Dirigibles, Treacle Tart, and Vampires

Hey you guys. So, I’ve got a little but steadily growing corner of my bookshelf I’ve had to start calling the Carriger corner, as in books by Gail Carriger. It’s a fun, colorful, and witty corner of roughly eight or nine books by now. I keep hoping more and more that people will recognize Gail Carriger’s name when I throw it out there. With her ever growing list of popular titles, that’s becoming more and more likely everyday.

Latest edition to my Carriger Corner

Latest edition to my Carriger Corner

Carriger has a new book out now called Prudence, the Custard Protocol Book #1. That colorful title right there should give you a very good introduction to Carriger’s style. I haven’t been able to read that book yet myself, but I am certainly hoping to encourage some other people to. The thing about Carriger’s series, you see, is that they all take place in the same world, at slightly different points in time. Some of the characters carry over from previous series, and some do not. Besides this new series, the Custard Protocol, there’s the Parasol Protectorate and the Finishing School series. They all take place in the same supernatural steampunk world.

Like with many other reads, I didn’t choose to start this series on my own. In this particular case, it was my mother who said something like, “there’s this great new book out that has vampires in it…” and I wanted to stop her right there. I was as sick of vampires and werewolves  then as I probably will be with zombies in a few months. It was too soon after crawling out of the smoldering wreckage that was my Twilight fan phase. I couldn’t possibly enjoy any book that had sexy men  with pointy teeth and furry tails. She insisted, though, that I would like this new series by this one writer. It had… “whats it called? that weird old machine stuff you like?” “What mom?” “Scifi, like with robots, but in the Victorian era…” “You mean steampunk, mom?” “Yes, and she’s supposed to be really funny about it too.” Dammit. I was not tired of steampunk at all, and always looking for a decent romp through an overly mechanized 19th century adventure. Well, if the book was all tongue in cheek, I could enjoy that. I trusted my mother, and let her bring me a copy of Gail Carriger’s first Parasol Protectorate book, Souless. I was hooked. Carriger  created such an intricately constructed alternate Victorian England society, and went about it with plenty of wit and whimsy. I truly didn’t even care that the main love interest was between a human and werewolf. Carriger made me not completely hate vampires and werewolves again. That’s certainly made my life a whole lot easier to bear. I no longer involuntarily gag when I catch a glimpse of an old Twilight poster stuffed in my closet or under the bed. So in that respect, these books have helped me heal some old, glittery vampire scars. Turns out, writing about supernatural creatures, even in a feminine or romantic style, can still be good writing, especially if the werewolves wear top hats out of a Victorian sense of style and decency.

As for the steampunk aspect of it all, weaponized fans, hatpins, and parasols are regularly employed, not to mention automatons and dirigibles. It’s some truly solid work that I wish could inform my own wardrobe and means of travel, but I’m just not quite that eclectic. Carriger is also very careful to replicate the societal order and sense of propriety in Victorian England, mostly fluff it up then mock it with her delicious tongue-in-cheek wit. With each and everyone of Carriger’s books, I can’t help but gallop through them. Even when there isn’t any fast paced action, the wit and humor of the piece always makes me tear through the pages just as quickly. Carriger’s fandom is growing just as quickly. I have a hunch that marketing her Finishing School series as a Young Adult romp was definitely a huge booster. It could also just as easily be that Carriger’s fan base had already grown pretty big by the time Finishing School came out, but since that series basically pitched as part Harry Potter, with its secret British school for especially talented children, part Twilight with the vampire and werewolf characters, and part Hunger Games with young people being taught to deal out death with cool weapons and fight moves, I really do feel the whole young adult angle helped spread around Carriger’s good name and style.

