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Archive for the ‘Book News’ Category

Ernie Cline is the Numero Uno geek on the Internet…or at least the one who has carved out his niche of geekdom, and becoming successful for actually being a geek.

Spoken word…a screenplay actually produced (that would be the Star Wars homage, Fanboys), and now a novel — Ready Player One:

an homage to 80s geekdom

Simply put, the novel is a distopic look at our world in a possible near future, where all energy is focused on one enormous simulation game…which is, for various reasons, absolutely replete with 80s pop culture references and recreations. Did I mention it features video games? And it has references to absolutely everything and anything that was popular in a pretty limited time frame…

Not enough for you? The audio book, which I am in the midst of right now, is read by Mr. Wil Weaton!

And it’s a good yarn! Thanks, Ernie!

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So, yet again, the Internet has come through on its promise of connecting people. (It’s not all kittehs, bacon and jokes!)

Awhile back, I followed an incoming link to this blog to a literary publicist who it turns out represents a talented author, Cheryl Rainfield.  An email exchange resulted in me being sent a review copy of Rainfield’s new book Scars, undergoing its Canadian launch June 24th in Toronto.

First impression? The cover is striking, fraught even, featuring the author’s own arms. The audience? Ostensibly for the Young Adult set, but accessible to many. The subject matter? Not my usual fare, on the surface grimmer than I like…

But what a book!

I’m not going to go into a synopsis of the story here (check out the book link above for a review that does that job very well). I do want to say that once I started this book, I plowed through it quickly. During the last chapters, as the story reaches its crescendo of tension, I literally could not put it down. My husband had to serve me dinner on the sofa, where I was curled up reading.

The autobiographical element is evident in the ringing truth of the main character’s experiences, but the book is also clearly a novel. This is definitely not some maudlin woe-is-me semi-autobiographical work…instead, it’s a powerful, realistic and positive story of a young woman who finds her way out of her own little corner of hell. Once the story is done, and the main character Kendra has found her home in that corner of your mind reserved for the most real of heroines, the extensive collection of resources at the end of the book underline the seriousness of the issues raised. And those issues? Self-mutilation, rape, homophobia…a stew well-balanced with the love, support and clarity that the main character finds.

As I said earlier, this astounding book has its Canadian launch on June 24 in Toronto, at the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre (details on the author’s website).  I think a West Coast event should also be arranged…what do you think?

Oh, today is a sad day for the reading world. From this article:

NEW YORK (AP) – In books such as “Slaughterhouse-Five,” “Cat’s Cradle,” and “Hocus Pocus,” Kurt Vonnegut mixed the bitter and funny with a touch of the profound.

Vonnegut, regarded by many critics as a key influence in shaping 20th-century American literature, died Wednesday at 84. He had suffered brain injuries after a recent fall at his Manhattan home, said his wife, photographer Jill Krementz.

In a statement, Norman Mailer hailed Vonnegut as “a marvelous writer with a style that remained undeniably and imperturbably his own. … I would salute him – our own Mark Twain.”

“He was sort of like nobody else,” said another fellow author, Gore Vidal. “Kurt was never dull.”

Vonnegut’s works – more than a dozen novels plus short stories, essays and plays – contained elements of social commentary, science fiction and autobiography.

The article continues at some length — very good piece.

His official website.

His Wikipedia entry.

Seamus Heaney recently won the TS Eliot Poetry prize.

Haven’t I written about Heaney before now? I know I’ve mentioned him, but I’ve yet to devote a whole post to the man.

So, you haven’t read any Seamus Heaney? Have you heard the man speak? He’s got the most beautiful, rich, rolling voice. I covet his audio recording of his recent re-working of Beowulf (have I mentioned it enough? Will I get it one day?)

Here’s a sample of his image-rich poetry, from the Internet Poetry Archive:

From Clearances

  In Memoriam M.K.H., 1911-1984

When all the others were away at Mass
I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.
They broke the silence, let fall one by one
Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:
Cold comforts set between us, things to share
Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.
And again let fall. Little pleasant splashes
From each other’s work would bring us to our senses.

So while the parish priest at her bedside
Went hammer and tongs at the prayers for the dying
And some were responding and some crying
I remembered her head bent towards my head,
Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives–
Never closer the whole rest of our lives.

Now go back, and read it aloud. Trust me.

Now, go and hear him read it. And rejoice.

Two pieces of library news (well, one piece of not-news) came my way this morning, so I thought I’d share them with you.

First off, the news that a  man returned a book to the library after 47 years and paid his $171 in fines. Wow.

Secondly, via Nag’s book blog, is a story about librarians’ job to remove books from circulation…and how they’re using computer programs to weed out books not taken out in 24 months or more: Hello, Grisham — So Long, Hemingway?

This, unfortunately, is not a new story. When you stop to think about it, a librarian’s job is difficult. Librarians love books, and it is probably very distressing to delete classics to make shelf space for the latest bit of fluff.

If it makes you angry that Hemingway is making way for Grisham, then do something about it. Go to your local library today, and take out a couple of classics. Next week, borrow a couple more. If they’re circulated, they’ll stay. (The main character in the novel Bellwether by Connie Willis does this as part of her weekly errands…a great idea.)

Do you?

I must admit, I do. Unusual size, great design, feel of the paper.  Or, in the case of Always Fresh: The Untold Story of Tim Hortons, the smell of the cover (yup. Just go to a bookstore, pick it up, and you’ll be transported to donut heaven.)

Penguin has a new idea — design your own cover for your Penguin.

(From BoingBoing a week or so back.)

In so many ways, the Doomsday book is important. It is the earliest surviving public record in Britain. It’s history. Public policy. Art.

The National Archives now has it online, and searchable. Check it out here.

Thanks to my buddy Nag, on her Private Book Club blog, for bringing this to my attention last week. Since then, I’ve seen it in two newspapers.

Good. I’m glad it’s newsworthy.


Book Discussion Pages

Here on the Book Nook you can discuss: The Fifth Business by Robertson Davies, as well as the next two books in the Deptford Trilogy, The Manticore and World of Wonders, and if that's not enough for you, see what's up on the forums at BookTalk.org!