If you're able to weather the global pandemic without regular bouts of anxiety, I salute you. My pendulum swings back and forth between "We'll get through this" and "We're all doomed" -- often several times per day. That's why I'm increasingly on the lookout for helpful (and cheap) coping tools, be they free games to keep my mind off things or free books that teach me how to keep stress in check.
Today I've got three such books, followed by a sci-fi novella series that sounds like ideal escapism (if you can get past the title). Here's the self-help selection:
- How Not To Worry: The Remarkable Truth of How a Small Change Can Help You Stress Less and Enjoy Life More, by Paul McGee. Free for Kindle, free for Android (via Google Play). List price: $22.
- Declutter Your Life: How Outer Order Leads to Inner Calm, by Gill Hasson. Free for Kindle, free for Android (via Google Play). List price: $18.
- Overcoming Anxiety: Reassuring Ways to Break Free from Stress and Worry and Lead a Calmer Life, by Gill Hasson. Free for Kindle, free for Android (via Google Play). List price: $18.
You will, of course, need an Amazon or Google account to get the respective versions of these books, which can be read on any compatible devices.
Another great way to give your brain a stress-break: Escape into fiction. Publisher Tor's eBook of the Month Club is totally free, and this month's giveaway is pretty sweet. It's the first four novellas in Martha Wells' Murderbot Diaries series. But it's structured a little differently: You'll get one book a day, starting today.
The goal, of course, is to get you hooked so you'll buy the first full-length novel in the series, which comes out in a couple weeks. For now, however, enjoy these highly rated freebies, which would normally cost you $4-$11 each.
By the way, they're provided DRM-free in your choice of ePub or Mobi format, the latter able to be side-loaded into Kindles and Kindle apps.
Apple AirPods: $122
The going rate for Apple's second-gen AirPods has long been $139, with occasional dips to $135. That's better than the $159 list price, certainly, but still pricey. Here's the best deal I've seen yet: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Electronics Basket (via eBay) has the Apple AirPods 2nd-generation with Charging Case for $115.
If I'm being honest, I genuinely like AirPods. They're comfortable (in my ears, at least), they sound excellent and they're great for phone calls. On the other hand, they don't offer any kind of noise-canceling features, they're not sweatproof and the price is still ridiculous.
But, well, $122 is so much better than $159. If you've been biding your time in hopes of a decent discount, here you go.
Sonos Playbar: $449
I'll wager you're spending a lot more time in front of the TV these days, which may have you thinking seriously about adding a soundbar. The Sonos Playbar is a top pick, but, yeesh, the $699 price tag.
Less yeesh: For a limited time, and while supplies last, WorldWideStereo via eBay has the manufacturer-refurbished Sonos Playbar for $449, the lowest price I can recall seeing.
Because this is factory-certified, it includes a retail box with all accessories and comes with a full one-year warranty. In other words: It's quite literally good as new.
At this price, it's only $50 above the regular price of the Sonos Beam, which offers more advanced voice-command features but nowhere near as much bass.
Anyway, $449 is still very pricey for a soundbar, but a $250 savings is nothing to sneeze at.
Read more: The best soundbar of 2020
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