck.

 

 

ImagineImagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer
Combining cutting-edge neurological research with the age-old mystery of how and when inspiration strikes, Jonah Lehrer crafts a fun and engaging study of creativity.

 

 

WildWild by Cheryl Strayed
At 26, following the death of her mother, divorce, and a run of reckless behavior, Cheryl Strayed found herself embarking on a solo thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. It's a well-balanced wilderness tale and personal-redemption memoir.

 

 

The ReconstructionistThe Reconstructionist by Nick Arvin
Ellis Barstow, whose brother died young in a car crash, makes a living conducting auto accident postmortems. In love with his boss's wife, Ellis' brother's high school girlfriend, Ellis seeks answers to his brother's death.

 

 

White BreadWhite Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf by Aaron Bobrow-Strain
Over the last hundred years, bread has gone from cure-all to fluff, and every place in between: this is table-bread's true story.

 

 

Birds of a Lesser ParadiseBirds of a Lesser Paradise by Megan Mayhew Bergman
This collection of stories constructs a world filled with nature and family who hate and love and mostly need one another, each satisfying in a way short fiction rarely does.