The only thing I do know, right now at least, about Prudence, is that this book will be following the adventures of  Prudence, (shocker!) who is the daughter of The Parasol Protectorate protagonist, Lady Alexandria Tarabotti Maccon. From that single fact, I can say for sure this girl will kick ass. I’m not sure if it’ll be with a deadly parasol like dear old mum, or werewolf claws like her dad, or both, but I’m definitely excited to find out. I hope you’ll be excited enough to try out her other books, or maybe recommend them to a young, nerdy reader you know who really goes for kick-ass heroines and that old-timey sci-fi whats-it (steampunk, it’s called steampunk.) Either way, I can guarantee some positive results.

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Modern Day Alchemy

Hey you guys. I just finished having my brain scrambled by finals, and realized I hadn’t put up an entry in a while. I can’t say I can keep up with my three entrances a week thing anymore, but I am planning at put up an entry at least once a week here.  It’s my spring break, yah know? I need to unwind, forget about school, give my brain an ice bath. That’s why, in some weird sort of Stockholm Syndrome, I decided to review a book that I first had to read for class a couple terms ago. For a science class, even.

The huge bonus about going to a liberal arts college is that they have special science classes for humanities majors like myself. My one required non-lab science class was fullfilled by a class called History of Landmark Discoveries in Science, which was basically a history class with an especially scientific bent. So much the better, because I learned a surprising amount of science in that class, a good chunk of it from the book the Alchemy of Air by Thomas Hager.AlchemyofAir

I really never thought I would be saying a sentence even remotely like this, but this non-fiction historical account on the history of early efforts to create fixed nitrogen and then mass produce it, was one of the most informative yet emotionally engaging example of historical writing I’ve ever read. I mean, there are Nazis in the second act, in my own defense. Just as importantly though, fixed nitrogen is an essential ingredient of fertilizer, and as Hager explains, a way to mass produce fertilizer, (fixed nitrate being the key ingredients in fertilizer,) was absolutely essential at the turn of the century, if they were to keep the massively expanding population from starving.

Take that story, then add how fixed nitrate also turned out to be essential in the productions of weapons and explosives during WWI and WWII, and you get a delicious historical irony. Add, on top of all that, the fact that one of the two main inventors of fixed nitrogen was a German Jew who found himself and his nitrates rubbing elbows with the Nazis at the dawn of WWII and you’d think we’re going into overkill, but real life can be insane like that. I don’t know if I can technically spoil a story that actually happened  back at the dawn of the twentieth century, but I’ll try to say not much more than that. It doesn’t well for the German Jewish chemist in Nazi Germany, though, to say the least.

The story is intriguing. The science and the way it is presented become a genuinely compelling aspect of the story, and the human side of the story is truly amazing and ultimately tragic, in many respects. I ended up learning a reasonable amount about what it takes to create fixed nitrogen, (electrons and whatnot, I think. The final was a while ago,) and getting treated to a delicious tragedy with Nazis, explosions, and bat poo. It’s a difficult feat to pull off, but I really feel that a balanced helping of hard science and humanity make for the most intriguing, memorable reading experience of all. It’s a tricky job that convinces me that  historical writers, like Thomas Hager, or even the master Erik Larson, are some of the most highly skilled types of writer there is, to so delicately balance raw data and information with enthralling writing. Historical books can either become to heavily embellished with fancies or drier than stale raisins. So people pull off the task successfully every time, even Mr. Larson, but for all that we still get Golden gems like Devil in the White City, or this, The Alchemy of Air. 

The good pieces often enough get credit, but other works can get overlooked. I’m doing my duty here, I hope, by pointing you guys towards a good one. It arguably made me pay attention enough to get a passing grade in a science class, so really that should speak for itself. Any of you guys have a piece of nonfiction or historical work you think needs more recognition? Let everyone know in the comments below.

I still, ultimately, have the softest part in my heart for truly fantastical stories, but sometimes the most fantastical stories actually flipping happened, and sometimes there’s a dutiful historian out there skill enough to string all the pieces together into something as enlightening and entertaining as Hager’s work here.

