Book Recommendation: The Postmortal

I was up till midnight finishing a book I was reading, The Postmortal, and then up a couple hours after that just processing my feelings. If you like speculative fiction, and post-apocalyptic stuff, I recommend it. Here’s the review I posted on my Goodreads:

This is one of the best books I’ve read in a while. It’s speculative fiction. What would happen if there was suddenly a cure for aging. Like, you could never die from old age. People still die, from murder, illness, etc., but not old age. And not only that, but your appearance doesn’t change from the moment you receive the cure. So, people 100 years old walking around looking 25.

And it’s pretty bleak, to be honest. But never not entertaining. It’s well written and the protagonist is like-able.

But what happens to things such as marriage when you’re talking about a 200 year lifetime rather than an 80 year one? Can the planet sustain an undying population? And with the need for money (no cure for capitalism) and you live indefinitely, could you ever retire?

These are some of the themes in the book. It is worth your time, in my opinion.

Anyhow, it’s a good book. Let me know if you read it and what you think.

Don’t Read Books When You Are Sick

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I’m currently sick. It’s not a big deal. I just have a head cold. It’s more of a nuisance, just something that inhibits my sleep a bit (it turns out breathing greatly increases ones ability to sleep). I like to think of Winter head colds as my annual weight-loss program, as I instantly lose my appetite when I’m sick.

Unrelated: do those in climates that don’t really have temperature fluctuations in line with the seasons still get “Winter” illness?

Anyhow, the point of this post. Don’t read books when you are sick. Now, I don’t really believe that nor do I follow it. I’m currently reading an excellent novel by Drew Magary called The Postmortal.  But I know the risks involved in reading while sick.

A few years ago I had more than a head cold. Strep throat most likely. It was the worst. I missed multiple days of work. It was miserable. But at least I had my trusty book to read. Only I didn’t finish it completely while I wasn’t feeling well. And I haven’t looked at it since. Because my mind associates that book with that feeling of being sick.

Anybody else have a book ruined by the circumstances of when you were reading it?

Welcome To Night Vale (And Bizarrely Brilliant Sentences)

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So I’m currently reading the Welcome To Night Vale novel, inspired by the brilliant Welcome to Night Vale podcast. What is Welcome to Night Vale? Well, here is what The Awl says because I lack the proper skills to describe it:

“Welcome to Night Vale” is a twice-monthly, 25-ish-minute podcast featuring news, traffic, and weather out of a small town in the Southwestern corner of the United States that does not actually exist. The town’s dog park, which is forbidden, is fictional, as is the mayor, Pamela Winchell, who is probably demonic. The radio show’s host, Cecil Baldwin is real, kind of. One of his most-used words is “void.”

That doesn’t really do the show justice either. I would just say Welcome To Night Vale is insanely bizarre in the most joyous way imaginable. I only finally checked our the podcast last month but immediately fell in love with it. Hence the reading of the novel. Which is the whole point of this post.

It really is a joy to read. There is just so much weird stuff going on. Such as in the photo above. Libraries are described as one of the most dangerous places in Night Vale. Some where to avoid.

Particularly this bit:

 “The other option was to go to the public library. Few people came back from a visit to the library. There was one girl a few years ago that survived the Summer Reading Program at the Night Vale Public Library. The girl, Tamika Flynn, defeated the librarian that had imprisoned her and her classmates, using the switchblade hidden in every hardback edition of Eudora Welty’s touching homecoming novel The Optimist’s Daughter.”

The entire book is filled with stuff like that. If you like the absurd, you should check it out.

Books Glorious Books

As always, a bunch of books have caught my eye lately. So, I thought I’d share the awesomness. Apologies to your wallet in advance.

Close personal friend of the blog, Heidi Willis, has a book out titled Some Kind of Normal.

About the book (via Amazon.com):

How far would you go to save the life of someone you love? This is the question the Babcock family struggles with when 12-year-old Ashley is diagnosed with diabetes, which quickly turns deadly. A day or two in the hospital stretches into months as the doctors explore every medical alternative to find a way to cope with the mounting complications, but Ashley continues to deteriorate. If faith can cure Ashley, the folks at First Baptist Church are sure they have more than enough to keep her alive. But as Babs watches her daughter’s life and death struggle and sees her family start to unravel, she turns to the Internet and science to find a solution the doctors say isn’t there.

Here is the book’s trailer:

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

You can read the first chapter of “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” here (direct link to .pdf)

Here’s a description of the book, but really it’s the 16th President, fighting vampires. Man I wish I wrote this one:

Indiana, 1818. Moonlight falls through the dense woods that surround a one-room cabin, where a nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln kneels at his suffering mother’s bedside. She’s been stricken with something the old-timers call “Milk Sickness.”

“My baby boy…” she whispers before dying.

Only later will the grieving Abe learn that his mother’s fatal affliction was actually the work of a vampire.

When the truth becomes known to young Lincoln, he writes in his journal, “henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose…” Gifted with his legendary height, strength, and skill with an ax, Abe sets out on a path of vengeance that will lead him all the way to the White House.

While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.

Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time-all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation..

