MONEY freebies

Marvel Comics or The New Yorker: Choose Your Binge-Reading Bargain

To celebrate Comic-Con and the makeover of a literary journal's website, fans can binge on cheap (or free!) all-you-can-read deals.

If you’re looking to escape summer’s swelter by binge-reading about alternate universes, bizarre worlds, and fascinating people you’ve never heard about and didn’t think could exist in real life, man, are you in luck!

Not one but two binge-reading bonanzas have recently made their debut. First, The New Yorker announced that it is opening the entirety of its archives to all, free of charge, for the entire summer, to celebrate the makeover of its website. (Normally, much of the archive is accessible only for paid subscribers.)

Then, in a deal coinciding with this week’s Comic-Con International in San Diego, Marvel Comics is offering a special “Marvel Unlimited” package, with one month’s access to more than 15,000 digital comics for just 99¢. (New subscribers must use the promo code SDCC14 when signing up for the service, which usually runs $9.99 per month or $69 per year.)

What might you read? Wired suggests that Marvel subscribers should check out some of the Infinite Comics that have been specially designed for the digital experience, such as the six-issue Captain America: The Winter Soldier (inspiration for the recent film). Meanwhile, BuzzFeed, Vox, Digg, and Slate are among the many publications that have weighed in with recommendations for New Yorker reading while the archive door is wide open.

The suggested free New Yorker readings from Business Insider are heavy on gripping but grisly tales of war, genocide, and evil, such as Seymour Hersh’s “Torture at Abu Ghraib” and Hannah Arendt’s “Eichmann in Jerusalem,” the latter about the trial of the infamous Nazi officer Adolph Eichmann. After reading some of these stories, it might be time to turn one’s attention back over to Captain America.

TIME Culture

5 Things to Do While You’re Waiting for 50 Shades of Grey to Come Out

Unleash your inner goddess with these recipes, books and vacations

+ READ ARTICLE

The trailer for the new Fifty Shades of Grey film dropped Thursday, leaving fans to count the days until it’s released on Valentine’s Day 2015. For those who can’t possibly wait that long, here are five ways to get your 50 Shades fix before next February:

Try on some Grey-inspired lingerie

Designed in part by 50 Shades author E.L. James, this collection of bras, briefs, negligées and stockings comes in a variety of colors: Black, red and (of course) gray. Customers can also purchase the title-inspiring gray tie that Christian wears in the book and a black mask to take things to the 50 Shades of Grey level.

Drink a glass of 50 Shades of Grey wine

E.L. James has created an entire industry around tiding over her impatient fans. The business-savvy author (who has already made an estimated $100 million from the trilogy) teamed up with California winemakers to blend a collection of wines specific to 50 Shades of Grey. The collection has both red and white, and the red “has flavors of black cherry, cocoa powder, creamy caramel and vanilla, leather and clove spice.” Leather? Well, at least one flavor stays true to the book.

Cook up a recipe from 50 Shades of Kale

“What’s the sexiest handful of foliage? A fistful of Kale battles cancer, inflammation, and low moods,” the 50 Shades-inspired cookbook’s website reads. It features 50 recipes centered around the sensual vegetable, fit for vegans and gluten-free fans alike. And for those fans worried that a cookbook won’t help them get their 50 Shades of sexy fix, the authors assure, “50 SHADES OF KALE is a fun and sexy romp powered by kale.”

Take a 50 Shades of Grey vacation

Seattle is so beautiful this time of year. Why not enjoy the city by staying at the Hotel Max, which previously offered guests a special package featuring perks from billionaire Christian Grey’s lavish lifestyle? Don’t forget to drink a bottle of Bollinger Rosé (Anastasia Steele’s drink of choice) before taking a helicopter tour around the city (unfortunately not piloted by Christian Grey).

Just reread the books

It never gets old reading a dozen different descriptions for Christian’s copper-colored hair while Anastasia continually insists that she isn’t pretty. You should have a refresher on which sex scenes come when anyway, so you’re ready to critique the film for its accuracy. After all, there’s a pretty high standard to uphold.

