24 Hour-Only Memoir Bargain: William Styron's Darkness Visible on Kindle

We all get spam and the next thing to spam–email from companies we have done business with in the past.

Amazon just sent me an email, something that happens without my response several times a week.

But this one caught my attention. Here is the link to an offer I couldn’t refuse: an electronic copy of this book: Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron, author of The Confessions of Nat Turner and Sophie’s Choice.

William Styron, Wikipedia photo

Buying electronic books is so seductive even at the usual $9.99-12.99 price. It takes less than a minute to locate, buy, and possess a book when you use a Kindle or Nook or iPad. But at $1.49/book I am powerless to withstand Amazon’s wiles.

Amazon says it will offer a new Kindle bargain book every day. I wonder why they chose this one to inaugurate the daily specials. Or have they been doing this before and I just didn’t notice because of my laser focus on memoir??

Anyway, folks, I thought I had to share. Even used books for $.01 on Amazon end up costing $4.00. You won’t beat this price, and if Amazon keeps doing this, I will build my memoir collection on Kindle even if I can’t read them all for a long time.

If you decide to download, you must do so within 24 hours. Please let us know what your experience is. Do you own a Kindle or other electronic reader? What do you like or not like about reading this way? If you are considering a purchase of a reader, you might find this previous post helpful. Maybe you have already read the book and want to give us a mini-review. That would be wonderful also! Please comment below.

If you also love memoir–either reading, writing, or both–please subscribe to this blog in the easy-peasy box on the right hand side. You’ll find almost 300 blog posts archived here to help you find all kinds of treasures.

Shirley Showalter


  1. Patricia Charpentier on August 30, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    I love your blog and follow it faithfully. Even though I don’t always comment, I appreciate your efforts in providing such great information about all aspects of memoir. This is a great deal; I’ve never read Styron’s memoir, so my $1.49 has already been downloaded.

    I’ve had a Kindle for about two years, and I like it a lot, especially for downloading samples to get check out a book, but nothing can beat flipping through the pages of an actual book to help me decide if I want to read it. Ultimately I’m a paper and ink kind of girl. If I purchase a book on Kindle and really like it, I always go buy a hard copy as well. I started writing for newspapers when I was fourteen. I have ink in my veins. What can I say?

    • shirleyhs on August 30, 2011 at 2:06 pm

      So good to see your comment, Patricia.I know what you mean about loving pages and ink. I am reading Let’s Take the Long Way Home right now and love the uneven edges of that book. But glad at least one person could benefit from the daily Kindle bargain. Let’s see if any others follow. . . .

  2. Angela on August 30, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Thank you! I have downloaded this and look forward to reading it. I’m going to repost on my facebook page for my reading friends.

  3. shirleyhs on August 30, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    So glad to give you news you can use, Angela. Thanks for joining the memoir community here!

  4. friesengroup on August 30, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Thank you for pushing me to my bookshelf this morning. Although not a first edition, my copy has a date of 1990 penciled inside the front cover. This is a sign that this book has stood the test of time, journeying with me through eight moves. What has stayed with me from the book is that Styron wrestles with depression from medical and personal perspectives. It is one thing to have a diagnosis and be prescribed medication. It is wholly other to live the experience mentally, physically, and in relationship to others. While I have not personally wrestled with depression, his story along with his quotes from Dante, Job, and Kushner speak to me of the universal passage through suffering and despair.

    I would also point readers to Alexandra Styron’s memoir, “Reading My Father.” The memoir is the intersection of a powerful, public figure and the child who experiences the private, human person. For those pondering your question about the influence of parents and family of origin, it should not be overlooked.

    I have had my Kindle for about 18 months. I appreciate being able to carry an entire library on trips. I still appreciate holding the bound volume of “Darkness Visible” with its stark cover in my hands.

  5. shirleyhs on August 30, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Oh yes, Kathleen–to everything you’ve said here. I think I read this book after my own depression experience in the 1990’s, and I think it helped me, but I’m eager to read it again with fresh eyes. Depression is another form of grief, a very hard kind to describe to others who have not been there. But no one escapes this world without suffering, pain, and death, so everyone can relate if they will allow themselves to do so. Most people will go far to shield themselves from death until they absolutely have to face it. But great writers can help us grow our courage.

