I've followed Twitter for a short while now and have been delighted by suggestions of great reads, all recommended by people who know what they're talking about.
Not one to do things by halves, I've now accumulated a huge pile of said recommendations and there are still more in transit somewhere as I speak (boxing tales, a couple of Joe Lansdale's - it's been a while since I delighted in one of those, a couple of Harry Crews and some random bits and pieces that I've forgotten for now.
It's great having a list of books to go looking for, and even better to have the immediate gratification of a surf around shops, publishers and auction sites. By shopping around, I've found some great value deals on books that deserve to cost more than they do.
Best deal of all, not one likely to be bettered, is a free book.
I paid absolutely diddly squat. Not for the book. Not for postage. Rien.
Even more impressive given that it came all the way from the USofA.
It was another Tweet that put me onto it. Music to my ears - practically a dawn chorus - to see I wouldn't have to lay anything out.
It arrived this morning, a lovely surprise as it had escaped my mind.
How did it look, this free book? Wafer thin? Ripped pages? Poor production values? Poor content?
None of the above. It looks good, feels good and smells good as any new book should. I've dipped into it and my first impression is very positive.
The publisher is onto something really new.
Concord Free Press (http://www.concordfreepress/) are publishing the work of talented authors and distributing them worldwide for nothing. The writers get a fantastic audience and the readers get a little stimulation.
There are two conditions as far as I can tell.
Firstly, I have to donate some unspecified amount of money to an unspecified charity or person in need. 50p to someone begging on a street corner would be fine, as would £1000 to Amnesty. It's entirely up to me. I doubt I'll do anything too interesting for my contribution, but if I do I'll let you know.
Secondly, when I finish the book I have to pass it on to someone else. Easy.
4 books have had the treatment so far: 'Give and Take' by Stona Fitch; 'Push Comes To Shove' by Wesley Brown; 'The Next Queen Of Heaven' by Gregory Maguire; and my own 'IOU', a collection of writing on money.
If you were to go there now, you'd be ordering IOU. Looks good to me. I'd recommend it.
And if you think it won't work, I can tell you that this venture as the world's first exploration of generosity-publishing has already raised $135, 250 for an array of causes. Well done guys.
So, if you need a good read, if you have nothing better to do or are simply curious, take a trip using the link above. You won't get better value anywhere, guaranteed.