I’ll be honest, I’m not into e-readers. I feel similarly towards e-books as I do toward cats: They’re not good to cuddle with, they’re completely unemotional, and just because something is cheaper, doesn’t mean it’s more fun.
Sometimes, though, like any good senior citizen masquerading as a 20-something, I’m forced to admit that technology knows what it’s talking about. With summer (finally) underway, here are six books that make sense to download to your e-reader, whether you’re traveling to a foreign country or just taking the subway to Coney Island:
1. No More Nice Girls by Ellen Willis
If Willis isn’t already your role model, she will be after you read this book. One of the first popular music critics, she worked for The New Yorker from 1968 to ‘75 writing a column called “Rock, Etc.” In addition to her music writing, Willis made a name for herself as an outspoken political and feminist writer and activist. This collection of her essays, first published in 1992, is available digitally from Emily Books, who caution, “Warning: reading it might change your life!” Emily Books is an awesome indie digital publisher, so if supporting independent publishing is your thing (and we hope it is), then you should definitely download Willis’s book — and browse through Emily Books’ other titles!
2. And Every Day Was Overcast by Paul Kwiatkowski
Whether you’re looking at a hard or digital copy of And Every Day Was Overcast, you’re sure to be totally absorbed in Kwiatkowski’s photographs of ‘90s South Florida. The e-book version of the photo-illustrated novel, though, comes with even more content: a soundtrack composed by the author and interviews with women who similarly grew up in swamps and strip malls of Kwiatkowski’s Florida.
3. Hard Listening by Stephen King, Scott Turow, Amy Tan, Dave Barry, Roy Blount Jr., Mitch Albom, James McBride, Ridley Pearson, Matt Groening, Greg Iles, Sam Barry and Roger McGuinn
If you haven’t heard of the band The Rock Bottom Remainders, you might not be out of touch in the music world, but you’re definitely missing out on one of the gem’s of the literary world. Formed in 1992, the Remainders were comprised of bestselling authors who got together to play music (“some would say, terribly”) and raise money for literary causes. Hard Listening is the story of their 20 years together and is comprised of essays, email exchanges between the band members, video clips and other digital features that will definitely make you feel like you’re riding along in the tourbus. (They have one of those, right?)
4. Autobiographical Writings by Mark Twain
I know, I know, reading Mark Twain over the summer sounds like high school summer reading lists all over again — BUT Penguin’s enhanced version of Twain’s autobiographical work is filled with cool features, like the only existing video of the writer, along with all the fascinating stories you would get in the traditional version.
5. The Professional Chef by The Culinary Institute of America
Summer is about two things: cracking down on your list of books to read and eating lots of delicious food. But if you’re a would-be chef on the go or if you don’t even know how to boil water, both of those goals can prove challenging. Thankfully, this e-cookbook has everything that both seasoned chefs and newbie cooks could want, including features on global cuisine, recommendations for equipment and a how-to for plating desserts (plus basic tutorials and recipes). Now you really have no more excuse for eating Chipotle for dinner three nights in a row.
6. Dusk World by Amazon
It hurts to admit, but Amazon did something right. Their game/graphic novel stars the reader as Agent Patriot, a super-powered mob enforcer who’s been framed in a case of double murder. As you read Dusk World, you must guide Agent Patriot through a series of scenarios and make choices that will hopefully save his skin and the rest of Dusk City. One step up from a comic book, this innovative title will have you addicted to your Kindle for days.
How do you feel about e-books? Necessarily evil or exciting literary opportunity? Have you read any of the titles on this list or do you have any other recommendations to make? Let us know in the comments below!
Adina Applebaum is Michigan native studying English and creative writing at Barnard College. Her crowning achievements in life are memorizing all the lyrics on The Slim Shady LP and eating an entire gallon of chocolate-covered raisins during orientation week of college.
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