You know, it was bad enough reading the posthumously published A Salmon of Doubt -- what with its snippets and explanations of changes that Douglas Adams PLANNED to make, ultimately turning the long-desired Dirk Gently story into a sixth Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy installment -- but the idea of letting someone else entirely write a final book? That just seems like trouble to me. At least A Salmon of Doubt was cobbled together from various differing versions found on Mr. Adams's's hard drive -- taking the best bits from each -- and thus maintaining some of Douglas' intentions. Having someone completely create something from scratch just to "put an upbeat end to it" actually kind of offends me.
Look: I feel lousy enough that they actually succeeded in putting out a movie version, thus selling a poor interpretation of the thing we all love and adore to those who never understood it. (I imagine the un-initiated viewing that movie and saying "THAT's what those nerds were reading all the time? Geez. What NERDS.")
Seriously, world, STOP WITH THE DOING WHAT YOU THINK DEAD PEOPLE WOULD HAVE WANTED just so you can make a buck. I sincerely doubt that Douglas would want someone else to determine the fates of his characters.
What's next? Putting a hit out on J.K. so that Beverly Cleary can write the "eighth Potter book?"
The Kindle is nice and all, but it's a lot of money for a dedicated device for reading books when I already have tons of devices capable of reading books. A screen, a wireless connection and a keyboard. That describes a Kindle. That also describes laptops, cellphones, iPhones, PDAs, etc.
If you want to sell lots more ebooks, I suggest you release Kindle software for some or all of those devices. Specifically I would suggest laptops and iPhones. The iPhone is my preferred way to read Kindle books (it is way smaller and lighter than Kindle, and I already have it with me all the time), but it'd be really swell if I could wirelessly purchase the books from you and not have to break the law in order to read them.
Now that Apple has 3rd-party apps for iPhone/iPod Touch, I HIGHLY recommend that you make a Kindle app for them. You'll sell bajillions more books than you already do. BAJILLIONS.
Spent an hour at Barnes & Noble today looking at books. I took a few pics of amusing shelf locations and amusing books while looking at covers.
I'm a sucker for a good cover, to the point that I'm contemplating making a coffee table book that's nothing but fake book covers. Or something.
Speaking of covers: I really hate it when they moviefy book covers. You know, when they put the poster of the movie they made out of the book onto the BOOK. ("Oh! I love Brad Pitt... I bet I'll like this book...") Upton Sinclair's <i>Oil!</i> was proudly displayed with Daniel Day-Lewis's mustachioed manliness on its cover, the poster for <i>21</i> emblazoned whichever one of Ben Mezrich's books it was based upon. (I say this because I truthfully don't know which it was... a quick glance at Amazon shows that he has at least three books all detailing his capers with the MIT whiz kids who busted Vegas. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Busting-Vegas-Brought-Casinos-Their/dp/B000Q6GXWM/ref=pdbbs2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1202505258&sr=8-2">One</a>. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Bringing-Down-House-Students-Millions/dp/B00015PPM2/ref=pdbbs3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1202505258&sr=8-3">Two</a>. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-Vegas-Ben-Mezrich/dp/0099490994/ref=pdbbssr_5?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1202505258&sr=8-5">Three</a>.)
I remember trying in vain to locate a copy of <i>Fight Club</i> without either Brad Pitt, Ed Norton, or Brad Pitt AND Ed Norton on the cover around the time the movie came out. Ug. I always like to joke "Oh, they made a book out of that movie?!" whenever I see one, but even that's not doing it for me anymore.
Please, publishers, keep movies off of your books. Thank you.
1) Why is this news? The past two days I've been seeing this story all over the internet, even on so-called "legitimate news" sites. What is wrong with people that someone talking about something that's not even in the book can cause such an uproar?
