Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007) is one of the most beloved American writers of the twentieth century. Vonnegut’s audience increased steadily since his first five pieces in the 1950s and grew from there. His 1968 novel Slaughterhouse-Five has become a canonic war novel with Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 to form the truest and darkest of what came from World War II.

kurtToday’s top pick is Hocus Pocus. The main character and narrator is Eugene Debs Hartke, a Vietnam War veteran, college professor and carillonneur who realizes that he has killed exactly as many people as the number of women he has had sex with. The character’s name is a homage to American labor and political leader Eugene V. Debs and anti-war senator Vance Hartke, both from Vonnegut’s home state, Indiana.

Vonnegut began his career as a science fiction writer, and his early novels–Player Piano and The Sirens of Titan–were categorized as such even as they appealed to an audience far beyond the reach of the category. In the 1960s, Vonnegut became closely associated with the Baby Boomer generation, a writer on that side, so to speak.

Now that Vonnegut’s work has been studied as a large body of work, it has been more deeply understood and unified. There is a consistency to his satirical insight, humor and anger which makes his work so synergistic. It seems clear that the more of Vonnegut’s work you read, the more it resonates and the more you wish to read.

As usual, each book here has gone FREE within the past 24 hours, except for the Bargain books in the yellow section below. Warning: Kindle book promotions can end without notice, so before downloading click the link “See Kindle price at Amazon” to verify that the book is still free. (Prices and availability may differ outside USA.)

Hocus Pocus (Kurt Vonnegut Series)

Humor & Satire > Literary Fiction > Classics
Author: Kurt Vonnegut
Hocus Pocus (Kurt Vonnegut Series)

Eugene Debs Hartke (named after the famous early 20th century Socialist working class leader) describes an odyssey from college professor to prison inmate to prison warden back again to prisoner in another of Vonnegut’s bitter satirical explorations of how and where (and why) the American dream begins to die. Employing his characteristic narrative device–a retrospective diary in which the protagonist retraces his life at its end, a desperate and disconnected series of events here in Hocus Pocus show Vonnegut with his mask off and his rhetorical devices unshielded.

Debs (and Vonnegut) see academia just as imprisoning as the corrupt penal system and they regard politics as the furnishing and marketing of lies. Debs, already disillusioned by circumstance, quickly tracks his way toward resignation and then fury. As warden and prisoner, Debs (and the reader) come to understand that the roles are interchangeable; as a professor jailed for “”radical”” statements in the classroom reported by a reactionary student, he comes to see the folly of all regulation. The “”hocus pocus”” of the novel’s title does not describe only the jolting reversals and seemingly motiveless circumstance which attend Debs’ disillusion and suffering, but also describe the political, social, and economic system of a country built upon can’t, and upon the franchising of lies.

At 68, Vonnegut had not only abandoned the sentiment and cracked optimism manifest in Slaughterhouse-Five, he had abandoned any belief in the system or faith for its recovery. This novel is another in a long series of farewells to the farmland funeral rites of childhood.



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Wool – Part One

Science Fiction > Adventure
Author: Hugh Howey
Wool - Part One

In a ruined and toxic landscape, a community exists in a giant silo underground, hundreds of stories deep. There, men and women live in a society full of regulations they believe are meant to protect them. Sheriff Holston, who has unwaveringly upheld the silo’s rules for years, unexpectedly breaks the greatest taboo of all: He asks to go outside.

His fateful decision unleashes a drastic series of events. An unlikely candidate is appointed to replace him: Juliette, a mechanic with no training in law, whose special knack is fixing machines. Now Juliette is about to be entrusted with fixing her silo, and she will soon learn just how badly her world is broken. The silo is about to confront what its history has only hinted about and its inhabitants have never dared to whisper. Uprising.

Tropical Warning: An Original Serge Storms Story and Other Debris

Humor & Satire > Short Stories
Author: Tim Dorsey
Tropical Warning: An Original Serge Storms Story and Other Debris

A quirky new collection by New York Times bestselling author Tim Dorsey. In the tradition ofPineapple Grenade and The Riptide Ultra-Glide, a peculiar new volume of odds and ends from the world of everyone’s favorite Florida psychopath—Serge Storms!

Among the flotsam and jetsam of Dorsey’s twisted universe:

A never-before-published Serge Storms short story that places the iconic antihero in one of Florida’s oldest (and most remote) little towns.

A classic travel feature in London’s The Guardian detailing how you can explore Florida’s most offbeat hidden corners like a true native. It seems Serge’s reputation has spread across the pond!

