Six Second Reading List

I wondered what my reading list would look like if I compressed it all into one, six second burst. Now, there were some problems. Namely, I read mostly ebooks now and they didn’t show up so well on the video.

Here’s a list of the books I was able to cram in:

  1. Cattus Petasatus by Doctore Seuss (A Latin translation of The Cat in the Hat)
  2. Fantastic Four #112 “Hulk vs Thing” (I own more than 500 issues)
  3. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King (I own four versions of this: paper back, hard pack, audio, and a pop-up: shown here)
  4. Pandora in the Congo by Albert Sánchez Piñol (A fantastic book)
  5. Barlowe’s Guide to Fantasy by Wayne Douglas Barlowe (Had this book as a kid)
  6. The Giver by Lois Lowry (Why this hasn’t become a movie yet is beyond me)
  7. The Short Stories by Ernest Hemingway (His shorts are his best work)
  8. Ulysses by James Joyce (I took a class in college where we simply read and analyzed this book. The only way to get through it.)
  9. Holes by Louis Sachar (A genius piece of fiction)
  10. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (Loved it as a kid. Sparked my interest in dimensions.)
  11. Howl by Allen Ginsberg (Saw this guy perform in person, not this poem though.)
  12. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig (I’ve read this book several times)
  13. Dracula by Bram Stoker (Surprisingly action packed for its time)
  14. The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkein (The whole darn series needs to be in here)
  15. Hell House by Richard Matheson (A superb tale of terror)
  16. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (Such a stunning example of voice)
  17. The Wave by Todd Strasser (I chanced upon this in a bookstore and then couldn’t stop reading)
  18. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (I have all these books either in my classroom or on audio. Therefore I had to pick up the graphic novel for the video)
  19. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Read this in middle school. Then it haunted me until I could find it and read it again in my thirties)
  20. Dune by Frank Herbert (Hits all the marks for great Science Fiction)
  21. Dr. Grordbort presents Victory by Greg Broadmore (A cunning work of steampunk satire)
  22. Wicked Bugs by Amy Stewart (I also own Wicked Plants)
  23. The Book of Imaginary Beings by Jorge Luis Borges He pulls these creatures from mythology, but so great to read)
  24. After Man: A Zoology of the Future by Douglas Dixon (This one really sparks the imagination)
  25. You Get So Alone at Times That It Just Makes Sense by Charles Bukowski (I own and have read multiple Bukowski books. This one simply had the most Post It notes attached.)
  26. The Complete Poems of John Keats (My fav is Ode to a Nightingale)
  27. Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary (Yes, I love the dictionary)
  28. The Elements by Theodore Gray (This makes science addictive)
  29. The Changing Vampire of Film and Television (I had to slip my own book in there)
  30. Olympians: Zeus by George O’Connor (Not only mythology, but written as a kick-butt graphic novel)
  31. Wired Magazine (Okay, so not a book, but it’s the only magazine I read)
  32. Hellboy by Mike Mignola (One day he’s going to take that crown)
  33. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (The book is a work of philosophy mixed with horror)
  34. Bag of Bones by Stephen King (Yes, he made the list twice)
  35. The Complete Science Fiction Treasury of H. G. Wells (My Granddad gave this to me when was a tween. Loved the way the stories expanded my imagination.)
  36. Cold Skin by Albert Sánchez Piñol (He also made the list twice. You should read his stuff.)

Happy Reading

Tim Kane

Use a Handy Flowchart to Choose Your Next Book

I read a lot of books, but choosing a new one is plenty hard. With traditional bookstores vanishing, I can’t simply stroll through the aisles and pluck titles up as I fancy. This flowchart details how to navigate book titles in the ebook world. Keep  in mind, these are catered to my quirky taste. However, maybe there are some elements that relate to you.

Book Read Flow Chard

Tim Kane

Looking In the Mirror Could Summon Evil Fish

Who knew vanity could have such a backlash. I’ve always felt mirrors held another world (very Through the Looking Glass of me). As a kid I pressed my face up to the glass, wondering if I could push through.

Su Blackwell’s Book-cut Sculptures (Alice: Through the Looking Glass)

Su Blackwell’s Book-cut Sculptures (Alice: Through the Looking Glass)

Then I chanced upon the Fish anthology, which offered a chance to realize these dreams (even if in flash fiction form). The goal of the book is creating a dream-like world where surreal and literary collide. No genre limitations, just a single theme: Fish. That’s a slippery topic.

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My story concerns a gentleman who’s a little too obsessed with his own reflection, even to the point of ignoring his lovely wife. His reflections morphs, becoming fish-like. It’s intentions are not so pleasant. THe glass cracks and as the fish creature attempts to burst through.

I was inspired by a myth read in Imaginary Beings by Borges concerning how fish plan to take over the world, through mirrors. Check out this excerpt from the myth.

“Both kingdoms, the specular and the human, lived in harmony; you could come and go through mirrors. One night the mirror people invaded the earth. Their power was great, but at the end of bloody warfare the magic arts of the Yellow Emperor prevailed. He repulsed the invaders, imprisoned them in their mirrors, and forced on them the task of repeating, as though in a kind of dream, all the actions of men. He stripped them of their power and of their forms and reduced them to mere slavish reflections. Nonetheless, a day will come when the magic spell will be shaken off. The first to awaken will be the Fish.”