2) I'm sorry that the world has largely stopped talking about you, J.K., but that doesn't mean you get to start making news by just declaring things about the fiction you wrote. I have no problem with Dumbledore being gay, but for goodness sake, PUT IT IN THE FLIPPIN' BOOK. Don't say you're done with a series of books then come out with all sorts of "oh yeah, one more thing:" stuff to shake things up. Write another book. Sure, you'll be a hypocrite, but I'm OK with that. That's a lot better than someone who is quite obviously just trying to milk this for all its worth without actually expending any of the effort required to legitimately do so. Either write more books or shut the crap up. (I'd prefer the latter. Thanks.)
With the world hinging on the outcome of Harry Potter's saga, J.K. was in a position to do some really interesting things with the characters and the universe. Were there problems with the stories, the universe, the plotting, etc? Of course there were; there usually are. But with all eyes suddenly upon her, she could easily have explained away many of those problems and made the weary, irritated Potter fans like myself happy. For instance, I had really hoped that the reason behind the childishness of the magic universe (Hufflepuff Expellaramus Jiggledylicker!) was due to the fact that the battle Harry had been fighting was one with terminal cancer alone in a state-run orphanage, that creating a world inside his head where he is not only unique, but SPECIAL helped him to cope with reaality. Personifying his illness into someone he can fight, and BY GEORGE ensure that no other kids have to deal with it. (Seriously, it makes sense.) If not terminal cancer, at the very least awareness of the plights of unwanted orphans could have been raised, sparking thousands of children to pester parents into getting one of their very own. All that money wasted on stripey scarves, wands and Bertie Botts Beans could have been much better suited to making the lives of your own little orphan better -- not to mention it probably would have been cheaper. (I have, after all, purchased more than my share of those damned over-priced beans.) Sure, I respect the cool things J.K. did manage to put in, I just wonder how much better they could have been had they been written by someone else.
Sadly, it turns out that it's all silly childishness because that was the best she could come up with. Look, I enjoyed the Potter books quite a bit, but that didn't stop me from wishing that they were actually well-written and not something that I'd need to feel ashamed about reading. Compare the Potter books with something like Philip Pullman's fantastic His Dark Materials trilogy and they just look like something out of my 10th-grade creative writing class. (Full disclosure, I was not IN said creative writing class, I was a TA. This means that I got to read ALL the things that were written by the students.) If you enjoyed Harry Potter even remotely and would like to experience something similar, but that also touches upon many aspects of the human condition, faith, responsibility and subjugation -- and would like to be emotionally affected by them and made to think -- then you simply can't go wrong with His Dark Materials. (Plus, there's only 3 books, and they're already written. At at LEAST a 12th-grade level. And the tragically identifiable gay people in those are actually gay IN the stories.)
To re-iterate: it is really lame to write some books and then to go around talking about things that aren't actually in them. Unless you are George Lucas, you don't get to add stuff. Once people have stayed up all night drawing lightning bolts on their foreheads (and their children's foreheads) wearing stupid glasses and scarves to read the words you worked so hard to sell to them, then that's it. You had plenty of opportunity to put those things into the books where people who care about them (and could conceivably change their outlook on life accordingly as well. "Hmm, Dumbledore was a great guy, and HE was gay... maybe my gay neighbors are all right too.") could read them, but YOU DIDN'T. So either write another book and put anything you'd like to add into that one, or SHUT UP. Better yet, do both.
Can anyone explain to me why Stephen Fry reads the audiobooks over in the UK, while we Americans get Jim Dale -- a different British actor?
I mean, I can ALMOST understand wanting to have an American read it in the American version, but replacing one perfectly good Brit with another? Surely there is a reason for this illogical duplication of effort resulting in an inferior product? (No offense, Jim.)
Sure, Jim does neat voices, but STEPHEN FRY. The voice of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Short of reading it yourself, having Stephen Fry read a book to you is the pinnacle of book reading enjoyment.
Hopefully when the Harry Potter prequel and sequel serieses come out they'll save themselves a bunch of time and money and just give us Americans the Stephen Fry versions. I don't think I can sit through another 14 volumes knowing that there's a better product out there that just isn't available to me.