    I have read about Styron’s daughter’s book but haven’t read it myself. Sounds like a good one. I am hoping to review William Cope Moyers’ book Broken here soon. It too deals with the question of identity when one’s parents are famous.

    Glad you held the book again. Like babies, books love to be held. 🙂

  6. Amber Lea Starfire on August 30, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Thanks, Shirley, for alerting us to these daily deals. I, also, can’t resist! As a nonfiction writer, I love reading memoir and seeing how people shape their life experiences through their narrator’s point of view. Every time I read, I learn how to write. Keep up the good work!

    • shirleyhs on August 30, 2011 at 11:17 pm

      Good to see you here again, Amber. Looks like we blogged on similar subjects today. I recommend that other readers click on your name and go check out your love song to books. Let’s stay in touch!

  7. LanieTankard on August 30, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    I got this same Kindle Deal Alert email from Amazon! I really appreciate getting the heads up from them. I read DARKNESS VISIBLE shortly after it came out, recommended to me by a minister when I was trying to understand the depression of a friend’s daughter who had committed suicide. Styron, in his marvelous writing, gave such a clear understanding of the phenomenon in the book. Recently I downloaded his first novel, LIE DOWN IN DARKNESS, on my Kindle when I was visiting relatives in Newport News, where Styron was born. On our daily walks, we went by his boyhood home in Hilton Village, a block away from Jim’s first home. The novel is set in Newport News, which Styron called Port Warwick in the book, and my presence in the city really made the story come alive when I read it. Or was it the bight electronic glow that did so? How does one determine?! I suspect that Styron’s writing would glow in any form. Here is an excellent PBS program about Styron’s return to Hilton Village in his later years: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/william-styron/about-william-styron/714/ Jim’s brother, Fred, is mentioned in the credits at the end. Jim (and Fred) attended the same elementary school as Styron did — Hilton Elementary School — and spent many days on the Hilton Pier that Styron describes at length in his book A TIDEWATER MORNING. Having grown up on piers myself, I feel an almost uncontrollable urge to write every time I stand on Hilton Pier!

    • shirleyhs on August 30, 2011 at 11:19 pm

      I guess you will want to stand on that pier often, Lanie! Thanks for sharing this fascinating “backstory” with us. I didn’t know any of this! I’m off to check out your link.

      Thanks so much!

  8. LanieTankard on August 30, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Sorry — this is the correct link: http://movies.amctv.com/movie/200381/Voices-Visions-William-Styron/overview

    But I’m not sure you can watch it online, as it was produced in 1998 and is on VHS. I watched it at my brother-in-law’s house, and it was excellent.

  9. Richard Gilbert on September 1, 2011 at 11:21 am

    The only thing I don’t like about the Kindle or other ereaders is they obscure the structure of a book. I want to see the separate acts coming and going (I dog-ear those pages, at section breaks) and think about why an author broke the book where s/he did.

    • shirleyhs on September 1, 2011 at 12:44 pm

      True, Richard. They are counting on most readers hardly noticing structure. 🙂

      As I keep fiddling with my memoir table of contents, I think of the chapters as line breaks in a poem. I was never too good at finding those, either. 🙂

  10. Melissa on September 2, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    I grabbed this one right away, too. At $1.49, I’m pretty powerless when it comes to a book, Kindle or otherwise. I never imagined I would be a Kindle person (my husband bought me one for Christmas last year). There’s so much I love about it, even though it will probably never take the place of an actual, physical book for me.

    Just discovered your blog and subscribed. (I host a Memorable Memoirs Reading Challenge on my blog.)

  11. shirleyhs on September 3, 2011 at 1:01 am

    Welcome to 100 Memoirs, Melissa. So delighted to have you here. I love what you are doing on your blog, too. Let’s stay in touch!

  12. JanetOber on September 6, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Followed your link and guess it’s for the daily deal … so today’s book is different than the one you posted about … but it’s for “Bonhoeffer” for 1.99 which I thought you might enjoy reading if you haven’t already. I haven’t so I was quite thrilled to get it for my Kindle today.

    • shirleyhs on September 6, 2011 at 11:24 pm

      Hi, Janet! Thanks for offering this great deal today. I somehow missed this one. But I hope some of the other readers reading your comment could take advantage of it.

      It’s always fun to get a wonderful book at a great price.

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