Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Free Books on Amazon!

I've just discovered something quite astounding: you can read entire books for free on Amazon!

I sat down this morning to start an essay on this similarities between Barth and Childs, and realized that I had overestimated my ability to both comprehend and work directly from the German. So I had a peek to see whether there was a translation into English, which there is. Not only does Amazon stock the book here, but you can also "Search Inside." Now, I always thought this meant you could look at the contents page, index and a few random excerpts but, if you type in the page number you want into the bar-thing along the top (what's it called?), you can go straight to the page and keep on flicking through the pages to the right and the left. Once Amazon have enough of this, they stop you and say that the next page is not available. However, if you type in the next page you want back into the empty bar-space-thingumy up top you can go to the next page you want and keep on reading. Marvelous!

Is this new to people or am I just way behind the times?

UPDATE 1: My euphoria has abated. It turns out you only have a limited number of searches. However, the limit really was surprisingly high.

UPDATE 2: OK, more qualifications are necessary. It would seem that you don't have access to every part of the book. For example, in Barth's Introduction you can't read the opening and concluding chapters, where some significant information is held. Oh the Ernüchterung! Well, I'm sure the function would be great for dictionaries and reference books ...


WTM said...

My experience is that eventually the system will lock you out for a period of time. Perhaps they changed this.

Timothy Goering said...

Hey Phil!
long time no see/write. Hope all is well with you and your wife, and that your Rutsch was good.
I've been so preoccupied with my seminars and papers that I've zoned out of the blogosphere for a while. But I will be back soon I hope.
I'm excited to read that you're working on similarities between Barth and Childs. I remember us talking about their similarities on the topic of inspiration - that would also have quite a few theological corollaries, I assume! I also remember reading a note shortly after Child's death from a student of his who said that Childs knew "too much Barth for my taste". You don't read all that much that in Childs' works that he was a huge Barth fan (much more von Rad!), but I wouldn't be surprised if he held it back a bit.

One small tipp on the book issue: google.books has a very similar feature, with some additional gadgets but also some drawbacks! Check it out:

Phil Sumpter said...

Danke für die Warnung, WTM. I've not tried reading through the entire book, so I'll be aware of committing myself to any uncompletable projects!


I was actually thinking of writing to you to see what was up! Glad to hear it was only work. Yes, I 'rutsched' nicely into the New Year from the streets of Berlin.

As for Barth, his Einführung is well worth a read. It's a summary of his entire lifes' work and is very übersichtlich (though I find the language incredibly demanding - I hear some Germans prefer reading him in English!). Childs mentioned Barth a number of times. In his programmatic essay Interpretation in Faith (1964) his acceded his key stance to Barth. In an essay on biblical interpretation in changing cultural circumstances he held Childs up as a role model Christian theologian (he compared him to an Israelite prophet!).

I've had a look at google.books. You can read most of Childs' The Struggle to read isaiah there. However, I haven't found much that I've been able to read.

Phil Sumpter said...


I reached the limit of my search capacity, so I logged out, logged in again and it seems as if I can go on reading.

Phil Sumpter said...

Oh, maybe not. I guess I'll have to use my wife's account!