When I first started this column many years ago I focused primarily on the music and videos iTunes offered up for free weekly. After all, the iPod was all about the music (stupid), then video.
Then the iPhone appeared.
Then the App Store appeared.
Suddenly there was more free stuff in the iOS world than I could possibly write about in a year of Sundays. What I should have done was include a mix of apps and other media in my weekly ramblings. In fact, I did try to do just that, but I found it easier to focus on a particular segment of free iTunes offerings, and almost invariably that segment was apps.
The world of iOS presents a seemingly endless variety of content which, even now almost nine years after the iTunes Store first opened, appears to be expanding faster than the universe did a second after The Big Bang. So, I’m going to start looking and talking about other free goodies besides apps that can be found in this rapidly proliferating digiverse.
This week I’m focusing on reading because I love to read. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a fast reader. I like to take my time, especially with well written prose, in order to extract as much detail as I can and let the words give shape the scenes and circumstances they project in my mind’s eye. For me, reading a good book can be far more immersive and enjoyable than any movie. Unfortunately, when I run across narratives that aren’t well constructed, but the underlying story is interesting (I’m as guilty of such as much as anyone) it’s like getting a bit of grit in my eye while watching shapely nude sunbathers; even though it hurts I’ll watch anyway.
Such is the case with the free book, Black Moon: The Moon Trilogy, Part 1, by C. L. Bevill. The premise of the book is appealing enough: What if there are were-creatures, like the familiar werewolves, but also were-cats, and these creatures are at war with each other while normal folks are caught up in the mix? Not a bad world to base a few books on, right?
Black Moon take us into an alternative reality not unlike our own were these were-beings exist, along with magic wielding wiccans and other fantastic creatures.
In Part 1 we are introduced to Donovan and Isabella. Donovan is a were-jaguar, Isabella is human. The action starts up quickly enough, but I’m not a fan of C. L. Bevill’s writing style in this book, which seems… inexperienced.
Still, it’s a free and fun read. I haven’t read Part 2 or 3 yet, but they are free as well. If you’re into modern day fantasy fiction, this might be right up your alley.
If Ms. Bevill’s saga is not your cup of tea then you might want to take a read of the free short story, The Keeper, by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee.
The Keeper is a prequel to the new book, Forbidden, by the same authors. Since it’s a short story and a quick read I won’t reveal too much, but I will say I throughly enjoyed the writing style and the story. The Keeper unfolded at a pace that kept me wanting to read more, and now I want to buy the follow-on book just to see what happens, which, I suppose, is the point of releasing the short story prequel for free.
You’ll zip through The Keeper and, if you like the kind of story it portends then you’ll likely want to buy Forbidden as well. I think I will.
Check it out.
Like many of you, I have a lot to do. I like that I’m busy and that what I’m busy doing seems to have some worth. I may be deluding myself by thinking so, but that’s what keeps me going.
Anyway, I like a good magazine because, if done right, it pulls together stuff I’m interested in and presents them in a nice package. I don’t want to hunt for items of interest, that magazine should present them to me, thus helping me stay informed as I hustle about. This is why I like Distro, a freebie e-zine from the folks at Engadget.
You don’t have to like Engadget to enjoy Distro, but you should be interested in technology and how it affects us. That’s what Distro is about. Whereas the Engadget website offers up daily tech news, Distro offers in-depth stories behind many of today’s tech headlines.
The entire e-zine downloads onto your iPad so you can read it without an Internet connection (I like that). The stories are well written, the photos and graphics are first rate, and the ads, while present, are not obnoxious. It’s hard to believe it’s free.
Even if you don’t want a steady diet of tech topics Distro could be for you if for no other reason that to keep you abreast of what’s up in tech. Definitely grab this one.
If you’re looking for a magazine that offers up the latest on a broader range of topics then take a gander at The Week. Here you’ll find news and commentary, mostly focused on politics and social issues, with a healthy dollop of other topics to keep things interesting.
Like Engadget, The Week has a popular website, and like Engadget The Week offers up well written stories and excellent photos making this e-rag a worthy read. Unlike Engadget, The Week is subscription based and you’ll have to pay for issues after the one-month-free period runs out.
You may want to take a look at The Week anyway even if you don’t intend to buy a subscription. The e-zine offers a “Daily Briefing,” a collection of topics and news that might interest you and that part is always free.
Well, that’s a wrap for this week. Next week I’ll turn an ear and eye to free tunes and videos.
More free reads below with direct links.