Imagination Picks Up Hitchhikers

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I swear, it’s the last time I’ll mention it (well, except at the bottom), but Her Cousin, Much Removed is free through the end of today, April 10th. OK, on to the afternoon book.

Once I started to consider books in terms of imagination, my brain nearly short-circuited. Whether they take us back in time, or shoot us forward into the future; whether they’re about regular people or aliens who use tesseracts to travel to other words, imagination is the heartbeat of fiction. So singling out books is nearly painful.

Nearly.

Because this one is one of the most beautiful, hilarious things an imagination ever created from nothing. Towel not included.

What do you think is the most imaginative book you’ve ever read?

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Amazon for $5.12. “IRRESISTIBLE!”
–The Boston Globe
Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.
Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide (“A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have”) and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox–the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod’s girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years.
Where are these pens? Why are we born? Why do we die? Why do we spend so much time between wearing digital watches? For all the answers stick your thumb to the stars. And don’t forget to bring a towel!
“[A] WHIMSICAL ODYSSEY…Characters frolic through the galaxy with infectious joy.”
–Publishers Weekly

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I Is Pure Imagination

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The letter I can only mean one thing to a writer of fiction. If you’re inferring that I, today, is all about imagination, then you are correct! And before we get on with I, you’re not imagining it: my cozy mystery, Her Cousin, Much Removed is still free today, April 10. Snag a copy and solve a murder.

This morning’s post features one of the most imaginative books from one of the most imaginative authors who ever graced us with his presence. As the song in the original movie adaptation says, “Come with me, and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination.” It all sprang from the brain of Roald Dahl, an entire universe too fantastic to forget, giving us the concept of a “golden ticket.” And If you haven’t read his short stories for adults, you should. They’re really creepy.


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Amazon for $3.86. Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory is opening at last!

But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life!

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Fantasy, Reading’s Fabulous F-Word

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Fantasy is a huge F-word, a fantastic(ha!) category that brings to mind swords and villagers, quests and elves. But that’s only a fair-sized corner of the fantasy realm. There are the books that take an imaginative element and turn into an F-world (see what I did there? And it’s only Monday).

I can’t say, for certain, that Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth was the first fantasy I’d read when I became and independent reader. But it was the the one that burrowed into me, likely helping to form my odd, humorous aesthetic. It’s a book illustrates for readers–any readers, not just new ones–exactly what a book is supposed to do: open the gate and take you somewhere wondrous.


The Phantom Tollbooth 50th Anniversary Edition by The Phantom Tollbooth 50th Anniversary Edition. Amazon for $4.99. It has been fifty years—and millions of readers—since the world was first introduced to Milo and his adventures in the Lands Beyond with Tock, the Humbug, and the captive princesses Rhyme and Reason.
Now we have a remarkable 50th anniversary edition to honor this universally adored and deeply influential novel. This special edition will include:

• Gorgeous packaging that features the classic original art stamped and debossed on the case with a transparent acetate jacket.
• Brief essays from esteemed authors, educators, and artists, including Philip Pullman, Suzanne Collins, Jeanne Birdsall, Mo Willems, and several others.
• Photos of the author and illustrator at the time of writing and today on the two-color endpapers.
• The 35th anniversary essay by Maurice Sendak.
• The complete text of the book.

A perfect gift for longstanding fans and lucky new readers, the 50th anniversary edition of The Phantom Tollbooth is a book to cherish.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Discover the Daffadors for Free Book Friday

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The delightful cover design drew my eye to Drew Chase’s The Daffadors. And that does it with the D words. I don’t know why, but I can’t seem to dream them up today. Darn. Anyway, help yourself to this free book, or any of the others under the “Free Book Friday” category, and let’s hope that E comes, well, easily.

The Daffadors: The Rivalry by Drew Chase. FREE from Smashwords.com
David McKreedy, a fourth grader with amnesia, discovers that he’s a powerful king from another planet. Several years earlier, he stopped his triplet brothers from taking over the universe. Now, they’ve escaped eternal imprisonment and are up to their old schemes. With the help of his talking dog and a team of his classmates, David fights against his brothers’ new intergalactic war.

