Tuesday, February 06, 2007

When I was your age, television was called books.

As an eager book-devourer in my youth and as an aspiring writer now, I've always appreciated that quote from The Princess Bride. We are a culture that no longer reads anything longer than a myspace comment. The sorts of books that get any readership are laughable at best to any academic community (Yes I'm talking about Dan Brown) and quality writing is rarely rewarded with any amount of readership (a recent exception with Susannah Clarke's success). As a me-driven society we are obsessed by anyone else as selfish as ourselves. We are enthralled by the concept of an egocentric existence (allow me to point out the James Frey fiasco).

Book Clubs are becoming something chic. They read Made for Television novels and all go see the film together when it gets to the dollar theatre. A good book should stand well on its own without a movie deal. This is not to say that good books do not yield good films. This does argue that maybe you shouldn't buy your next book from the same place you buy low fat yogurt and tampons/diapers/condoms what-have-you. Maybe bookstores have better selections of books. Maybe independent bookstores have better books by unheard-of-authors. Maybe the future is in internet-based self-publishing.

Having finished my diatribe, I'd like to recommend some further reading for you, my brave readers. Up-and-coming writer Todd Keisling (myspace, lulu, deviantArt) has released his second self-published book entitled A Life Transparent. You should pick it up. For a modest price you can grab a signed copy as proof that you were onto him when he was still indie rock. The proceeds go toward his wedding, which I plan on crashing. I promise to let you know if he spent your money wisely.

Honestly, I'm reading this book right now and it's excellent. It's not stuffy and scholarly but it is very well written. It's fast-paced and exciting and I'll be a bit pissy when it's ended. If you're my mother, I've already purchased a copy for you--but if you're not, you should buy a copy. If you're my brother, you should buy a copy because there's a surprise at the end. Everyone else, you should buy a copy because it's damn excellent reading, and lets be honest. You don't read a lot now that college/high school/Reading Rainbow is behind you.

Go on, get a move on it.

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