Read an E-book Week

Welcome to the 10th annual Read an E-book Week. The Smashwords site is offering A Place in the World ( set in the Colombian cloud forest) for $1  this week only. (As of last night Amazon was also matching the price on their Kindle books – let me know if you have trouble with that).

You will find thousands of other e-books that are free or deep-discounted this week through March 9. These include multi-formats (Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Apple users, Kobo and more) in their e-catalog. If you find books you recommend on this site  please let others know by commenting below.


Wikipedia says “The main reasons more people are buying e-books online are  lower prices, increased comfort (as they can buy from home or on the go with mobile devices) and a larger selection of titles…In the space that a comparably sized physical book takes up, an e-reader can contain thousands of e-books, limited only by its memory capacity. Depending on the device, an e-book may be readable in low light or even total darkness.”

The last two sentences are the reasons I take my e-reader when I travel, but then, I confess, I often prefer to hold a”real” book (unless it is more than 300 pages or so!).

What about you: e-books or print?

Black History Month: A starter reading list

Black History Month began in 1926 as a way for remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. It still pays tribute to those who struggle(d) against unfairness and adversity. It is celebrated in Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States. February was chosen as the birthday month of two men who greatly influenced the black American population, Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Also in February, 1870 black citizens were granted the right to vote (at least legally) in the US; in February 1909 the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded and Rosa Parks was also born in February (1913). For more information go to

Below is a short list of some books by or about people of African descent that I have enjoyed. They reflect multiple themes and genres and are in no particular order.

41SKsBaGXRL._SX301_BO1,204,203,200_I know Why the Caged Bird Sings –  
a wondrous memoir by Maya Angelou  


Dreams from my Father:

A story of race and inheritance by Barack Obama



AmericanMarriage     An American Marriage by Tayari Jones –the sad tale of a black man sent to prison and of lives ripped apart


I loved this book

The Help by Kathryn Stockett shopping-1

(and the movie too) set in Mississippi in the 1960’s

ThingsFallApart      Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe – great literature about pre-colonial life in Nigeria








ColorPurple             The Color Purple by Alice Walker – a very moving novel set the 1930’s


Hidden_Figures_book_cover      Hidden Figures by Lee Shetterly– about four black women and the space race (and yes – also a good movie!).


On My To Read LIST:

414JfiBCutL Becoming – a memoir by the inspirational Michelle Obama (on most every one’s list!)


frederick-douglass-9781416590316_lg    Frederick Douglass by David Blight, the escaped slave who became the greatest orator of his day and one of the leading abolitionists and writers of the era.

Contra Costa County Libraries also has a list of recommendations along the lines of Black Migrations: go to
There are so many more. Please add your own favorites in the comments below for others to enjoy.

End of Year Sale on e-books

READERS: Smashwords is having an End of Year Sale on e-books which runs only through January 1. “Discover tens of thousands of deep-discounted e-books from thousands of the world’s best indie authors and publishers.”

(OK there’s some junky books on the list but also some good ones, I especially noted good biographies at 75% off.) You can pick up some books for only a $1 (like mine 😉 ) to $3 – there are even some freebies.

Literature Increases EQ as well as IQ

We know that reading sharpens the brain, expands vocabulary and develops judgment. But research now shows that literature seems to improve our emotional quotient (EQ) as well is our IQ. The School of Social Research in New York, found that readers of literary fiction (sorry pulp fiction didn’t count) scored higher than any other group on a test designed to rate empathy. Participants looked at photographs of subjects and fervent readers could usually correctly identify whether the person was angry, upset, sad etc.


Understanding what others are feeling is critical to our social relationships. So even though reading is a self-contained pursuit it could influence your work and social life in a positive way. When we read a novel and relate to a character we also feel understood ourselves, or, perhaps something we always thought was true is validated in a book.images

Novelists put our thoughts and feelings into words. This may actually improve mental health. Of course it is possible that people with high EQs are naturally drawn to literature (rather than literature imparting this “skill”) – did the chicken or the egg come first? Whatever – pick up a good book … it’s good for you …. And maybe even the people around you!


  Makes sense:  if you are mentally and emotionally  well-balanced you are better equipped to handle life and easier to be around.


Great novels can be transformative and get into your subconscious in a more primal way than self-help books. Several therapists, “bibliotherapists” if you will, in fact “prescribe” certain books for therapeutic reading on a case by case basis. They are not saying books cure problems, but rather offer support or comfort.  Here are a few examples from Ella Berthould and Susan Elderkin who say that feedback is 99% positive:

The Color Purple by Alice Walker; Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora N. Hurston; The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim; Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins; Family Matters by Rohintin Mistry; What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt  (this latter is for bereavement, especially for those who have lost a child).


We often hear people say a book changed their life. For me I’d say John Steinbeck’s novels “upped” my EQ.  Have you had a similar experience?  What are some of your favorites?

Picture This: An IDEA

I have this idea that I thought might be fun…I’ve been mulling over whether to try it. Here it is: Would you like to contribute a photo of yourself holding A Place in the World?   It would sure be fun for me to see these pictures from around the country and the world.  What would really be cool, but not mandatory, is if you were standing next to some iconic symbol of where you are – like the Statue of Liberty, the Tour Eiffel, or Tequendama Falls (in Colombia). Or it could be creative and include an orchid, a llama, a map or a painting featuring some symbol of the book – or of you- are you a skier, a rock climber or have a hobby?

Send me a picture and I will include it on a new Pinterest Board (and perhaps this blog). If you don’t have a book you could still send a picture with your Kindle etc.

Here is my first picture taken today with new friend and fellow expat and writer, Rita Gardner. We met in Berkeley, California and exchanged books (thanks to James King from Thailand who introduced us on The Displaced Nation Blog!).

C & Rita ps e_3285a


So there’s the question. What do you think? Good idea or not? Are YOU be willing to contribute a picture of yourself with my book? Please click on an option below.

If your answer is yes –  send your picture with A Place in the World to : Cinda.mackinnon at gmail dot com

I’ll start compiling them and see if I get enough for an album.  Thanks for your input!

C w book ps_e0536

A PLACE IN THE WORLD has some Press

The San Francisco Writer’s Conference just posted this in their newsletter:

book cover

Award winning author Cinda Crabbe MacKinnon’s new  book, A Place in the World  (a multicultural-literary novel with a bit of romance, a bit of adventure and a scary ending), is now available as an eBook with all online eBook retailers, including Amazon’s Kindle, Apple iPAd, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and others.  Also available in soft cover. Here is a blurb:
  •  “When her Colombian husband deserts her on his family’s coffee farm high in the Andes, Alicia struggles to make a life there for herself and her son even as guerrilla uprisings begin to threaten the area, and a nearby volcano rumbles to life. This passionate story, about a young biologist and a multicultural cast of characters, is like a South American ‘Out of Africa’ in the final decades of the 1900’s.”

See reviews  and browse the book at   A Free copy is available to anyone interested in writing a review.

  (My note: to contact me, click “About the Author” on top of this page and scroll down to the “Comment” box.)