TIME Books

Read George R.R. Martin’s Thoughtful Letter to a 13-Year-Old Game of Thrones Fan

George R.R. Martin at the "Game Of Thrones" Panel - Comic-Con International 2013
Wrtier George R.R. Martin speaks onstage during the "Game Of Thrones" panel during Comic-Con International 2013 on July 19, 2013 in San Diego, California. Albert L. Ortega—Getty Images

The Song of Ice and Fire writer makes a donation in the boy's name

Anyone who has read A Song of Ice and Fire (or seen the HBO TV show Game of Thrones) knows that author George R.R. Martin has a thing for wolves. So it was no surprise when Martin started a Prizeo-powered crowdfunding campaign for a wolf sanctuary: Fans who donated $200,000 or more were eligible to get characters named after them in his next book. Martin promised that two supporters would get a bloody death in one of the chapters. The campaign has raised over $450,000, and two people have already bought the “martyr” roles.

But that didn’t stop one teenage fan from writing Martin about his dream of working in wolf conservation and asking to be considered as a character. Here’s 13-year-old Jack’s letter (courtsey of Prizeo):

Jacks Letter

Jack, who hails from the United Kingdom, included £153 ($260) as a donation to the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary in his letter. Though the spots had already been filled, Martin was touched by Jack’s letter and offered to make a donation to the U.K. Wolf Conservation Trust on his behalf:

Dear Jack,

Thank you so much for your heartfelt, touching note.

I’ve heard that you donated all your £153 pocket money savings to my Prizeo fundraiser on behalf of the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary. I cannot tell you how much that moved me. It pleases me no end to know that my novels, and the TV series based on them, have inspired readers as young as yourself to rally to the support of these majestic and too often stigmatized animal.

Alas, I cannot promise you a grisly death in THE WIND OF WINTER. Those spots have already been filled by some very generous donors, and there’s a limit to how many people even I can kill.

However, inspired by your example, my friends at Prizeo and I would love to follow your lead with a $10,000 in your name to the UK Wolf Conservation Trust. That’s a wonderful organization that I’ve heard much about, and they are lucky to count people like you as supporters.

I wish you the best of luck in your future career as a wolf conservationist, and hope that you inspire many others to follow your lead

Yours,

GRRM

TIME Books

U.S. Authors Snag 4 Spots on Man Booker Prize Longlist

Simon & Schuster

But Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch didn't make the cut

The longlist for the 2014 Man Booker prize was announced Wednesday and in the first year the prestigious British award changed its criteria to consider writers from all over the world, a whopping four novels by American authors made the cut.

Previously awarded to English-language works written by citizens of the Commonwealth, the Republic of Ireland or Zimbabwe, this year marks the first time the judges of the literary prize were able to consider works from writers across the globe, so long as they’re written in English and published in the UK.

The four American books to make the cut — We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler, The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris and Orfeo by Richard Powers — make up nearly a third of the 13-title longlist. Somewhat surprisingly, Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch wasn’t selected, though it won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

When the new criteria for the Booker prize were announced last September, it caused a minor controversy as some literary insiders complained that the rule change could lead to an American domination of the prize.

“Although it appears to let in lots more good fiction, it risks diluting the identity of the prize,” John Mullan, a former Booker Prize judge, told the BBC last year. “It’s going to be Toni Morrison versus Hilary Mantel, or Jonathan Franzen against Ian McEwan, and I think that’s really unfortunate.”

American authors didn’t dominate the longlist — the Brits still hold that claim with five titles making the cut — and the final winner will be announced on Sept. 9.

The 2014 Man Booker Prize longlist:

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour, Joshua Ferris (US)
The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Richard Flanagan (Australia)
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler (US)
The Blazing World, Siri Hustvedt (US)
J, Howard Jacobson (UK)
The Wake, Paul Kingsnorth (UK)
The Bone Clocks, David Mitchell (UK)
The Lives of Others, Neel Mukherjee (India)
Us, David Nicholls (UK)
The Dog, Joseph O’Neill (Ireland)
Orfeo, Richard Powers (US)
How to be Both, Ali Smith (UK)
History of the Rain, Niall Williams (Ireland)

TIME Books

Chuck Palahniuk Breaks First Rule of Fight Club by Announcing Comic Book Sequel

Fight Club

Will pick up a decade after the original left off

Almost 20 years after the publication of his novel Fight Club, author Chuck Palahniuk announced Monday that he is releasing a 10-issue comic book sequel in 2015.