A User’s Guide to the Universe: Surviving the Perils of Black Holes, Time Paradoxes, and Quantum Uncertainty
About the Book

“A User’s Guide to the Universe: Surviving the Perils of Black Holes, Time Paradoxes, and Quantum Uncertainty” answers the sorts of the questions that we (as physicists) have been drunkenly asked at cocktail parties, but lacked the wherewithal to coherently answer.

* “Can I build a time machine?”

* “What is the universe expanding into?”

* “Won’t the LHC destroy the world?”

Each chapter focuses on a single question, and in the process of answering it, we’ll take you on a roundabout tour of the surrounding countryside, with lots of groan-worthy puns and awesome cartoons to boot. In the process, we promise not to lie to you. No false claims about what physicists know; no describing by analogy; most importantly, no equations (save one famous one).
Excerpt

A cute book I’d like to get for my daughter is called The Soccer Princess: Josephina and the Crustacean King

After a soccer distraction at her home ball, Jo is sent off to the Perfectly Pink Princess Etiquette School, where she doesn’t know how she’s going to fit in and still be true to herself. But she is surprised to meet new similar friends: Football Princess “Mack” and Baseball Princess “Sam”! By day the girls learn princess traits and lessons… by night they practice their sport moves. But when the Crustacean King invades the school and robs the prized Pink Pearl, it’s the Sport Princess’ chance to prove whether their sport skills may pay off.

Author: Bethany Hegerhorst
Illustrator: Stephan Maich
Publisher: Leo Publishing Works, Inc.
Hardcover Picture Book and Jacket
Size: 11×10
Pages: 32

Eoin Colfer on New Hitchhiker’s Guide Book

For those of you who are on the fence about the new Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy book, I found this video on Eoin Colfer’s (Artemis Fowl) website in which he talks about his approach to writing the new book. He also hints that Douglas Adams wife and daughter were happy with the choice of him as author.

In Colfer’s own words, he’s not trying to be Douglas Adams. Rather the book simply is “presenting you with a possible ending in a possible universe which you may find amusing”.

I think the book is worth a look for Hitchhiker’s Guide fans. It will not be Douglas Adams, of course, but it just might be an escape for six hours.

Autumn of Books

There are legitimately four or five books coming out in October that are on my “must read” list. Seeing as how I have MAYBE room in the budget for one new book a month, this could be a problem. Not all of them are going to make it to the library either.

Here are the books on my list, all of which launch in October. I list them to make you aware they are coming out and also so I don’t forget.

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  • Unseen Academicals
    This is the latest in the Discworld series. It’s soccer in the Discworld. It doesn’t get much better than that.
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Right now I’m leaning toward either the Fables novel or the Calvin and Hobbes novel. Or a second job.

Naked Books

Well, that title should spike the old stats a bit. Anyhow,I read recently that the new trend is books without dust jackets. I for one am thrilled and hope the trend spreads.

I like a nice pretty picture on a dust jacket of a book as much as the next guy. However, they really do get in the way when you are trying to read. Plus the show smudges and just look bad over time. Yuck.

I mean, I love the look of old books. I’m not alone. There are places that sell old books in bulk to people to use as decoration in their homes, like pieces of furniture or something. That will not happen with today’s dust jacket books.

I don’t really think the trend will catch on because publishers are much too conservative to make this type of change, especially in this economy. Still, I can dream, right?

Book Release – Red-Headed Stepchild

I have nothing today. Feel slightly better, but other than that – meh. So, how about a nice plug for a writer friend?

Jaye Wells has a book out today. It’s called Red-Headed Stepchild. Here’s a description:

In a world where being of mixed-blood is a major liability, Sabina doesn’t really fit in. And being an assassin – the only profession fit for an outcast – doesn’t help matters. But she’s never brought her work home. Until now.

Her latest mission is uncomfortably complex, and threatens the fragile peace between the vampire and mage races. As Sabina scrambles to figure out which side she’s on, she uncovers a tangled political web, some nasty facts about her family and some unexpected new talents. Any of these things could be worryingly life-changing, but together, they could be fatal …

This time, it’s personal.

Buy it!

Google and Sony Reader

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Did any of you hear yesterday that Sony and Google announced a deal that brings 500,000+ books for free to Sony Reader users in Reader format? Here’s a quote from the press release:

Sony and Google announced today the launch of a partnership to bring upwards of 500,000 public domain texts from Google’s Book Search collections to Sony’s line of electronic Readers at no cost to the user.

What does this mean? It means Paul has got some readin’ to do!

These books were previously available from Google anyhow and it was possible with some software and some time to make files you could read on the Sony Reader. This just makes it much more accessible and easy. All I have to do is go to my Sony Reader software, find the book I want, and click “Download”.

There is some great stuff there. Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Dickens, L. Frank Baum (all of the Wizard of Oz stuff is there), as well as non-fiction books. Here’s a link to a book I downloaded yesterday titled The Life of Abraham Lincoln (written by Henry Ketcham in 1901). Note you don’t have to have the Sony Reader to read this online.

This is such excellent news for me as a book lover and a Sony Reader owner. Anyhow, just thought I’d share.