I confess: When a favorite series of books or movies are between installments, I troll the internet looking for clues about what will happen next. A Star Wars fan? Then like me, you were practically moved to tears by the brief glimpse of Han Solo and Chewbacca at the end of the Force Awakens trailer. Or perhaps you also dig Jeff Kinney’s consistently hilarious Wimpy Kid series. Then you’ve known for ages that book 10 is called Old School, and that in it, Greg Heffley has to go without his beloved modern conveniences (such as iPhones, or computers, or—gasp!—blogs on author websites such as this one). Or, as I’m sure you fans of Divergent already know, the fifth and final entry, Detergent, will wash away all the complaints readers had with Allegiant, the trilogy finale. (Okay, I made up that last one.) At any rate, for you clue seekers, several things I can promise will not happen in the third Blood Guard novel: [Read more…]
Believe me when I tell you this: a librarian saved my life.*
I was eight and a sweet kid despite an exceedingly grim home life. (Too little money and too many problems—while there may be as many unhappy families as there are stories about them, suffice to say ours was a family unhappier than most.)
That was when Thomas S. Huse came into my life. He took over the school library at Palomar Elementary, as well as the school’s gifted program, and because I had been a middling member of the latter, I became a fixture in the former. Over the next few years, Mr. Huse changed my world for the better, though the long-term effects wouldn’t be clear for decades. [Read more…]
One thing to know about me is this: I read books. A lot of them. Some I buy and some are sent to me for free, but the end result is that every month ten to twenty new books turn up in the house. Which, you know, is a nice thing—a house full of unread books is a happy place.
Anyway, I thought I’d start a regular feature here in which I reveal that month’s book haul and comment on the acquisitions. And then later, perhaps I’ll comment on my reactions to what I’ve read—sort of like a mix of what some teens do on YouTube and Nick Hornby’s column at The Believer.
Here is my inaugural book haul for August: The top two titles, by Etgar Keret and Connor Franta I am reading for a memoir project I’ve been working on [Read more…]
If you’ve read any interviews with me, you may know of my love for the novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs. He was the creator not just of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, but also of John Carter of Mars; the land that time forgot called Caspak; the world within the hollow Earth called Pellucidar; as well as dozens of novels about other people and places besides. His novels were wildly popular during his lifetime, and for good reason: They are breathtaking adventure stories written with a kind of energy that few writers equaled at the time.
They are also—then and now—considered trash without literary merit. But the thing about the books you love as a reader? You don’t care whether or not they’re considered “art.” And, as Edgar Rice Burroughs writes to the young Forrest J. Ackerman, “If [a novel] forms the habit of reading, in people who might not read otherwise, it is the best literature.”
Never mind the movies; these hundred-year–old adventure tales remain as vibrant (if a bit overwritten) as they were back when they were first published. There’s very little of these stories behind The Blood Guard, but they are in its deep DNA. It was a love of the novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs that got the young me seriously hooked on reading.