Do you remember the self-help book I put out a few years back? Well it's in a brand new printing, so I figure it's time to plug it again.
Do you ever wish you could spend your day frolicking about without ever worrying about a thing? Do you wish sex was less relationship-driven and more of a recreational activity? Do you wish you could do a double back flip, and kill sharks with only your nose?
This best-selling motivational book has helped millions lead the fulfilling lives they always wished they could, and now with the new chapter on whistle-based communication, you can do all that and help get ideas across to others in a more efficient manner.
There are a bunch of things I've been meaning to recommend to people, so I figured I'd just post a 'meta-recommendation' here. (note: All links to products are direct linked to the best Froogle result. I don't get any cheesy commission or anything, because I think that is lame.)
Firstly, if you enjoyed Harry Potter, but wish that J.K. Rowling was a little bit less R.L. Stein and a little bit more C.S. Lewis, you should check out Philip Pullman's superbly written and beautifully poignant His Dark Materials trilogy [froogle result]. All three of these books are my favorite.
Next up, if you liked Harry PotterandHis Dark Materials and enjoy listening to audio books for free, you must check out The Pocket and the Pendant by Mark Jeffrey. This was originally posted as a podcast, and us listeners had the story dragged out for what seems like forever. You can subscribe in podcast format at podiobooks.com, but you apparently need to create an account, so it's probably easier just to download each chapter by hand from the link above. This book is also available in print for those of you who don't feel like listening to it for free (which I would highly recommend because all the character voices and music really add to the production), it is available in print [froogle result].
A week or so ago, MadProfessor recommended It's Only Temporary[froogle result], which I purchased (and loved immensely) based on the review he wrote. I can't do it justice, so just click on over to his review.
If you enjoy the work of Stephen King, want some helpful hints on how to write, and are possibly entertaining the idea of writing fiction of your own for fun and profit, you ought to check out On Writing by Stephen King [froogle result]. There's a lot of really great advice in there, and some really entertaining stories regarding the events of Steve's life that shaped the stories he would eventually write. An entertaining read, even for non-writers.
I'm going to try an experiment, one that hopefully won't get me into any serious trouble.
There's a book that is pretty darn neat, but is out of print. Because of its unattainability, the people that do have copies try to sell them for anywhere between $200 and $500. This is unacceptable. There are many people who have written the publisher asking for another printing run, but they refuse to do it. I think that it might actually be them periodically releasing copies into the marketplace at at least 200 times the cover price. This is unacceptable.
So herein lies my experiment: I'm going to post a crappy scan of the book (which has been easily attainable in the deeper darker scarier parts of the internet for quite some time now anyways) and see how long it takes before I get a cease and decist letter. I don't think I get enough hits to really worry too much, but I am a little bit paranoid anyway.
My hope is that some of the people who want to read the book badly enough to pay the asshats who only have it so they can sell it for huge amounts of money will be able to find it without breaking the bank or supporting those that inflate the value of things.
Without further ado, I present you with Cards as Weapons:
Click to Download
Ricky Jay is an amazing magician and his card throwing technique is simply amazing to see. With this book, you too can learn to be somewhat closer to his level of expertise. Sadly the scan job is of a less than desirable quality, otherwise I would have run this through OCR and made a nice readable text version. Note to pirates: if you are going to go to the trouble to scan in a priceless book, please do a good job of it and spend the time to format it in a manner that doesn't require a PDF viewer. Thanks.
Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince is due to be published at midnight on Saturday and is expected to be the UK's best-selling adult hardback of the year.
I realize that plenty of adults are going to be reading the book, but last time I checked it is still categorized as a childrens book.
Pirated eBook update: There are a few .torrents floating around that purport to be the book, but they're actually bad fanfic novels. Who writes a 289 page Harry Potter fanfic? Hopefully a legit illegitimate copy will turn up soon after the actual release. Please don't make me lug that thing!