Tag: books

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Regarding ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Before my wife started watching the new series streaming from Hulu, I warned her: “I can’t imagine how I would feel if a woman”. I had already finished first hour “Offred” from the production based on 1985 tome The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Three episodes are online now—and their tone and timeliness are visceral and all too familiar, like was the Battlestar Galactica miniseries that followed the 9-11 terrorist attacks by two years. There is something that is too real, too possible—and, unlike the so-called Trump “Resistance”, I don’t refer to the current government in Washington, D.C. No imminent right-wing coup is on the horizon, as so many Liberals want to believe. That’s as fictional as The Handmaid’s Tale.

What’s disturbing is another kind of currency, which is largely lost in the torrent of “it could happen here” commentary: The plight of women portrayed in the series isn’t far removed from what many of them experience elsewhere in 2017. Not in some alternate-reality United States, but across swaths of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East—if not both American continents and Europe. Severity may vary by degrees, but where on this planet isn’t there, at the least, some vestige of the subservient, objectified woman? Liberals, who as a class supposedly champion for the human rights of all people, shouldn’t ignore what is while obsessing about what might be for fear it could happen to them. 

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Sign of the Times

Two weeks ago, while walking around Hillcrest, my wife and I briefly stopped by the local, massive, used bookstore. To my surprise, the place was three-quarters emptied and going out of business. Yikes! I hadn’t shopped there for nearly a year, when purchasing a paperback for myself later given to my father-in-law. While 5th Avenue Books is gone, online counterpart Schrader’s Books will continue selling used titles through Amazon. As someone who almost exclusively reads ebooks, I occasionally—but, honestly, rarely—shopped out-of-prints not available in digital format, almost always finding the sought-after read.

That last purchase: The Past Through Tomorrow by Robert A. Heinlein, an old-time favorite selling for three bucks. When I first bought the anthology in high school, it came as a set with two other titles: Stranger in a Strange Land and Time Enough for Love. During the last year of my father-in-law’s life, reading became his main recreation. I donated the Heinlein title to that cause. Following the 95 year-old’s death nine weeks ago, I reclaimed the book to read and as remembrance. 

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From Amazon’s Bookstore Risk Can Come Great Rewards

There is collective head-scratching across the InterWebs about a Wall Street Journal report that Amazon will open as many as 300, or even 400, stores selling books. The company’s massive success selling ebooks and the cost and selection advantages of warehousing their physical counterparts make the concept seem nonsensical. I contend that it’s brilliant.

Amazon is in process of expanding online services into the purview of local retail, which biggest competitive advantage is immediacy. In conjunction with the $99-per-year Prime program, the online retailer offers faster shipping; same day, and within hours, in some locales. The company increasingly contracts its own carriers, as well. Immediacy requires presence. What better location than a bookstore that also warehouses other goods and provides customer service operations? That’s all without considering the branding opportunities, which, as Apple Store demonstrates, can be huge. 

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Comic-Con Heroes: The Volunteer

Three more profiles, and the conclusion, remain before I release my ebook Comic-Con Heroes: The Fans Who Make The Greatest Show On Earth into the public domain, on July 8, 2015, after my current commitment with Amazon KDP Select ends. To recap: The tome features 12 attendees from the 2013 San Diego convention. This year marks my seventh, but I am a paying participant; for reasons I don’t understand, my press credentials weren’t recertified.

So far we have met, in order of appearance: The Dark Knight, The Fighter, The Collectors, The AcademicThe Nerd Culturist, The Writer,The Bicyclists, The Heroine, and The Time Lord. They represent a surprising cross-section of Comic-Con attendees, ranging from a toy anthropologist to a hopeful future storyteller. They’re all worth your attention. Place look back.

Fat Rabbit Farm

  During San Diego Comic-Con 2010 Day 2, I interviewed Fat Rabbit Farm creators Patty Variboa and Jason Ponggasam and writer of the first book Nicholas Doan. Cramped space in the booth made for tough videography, particularly […]

Mollycules

  In my first San Diego Comic-Con 2010 interview, artist and illustrator Molly Hahn shows off some delightful monsters and offers tips for aspiring storytellers. She’s bright and articulate, Mollycules is superb branding and the […]

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Stoning ‘Philosopher’s Stone’

While traveling this month, I started reading J.K. Rowlings’ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, with the shameful, Americanized title. The book is properly known in the UK as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Given the Potter series’ popularity (six books and four movies), I had high expectations of the bestseller, but lowered them upon reading.

Coming from Northern Maine, where remain cultural ties to Canada and Britain, I quickly picked up on the mishmash of very British references. I’d say that Rowlings includes just about every magical or ghoulish creature known on the British Isles. The book borrows heavily from literary consciousness. The lacking originality, of plopping together concepts and creatures familiar to many generations of Britons, is astounding—unless her originality is humor. I take the book to be farcical, humorous in its plopping together so many creatures steeped in British cultural heritage. 

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Twisted Tales for Girls

In today’s New York Times, author Naomi Wolf looks at “cute” books for teenage girls that are anything but sweet.

Teenage girl series, such as “Clique” or “Gossip Girls”, are fitting to the adage, “You can’t judge a book from the cover”. Beneath the banal paperback covers are pages rife with status, shopping, and sex. Excerpted from one of the “A-List” series novels, one teen describes sex with her boyfriend: “We used to jump each other, like, three times a night. When we went out to the movies, we’d sit by a wall and do it during the boring parts”. 

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Da Vinci Deserves Better Than This

I finished reading book The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown over the weekend. Someone lent us the book a year before I started reading, which seemed to labor for a year. I just don’t get all the hubbub over the book.

To be clear, I had no trouble with the book’s core concepts about Christ or with the weaving historical interpretation. Of course, Jesus Christ was supposed to marry. I don’t believe that he did, contrary to the book’s fictional assertion. But there is no question that he was supposed to. The Jewish and Christian concepts of the Fall involved two male and one female being (Muslims believe the same, yes?). The Messiah, King of Kings—whatever you want to call him—should marry and resolve the problem, man and woman, reversal of man and woman falling. 

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Icon: Biography or Fiction?

I just finished reading book iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business, which I bought at my local Borders Book store. I just about never buy hardcover books, but this one piqued my interest. After all, Steve Jobs banned all the publisher’s books from Apple retail stores.

I understand why the strong reaction from Apple’s founder. One undercurrent focuses on Steve Jobs’ charisma and claims of his taking claim for others’ work. The theme adds second meaning to the title, as in “I con”.