Tag Archives: Books

Bookrageous Episode 6; The ‘Best American’ Series

Episode six of the Bookrageous Podcast is live! This time out, Jenn (of JennIRL fame) and I were again joined by Paul Montgomery, host of the Fuzzy Typewriter podcast. Jenn, Paul and I chat about what we’ve been reading and discuss the yearly Best American series of books, get geeky, and talk about what we love about collections and anthologies. Enjoy, subscribe, and let us know what you’d like to see in future episodes!

Show notes and an embedded player are below.

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Five Trade Show Finds I Can’t Wait to Read

Just about a week ago, I made my way down to Providence for the yearly NEIBA fall conference. My basic impressions from the show are as follows.

It was neat! I talked about it here!

One of the best parts of book conferences like this (or BEA in the Spring) is getting a down-and-dirty look at books that have just come out, or will be coming out in the near future. As a bookseller, it’s fantastic to get a handle on what books will be in the store, make some sense of what you need to order, and read books so you can handsell them from day one. As a blogger, it’s nice to talk with sales reps and easily get your hands on review copies. As a book nerd, it’s just freakin’ COOL to get insider access to the book world and be surrounded by books.

I managed to show a bit of restraint this year and not ask for copies of every book I saw this year, but I still came out of the show with four or five dozen books. I’m going to save your eyes (and my fingers) the strain of showing why I’m psyched to read each one of them, but I did want to highlight five of the titles that I’m the most excited about. Be sure to listen to episode five of the Bookrageous podcast for more suggestions, and check out Jenn and Rebecca‘s lists of their favorite books from the fall trade shows.

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My Best Friend is a Wookie by Tony Pacitti

I’ve read a handful of books about growing up as a geek – The Elfish Gene and Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks, most recently – but all of them focus on geekery in the 70s and 80s. Those authors were lucky enough to see the Star Wars flics in the theaters, and were well into adulthood by the time the *shudder* prequels came out. I’m super excited to read Pacitti’s book because he had the same experience with Star Wars as I did. Born a few years after Jedi, Tony grew up as a fan of the original movies and was young enough to be excited by the prequels. I can’t wait to dig into a tale of Star Wars fandom that mirrors my own.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away . . . a geek was born. So begins Pacitti’s own dorkily moving Jedi journey, which reveals how “Star Wars” has served as a source of comfort, guidance, and wisdom in his life.

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Bookrageous Episode 5; Our Fall Reading Lists

Episode five of the Bookrageous Podcast is live! Jenn (of JennIRL fame) Rebecca (from The Book Lady’s Blog) and I chatted a bit about the trade shows we’ve been hitting to pick up books – the annual fall conferences of NAIBA, SIBA and NEIBA. Then, we switched into total sales pitch mode to talk about just a few of the many, many upcoming books we can’t wait to read. Enjoy, subscribe, and let us know what you’d like to see in future episodes!

Show notes and an embedded player are below. Continue reading

Vacation from Hell – Five Worlds in Literature I Don’t Want To Visit

… and a few I wouldn’t mind.

Between the whole Franzenfreude debacle and recent Bookrageous and Fuzzy Typewriter podcasts, I’ve been thinking a lot about “genre” fiction, literary fiction, and what draws me to certain stories. I think that one of the reasons I tend toward the fantastic in a lot of my reading is that I love world-building.

Sure, all fiction involves building environs for the reader. My favorite books involve a bit more than that, though. I love when an author creates a whole new world with new rules. Sometimes it’s subtle – “urban fantasy” comes to mind – and sometimes, like in sci-fi or high fantasy, it’s wholly created by the author. There’s something about the feel of inhabiting a brand new world that I can’t get from any medium but books.

Strange that I enjoy it so much, since a lot of books are set in worlds that are depressing as hell.

Despite my love of reading stories set in these alternate realities, here’s five literary landscapes I’d suggest avoiding at all costs.

1. The Rocky Mountains in The Passage

Ground Zero for Subject Zero, the Girl from Nowhere, the One Who Walked In, the First and Last and Only. We don’t really get a feel for what’s happening in other parts of the world after a vampire plague breaks out in the first part of The Passage, but we know that stuff is bad in the Rockies. Best-case scenario is that I end up somewhere relatively safe, like the colony that dominates the middle third of the book, and things are still pretty bleak. Maybe if I had a bit of vamp blood in me I’d be OK, but what kinda life is that?

