Daily Deals: October Light and Word Shaker

October LightToday Amazon offers John Gardner’s New York Times bestselling, National Book Critics Circle Award–winning metafictional novel centering on the tumultuous relationship of two elderly siblings. The title of the book is October Light. The author is John Gardner. And today’s price is $1.99.

James is a cantankerous and conservative seventy-two-year-old who has spent his life caring for the animals on his farm. His widowed older sister, Sally, has strong liberal ideals and a propensity for debate. When Sally’s bankruptcy forces her to move in with her brother, their lifelong feud quickly escalates—and Sally becomes a prisoner in her own room with nothing to survive on but apples and a trashy novel about marijuana smugglers.  

As Sally becomes immersed in the book, the story envelops the narrative of the siblings’ dysfunctional relationship, and Gardner explores a wide array of themes from human autonomy to self-definition to political extremism. The result is a tour de force of Gardner’s unique literary style at the height of his protean creative powers.

This ebook features a new illustrated biography of John Gardner, including original letters, rare photos, and never-before-seen documents from the Gardner family and the University of Rochester Archives.

Some words about the Author

John Gardner (1933-1982) was born in Batavia, New York, the eldest of four children. His father was a dairy farmer and lay preacher in the Presbyterian church, his mother an English teacher in the local schools. At age 12 he accidentally killed his brother Gilbert by running him over with a heavy farm machine (this tragedy surfaced many years later in the short story “Redemption”). He went on to become one of the most provocative and successful American novelists of his generation, garnering critical praise and a popular following for his fiction. Raymond Carver was one of his many successful students. The author of many novels, plays, and transliterations of medieval texts, Gardner also composed operas and librettos, as well as being a painter, he played the French horn. He died in a motorcycle accident in Pennsylvania.


Word ShakerWord Shaker is a game. Today Amazon offers to get it for free.

Shake things up with Word Shaker, a challenging word search game for your Android device. Your goal is to earn the most points by finding words in a grid.

Jump from letter to adjoining letter in any direction. Each letter has a particular point value, and you earn bonuses the longer the word gets. If you get stuck, just shake your device to scramble the letters!

Plenty of Options

Word Shaker gives you lots of ways to play. Choose from board sizes ranging from 4×4 to 8×8, adjust the time limit, and use the text-to-speech capability to hear the pronunciations of the words you find.

A Complete Shakedown

The fast, unlimited board generator cuts down your wait, while word circling is easy and smooth. You get a full report of found and missed words after the game, so you can fully assess how you did. Compete with friends and strangers around the world on the online leader boards.

Kindle Fire 4G Anticipated For July 31st Reveal

Supposed upstream supply sources have released information that may pertain to the upcoming announcement of the Kindle Fire 2.  This info, coming through NPD DisplaySearch Analyst Richard Shim, indicates slightly different production emphases than the recent BGR article talked about, but is otherwise mostly consistent.  While this must be taken with a great deal of caution, upstream supply chain sources being notoriously unreliable and often interpreted poorly, the implications are worth exploring.

The report in question talks about four upcoming Kindle Fire models:

  • 7” Kindle Fire 2 w/ 1024 x 600 Display
  • 7” Kindle Fire 2 w/ 1280 x 800 Display and Camera
  • 7” Kindle Fire 2 w/ 1280 x 800 Display, Camera, and 4G Internet Access
  • 8.9” Kindle Fire 2 w/ 1920 x 1200 Display

Of these, according to Shim, the two basic 7” models are scheduled to begin production in August while the 7” Kindle Fire 2 w/ 4G Internet Access will have to wait until September.  The larger model will not be available until it’s time for holiday sales.

Along with this information, we get notice of an upgrade to the pixel density of the Kindle Fire 2’s screen.  Like the Nexus 7 from Google, it will now be a 216 PPI display.  For context, the existing Kindle Fire has a 1024 x 600 display with 170 pixels per inch.

There are two vital pieces of information to take from this, as well as one fairly interesting point that may be useful later this year.

First, while there will still be a lower resolution Kindle Fire model made available for under $199, this information would indicate that there have been hardware changes.  The most inexpensive Kindle Fire model available after the new hardware is announced will not simply be backstocked units of Amazon’s current tablet.

Second, the Kindle Fire 2 will likely be able to beat Google’s Nexus 7 to 4G connectivity.  If Amazon can pull that off, it will be a huge boost to their reputation in the tablet market and would lead to increased sales.  We are certainly not looking at the potential for unlimited free cellular transfer as in the Kindle eReader line, due to the volume of data involved in media streaming and app downloads, but just having the option available will open doors.

This report also points to the larger Kindle Fire 2 being an 8.9” device rather than the 10.1” device that many have been hoping for.  Since we are looking at slightly more distant production there will be more room for variation and this is in direct conflict with other equally “reliable” sources.  Nonetheless, going with a slightly smaller size might be a productive choice if Amazon is looking to both keep the costs down on their own device and avoid too many direct comparisons with the industry-leading 9.7” iPad.  Clearer size differences mean fewer side by side comparisons.

Either way, keep an eye out for highly discounted Kindle Fire offers.  If we’re moving into a new generation of devices, Amazon’s likely to have “refurbished” units on sale.