As If I Needed More Books To Read

Free books. We need them, we want them. How to get them? Well there are a number of websites that have free books, though they tend to be older out of copyright “classics”. Nothing wrong with that. I like to read a few classics each year. There are other websites where people self publish and offer their books for a review and some sites where publishers offer a small number of copies of books, both paper and eBook for review.

LibraryThing was the first one of those that I found. You can catalogue your books, join forums, and submit your user id for a chance to win a free copy of an early release. There are publisher releases and member releases and those are often self-published. You do have to filter the publisher releases by country because they don’t always send copies to non-American members. That often eliminates the best books but what can you do?  I’ve found a few gems at the early reviewers section, from the publishers and the self-publishers lists, and a few stinkers, too. I was cataloguing my books until I hit a wall of 200. Apparently, though I didn’t realize it when I joined, LT has a limit of 200 books for free members. As I wasn’t willing to spring for a paid membership, I’ve drifted away from LibraryThing though I do look at the Early Reviewers list now and then.

Now I’m on Goodreads which was bought by Amazon a few years ago, I think. I originally joined a group focused on Canadian authors via a CBC Books which has now been removed from GR but someone from that group then started up another independent group and many of the former members gravitated there. We post what we’re reading on Friday, we have monthly group reads, monthly challenges and a year long Bingo Challenge that regular readers here will have seen me mention (four more squares to go!) I’ve discovered some really talented Canadian authors and writers from other countries too. Our group members read a wide variety of things though we do like to encourage support for Canadian talent. Again, I’ve found some superb gems through investigating what other people recommend.

Goodreads also has giveaways from publishers and authors and I’ve won a handful or two of free books through that aspect of the site. They’ve always been hard copies, paper or hard cover versions that they mail to you in exchange, they hope, for an honest review. For a long time I didn’t win too many but this year, I’ve been quite lucky. Free books! What’s not to like!

Professional ReaderI’ve also seen people’s reviews that mention NetGalley ARCs. (Advanced Reader Copy) Today I decided to investigate NetGalley. They primarily aim for professional readers in the industry, or librarians etc but if you have a blog or if you publish your book reviews somewhere like Goodreads or Amazon, you can still join for free. You build a profile and make a list of the types of books you like and go browsing. I thought it was all request submissions but that seems to be mainly for pre-publication books. I found a couple that looked interesting that have been on NetGalley for a little bit and requested them and lo and behold, I now have another free book on an app on my phone with another waiting!

NetGalley is all digital, no hard copies. They will send to Kindle or you can download using Adobe Digital Editions. I did see that the copy of the one I have expires in 55 days. That’s more than enough time to read it but I will have to remember not to leave a book on my “shelf” too long before downloading. Another thing I discovered is that the app they recommend for Android is Aldiko. You can create a login or log in with Facebook or Google+ and it automatically authorizes that device for the DRM locked copy of the book. Digital Rights Management. That locks the eBook to you and your device so you can’t share it or send it to anyone else. Purchased books from Kindle or Kobo have that as well, most of the time. It’s a copyright thing. Occasionally, an author or publisher releases their book DRM-free.

Anyway, I was about to download the book to Aldiko but was also given the choice to download to Overdrive which I also have for borrowing eBooks from the library. Oh, well then, I’ll use that since I like it and am familiar with using it. It worked and opened the book cleanly. I tried to download the second book into Overdrive but it’s a PDF and Overdrive didn’t like that so I had it sent to Kindle which I can read on my phone through the Kindle app.

My first book is The Way Back to Florence by Glenn Haybittle. It’s historical fiction set in World War II. The other book is Gone Astray by Michelle Davies.

So there you are. You can request new releases from LibraryThing, Goodreads or Netgalley and the free books you can get are all based on the country where you live as well. It doesn’t mean, for instance, that the only books I will be able to request are those from Canadian publishers, just publishers that also release in Canada. Penguin, for instance, is global.

Of course the ultimate in free books is your local library but that’s a given. Also keep an eye out for a Little Free Library.

Happy Reading!


2017 Bingo Challenge Update (6/25)

bingoI’m progressing quite well on this year’s 2017 Bingo challenge with 6 squares filled in already and currently reading a book that will fill a 7th. I’m sure that progress will ebb and flow as the year goes on. I want to read lots of other books, too, though I got quite enthusiastic figuring out what I might want to read for this challenge and pencilling in, so to speak, options. Last year, I did end up changing a few entries as I read books that I thought would better suit one of the themes and no doubt that will happen this year, too. I will post updates from time to time.

B1 – A book from CBC 100 Novels that Make You Proud to Be Canadian
Possibilities: Barney’s Version  Mordecai Richler, Indian Horse – Richard Wagamese

B2 – A Book from a Province/Territory You Want to Visit
Planned: Alone in the Classroom – Elizabeth Hay

B3 – Canadian Memoir
The Game – Ken Dryden – Finished

B4- A Banned Book
Planned: The Diviners – Margaret Lawrence

B5 – Canada Reads 2017
Planned: The Break by Katherena Vermette

I1 – Booked turned into a movie
The Rehearsal – Eleanor Catton 2016 TIFF – Finished and reviewed

I2 – Written by an Indigenous Author
Planned: The Next Sure Thing – Richard Wagamese

I3 – YA
100 YA books (CBC)
 Planned: BayGirl – Heather  Smith

I4 – Written by LGBTQ author
Planned:  The Wonder – Emma Donoghue

I5 – sci-fi/dystopia/apocolyptic novel
Nostalgia – M. G. Vassanji – Finished and Reviewed

N1 – past long or shortlist Canada Reads novel
Canada Reads previous winners
Planned: In the skin of a Lion – Michael Ondaatje

N2 – Non-Fiction
Planned: Shag Harbour Incident – Graham Simms

N3 – Your Favourite Canadian Novel
Planned: Fall On Your Knees – Ann-Marie MacDonald

N4 – Audio book
Planned: Stone Mattress – Margaret Atwood

N5- Giller Prize short-list/longlist or winner
Scotiabank Giller Prize past winners
The Best Kind of People – Zoe Whittall – Finished and Reviewed

G1 – Canadian Mystery

G2 – Book about someone immigrating to Canada
The Piano Maker – Kurt Palka – Finished and Reviewed

G3 – Book Published in 2017

G4 – Translated novel
Canadian Translations You Have to Read
Planned: Twenty One Cardinals – Jocelyn Saucier

G5 – Book written in your province/territory/city/state (or country if not in Can)
Planned: something by Lesley Crewe, I’ve got a stack of books I’ve borrowed

O1 -Canadian novel published the year you were born (1959)
Planned: The Watch That Ends the Night – Hugh McLennan

O2 – A book outside your comfort zone
Possibilities: Essex County – Jeff Lemire (graphic novel), Geeks, Misfits and Outlaws: Short Fiction, The Deep – Nick Cutter (horror ) , The n-Body Problem – Tony Burgess (horror)

O3 – A Book of poetry
Possibilities: Margaret Atwood – The Circle Game, Runaway Dreams – Richard Wagamese

O4 – A Canadian Classic
Planned: The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

O5 – A Book from the CBC 100 True Stories that make you proud to be Canadian  
Stalin’s Daughter – Rosemary Sullivan – Finished and Reviewed