Word of Fight Club 2 spread when Palahniuk broke the epic first rule of Fight Club—that you don’t talk about Fight Club, per the 1996 novel and its 1999 movie adaptation—at New York’s Comic-Con last year. “I messed up and said I was doing the sequel in front of 1,500 geeks with telephones,” Palahniuk told USA Today. “Suddenly, there was this big scramble to honor my word.”

Jokes about the broken golden rule have been running rampant on social media since Palahniuk made the first graphic novel’s April 8 release known:

The series will be produced by Dark Horse Comics, and illustrated by Cameron Stewart. According to USA Today:

Fight Club 2 takes place alternately in the future and the past. It picks up a decade after the ending of his original book, where the protagonist [Tyler Durden] is married to equally problematic Marla Singer and has a 9-year-old son named Junior, though the narrator is failing his son in the same way his dad failed him.

Most of the original characters will be brought back, the newspaper reports.

 

TIME Books

J.K. Rowling to Write a Lot More Cormoran Strike Novels

J.K. Rowling
J.K. Rowling at an appearance to promote her book "The Casual Vacancy," at The David H. Koch Theater in New York, Oct. 16, 2012. Dan Hallman—Invision/AP

The crime series could become the Harry Potter author's other legacy

If you thought J.K. Rowling’s recent short story about the Harry Potter gang was putting her on the path back to the wizarding world, guess again. The beloved author says she’ll likely write more than seven Cormoran Strike novels, outnumbering the series she’s best known for.

Rowling has published two novels about the military-veteran-turned-private-eye , The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm, under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

“I really love writing these books, so I don’t know that I’ve got an end point in mind,” Rowling said at a crime-writing festival, the BBC reports. “One of the things I absolutely love about this genre is that, unlike Harry, where there was an overarching story, a beginning and an end, you’re talking about discrete stories. So while a detective lives, you can keep giving him cases.”

Rowling says she’s halfway through the third Cormoran Strike novel and has already begun planning the story of the fourth. The series is not her first post-Potter release — that would be 2012′s The Casual Vacancy — but Rowling said at the festival that she wrote it under a fake name to see if she could “get a book published on the merits of the book.”

[BBC]

TIME Amazon

Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited Is Worth It If You Read This Many Books

Random House Publishing And Penguin Books Ahead Of Merger
The logo of the Penguin publishing house, part of Pearson Plc, is seen on a Kindle Fire HD e-reader at a bookstore in London, U.K., on Friday, April 5, 2013. Bloomberg/Getty Images

Amazon on Friday announced Kindle Unlimited, a new all-you-can read e-book service allows customers to read as many titles as they want for $9.99 per month. Kindle Unlimited has a library of over 600,000 books, including well-known titles like Harry Potter and Life of Pi. If you’re a voracious reader, the Unlimited program could be a good way to save money while feeding your reading habit. Let’s break down the math to see whether you plow through enough books regularly to justify the cost.

At $9.99 per month, Kindle Unlimited costs about $120 per year. E-books on Amazon can vary wildly in price, from $0.99 to hundreds of dollars. During 2013, e-books on the Digital Book World best-sellers’ list mostly sold for between $7 and $8 on average (the price in the most recent recorded week in 2014 was $7.52). If we say that the typical e-book best-seller costs $7.50, a customer would need to read more than 16 books per year to derive a greater value from Kindle Unlimited than buying the books individually.

This doesn’t necessarily mean avid readers should dive head-first into Kindle Unlimited. Customers lose access to Unlimited’s library of books if they end their subscription, whereas readers can typically hold on to purchased books forever. Also, books from major publishers such as Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Hachette so far don’t appear to be part of the service.

