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.





Meet the Real Capote with In Cold Blood


In the wake of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s sad death, there’s been a lot of talk of his Oscar-winning performance as writer Truman Capote in the film “Capote.” In the movie, Hoffman portrayed the author as he was researching and writing In Cold Blood, assisted by close friend Harper Lee. 

What you can’t see in the film is the groundbreaking nonfiction form employed by Capote in this book about the murder of family in rural Kansas. In addition to shaping the true-crime genre, Capote brought the vivid techniques of fiction to non-fiction, making this book a non-stop read.

In Cold Blood (Vintage International) by Truman Capote. Amazon for $7.99. National Bestseller

On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.

As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.

True Crime Intrigue with Undercover Agent


Would you be willing to take on drug smugglers? Leonard Mitchell did, according to this true-crime book from journalist Peter Rehak. He lived up to his promise, but the Canadian government reportedly didn’t.

Undercover Agent; How One Honest Man Took on the Drug Mob…And Then the Mounties by Peter Rehak. $4.99 from
It was North America’s biggest drug bust, worth $238 million. The man behind it was a small-town businessman who fooled the Miami drug barons who were setting up a pipeline into Canada. Leonard Mitchell worked undercover for the RCMP for 19 months because “it was the right thing to do.” He was successful but it earned him a lifetime run from the mob and he also had to take on the Mounties.