Tuesday, May 27, 2008


It occurs to me that I haven't done a book-related post in ever-so-long--which is embarrassing for someone who lives by the creed "books will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no books."*

Now, people who know me also know I'm hopelessly addicted to books. My man purse, nominally intended for lugging around all the crap that won't fit into my pockets but I imagine I can't live without,** is first and foremost a book depository for whatever I'm currently reading plus at least one back-up book. Maybe two. Possibly three. Gotta have back-up books else I might not have something new to read OMG!

I'm not a collector by any stretch of the imagination (can't afford to be--have you seen the price of signed first editions recently?); at best, I'm an accumulator, which is akin to saying I'm a recreational heroin user: "Hey, I don't have a problem and can quit whenever I want and let's just ignore the innumerable hours I spend scouring the 'hood for my next fix or the things I neglect while immersed in litsmack."

Yeah, right.

Anyway, I've been amassing a slew of book-related links (because I have no life and I'm a big ol' geek and I have to keep out of trouble somehow) and thought I'd share 'em for those of you whom are similarly afflicted.

--Here's a great little article by independent bookseller Paul Constant, "Flying Off the Shelves--The Pleasures and Perils of Chasing Book Thieves."

When I worked at a big-box chain bookstore, shoplifters never crossed my mind; the corporation paid security guards for that. Employees were told not to get involved. The legal issues were too Byzantine for us peons to understand. The guards, instead, created problems: We had to fire one for masturbating in the children's section.

(which is probably the biggest book-related WTF? moment I've ever read)

--Confession time: one of my favorite places to read is in the bathtub*** so you can imagine my excitement when I stumbled across the bathtub with built-in bookcase. One day, when I win the lottery and am simply dripping in disposable income, I'll have a couple of these installed in my mansion/Fortress of Solitude/Treehouse of Horror. Note the various links to other, uh, unique book storage solutions; in fact, there's even a blog on the subject: Bookshelf.

--Over at The Art of Manliness they've compiled a list of 100 Must-Read Books: The Essential Man's Library (warning: many annoyingly big-ass bookcover pics that spell death for dial-up users and irritate the hell out of me for disrupting the list flow) and, yeah, I've read most of them over the years but, somehow, manly manliness has eluded me. Perhaps it's because I refuse to slog through Plato's Republic, James Joyce's Ulysses, The Politics by Aristotle, and Plutarch's Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans. Perhaps other reasons. And what's with all the Teddy Roosevelt entries?

--Meanwhile, over at Sci-Fi Lists they've compiled a statistical survey of the all-time Top 100 Sci-Fi Books.

--Only in the past couple of years have I become aware of this: "Young adult sections in bookstore -- a parallel universe of little-regarded awesomeness."

Living in a space that no one watches too closely is one of the secret ways that people get to do excellent stuff. Science fiction's status for decades as a pariah genre meant that writers could do things with literary style, theme, and political content that their mainstream counterparts could never get away with (games, comics, early hip-hop, mashups, and many of the other back laneways of popular culture have also enjoyed this status). These days, a lot of the coolest stuff in the universe is happening in the kids' section of your bookstore (and yes, I'm aware of the irony of calling attention to a field that has prospered because it wasn't receiving too much attention to blossom).

Bookslut's Bookslut in Training column has turned me on to a couple of jewels hidden away in the YA section: King Dork by Frank Portman and The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga, both of which are really great reads (and you should now stop whatever the hell it is that you are doing and hie your ass on over to the nearest bookstore and grab some copies), and Cory Doctorow, who wrote the aforementioned article, has his own decidedly subversive entry in YA fiction--Little Brother, a "novel about hacker kids who use technology to reclaim the Bill of Rights from the DHS after a terrorist attack on San Francisco,"**** which really appeals to my Inner Anarchist/home-brew Resistance Fighter.

Okay, that's enough for now. Read hard!

This is the second in a long series of catch-up posts.

* Astute readers, i. e., aging Baby Boomers of a... certain... disposition, will recognize that line as a corruption of a Freewheelin' Franklin catchphrase.

** Mini Maglite, Hipster PDA, a wide assortment of pens, cell phone, digital camera and extra memory card, cigarettes, lighter, spare keys, cheap notebooks, bandana, quarters for the toll bridge, Swiss Army Knife knock-off, the occasional DVD... you know, Big Important Guy stuff. Or crap. Your choice.

*** Feel free to flense from your brain the image of me naked with the alcoholic beverage/hallucinogen of your choice, but think about it (not me naked)--assuming you don't drop your book in the water what better place to read? Warm, comfy, floaty, quiet, relaxing... screw isolation tanks; this is the way to Oneness with the Universe.

**** He even offers free downloads and a news section. Neil Gaiman raves about it here and someone named w1n5t0n (get it? Get it?) offers a series of book-related Instructables here. Go forth and get copies for yourself, your kids, your friends' kids, your kids' friends...


Anonymous said...

But...I have breasts and I've read Plato's Republic. *blink*

(Only because I had to take two courses of philosophy in undergrad, *shh*, don't tell anyone.)

G. W. Ferguson said...

Thereby proving that you are FAR more manly than I!