The Ruins of Mars (Ruins of Mars Trilogy)

Science Fiction > Adventure

Author: Dylan James Quarles
The Ruins of Mars (The Ruins of Mars Trilogy)

Set against the turbulent backdrop of the near future, The Ruins of Mars opens on the discovery of an ancient city buried under the sands of the red planet. Images captured by twin sentient satellites show massive domes, imposing walls, and a grid work of buildings situated directly on the rim of Mars’ Grand Canyon, the Valles Marineris. With the resources of Earth draining away under the weight of human expansion, a plan is hatched to reclaim Mars from the cold grasp of death. A small band of explorers, astronauts, and scientists are sent to the red world in mankind’s first interplanetary starship to begin construction on a human colony. Among them is a young archaeologist, named Harrison Raheem Assad, who is tasked with uncovering the secrets of the Martian ruins and their relation to the human race. Aided by the nearly boundless mind of a god-like artificial intelligence; the explorers battle space travel, harsh Martian weather, and the deepening mystery of the forgotten alien civilization. Begin the epic journey in Book One of the Ruins of Mars Trilogy.

Guardian (The Fallen Chronicles, Book 1)

Christian Fiction > Fantasy
Author: Kassandra Kush
Guardian (The Fallen Chronicles)

Lyla Evans just wants to be left alone; to fly under the radar and not attract attention. After seventeen years, she knows how the game is played. Her parents are hardly ever home, and when they do show up, they’re quick to anger and even quicker with their fists. With foster care comes the threat of being separated from her two younger siblings, and Lyla would die before allowing that to happen. She’s learned to keep her head down and depend on no one but herself and God to get by.

When a strange man starts paying too much attention to her and her siblings, showing up to rescue them and then disappearing without a trace, Lyla begins to panic that everything she’s been hiding is about to come out. But as she slowly becomes friends with this man and even trusts him with her deepest fears, Lyla learns he has secrets far bigger than her own that will turn everything in her world upside down.

Together Again (Spirit Travel Novel, Book 4)

Romantic Comedy > Time Travel
Author: Mimi Barbour
Together Again: Spirit Travel Novel - Book #4 (Romance & Humor - The Vicarage Bench Series)

She’s sixteen, pregnant and terrified. He’s a reporter after a story and has no time for anything else.

Her spirit invades him and tears apart his calm world. Go figure – they fall in love! Now she needs to leave him and go back to her own time…

The Vampire Hunter’s Daughter: Part I

Fantasy > Short Stories
Author: Jennifer Malone Wright
The Vampire Hunter's Daughter: Part I

Fourteen-year-old Chloe witnesses her mother’s murder at the hands of a vampire. Before the vampire can kidnap her, there is an unexpected rescue by a group of vampire hunters. Overwhelmed by the feeling of safety, Chloe passes out and they whisk her away to their small community.

When Chloe wakes, she comes face to face with the only other living relative, besides her mother, whom she has ever met: her grandfather. Chloe’s mother kept her hidden from the family; now, Chloe tries to unveil the family secrets.

Through her grandfather, she learns her mother was a vampire hunter. In fact, her entire family is descended from the powerful bloodlines of vampire hunters. Chloe agrees to join the family she has never known for one reason only: Chloe vows to kill the vampire responsible for her mother’s murder.

With vengeance in her soul, Chloe is even more determined to follow through on her vow when she discovers the true identity of her enemy and how he is connected to her

Mexican Cookbook: Easy & Delicious Recipes Everyone Will Love

Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Mexican
Author: Sara Jane Scott
Mexican Cookbook: Easy & Delicious Recipes Everyone Will Love

Get your “ole” on…experience Mexican home cooking that is fresh, easy to prepare and delicious.

Perfect for new cooks just starting out, seasoned cooks looking for new recipes and anyone who wants to have fun, add some variety to their life and spice up their meal plans.

TODAY’S BARGAINS……………What’s this?

The Case of the Love Commandos

Mystery > Private Investigators
Author: Tarquin Hall
Regularly $9.99, Today $1.99
The Case of the Love Commandos: From the Files of Vish Puri, India's Most Private Investigator

Critics hailed The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken, the last installment in the Vish Puri mystery series, as Tarquin Hall’s best yet, saying that each book has “raised the stakes subtly” (The Huffington Post) and provided readers with “a gently humorous take on life in contemporary India” (The Christian Science Monitor). Now, in The Case of the Love Commandos, Hall has upped the ante yet again, throwing more twists, turns, and surprises at India’s “Most Private Investigator” than ever before. When Ram and Tulsi fall in love, the young woman’s parents are dead set against the union. She’s from a high-caste family; he’s an Untouchable, from the lowest stratum of Indian society. Young Tulsi’s father locks her up and promises to hunt down the “loverboy dog.” Fortunately, India’s Love Commandos, a real-life group of volunteers dedicated to helping mixed-caste couples, come to the rescue. Just after they liberate Tulsi, Ram is mysteriously snatched from his hiding place.