Learning with Pooh Bear

I bet you haven’t learned anything from Winnie the Pooh for a while. I hadn’t either, until I found myself graduating from high school. In true bibliophile clan fashion, my father honored this milestone by giving me a book he’d read and he felt I would like.  The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. Taoism is an Eastern belief system, sort a religion that can just as  easily be something more akin to a philosophy. Since one of the most commonly excepted wisdoms of the Tao is that, if you think you can explain through writing or speech, then its not the true Tao, it’s sort of a slippery concept to try and figure out. Compound that with the fact that it’s an Eastern belief system so there’s not a necessarily a whole lot of cultural familiarity with the idea for Western audiences, and the idea of understanding Taoist lifestyle seems like unraveling an exotic cosmic riddle. It’s  definitely a fascinating belief system though, and one I enjoyed learning about. As luck would have it though, Winnie the Pooh is actually a startlingly good guide and even role model for studying Taoism.The_Tao_of_Pooh(book)_cover

To briefly go over Hoff’s ideas, Winnie the Pooh is actually living the perfect Taoist lifestyle. He never worries, nor strives to much for power or knowledge. He just listens to what the world is telling him and goes with the flow, or to the nearest honey pot. Taoism is very much about the need for humans to stop complicating their lives by worrying or allowing contrived systems of ideals to control their lives. Acceptance, the “natural order” of things, and knowing how and when to be happy with things as they are, are all key concepts of the Tao. So, yeah a sort of child of nature naivety would be a highly prized mindset among Taoists, and Winnie the Pooh certainly has that nailed.

Hoff also talks about how Pooh bear’s friends, Piglet, Rabbit, Owl, Eeyore, Tigger, etc. are excellent representations of how people let their flaws distract themselves from happiness. Piglet’s always letting his own fears get  in the way, (yeah, I had to check several times and Piglet is apparently definitely a guy,) Owls always trying to prove how smart he is, Eeyore’s always wallowing in negativity, Rabbit’s a control freak, and Tigger is one letter away from being a highly offensive racial epithet. Really. That’s what it says. Read it and prove me wrong. Hoff definitely puts it a bit more eloquently than that, but basically using those friendly old story book characters as navigational points through the realm of Taoism was his key trope. It paid off big time, and plenty people other than my dad feel this text is a great way to introduce people to Taoism.

I found the ideology a helpful one. Especially with the recent finals and all, I found firm solace in remembering that most of the ten to twenty page papers I was plowing through did not have to forever define my personal happiness. Sometimes not giving a crap about my roommate’s shenanigans can leave me happier than getting worked up about them and wondering why I agreed to bunk beds. Pooh bear  and all the rest made the whole thing sound interesting enough that I read into it a bit more after that, and I’m glad I did.

Draws of an intriguing ancient philosophy aside, though, I found the presence of Pooh bear is what added something truly unique to the experience of learning a completely new ideology. I found his presence oddly comforting, and it reminded me of being a child, in a weirder way than simple nostalgia. Childhood characters and heroes, didn’t they used do this sort of thing all the time? I mean, explain the world in ways that made it less scary and easier to understand for lil’ you? I mean, the alphabet isn’t as cosmically unknowable or vast a concept as Taoism by any accounts, but don’t tell me the concept doesn’t ring true. It’s actually a very sweet idea, to bring Pooh and his friends back again so they can teach you the important things about life and friendship. Just because we may be grown ups, doesn’t mean the characters from our childhood don’t have things left to teach us.

I found the sort of sequel, the Te of Piglet, to be rather disappointing but I can solidly recommend this book for anyone looking to learn something new, reconnect with their childhood, or simplify their life.