Think of Kindle Unlimited more like Netflix, which has a spotty selection of movies for its streaming library (especially during its early days) rather than Spotify, which typically gets new album releases the same day they go on sale in physical stores. Either way, Amazon is offering a 30-day free trial of Kindle Unlimited, so you can test your binge-reading capabilities before committing to pay for the service.

MONEY Tech

How Amazon’s New E-book Subscription Service Stacks Up

Amazon Kindle in front of a bookshelf
JHPhoto—Alamy

The Seattle retailer just announced Kindle Unlimited, which will go head to head with existing reader subscription services Oyster and Scribd.

Updated July 18th

This morning, Amazon announced Kindle Unlimited, a new e-book subscription service. But while Amazon is now the biggest name in the “Netflix for books” business, it’s not the only option. So, how does Kindle Unlimited compare with Oyster and Scribd, it’s best-known competition? Here’s the rundown:

Price

At $9.99 per month, Kindle Unlimited is slightly more expensive than the competition. Scribd is priced at $8.99 a month, and Oyster at $9.95. All three offer a trial month for free.

Selection of books

Not surprisingly, Amazon comes out on top in terms of the sheer number of e-books included. The company says Kindle Unlimited includes more than 600,000 titles, plus “thousands” of audio books. Oyster says it has more than 500,000 titles. Scribd, for it’s part, has more than 400,000.

When it comes to the question of which service offers the “best” books, things get a little muddy. Kindle Unlimited includes popular series like the Harry Potter books and the Hunger Games trilogy, as well as a a number of best-sellers, like Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, and some new titles such as Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt by Michael Lewis. But, as noted by GigaOm, the service does not include books from the “Big 5″ publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin Random House.

Scibd and Oyster, on the other hand, both offer books from HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster. In additon, each has a few notable deals with smaller publishers: Oyster has books from McSweeney’s and Rodale, while Scribd offers Lonely Planet guides and reference books from Wiley.

Device compatibility

Kindle Unlimited works with all Kindle devices (obviously!), and, via the Kindle app, can be used on most smartphones, tablets and computers. Scribd has apps for the iPad, iPhone, Android, and Kindle Fire. Oyster users can access the service on Apple and Android devices, Kindle Fire and the Nook HD.

The takeaway

Kindle Unlimited isn’t a book lover’s silver bullet. Indeed, as noted by Gizmodo, the books offered by the service aren’t that different from what Amazon Prime subscribers can already access. However, if Amazon is able to get the Big 5 onboard, that could change. At this point, the decision about which service is best for you depends largely on which provider’s library you prefer. So, since all three offer a free month trial, why not give each a spin?

A previous version of this story stated that Oyster is available only on Apple and Android devices. It has been updated to reflect the fact that Oyster may also be used on Kindle Fire and Nook HD.

 

 

 

TIME Amazon

Amazon Just Launched ‘Kindle Unlimited,’ a Subscription Service for E-Books

The online retailer is entering the competitive e-book subscription game

+ READ ARTICLE

The online retail giant Amazon announced Friday it’s launching an e-book subscription service called “Kindle Unlimited.”

Kindle Unlimited lets Amazon customers pay $9.99 every month for unlimited access to 600,000 titles plus more than 2,000 audiobooks accessible on any Kindle or Kindle app on any mobile device, according to the company. Amazon introduced the service in this video, which is unavailable for embedding in this post.

With the announcement, Amazon enters a field populated by other similar services, chiefly Scribd, Oyster and Entitle.

Titles available through the service include books like The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the the Harry Potter series. The more than 2,000 audiobooks available through the service are linked up with Amazon’s Whispersync program, allowing the reader to switch between reading and listening to the narrated text.

Depending on the details of how Kindle Unlimited was set up, the program may further complicated Amazon’s relationship with book publishers. Several of those publishers have been locked in a years-long tug-of-war with Amazon over the company’s pricing of e-books, which publishers argue has been too low. In a somewhat separate but related issue, Amazon is currently embroiled in a dispute with one publisher in particular, Hachette, most likely over the pricing of Hachette’s physical and digital books.

