I’m in a desperate race to finish my book club selection before Thursday, so you’ll have to excuse the abbreviated post. If you’re looking for something to read, you could do much worse than Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood. I’ll give a brief review in a few days. But first, the text awaits.
If you’re a fan of the original Star Wars trilogy, you owe it to yourself to check out the first issue of Brian Wood’s ongoing Star Wars comic. It picks up the story in the aftermath of the first Death Star’s destruction, with the Rebel Alliance trying to figure how to capitalize on its first significant victory and Darth Vader enduring the wrath of the Emperor. Wood gives us a bit of insight into how Luke, Leia, and Han cope with the toll of war while telling a brisk story of intrigue that will keep me buying future issues. And the book’s artwork nicely captures the visual sweep of the movies. Until Episode VII hits theaters, this should be enough to scratch your Force itch.
My good friend (and publisher) Adam Wahlberg has unveiled the website for Think Piece Publishing, his one-man imprint. I remember when Adam first shared, over my beers in my living room, his plans to start a publishing business and I’m thrilled to see his dream take shape. Take a moment to check out the eclectic lineup of authors Adam has assembled and the titles he has lined up for the coming year. You’ll even find a photo that makes me look better than I reasonably should.
This charming illustrated interpretation of a Fresh Air interview between Terry Gross and author Maurice Sendak is worth your time:
Sendak makes some clear-eyed yet deeply humane observations about growing old, losing the people he loves, and his atheism. He also manages to leave Terry Gross momentarily speechless with a comment so generous that it made me cry a little bit as I sat at my desk. If only we all had the words and presence of mind to tell the people we love how much they mean to us.
My dad was very puzzled by the copy of Building Stories that I received as a gift from my sister and her husband. “What do you do with it?” he asked.
“You read it, Dad,” I said.
His brow furrowed in consternation. “And what happens when you’re done with it?”
“I don’t know, Dad. It’s a book. You put it on a shelf and maybe read it again someday.”
“It’s a book?”
But I think he remains unconvinced.
I’m on vacation for the next ten days, which should allow me to catch up on my comics reading. I’ve been sampling some of the Marvel Now! reboots and the new Thor and All-New X-Men series are compelling enough to keep me purchasing subsequent issues. I’ve largely avoided X-Men titles because they require a map, compass, and slide rule to understand the continuity. But Marvel may have found the recipe to attract new readers like me who might have been previously intimidated by the decades of backstory. Of course, they did something similar with the Ultimate line a few years back and that universe is still going strong. So I might need that map after all.
I want to say more about other comics like Saga and The Massive, but I’ll save that for my year-end round-up.
The Verge comments on the typos found in ebooks with increasing frequency. I’ve noticed that typos seem more common in older books that have been scanned to create digital versions. The Kindle edition of Mark Helprin’s Winter’s Tale is so rife with typos that I couldn’t be bothered to finish the book. These are still the early days of ebooks and I expect publishers will eventually fix these problems. But now that I read ebooks almost exclusively, it troubles me that I may be purchasing a shoddier product in comparison to the printed edition.
If you’ve ever thought to yourself “I really like The 19th Floor, but I wish there was a more book-ish version,” you’re in luck. Written in Slow Motion: Thoughts on Disability and Other Random Topics will be released in Spring 2013 by Think Piece Publishing, a new imprint founded by my good friend Adam Wahlberg. The book is a series of essays inspired by, and sometimes borrowing from, the posts on this blog. It focuses on my experiences as a person with a disability, but will touch on many of the topics familiar to my blog readers: technology, pop culture, geekery, and politics. I may even mention fishnets once or twice.
I have no idea if a market exists for this book. After all, I’m no Justin Bieber’s mom. But I’m really curious to see how this project turns out. I’ll blog in the coming months about the process of getting a book to market and the challenges encountered along the way. I don’t anticipate any changes to my regular blogging schedule, but I apologize in advance for posting the occasional YouTube video because I’m struggling to meet a deadline.
I look forward to seeing many of you at the release party next spring!
Regular blogging will resume tomorrow. In the meantime, check out this great story about an independent bookstore in Brooklyn that is trying to bring out-of-print science fiction novels back to market.
Do you like videogames? Do you like 80s pop culture references? Do you like books about videogames replete with 80s pop culture references? Then Ready Player One might be for you. It tells the story of Wade, a teen living in the American Midwest circa 2041. Things are not going well in Wade’s future America; the economy is in permanent recession, the climate is wrecked, and most people live in miserable poverty. Wade lives in a suburban ghetto built from old trailer homes and cars. His only escape is OASIS, a highly sophisticated online environment that has its origins in games like World of Warcraft. Wade spends nearly every waking moment in OASIS, attending school, playing games, and hanging out with the avatars of friends he has never met in person. And like millions of other OASIS denizens, he is trying to solve a series of puzzles left behind by OASIS’ deceased founder, a reclusive genius. The first person to successfully complete the puzzle sequence wins complete control of OASIS and unimaginable wealth. Nobody has managed to determine the significance of the first clue in the years since the founder’s death until Wade experiences a pivotal eureka moment.
Author Ernest Cline isn’t afraid to let his geek flag fly and writes an affectionate tribute to gaming and pop culture obsessives. This is probably the only novel you’ll read that references Family Ties, Ladyhawke, and Cyndi Lauper. Much of the book is set OASIS, which allows for all sorts of narrative pyrotechnics. Cline sometimes makes the mistake of pushing the reader to be as enamored with the mechanics of his invented world as Cline so plainly is, but it’s a forgivable sin. Cline’s workmanlike prose keeps the tale of disaffected youth and nefarious corporations breezing along to a saatisfying end.