If there are problems with any of the links/etc in this post, I apologize. My 27 lb. Pug/Beagle mix decided to jump onto my lap while I was finishing this post — I saved the laptop by milliseconds — and I’m typing this with my laptop laying ridiculously high on my chest (my beard is covering the touchpad and space bar). Awkward to say the least.
What a week . . . Stan Lee’s death — while we’ve been aware it was coming some day — shook me as much as it did other fans who appreciated his work (if not always his personal ethics) and his legacy. But the news of William Goldman’s death yesterday? I was stunned — which is strange, it’s not like he’d produced anything lately that grabbed me, but between his movies (The Right Stuff in particular — a fantastic adaptation) and his novels, he really affected the way Middle/High School me thought about the written word. The fact that the same mind produced The Princess Bride and Marathon Man/Brothers??? I think I was a sophomore when I read the latter two — pretty much up to that point everyone I read wrote in the same genre, focusing on the same kind of stories. But Goldman permanently changed the way I thought about the range an author could have — as well as trips to the dentist. One other note — did you see this tweet from Jonny Geller about the opening to the Butch Cassidy screenplay? If not, give it a read — that’s writing. The idea that we don’t have the man who can do that kind of writing in this world any more is tragic.
Anyway, I’ve got a good crop of odds ‘n ends over the week about books and reading that caught my eye. You’ve probably seen some/most/all of them, but just in case:
- Pretentious, impenetrable, hard work … better? Why we need difficult books — I like a lot of what Sam Leith has to say here.
- Speaking of pretentious and impenetrable, Jonathan Franzen blew up the Internet this week (which I know he cares so much about) with his 10 Rules for Novelists. Reactions ranged from Jo Perry’s” I broke one rule, then I broke another.” to Matthew Hanover’s response to one particular rule to Chuck Wendig’s multi-tweet attack (which is actually much shorter than I expected) — as Brad Parks said, it’s “the best thing on the Internet right now.” (also, check out the range of authors I cited there — I could’ve gone on, too. I didn’t see anyone defending the list).
- ‘Book Series Recaps’ Helps Readers Catch Up on Their Faves — I love the idea of this
- A schoolgirl has written a book to explain autism — Great idea — and the fact that someone thought it was helpful enough to send to every primary school in the UK suggests that it’s a pretty good book (and that this girl shouldn’t have to worry about paying for higher education).
- The One Direction Fan-Fiction Novel That Became a Literary Sensation — Wow. I’m sorta surprised that I’d never heard of Anna Todd or her books before — if for no other reason than my daughter still thinks of herself as a One Direction fan — I can’t imagine these are books for me, but what a great story for her.
- Viewpoint: Overused Phrases in Book Blogging — I think I’m innocent of almost all of these — and my infractions are rare. Still, a fun little read.
- The Time Raymond Chandler and Ian Fleming Got Together To Talk About Thrillers — need I say more? There’s some good stuff here.
- George RR Martin: ‘When I began A Game of Thrones I thought it might be a short story’ — a good interview with Martin about the new book and his struggles with the book we all are waiting for.
- An Introduction to the Rivers of London Series — just in time for the release of Lies Sleeping
- 16 Books and Movies That Make You Want to Be an Engineer — 1. It’s a good list and 2. It gives you enough of a taste of Jenn Stroud Rossmann, author of The Place You’re Supposed to Laugh
- 70+ Hilarious Book Puns To Make You Laugh and Groan — I don’t know if these are bad or good, but you should read them.
- 11 Public Libraries Invaluable to World History — this is a fascinating (and attractive) infographic and I wish I had time to go read more about every one of these places right now. Thanks to Sarah Archer, one of the creators, for dropping by and giving me the link.
- This Week’s New Releases I’m Excited About and/or You’ll Probably See Here Soon:
- Harley Quinn: Mad Love by Paul Dini and Pat Cadigan — You had me at Paul Dini. Cadigan’s an added bonus. The two of them telling Harley’s origin? Gotta grab it.
- The Place You’re Supposed to Laugh by Jenn Stroud Rossmann — a nice novel about 2002 Silicon Valley that I talked about here.