Waiting in the Wings

I’m in the midst of the final week of my winter term. It’s getting pretty heavy and the only thing keeping going is the faint glimmer of Spring Break trying to shine around the mass of madness piling up on my desk. I can’t say I’ve got a whole bunch of special plans or anything for Spring Break, not any trips or adventures. I do, though, have a whole heap of books waiting for me at home. My best springtime dreams involve actually getting through one or two of them, maybe while sitting outside somewhere so I don’t feel like a total hermit. Some of these guys have been on my waiting list quite a while, and others I only recently added to my shamefully large hoard. All of them, though, are books I’m considering to read and then review for this blog. How about I give a little you guys a little taste of what’s on my list? If you like, I’d gladly accept input on what to read and then review next. Here’s a breakdown of what’s waiting in the wings:

1. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s a bit of a travesty that I’m such a fan of both sci-fi and British snark and I’ve somehow avoided reading these, or so I’ve been told. I bought the first one meaning to start reading it but somehow that pile of Discworld books just keep getting in the way. I’ve certainly had enough of the references dripped into my brain somehow; 42, those petunias, babelfish, etc. I’d definitely love to be able to talk about it on this blog.

2. The Brother’s Grimm Fairytales. No, not a picture book, but a thick collection of the traditional tales written by the brothers themselves. They’re translated into English of course, but other than that they’re pretty much the original fairy tales. I make a point of trying to read these, because fractured fairy tales have become a bit of a popular gag recently, but people forget that the safe, Disney version is already fractured. These older tales by the Brothers Grimm have a whole lot more horrific violence, child and animal abuse, and even some weird sex stuff. I’ve read at least enough of these tales to know that, but not nearly all of them, so I’m rather interested in what other sordid skeletons Snow White or Cinderella have in their closet.

3. Walking Dead series. Okay, so technically I’ve read just about all these books, but I fell behind during my fall term and so now I know I have at least one or two I need to read to catch up. I know I’ve certainly read more than enough to review them here, but some weird part in my brain just won’t let me unlock that achievement yet, so to speak, until I’ve read every available volume. I promise that one will be coming though.

4, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? You might better recognize this title as Bladerunner. It’s the book, anyhow, that the movie was based off of. Philip K. Dick, the writer of this novel, has in fact wrote the stories behind a huge chunk of the sci-fi blockbusters out there. Specifically, his short stories and books where adapted into screenplays, and many times they actually kept his original title, unlike with this Android Sheep name here. He’s also responsible for hits like Total Recall and Minority Report. The dude was a pulp magazine writer that didn’t get nearly enough acknowledgement for his work, in my writerly opinion. I guess wanting to read all his books is a way of rectifying that.

5. Jane Eyre. Okay, so I’m an female English major, the spawn of an English teacher and librarian at that, and so it’s apparently another crime against humanity that I’ve yet to read Jane Eyre. It took me forever to read Pride and Prejudice too, because I don’t really go for period romances or romances in general, but I apparently have to read this otherwise my secret English Majors cult will ritually sacrifice me to the book gods. Once I finish this one, I think They’ll be forced to get off my back and then I can read something that doesn’t involve petticoats getting all in a flutter from trying to guess a man or woman’s true romantic intentions. ugh, (unless it’s a parody, then I’ll consider it.) Jane Eyre is at least supposed to be kind of spooky, I think, all Gothic and whatnot.

6. Just, piles and piles of Discworld books. What can I say? I just pick them up wherever I can, assuming I’ll get to them sooner or later. Really, though, If I keep picking these babies up at the rate I’m going, I’ll be crushed to death under their weight before I’ve read even half of them.

Well, that’s what I’ve got waiting for me this Spring. Any suggestions? Any titles or subjects peak your interest for the next review? Leave a comment or two below and I’ll be sure to try and take it into consideration over my wild and crazy Spring Break. What have you got waiting in the wings on your book shelf?

The Little Brother of It All

Little-BrotherAlright, here comes another novel, this of the non-graphic variety, from Cory Doctorow. I knew I would review the book Little Brother all the way forever ago when I first started this blog, because the book did too much for me and remains incredibly relevant to this day. I even have a feeling it could go on being relevant for quite some time, if people a smart enough to keep reading it. I’m doing my own little part here to make sure that they are.

