Category Archives: E-Books

Free Science Fiction Magazines

Sometimes the internet shows up to the party dressed to impress. This past week was one of those times as the Internet Archive made the entire original 175-issue run of the science fiction magazine IF available for free download.

If vintage pulp or vintage magazines are you thing, then is is something you definitely want to check out. The magazine ran from the early 1950’s to the early 1970’s. Each cover is like a time travel capsule to a different age. I think many are worth framing.

Science Fiction Magazine

There even seems to be a “bonus issue”? The very last issue posted at the Internet Archive is listed as Fall 1986 and declares a relaunch of sorts for the magazine, which closed in 1974. Not sure what happened to the rest of the run.

IF magazine published  serialized versions of many well-known science fiction authors like Robert Heinlein, Larry Niven and Harlan Ellison.

According to the Internet Archive, IF magazine won three Hugo Awards for “best professional magazine” in the late 60’s. At the end of its run IF magazine was folded into the Galaxy Science Fiction magazine.

Science Fiction Magazine Science Fiction Magazine

So check them out, if science fiction is your thing. I’m also anxious to take a look and see who designed these covers. Too many great representations of vintage science fiction artwork here not to dig in deeper.

New John Grisham Book is FREE

John Grisham has a new book out. It’s short and it’s totally free. You can download the kindle verison straight from Amazon or you can click over to this page and download any file format you want. You can even order a free hard cover copy!

John Grisham download FREEThe book is called “The Tumor” and it has nothing to do with the legal system and probably doesn’t even qualify as a “thriller”. This one is all about cancer and new technology. It’s something that seems near and dear to Grisham’s heart. So he decided to write this 49-page book, partner with the Focused Ultrasound Foundation and give it away. All just to help raise awareness about new technology available to fight cancer.

The story follows a 35-year old father of three as he goes through the prognosis and treatment of a brain tumor. Pretty heavy stuff from Grisham.

I haven’t read it yet. Let me know if you have and how the story stacks up.

Hoopla Adds eBooks and Comics

I just noticed last night that the Hoopla app/service I use (thanks Hoover Library!) has expanded its offerings. Movies, music and TV shows have been readily available for download since day one. But now we have access to eBooks and comics as well.

* please note I have not tried to read or view comics in the Hoopla app. I am simply comparing catalogs and services at this point. eBook readers and comic apps are hard and I do not know yet if Hoopla has a good one.

I am always interested in finding new things to read and am pretty excited at seeing what the eBooks section will offer.


So far it does seem to be a little different than what’s over on OverDrive which the library supports as well (thanks again, Hoover Library, you guys rock!). There seems to be a difference in publishers. Many of what is on Hoopla (while not big names) are not titles that I have access to on OverDrive. I only spot checked five books so far, but this seems to be the case. And I’m glad for it. The less overlap the better.

Hoopla eBooks so far as I can see seems stronger in the cooking, self-help, and Christian categories. Though there are lots of romance, kids, and some fiction as well. But OverDrive shares these strengths and is currently a little stronger in the mainstream categories.

I’m not a comic book/graphic novel reader. I wish I was because I hear such great things, but I just can’t get into the groove. It’s not a snob thing, they’re just too slow for me (maybe another post on this thinking soon?)


Noticably absent are Marvel comics. I have no idea if they’ll come on board or not. They’re all Disney-owned and working with Amazon, who knows. But DC Comics is testing the waters here. There are about 30 comics presented in the “Featured” area. Most of these are “digest issues” so each book contains 4-15 comics in there. Which is handy if you’re trying to catch up on a series or something.

What they’re lacking in Marvel characters they make up for with. . .  a Bill & Melinda Gates comic? a Kate Middleton comic? I even saw an Amy Winehouse comic book.


So the stock and quality is all over the map with Hoopla’s comic book offerings. No doubt it’ll get better.

I assume Hoopla is the same everywhere, but maybe it is dependent on each library’s contract. How it works here is that we’re allowed 10 downloads a month. That allotment can be made up of any mix of movies, music, TV, audiobooks, and now eBooks and comics.

Let me just say – libraries are awesome. I hope you live someplace with access to something like the JCLC system. To use Hoopla just load the app on your device and log-in with your library card number. You will instantly be able to access any content/services that your local library supports.

Do you use Hoopla?

Free eBook: Follow a Few Literary Pilgrimages

This month Simon Goldhill’s Freud’s Couch, Scott’s Buttocks, Brontë’s Grave is the University of Chicago Press’s free eBook offering. I have not read it yet, but the book is all about writers, their homes and travel. When I travel I always look up local literary points of interest and local indie bookshops to visit. They are so much more interesting and telling than the usual sight-seeing fare.

freudscouchGoldhill’s book not only points the way to where these literary locations are, but also digs a little deeper in trying to connect the dots between these places and the writers that were there. I scanned a bit of it and he seems intent to tackle questions like:

Why did author go there? What were they looking for? What will you find if you go there today? Some of the historical sites of note, listed in the book, are:

  • Sir Walter Scott’s mansion
  • Wordsworth’s cottage
  • the Brontë parsonage
  • Shakespeare’s birthplace
  • Freud’s office

So if literary pilgrimages and bookstore tourism are your thing, be sure to check out UCP’s free eBook this month. (There are a few caveats: they use Adobe DRM, so you’ll need an  approved eReader app for that and a kindle fire may be the only kindle device that can read these free ebooks. I haven’t confirmed that though.)