It falls to Vish Puri to track down Ram and reunite the star-crossed lovers. Unfortunately, Puri’s having a bad month. Not only did he fail to recover a stolen cache of jewels, but his wallet was filched and he has to rely on his Mummy-ji to get it back. To top it all off, his archrival, suave investigator Hari Kumar, is also trying to locate Ram. In the daring race to find Ram, Puri and his team must infiltrate Ram’s village and navigate the caste politics shaped by millennia-old prejudices.

Thread of Fear (Glass Sisters)

Romance > Mystery & Suspense
Author: Laura Griffin
Regularly $7.99, Today $1.99
Thread of Fear (Glass Sisters)

Forensic artist Fiona Glass is the best in the business — which is precisely why she’s quitting. Her skill at mining victims’ memories to re-create the faces of sadistic criminals has left her haunted and wary, and only Jack Bowman’s dogged persistence convinces her to help him. The rugged police chief is hunting a serial killer who’s targeting teenage girls. But what seems like a simple assignment is fraught with complications, including a searing attraction to Jack that’s tempting Fiona to let her guard down in potentially dangerous ways.

Jack never intended for Fiona to become so deeply involved in the case — or in his life. But every instinct tells him she’s his best hope for finding a psychopath who’s lurking in plain sight, growing more ruthless with each passing day. And now that Fiona is right in the killer’s crosshairs, the only way to keep her safe is to unravel a small town’s darkest secrets, one terrifying thread at a time….

The Heavens Rise

Fantasy > Paranormal & Urban
Author: Christopher Rice
Regularly $9.99, Today $2.99
The Heavens Rise

New York Times bestselling author Christopher Rice brilliantly conjures the shadowed terrors of the Louisiana bayou—where three friends confront a deadly, ancient evil rising to the surface—in this intense and atmospheric new supernatural thriller.

It’s been a decade since the Delongpre family vanished near Bayou Rabineaux, and still no one can explain the events of that dark and sweltering night. No one except Niquette Delongpre, the survivor who ran away from the mangled stretch of guardrail on Highway 22 where the impossible occurred…and kept on running. Who left behind her best friends, Ben and Anthem, to save them from her newfound capacity for destruction…and who alone knows the source of her very bizarre—and very deadly—abilities: an isolated strip of swampland called Elysium.

An accomplished surgeon, Niquette’s father dreamed of transforming the dense acreage surrounded by murky waters into a palatial compound befitting the name his beloved wife gave to it, Elysium: “the final resting place for the heroic and virtuous.” Then, ten years ago, construction workers dug into a long-hidden well, one that snaked down into the deep, black waters of the Louisiana swamp and stirred something that had been there for centuries—a microscopic parasite that perverts the mind and corrupts the body.

Village Books

Literature & Fiction > Humor
Author: Craig McLay
Regularly $3.99, Today $0.99
Village Books

*** Winner of the 2012 Independent eBook Award for best Literary Fiction!***

Village Books is a local institution…which is good, because most of the staff probably belong in one.

The manager’s addiction to WebMD has turned him into a closeted hypochondriac. The cashier’s husband may have just gone AWOL with a small arsenal of fragmentary explosive devices. The fiction lead is buying urine on the black market. Trying to hold it all together is the store’s long-suffering assistant manager, who is spinning his wheels in retail while he waits for something better to come along.

That something better may be Leah Dashwood, an aspiring actress and new assistant manager with an ambitious plan to transform the store and its staff in a way that will turn their carefully disordered world on its head. Will the store survive or will it be bought over by its evil corporate competition?

The Suicide Princess

Romance > Mystery & Suspense
Author: Anthony Bryan
Regularly $2.99, Today $0.99
The Suicide Princess

“Not your mother’s old romance, this is a romantic-thriller that will leave you breathless and have you begging for more…”

Stephanie Bradford is a young, attractive, and successful District Attorney on her way to the top. She has the near-perfect life, with an amazing husband, and she has it all in the palm of her hand. When her marriage falls into a romantic rut, Stephanie is skillfully swooned by a charming, mysterious and intriguing stranger who looks to be the answer to all of her fantasies. A whirlwind and exciting affair quickly spirals out of control, and before long, she learns that things aren’t always as they appear and people are rarely who they seem. One poor decision becomes the catalyst for a series of events that rips her life apart, and Stephanie is left with nothing but the thirst for revenge against the man who viciously stole everything from her. The Suicide Princess is a highly charged roller coaster ride where nothing is as it seems and everything is at stake!

The Suicide Princess is the debut release by breakout author Anthony Bryan. It’s the story critics are calling “Breathtaking,” “Unbelievably hot,” and “It just doesn’t get any better!” Find out what all the excitement is about, and get your copy today.

… See the rest of today’s Editor’s Picks here on page 2