(Book) Clubbing

I am a natural reader. Even when I was younger, and all the other kids were running and flailing around the backyard, I would be happy in the grass flipping pages, studying colors and words, and just loving the imaginative process of reading.

Websites such as LibraryThing and GoodReads provide the natural readers of today a place where they can not only inventory their vast literary experiences, but also connect with other readers in a friendly (albeit less-than-personal) environment to discuss, argue, and relish in the existence of other bibliophiles.

But what of biblio-friendships before the age of internet technology? We had the Book Club. Choosing a book, getting together, drinking, snacking, and really getting into a discussion of a novel that some liked, some disliked, and if all else failed, most everyone had an opinion on. Or, more realistically, everyone gets a bit tipsy, never read the book in the first place, and uses the weekly/monthly event as an excuse to just unwind.

I like the idea of book discussions-but I also like the fact that reading shouldn’t end up being a weekly chore.

Anyone have experiences with book clubs that they recommend? Things to avoid? Ways to ensure that everyone involved not only enjoys the act of reading the selection but also discussing it?


professional Rumblings

Last night was the 25th Anniversary of the WWE Royal Rumble. For those unacquainted with the world of professional wrestling, each wrestler exists as its own character. Each has a back story, a character profile, enemies, friends, and allies. These can change multiple times during a season, creating new ties, breaks, and plot twists.

Gets me thinking: Consistency, whether its a character in a novel, a comic, a sitcom, or even wrestling, is essential to the reaction it illicits from the audience. Who keeps track of all of this? Does the WWE have an Information Specialist with a database on the ready? Are they still using paper files to keep everything on track?

Knowledgeable wrestling fans out there, teach me!

cinematic rants and musings

As an ex-bookseller, I still cringe at movie adaptation/advertisement bookcovers. I understand the fundamental need for them and their connectivity between brands, and yet there’s this lingering distaste for the act of removing a well-designed cover in lieu of something with a moviestar face. Instead of asking for Eat Pray Love, for example, which is a fine book (from what I’m told), people forget that the book ever has  a title: “yah know, that Julia Roberts movie–that’s a book too, right?” Fooey.

That being said, I’m just now starting to formulate an agreement with myself concerning the deluge of books-into-films that we seem to be drowning in. The Librarian part of me is torn. I’m happy that people are watching adaptations of lovely tales, and more often than not are returning to the codex afterwards (or first, before the theatrical release) for enjoyment. What does this say about our cinematic talents, though? Are these films to be taken as sincere homages to the books they mimic, or are we so strapped for ideas, so strapped for a way to exemplify the human experience, that we lazily return to an author that said it right the first time?

All book-snobbery aside, do what you will with the expected releases in 2012, here highlighted by Publisher’s Weekly. I’ll be there, and I might even share some popcorn.

authors and their private collections

“I’m big on sniffing books. The old Soviet ones really have this strong smell, reminding me, for some reason, of tomato soup in a cheap Soviet cafeteria.” – Gary Shteyngart

Who better to appreciate books, their histories, and their impact on the human experience than authors themselves? Financial Times magazine took the time to interview some of today’s most influential and recognizable authors in their natural habitats-their personal living-space libraries and bookshelves.

Financial Times Magazine–Unpacking my Library

book excitement!

On the 25th anniversary of the show Pee-wee’s Playhouse, the behind-the-scenes story is being told for the first time by those who experienced it. Complete with an episode guide, biographical information about the cast and key members of the show’s creative team, never-before-told anecdotes, and previously unpublished photos, this biography takes the first in-depth look behind the popular program. Paul Reubens, as Pee-wee Herman, has been making a comeback since August 2010, appearing on Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Tonight Show, and The View. He also starred in a successful stage revival of his live show which hit Broadway in late 2010. This is the first comprehensive look at this amazingly successful children’s program, reenergized by the character’s reemerging presence.” –, Laughing Squid


Inside Pee-wee’s Playhouse: The Untold, Unauthorized, and Unpredictable Story of a Pop Phenomenon.