I was roughly fourteen when the book came out in 2008. One day I came across the book and saw on the cover a quote from none other than Neil Gaiman saying, “I’d recommend Little Brother over pretty much any book I’ve read this year.” As you could’ve guessed, that through the book right to the top of my reading list. Proving faith in the Gaiman is never faith ill-placed, I enjoyed the book immensely.

The story follows teen Marcus Yallow as he goes from an average, snarky high schooler to a government dissident getting water-boarded right in downtown San Francisco. Creating a series of events highly reminiscent of 9/11 gone wrong, Doctorow writes of a terrorist attack on San Francisco bringing about a heavy-handed regime ruled by the Department of Homeland Security. Like any decent novel calling on Orwell’s ghost, this antagonistic government force uses technology to spy on people and invade their rights.

Marcus is caught up in a stampeding crowd during the attacks, and somehow ends up getting detained by the DHS. He is eventually released after harsh treatment and no little to no sympathy when he tries to explain that there must be some mistake that he had no idea how the attacks was happened. He’s eventually released, but things turn worse from there when he discovers that at least one of his friends is seriously injured and that his personal movements are being tracked. Being a rather tech-savy semi-genius, he also finds that his laptop has been bugged.

On top of those personal violations, he finds that strict curfew laws, new and invasive surveillance policies, and even a patriotically altered curriculum at his high school. Marcus responds by instigating a youth revolution, using his tech know-how to provide means for students to get around the censorship and surveillance. A dangerously unbalanced but passionate tug of war starts to take place between the youth from San Francisco and the new government regime. I don’t feel like giving away the ending, as it’s a book I truly recommend you read, but things keep escalating roughly and quickly right up until the very end.

Like most of Doctorow’s books, reading this one made me feel not just like I should become more involved in political issues, this time surveillance, but that I could too, even with my young age. I feel this is the true genius of Doctorow’s piece and few others like it: they make people realize that, in this current technological environment, Big Brother doesn’t have to be the only sibling with any power.

People quite often look at giant corporate data miners or the NSA and their little online Panopticon as gigantic, powerful villains, but fighting these guys is not as futile and pointless as 1984 and a whole bunch of earlier sci-fi lit still choking on Cold War fumes would have you believe.  Orwell, like many others, was seriously worried about a totalitarian regime like the USSR spreading across the world. Technology, like the ever present televisions and speakers espousing the wise words of Big Brother, were a tool in that suppression for the government. However, once technology developed enough that 1984 could conceivably happen, the reality in which that tech existed complicated enough to change the sort of narrative people expected out of their dystopian sci-fi romps. Little Brother illustrates that change perfectly

We didn’t have commander Commie come and install a giant TV with cameras and a speaker into our homes, we were the ones to choose to plaster our homes with tablets, laptops, phones, little cameras and ears. It’s a different dynamic. The exceptionally democratic nature of the internet also means that people have often used technology to let voice unpopular or dissident opinions and fight injustice. I’m thinking mainly of the Arab Spring here. In this era, people seem to believe they have much more control over what they can and ca ‘t do with technology. Even with prying ears and eyes, the average population of a developed country is tech-savy enough to feel they can control their fate with their smart phones.

Heck, you don’t even have to look as recently as Little Brother for books that nod at this changing dynamic of power and privacy in technology. V for Vendetta, the Alan Moore comic responsible for that movie responsible for that Guy Fawkes mask, (the creepy smiley guy with a mustache and goatee, as my parents knew him,) that everyone just had to wear during the occupy movement, was written in the 80s. In general, it seems that even our worst case scenario stories are giving characters a chance to fight back more than they once did before. What’s more, heroes can, like Marcus, now figure out ways to use various kinds of tech to try and combat oppressive tin-plated dictators with delusions of godhood.