Possible upsides; If society ever recovers, the virals ensure that no one will write something like Twilight for a long, long time. Continue reading

Literature’s Most Famous Opening Lines, Google Voice Style

On one of the upcoming episodes of the Bookrageous podcast, we’ll be discussing Suzanne Collins’ Mockingjay, the final part of the Hunger Games trilogy. Opinions are pretty split on the book, in the general public and among our trio of podcasters. Team Bookrageous decided that, hey, we want to squeeze as many opinions as possible into the show, so why not solicit voicemails from other readers? One voicemail line later (call us, there will be prizes!) we were off and running.

Did you know that Google Voice makes transcriptions of all of your voicemails? Did you know that how Google interprets what people say is hilarious?

As a public service, here’s the famous opening lines of a bunch of novels, transcribed by Google Voice. The better-read of you might be able to figure out each book on first look, but I wouldn’t blame you if you find it incomprehensible. I’ve listed the actual books at the end of the post.

Call me, Ishmael.

For starters, I was a little worried that the fidelity was so good. Sure, the pause (which Google added, not me) completely changes the line, but the words are all still there.

Do the truth universally knowledge to the single man in possession of the good fortune must be in one, so if.

That’s more like it. Continue reading

Checking in on my Stack

Call it mini-reviews. Call it digital handselling. Call it whatever you want. Whatever it’s called, here’s my regular check-in with what I’ve been reading over the last couple weeks.

Good Eggs by Phoebe Potts

I LOVED this book. In Good Eggs, Phoebe Potts writes (and draws) candidly about her life – and specifically about her struggles to conceive and start a family with the husband Jeff. It’s now among my favorite graphic memoirs, right up there with the work of Jeffrey Brown and Alison Bechdel. Potts manages to be personal, honest and touching, yet possesses a great sense of humor that a lot of memoirs lack. Where other books are droll, Good Eggs is lively. A story about fertility and trying to conceive isn’t something I’d necessarily think of for a 25-year-old guy like me, but this one proved me wrong. Continue reading

Interview with MR. PEANUT author Adam Ross

mrpeanutat-barnes-noble-2

One of my favorite books of the year so far – and a serious contender for my favorite read in 2010 – was Adam Ross’ debut novel Mr. Peanut. I rhapsodized about the labyrinthine book non-stop while I was reading it, and convinced my friend Rebecca Schinsky (The Book Lady’s Blog) to pick it up as well. Rebecca loved the book, and social media maven that she is, she corralled author Adam Ross into answering a few questions the two of us had about the novel. The result of our collaboration is a fascinating Q&A, and a great peek at what goes into a novel as complex as Mr. Peanut. This morning, Rebecca posted PART ONE of the interview on her blog. The second half is featured below.

A number of scenes in the book seem influenced by or, at points, directly pulled from, scenes and ideas in Hitchcock films. What’s the purpose of all this Hitchcock material in the novel?

Adam Ross: It’s part homage to a great artist, but in the Hastroll and Sheppard sections, the inclusion of all these allusions and, as you point out, actual scenes—not to mention costumes, locales, and characters—present a synthesis of my thinking about Hitchcock’s work, particularly with respect to intimacy in marriage: how we arrive at it, destroy it, or restore it. For instance, there’s a scene between Susan Hayes and Sam Sheppard in a hotel room that samples from a similar scene between Eva Marie Saint and Cary Grant in North by Northwest. I use this strategy throughout that section so that the alluded-to moments comment on each other, and there are scenes throughout that interlock with at least seven Hitchcock films. Again, in the spirit of cheat codes, I’d point to Vertigo, Shadow of a Doubt, Strangers on a Train, Marnie, Rear Window, Frenzy, and Psycho—though the truth is that there are a lot more. Notorious. The Birds. I’ll shut up now.

Of course, on a thematic level, Hitchcock is very interested in the way in which men idealize women and how this puts them at a distance from them, or does terrible violence to them, not to mention how men try to control or rebuff women who are perceived as threats to their freedom, or are viewed as objects of voyeuristic pleasure. I was very interested in exploring some of these ideas as they applied to couples who’ve been married for long periods of time. Continue reading