Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Literary Man About Town

A paper man takes a stroll through a city made of books -- a literally literary town -- in this wonderful video from 4th Estate. It's not unlike working in a bookstore, really, where daily proximity to books and routine immersion in the sum total of the world's creativity and knowledge become commonplace but never dull. It's rated G, but squeamish bibliophiles take note: Several books were harmed in the making of this film.


(Via Paper Cuts)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Top 5 Books to Remind You...

As a kid, I went through all the drug abuse resistance programs a kid ought to. I still remember Officer Austin, the D.A.R.E. representative for our district. He would come in and crack a few jokes, ham it up through the mandatory all-school assemblies, and then sigh and give the boys noogies. We loved him, dearly, and every one of us promised him we would never get on his bad side.

That didn’t stop me from appreciating the irony of my classmates wearing D.A.R.E. t-shirts to school parties, and lately, I’ve heard that programs like the one I attended are going the way of the dinosaur. Legend has it that caustic contemporary wit simply makes a mockery of sincere do-gooders like Officer Austin and his cohorts. But for the parents of young children, there’s no need to fear – I have an alternative.

Make your kids watch Trainspotting. I know what you’re thinking: is that really child-appropriate? Of course not. But the moment that baby’s head spins around, any desire I ever had to try hard drugs dissipated. Follow it by reading these anti-drug submissions courtesy of staffer Eve.

Top 5 Books to Remind You to Never Get Hooked on Drugs

1. The Heroin Diaries, Nikki Sixx
2. Go Ask Alice, Anonymous
3. Tweak, Nic Sheff
4. Smack, Melvin Burgess
5. Requiem for a Dream, Hubert Selby


Sunday, December 7, 2008


If you haven’t read World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks, you are missing out. It has everything. Desperate battles, the near-annihilation of the human race, and, of course, zombies. World War Z is the book I recommend to every red-blooded male between the ages of 18 and 40. But when those same males inevitably return to the store looking for more of the same, I’ve always been at something of a loss. There’s nothing else quite like World War Z… luckily Eve has come to our rescue with:

Top 5 Books to Read if You’re Undead

1. The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead, Max Brooks
2. Empire: A Zombie Novel, David Dunwoody
3. Down the Road: A Zombie Horror Story, Bowie Ibarra
4. Plague of the Dead: The Morningstar Strain, Z. A. Recht
5. Dying to Live, Kim Paffenroth


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Top 5 Books to Re-read and Re-discover

When I first read The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, I was about 14 years old. Reading the book, I couldn’t stop myself from thinking that finally, somebody got me. Only Holden Caulfield understood how phony the rest of the world was, and he recognized how I loved my family even while I wanted to break away from them. That narrator – he was a genius.

It wasn’t until I re-read the book in college that I realized just how messed up I was as an adolescent. Holden suddenly seemed like one of the whiniest characters to ever live. He was spoiled rotten and couldn’t appreciate everything he’d been given. I was horrified that I had identified so closely with a character that was nothing like me. At least, nothing like me now.

Every time you read a book, it hits you differently. People change, and they discover different aspects to works of great literature every time they re-read them. According to Stephanie in accounts payable, these are her favorite books to read over and over again.

Top 5 Books to Reread and Rediscover

1. The Stand, Stephen King
2. Outlander, Diana Gabaldon
3. Swan Song, Robert McCammon
4. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
5. Sunshine, Robin McKinley


Friday, December 5, 2008

Top 5 Graphic Novels

I never read comic books when I was a kid. I didn’t have a brother and the boys on my street were more interested in video games than serials. Truthfully, it wasn’t a genre I knew anything about until I turned twelve. During an exploration of my Grandmother’s house, I discovered my father’s childhood collection of The Green Lantern.

Over the years, my love for the genre has changed. After a lot of reading, a stint working at Newbury Comics, and even a Comics as Literature course in college, I’ve realized that graphic novels appeal to everyone. After all, when you boil it down, it’s really just a great story set to art. If you know someone who loves comics or if you’d just like to rekindle a childhood addiction, here are some options for the more mature set.

Top 5 comix to make you wish you'd never given up comic books

1. La Perdida, Jessica Abel
2. Shortcomings, Adrian Tomine
3. Pocket Full of Rain, Jason
4. Pitch Black, Youme Landowne
5. Ordinary Victories, Manu Larcenet

As a bonus, there are a few books worth reading about comix and graphic novels. Check out the winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon, the soon-to-be released Dream City by Brendan Short, and, a non-fiction option, The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America by David Hajdu.


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