I certainly wasn’t a master hacker when I read Little Brother, but the great thing about this book was that Doctorow made sure to show that you didn’t have to be to fight tech with tech. Marcus, his friends, and by the end most of his school and a good chunk of the younger population were able to fight the DHS baddies by just communicating and working together. It’s a sentiment that still definitely holds true in public opinion, and a very encouraging one at that. It seems like the more technology advances, the more people live with the stuff everyday, it becomes a tool or weapon they know how to use and protect, and that mentality is seeping into the very depths of our stories and narratives.

Bossypants: My Scripture

Love That Cover!

Love That Cover!

Alright, couldn’t hold off any longer. I need, yes, need, to discuss a book that I read and reread until I could quite possibly quote whole sections of it, if not the entire text. I’m taking about Tina Fey’s Bossypants. I bought the book the first chance I got when it came out in 2011, as I was already an avid 30 Rock fan and thoroughly convinced that Tina Fey could solve all my life problems in one go after just a second of talking to me. I was about seventeen years old and still in high school, so in all likelihood she probably could’ve. I didn’t have that crazy an adolescence.

I connected to Tina’s story because she too had an apparently rather naturally nerdy childhood. I can’t say I had as many fabulous theater friends as she did in high school, but I definitely had as many if not more Star Wars action figures I loved to play with. Fey was freaking hilarious, to the point where I had to be cautious about reading the book in public because random bouts of cackling laughter from a total stranger can apparently be rather off putting. Only after the third or fourth time reading the book through could I expect myself to keep a relatively cool face in public, and even then not always.

I felt oh-so very special to get a behind the scenes perspective of how her time on SNL or 30 Rock went, but what really excited me beyond all else were the stories she told of her personal life. Even now, I don’t have the personal experience of getting married and having kids, of course, but I none the less felt like I could very well have shared the experience with her after reading those stories, like one of my favorites about how she and her husband went on a cruise and their ship almost went down in a fire. Yeah, that does make me sound a bit eerie, relishing in her near death experience but it was how smoothly she handled describing her super awkward at ultimately nearly deadly vacation that made me reread the story so many times, not the potential promise of her watery death, promise.

Of course, I knew full well by then that this connection was the sort of thing any good, or even mostly decent writer could accomplish, but I suppose her personal style and embracing just fell into such a close frequency to my own that I could dive into full on hero worship. I hadn’t wanted this badly to emulate someone’s life since my one babysitter showed me her Legolas figurine necklace and told me she wanted to be a librarian.

The funny thing is, reading that book also taught me I didn’t have so much in common as I’d thought. She, for example, admitted to being allergic to animals and generally indifferent to dogs and cats. I, on the other hand, absolutely love animals, with a particular soft spot for dogs, as evidenced by the fact that this website is now forever open in at least one tab when I need to use the internet even for one second. I still count Tina Fey as a goddess of my personal pantheon though, right up there with the aforementioned babysitter, easy mac and cheese, and John Green.

I feel like blind spots or allowances can’t help but exist in hero worship. It’s a funny thing to, worship a person and even try to emulate a person you know you may have very important differences with. I think part of being an adult is being able to realize your heroes are humans too and would probably be real creeped out if they met you and the life-size sculpture of their likeness you made entirely out of empty easy-mac n cheese cups just for them. Tina Fey is really helpful in that respect thanks to her self-deprecating style of humor. She probably could still solve all my life problems, but I no longer feel the need to ask my easy-mac Fey shrine for guidance every night, and I’m down to rereading Bossypants only every other month.

Signed Books

Thank you so much for indulging me in yet another experiment with the previous blog entry. If I’d invested a significant amount of time beforehand into learning video editing and filming skills beforehand, I’m sure it could’ve improved, but overall I felt the experience was a nice one not without merit. I did enjoy pretending I had a friend who wanted all my signed books to be rubbed in their face, and a Neil Gaiman signature is so much more impressive when you can see it and not just have it described.

