At Amazon, the Book Buys You


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.





Dreaming of California Gold? Here are Fascinating Facts, Mysteries and Myths About U.S. Coins


Coins are far more interesting than they may look. With all the talk of gold coins centering around a California couple who found a rusty can full, it’s a great time to dig into some of the tales and legends revolving around the not-always-so-humble coin.

It’s also a good time to learn a new word: numismatics, the study of coins.

Fascinating Facts, Mysteries and Myths About U.S. Coins by Robert R. Van Ryzin. Amazon for $9.39. Who were the models for the Indian Head nickel?
Why is it called the Orphan Annie?
What is the King of American Coins?

Fascinating Facts, Myths and Mysteries about U.S. Coins is a compilation of some of the more intriguing stories in the history of U.S. Mint coinage. Some are based on facts. Others are hobby myths. All of them make for entertaining reading. Read about:

The five-known 1913 Liberty head nickels
Augustus Staint-Gaudens and his famed gold $20
The short-lived 20-cent piece
The $1 million coin exhibit
The reason for the Liberty cover-up on the Standing Liberty quarter

Learn How to Watch Olympic Curling on TV


It’s a sport that has brooms, and it’s not quidditch. It’s also not played by wizards (as far as we know). Nope, curling has big stones, ice and people sweeping like the Queen of England is coming to tea. Ever wanted it broken down for you? Here you go.

How to Watch Olympic Curling on TV: the ultimate guide to what you will see and hear byJack Miller. Amazon for $3.99. If you watched the Olympic Curling Trials on TV, you would have heard Allison Pottinger say, “Give me a nice nine, a little normal up” when she called a shot. What was she talking about? You would have heard a lot of other strange things like “runback,” “jam,“ and “hack weight.”

If you watch curling during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia beginning in February, this book will help you understand everything you are seeing and hearing.

Curling, the curious game played on ice with stones and brooms, was hot during the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010. There was extensive coverage on TV, and we can expect the same at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. During the Olympic Trials the players were mic’d, and you could hear the communications among the members of the team. It would be great to understand what they are talking about.

This book will give you the basic rules and the basics of strategy. It will explain those strange terms like “hack weight” and “hurry hard.” And, with 26 diagrams, it will take you through all sixteen shots in the first end in the first game of the best-of-three playoffs between Allison Pottinger and Erika Brown for the U.S. Women’s spot in the Sochi Olympics, explaining what they did and why, and give you highlights from the balance of the game, and show how the game was on the line again and again, coming down to the last shot.

Finally, it will give you two reference chapters so you don’t have to remember everything you read in the book. Keep them handy while you watch the games. The chapter, Numerology, will give you a recap that explains all those numbers you’ll be hearing, and the Glossary will summarize and explain all those strange curling terms you’re likely to hear. Like runback, jam, hack weight, and control. The terms that are explained in the Glossary will be in bold italics the first time they appear in the text.

Total of 33 diagrams and pictures.