TIME Books

The 5 Best Books for Your Kids This Summer (According to Other Kids)

Time for Kids asked its reporters to review new children's book releases. Here's what they had to say

Looking for an engaging summer read for your child? TIME For Kids Magazine asked its kid reporters to review the season’s hottest new books. The result is a list of kid-approved page-turners:

Credit: HMH Books for Young Readers

Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile

By Marcia Wells

Reviewed by TFK Kid Reporter Max Siegel

Genre: Mystery

Number of pages: 240

What’s the basic story line?

Edmund Xavier Lonnrot (Eddie Red) is an average sixth grader. That is, if the average sixth grader has a photographic memory and can draw anything he sees. His whole life, Eddie has used these gifts for fun. But one day, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) seeks his help with a case involving some major art thieves. Eddie finally puts his extraordinary talents to good use.

Are the characters believable?

Although Eddie has some amazing talents, those talents are believable. A person can have photographic memory and great art skills, just as Eddie does. What is unbelievable about this book is the plot. The NYPD hires Eddie to work on a case. Although the police don’t intend this, Eddie faces major danger. I’m not sure about the legality or possibility of the NYPD—or any police force, for that matter—hiring a kid to help with a case.

Who would like this book?

Any kid who likes a good mystery with constant twists and turns—and who feels okay never knowing who’s good and who’s bad—would love this book.

On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being best), how would you rate this book?

I would give this book an 8. It’s a clever mystery that will keep readers engaged. The huge plot twist at the end is surprising and really elevated the book for me. Plus, Eddie’s situation is compelling. He’s just a regular kid who has extraordinary talents.

Credit: Viking Juvenile

The Glass Sentence

By S.E. Grove

Reviewed by TFK Kid Reporter Kristen Rigsby

Genre: Fantasy

Number of pages: 512

What’s the basic story line?

In 1799, the Great Disruption threw the continents into different time periods. The once-mastered art of mapmaking became a great challenge, one suited for only the most experienced and trained explorers.

Nearly 100 years after the Great Disruption, Sophia Tims and Shadrack Elli, Sophia’s uncle and master cartographer, begin map reading and map writing in an attempt to find Sophia’s missing parents. But when Shadrack is kidnapped by fanatics looking for a memory map of the entire world called the carta mayor, Sophia must set out to find him too. With the help of her newfound friend, Theo Thackary, and a glass map that Shadrack left for her, Sophia ventures into the unknown. Along the way, she encounters a multitude of mysteries, creatures, and hazards.

Are the characters believable?

Some of the characters in The Glass Sentence are believable. Sophia Tims is an inquisitive and audacious 13-year-old who loves to explore, read maps, and draw. Theo Thackary is an adventurous and daring boy who often gets into trouble. Other characters in the book, however, are creatures of fantasy. The Lachrima, for example, is a ghostlike being that haunts people with its cries. Other main characters, such as Varessa and Martin, are part human and part plant.

Who would like this book?

Anybody who loves works of fantasy, especially the Chronicles of Narnia series, the Harry Potter series, or the Lord of the Rings, will enjoy exploring this unique and captivating world with Sophia and Theo.

On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being best), how would you rate this book?

I would rate The Glass Sentence a 9.5. The alternate world of the Great Disruption is incredibly inventive. Sophia and Theo come to life, venturing through unknown terrain and uncovering the secrets of mapmaking along the way. The plot seamlessly ties the world and the characters together, taking the reader on a fascinating and wild journey. From the moment you pick up this book, you will not be able to put it down.

Credit: HarperCollins

Saving Lucas Biggs

By Marisa de los Santos and David Teague

Reviewed by TFK Kid Reporter Gloria Choi

Genre: Science fiction

Number of pages: 288

What’s the basic story line?

Thirteen-year-old Margaret O’Malley’s life is turned upsidedown when her compassionate father is sentenced to death by the cruel Judge Biggs. Margaret’s father is innocent, and she sets out to prove it. As time ticks by, Margaret makes a devastating choice. She is forced to unravel her family’s deepest secret—a sacred super power. She uses her ability to time-travel to make a daring journey into the past, when Judge Biggs was just a boy. Can she change the course of history and prevent him from growing up to be a corrupt man? Or will she return to the present only to find her father is still destined for disaster? Luckily for Margaret, she has her friends Charlie and Grandpa Josh, who join her in the quest to save the person she loves the most.