As I said, it is largely thanks to Anderson’s that I have so many signed books. They hold a whole lot of author signings and events. Even if I don’t actually make it to a signing, chances are they’ll have the author sign a surplus of books and put the rest up for sale. Add those books to the trend of authors doing special signings for first editions, like with my one Neil Gaiman book, and coming across signed books is almost becoming a common occurrence for me. As you clearly saw with my signed copy of Trigger Warnings, this can still excite me a great deal. Sometimes, though, I worry that being around all these signed books will spoil me. Sure, not all of the titles and authors are especially well known, but sometimes I still feel like looking at some of the signed books that Anderson’s offers makes me value an author’s signature less.

Partially out of simple curiosity, and partially out of a desire to make sure I don’t become even more of a spoiled wretch, I decided to look into how a signature can change the value of a book. I turned up some pretty interesting results, including a website where I could type in the book, whether it was a first edition, or signed, or not and find out the book’s value. Turn’s out John Green is a bit of a signature slut, (I suppose the fact that I gotten three books with his signature before I’d even started living near Anderson’s should’ve tipped me off,) and so a signed copy of Looking For Alaska or The Fault in Our Stars, first edition or not, will not go for nearly as much as a signed copy of Stephenie Meyer’s The Host. The Host, people, not even a Twilight saga book. It certainly isn’t the quality of the books themselves that causes that difference in worth, let me tell you that. I was smart enough to get a signed copy of the Host when Meyer popped up in town, and it turns out that the book I’m most willing to part with in my collection may be worth the most. Any takers?

That’s the problem, though, with the value of signed books. Often enough, the emotional attachment to the book can really screw with its perceived value. On the potential seller’s side, I’ve got several signed books that I could only picture parting with if I were dead and I actually loved at least one of my still living descendants or friends. Some of those things that add value for me, though, can detract value for a potential buyer. I suppose this one is pretty obvious, but unless a collector is also named Bob or whatever, an copy inscribed to a specific person,( e.g. Bob,) can actually be considered less valuable. Sure, some collectors feel that the more time an author spent with a book, the more they wrote on it, the more valuable, but that’s not the prevailing opinion. I personally feel like Seth Grahame-Smith’s adorable little vampire face signature should count for more whether my name’s on it or not. Not that I’d quickly part with that book anyhow. Oh, and a little caveat with inscriptions. If the book is inscribed to some other person famously closely associated with a writer, then the value goes up whether they’re named Bob or not. I kinda wish John Green had more close friends named Madeline.

Overall, though, I was firmly reminded with my research that just about any signed book, first edition, famous, or otherwise, is generally worth a significantly greater amount than the price paid for a plain copy. I was also firmly reminded, looking at the prices for a few signed books that I own, that I do actually value these books a whole lot and won’t part with them for even a sizable amount. The signatures definitely make me feel a physical presence from the author to complement that mental, psychic presence of the book’s contents. I’ve decided to hold all the signed books I’ve been ridiculously privileged enough to buy that much closer. Except for that Host one people, she’s still up for grabs.

My Bookshelf… and Mah Face!

Hello dear readers. I’d planned on doing  a pretty standard entry this time around. Loads of books are piling upp on my bookshelf right now, and so I thought I could tell you what some of those are. I was getting set to sit down and write a brief little bio for each one, but then I had an epiphany. These books were right here, in front of my face, my computer, and my camera. Wouldn’t it be easier for me to just show them to you?

Several of the books on my shelves are rereads anyhow, and I couldn’t figure much else to write about. Showing you guys, though, that would be exciting, right? Right! You’ll get to see my prized collection of signed books too! I apologize, for the novice production value and skills, as I’m no pro at this, but hope you’ll find what I have to say intriguing despite my crappy camera and film skills. Editing, also. I couldn’t really edit. I mean, if we want to talk about my underdeveloped film skills, we could go one but let’s try and focus on books. Enjoy!