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Escape to Eden

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It finally looks like spring, in that it’s gray and raining, and so I could use a little touch of Eden. Then again, I have a sinking feeling that it probably won’t turn out exactly like it sounds. I’m guessing trouble ahead. Luckily, that’s the characters’ problem, right?


EDEN (Eden Saga) by Dean Crawford. Amazon for $1.99. If the world fell apart overnight, what would you do to protect your family? When a horrific natural disaster causes the collapse of civilisation and strands Cody Ryan deep inside the Arctic Circle, he is forced to embark upon an impossible journey. Thousands of miles from home in a brutal new world where only the strongest will survive, Cody and his companions must conquer seemingly insurmountable odds in a search for their loved ones, the limits of their own humanity and the rumoured last refuge of mankind… Eden.

REVIEW

Praise for Dean Crawford’s Ethan Warner series:

“The fossilized remains of a 7,000-year-old creature dug from the sands of the Negev Desert in Israel become the bones of contention in Dean Crawford’s fast-paced debut thriller… The book neatly threads together a wild variety of plotlines.” Wall Street Journal

“Partly mythical read, part thriller this pacy tale is a page turner guaranteed to keep you up late.” The Sun

“A fast-paced and entertaining yarn.” Melbourne Age

“… cleverly introduced premise… assured pacing and plotting…” Publishers Weekly

“Get the cameras rolling—Indiana Jones meets Alien. What a combination of mystery, suspense, and unspeakable horror. I loved it!” R.L. Stine

“Earth-shattering intrigue, hyperdrive action and a desperate race to save humanity, cranked up to the max with scarily realistic science and apocalyptic religion thrown in for good measure . . . a major new talent has hit the mystery thriller scene!” Scott Mariani

“This is an amazingly good, intelligently told novel by an exciting new British author.” Eurocrime

Book a Flight to Exile

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Call it the Arnold Palmer of books, a blend of sci-fi and fantasy (I mean the half-lemonade, half-iced tea drink, not the golfer. Who, I think invented the drink. Terribly confusing). You can take a distant-future adventure from your recliner. The beverage is optional.


Flight To Exile by Chris Reher. Amazon for $3.95. “A great combination of Sci-fi and Fantasy” by the author of the Targon Tales series.

It’s been a millennium since the migration from Earth. A powerful, puzzling substance found on a distant planet and its moons has given rise to a new breed of human.

Two Homeworld agents, brothers Galen and Chor, are sent to the moon to rescue a young woman who is being hunted as a renegade by a primitive society. But their simple assignment turns into a fight for survival when they oppose the will of their own ruthless leader. And soon not only the mysterious exiles living on the second moon but also their own people have taken up the chase.

Aletha is the key when the brothers must choose between the destruction of one civilization and the future of the Homeworld. What sacrifice are they willing to make to escape the violent passion that threatens to destroy all of them?

From the author: Please note that this book was originally released as “Gods of Chenoweth”. This title caused some confusion in regard to genre and so I changed it without changes to the story.

At Amazon, the Book Buys You

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OK, that’s not entirely accurate. Or remotely accurate, but I couldn’t resist the joke.

Normally, about now I’d be telling you about a book you can buy from Amazon, but today I figured I’d flip that. I don’t know if you know, but Amazon will buy your books as well. It’s like a big, natural circle of reading. Amazon pays for shipping, so it won’t cost you anything. Current best-sellers are probably your best bet, but at least that takes some of the guilt out of buying a full-priced new book.

And it’s not just for books, either. You can trade in movies, video games and other things, and get an Amazon gift card in exchange. When I logged in, it even told me what some things I’d bought from Amazon were worth, which is nice to know, not that I’m parting with my Zumba World Party, which is the most fun game ever, but I digress.

So you can use books to feed your reading habit. It’s beautiful, in a way.

Anyway, thus concludes this public service announcement.