Are the characters believable?

Characters like Margaret may not seem believable at first. After all, she has an incredible super power passed down from her ancestors. Super power aside, she is just another girl with a special gift. Everyone can relate to Margaret’s desire to help a loved one no matter how big the obstacles.

Who would like this book?

Anyone who favors a combination of science fiction (especially time travel), adventure, and fantasy will like this book. In particular, fans of the Hunger Games series, the Divergent series, the novel The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells, or even the film Back to the Future will enjoy reading Saving Lucas Biggs.

On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being best), how would you rate this book?

I would rate Saving Lucas Biggs a 9. The plot and characters are interesting, relatable, and captivating. The story exhibits a wide range of emotions, from sheer excitement to bleak desperation.

Credit: Candlewick

Three Bird Summer

By Sara St. Antoine

Reviewed by TFK Kid Reporter Camryn Garrett

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Number of pages: 256

What’s the basic story line?

For his entire life, 12-year-old Adam has spent summers at his Grandma’s cabin in Minnesota. But this year things are different. His parents have divorced. On top of that, Adam’s cousins won’t be vacationing at the cabin with him. Also, Grandma seems to be acting differently. At first, she’s just a bit more forgetful than usual. But after spending more time with her, Adam realizes Grandma is “slipping.”

There are new neighbors at the cabin this summer, including a girl Adam’s age named Alice. At first, Adam isn’t interested in spending time with her. But as time goes by, their friendship flourishes. Throughout this unusual summer, Adam searches for hidden treasure with his new friend and begins to uncover family secrets as well.

Are the characters believable?
The characters are believable because they don’t have cookie-cutter personalities. Adam is quiet and shy and finds girls difficult to understand. Alice is adventurous and unlike any girl he has ever met. Readers will likely see aspects of their personalities in the characters and recognize their friends too.

Who would like this book?

Anyone who appreciates memories of family vacations or summertime in general will enjoy the vivid imagery that fills Three Bird Summer. Readers will fall into the story, almost as if they’re actually spending the summer exploring Three Bird Lake with Adam and Alice.

On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being best), how would you rate this book?

I would rate this book an 8, because the imagery is astounding, allowing readers to feel like they are experiencing the story along with the characters. The plot didn’t begin to pick up until the middle of the novel, but the relatable characters create enough interest in the story to compel readers to keep turning the pages.

Credit: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Poached

By: Stuart Gibbs

Reviewed: by TFK Kid Reporter Graham Ross

Genre: Mystery

Number of pages: 336

What’s the basic story line?

Teddy Fitzroy lives at FunJungle, the world’s largest zoo. He has a reputation for being a troublemaker. FunJungle has recently acquired a big moneymaking attraction—a furry koala named Kazoo. Unfortunately, the adored koala goes missing, and all fingers point to Teddy! A security guard nicknamed Large Margeis sure Teddy is guilty, and she will stop at nothing to prove it. Teddy must find the real thief before it is too late. Will he find the real koala-napper, or will he be framed and sent off to juvenile hall?

Are the characters believable?

Some of the descriptions are exaggerated. For example, an eighth grader is described as having “biceps as thick as Burmese pythons.”Other than that, the characters do seem pretty believable. Teddy acts like an average kid who is trying to fit in at a school where he is an outcast. Large Marge acts like a typical person with a grudge. She sees Teddy as a nuisance and is fixated on catching him red-handed.

Who would like this book?

Anyone who enjoys thrilling stories with plot twists on every page would love this book.

On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being best), how would you rate this book?

Hands down, I would certainly give this book a 9. I appreciated how author Stuart Gibbs made even the tensest parts of the book humorous. I especially enjoyed the suspense created by the twists and turns on every page.

See the full list of book reviews from Time for Kids’ kid reporters here.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser