Your latest Library YouTube Break promotes a new book featuring photos of the Flaming Lips. Photographs are by Michelle Martin-Coyne, wife of Lips leader Wayne Coyne. Mr. Coyne talks about the book below, complete with drug references and other lips-centric content. All We Have is Now is a limited edition work that is only available through the Lips website. Order here.
Not a lot to read in this book, but remember: every picture is worth a thousand words; except for pictures of The Flaming Lips, which are worth at least two thousand words!
Enjoy your break.
My friend and colleague Young Bill has been doing what I haven’t been, reading. I’ve been on a cleaning spree so have medicated myself with doses of Doc Martin. I don’t even know where to begin to explain Doc Martin. My husband is no BBC viewer, and he actually loves it. Everyone where I work loves it, our patrons love it.
The doctor gets sick at the sight of blood, there’s various crazy (but very sane) receptionists, Doc Martin’s love interests who he runs off regularly, an irascible plumber and his son and the miscellaneous sick and forlorn of Portwenn, Cornwall. Doc Martin (Martin Clunes) talks to people the way we would like to but can’t get away with it. We’d be fired, divorced, run out of town. It is just incredibly funny and clever, in the self-effacing way the British use humor.
We checked out the DVD from the library, but it looks like episodes are available on the internet.
I can’t wait to read The Passage, except it may go the way of Patrick Rothfuss, the Name of the Wind and Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. The size of the tome is mind boggling. Way to go Young Bill. I’ve promised myself I’ll finish some of the books I’ve started. My sis in law finishes one book before starting another. I can’t go there even if I think it would be good for me. It’s like eating chocolate when you want tacos. I’m definitely a mood reader. So off to more Doc, I’ve got the site of the week in mind, you’ll just have to wait until I finish some more episodes.
Before she became the Girl from Nowhere—the One Who Walked In, the First and Last and Only, who lived a thousand years—she was just a little girl in Iowa, named Amy. Amy Harper Bellafonte.”
Thus begins Justin Cronin‘s epic, The Passage. Epic at 766 pages. Epic in the scope of the story. Epic, as in: expect some sequels to this modern vampire tale. This is the Stephen King story you’ve been waiting for all these years.
OK, I’m sure there could be people who will be upset by that King comparison. Maybe they would be upset because King Rules! Or maybe they would be upset because they believe Cronin writes on a higher level. After all, Cronin is a literary darling who has picked up a PEN/Hemingway Award, a Stephen Crane Prize, and the Whiting Writer’s Award; while King is the book world’s undisputed, uhh… king of horror and suspense.
I’m not insulting either writer. I employ the comparison for simply one reason: I haven’t felt this way about a horror novel since King’s The Stand. It’s that intense. It’s that good.
Science gone wrong leads to a post-apocalyptic world in both novels, but King’s work is firmly rooted in the ancient supernatural struggle between good (God) and evil (The Devil), while Cronin is content to imply that any seemingly supernatural goings-on (telepathy, blood-lust, near immortality) are qualities of our genes that have perhaps lain dormant for millennia—qualities that have been activated by a scientific experiment to extend the human lifespan. (To say this experiment has military implications isn’t surprising, given the stereotypes of the genre, and it isn’t giving anything away.)
Little Amy is the only subject of this experiment to retain her human identity; the other, older guinea pigs are transformed into creatures that can only be described as vampires. These creatures escape the lab and the world falls around Amy, but she continues to live, aging at a much slower rate. The savage beasts recognize her as one of them, so they do not attack her; and they recognize her as someone who can answer the question their minds continually ask: “What am I?”
Following our introduction to Amy and her transformation into a near immortal, we travel almost 100 years into the future to meet a struggling community of surviving humans. Amy eventually joins the survivors, and travels with them as they seek a way to save their haven. Ultimately she confronts one of the original 12 vampires that were created prior to Amy’s transformation, and events are set in motion that will continue in Cronin’s next two books, The Twelve, and The City of Mirrors.
Like in King’s The Stand, the ultimate payoff in Cronin’s work lies in watching the creation of a new, loving family in a harsh and unforgiving world. If you ask me, you couldn’t ask for anything better after the apocalypse.
And there’s gonna be a movie.
This post is about an article sent to me by Young Bill, out of Library Journal, a publication for librarians, resplendent with reviews and library news. Every Reader a Reviewer: The Online Book Conversation by Barbara Hoffert.
Book reviewers used to be the learned literary voice speaking to us from the Book Review pages of magazines and newspapers. They were what librarians like to call “subject specialists” in their particular reviewing field. Many were very good, and every librarian still reads reviews from magazines like; Library Journal, Choice, and Publishers Weekly in order to pick titles for their collections. However, reading some literary reviews made you think the reviewer had swallowed the thesaurus whole. Absolutely stunning reviews about the literary worth of a book that a librarian would know would never check out because it was insanely boring.
So just like the revolution in music, the industry now recognizing the power of wildly popular musicians on YouTube. Book reviewing on sites like Good Reads, or personal blogs is the power of the people getting to pick. To me it started with “DorothyL“, the very popular listserv of mystery readers coming together to talk mysteries; share in a like minded community and pass aroung the good titles among themselves. It gave voice to reader opinions.
I think that’s what most of us book review bloggers do, we give opinions, we share our likes and dislikes, we read and want everyone to read. I like to share events and talk about books. I don’t think I’m in the same category as the reviewer for the New York Times Book Review. I think my job is to make reading accessible and enjoyable. I’m just as comfortable reading Amanda McCabe’s Scandalous Brides, or Patricia Briggs’ Bone Crossed as I am reading Michael Lewis’ The Big Short or Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. I like to read, it’s that simple.
For my own personal reading, I prefer the book bloggers, usually I’m picking people who have similar taste in books. I want to see what they have to say, what they pick up next. If I need to know what book is the best authority on a given topic, then I go to the experts in the field. To me all the book buzz on the internet is just like the Metropolitan Library System book sale and the line snaking around the building to get in, “Who knew all these people were reading? I guess reading isn’t dead after all.”
1. Recently having written a post on Picher, Oklahoma, a colleague noting my interest gave me a followup article in the September issue of Wired magazine, Welcome to Armageddon, USA. Written by Ben Paynter, it details the final throes in the death of an American city.
“Picher isn’t simply another boomtown gone bust. It’s emblematic of what happens when a modern city dies: A few people stay behind, trying to hold on to what they can. They are the new homesteaders, trying to civilize a wasteland at the end of the world.”
2. Interested in Roger Clemens, here’s the facts from the 2008 congressional hearings, given me by our US Documents librarian.
Guilty or not guilty: did Roger Clemens take steroids to help him improve his baseball game? These are the two congressional hearings that were held in 2008 when he plainly stated that he did not take steroids or any other performance-enhancing substances. But as we have heard these last two weeks he is now being indicted for taking just these substances. Here is what he said two years ago–
The “Mitchell Report,” volume two–
Give them a minute to download.
3. Young Bill and I have already gotten tickets and hotel reservations for the September 24-25 Celebration of Books in Tulsa. This is your get a move on reminder.
4. And to keep you chuckling until the long weekend, read Laurence Hughes’ Huffington Post post Books that Sell. What ad would you want to see in your favorite book?