Want to read more? Check out the digital version. (Amazon Kindle version) But wait, this astounding anthology is also available in print version (also Amazon).

Tim Kane

Protect Your Books at All Costs

I recently saw in the news that librarians in the African city of Timbuktu are stashing away ancient books to prevent rebels from looting and burning them. Just think about it. These folks are putting their lives at risk for books. That’s awesome.

I nabbed this photo from Arab News. Click on the picture to view their article.

I nabbed this photo from Arab News. Click on the picture to view their article.

For those of you who don’t know (and I was one of them) Timbuktu is dead center in Mali.

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This area has a long tradition of hiding texts. People first hid early Islamic works from Moroccans, then the Europeans. So these folk know what they’re doing. The main library that’s been affects is the Ahmed Baba Institute. It houses all sorts of delicate, museum quality text.

Don’t know who Ahmed Baba is? Neither did I. This fella is the greatest medieval West African writers. He lived from 1556 to 1627, making him a contemporary to Shakespeare (though he didn’t get to run a playhouse). He was a major scholar in the Songhai Empire, which ruled most of West Africa. Too bad that the Arabs rushed in and destroyed the empire, imprisoning all the teachers, including this fella. After everyone, I mean everyone, petitioned for his release, Ahmed Baba was able to head back to Timbuktu. Check out his picture.

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I’m sorry, but when I look at this, only one thing comes to mind.

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Just like the character Jules (at the end of the flick), Ahmed Baba was soft spoken and gave credit to the Almighty. It seems the current librarians in Timbuktu are taking a cue and busting some ass to protect priceless works of literature.

Tim Kane

As eBooks Grow, Will the Printed Book Become Art?

Book art by Lisa Occhipinti

Think back, if you can, to a time when you might have learned calligraphy. You know, that fancy formal type writing that went out with the advent of the typewriter. I know I loved writing that way, but only for special notes or letters. It took too much work. Printing or cursive was faster. Plus, calligraphy had taken on airs. It felt it was better than everyone else. It was art.

Will the printed book slide into this pretentious slot? I think it very well might.

Think about it. Printed books won’t vanish. In the near future, at least, they’ll be plentiful. A fellow writer of mine just had his backlist bought up by Amazon. I asked if they would create ebooks, and he said no. The backlist is all Westerns, and these are older readers who still prefer print.

Yet as the generations march on, much of the printed books may vanish. Leaving splendid coffee table tomes and specialty volumes to remain. These will become aesthetic icons.

Even flimsy paperbacks will be enthroned in museums. We love nothing better than the deification of pop culture. Think I’m spinning a yarn? It’s already happening.

Look at this art installation for the 2012 Olympics in London by Brazilian artists Marcos Saboya and Gualter Pupo. New and used books were stacked up in this shape of a fingerprint (the late Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges, to be precise.)

Jan Reymond is another artist, who lives in the small Swiss village of Romainmôtier. He’s created multiple installation pieces where he suspends used books to create sculptures. Here he created a tree called, Le Thésarbre, in the courtyard of an abbey.

Finally Lisa Occhipinti is a mixed media artist who creates art projects out of books. Below is “Circulation” which binds together some rather beaten volumes.

You need look no further than your local Anthropologie store. Their window displays make copious used of old dusty books.

These may be the future of books. I certainly can’t see anyone preserving ebooks in the same way. Someday there might be artists who create art from the copious ereaders we use. But there’s something so tactile about a physical book. I’m fascinated by it and would gladly peruse art installations that showcase the tome.

Tim Kane

Readophile

I love everything that has to do with books. Most of my love exhibits itself in clever sayings or aphorisms about reading and books. At incidental comics, I stumbled upon an amazing comic about adopting books. Check out Stray Books:

I makes me want to adopt books. Now, how about books as a wall. In 2005, Swiss artist Jan Reymond began constructing elaborate installations each year, made of the old, unsold books as a last hurrah for the soon-to-be discarded objects. He also made a tree out of books. That’s dedication.

Then I found a photographer Kirsty Mitchell. Following her mother’s death from a brain tumour in 2008, Kirsty channelled her grief into her passion for photography. She retreated behind the lens of her camera and created Wonderland, an ethereal fantasy world.

Below is The Storyteller: A reference to Kirsten’s English teacher mother, a model sits elegantly on a carpet of bluebells enveloped by books.

Finally, we have artist Robert The (yes, that’s his name). He takes books and then cuts them up to create new symbols. A lobster. A broom. A cake. And yes, a gun.

I still love to read books too. Now, mostly ebooks. But sometimes there’s something special about glue and paper. If the picture below doesn’t make you shiver with excitement, then real, physical books, aren’t for you.

Tim Kane

How to Burn Books in the Digital Age

I have to be honest with you. I have burned a book. It’s something I can never live down and it haunts me.

I was somewhere in my early teens. Either middle school or high school. I was a big D&D nut and loved watching The Evil Dead series. I purchased a copy of the Necronomicon. Now I realize how harmless this book is, but at the time, it seemed stunning and real to me. As well as to my dad.

He freaked. He’d had a bad experience with a Tarot deck years ago. For him, it was round two. He couldn’t take the book being in my house. He convinced me to dispose of it. I wish I had said no. I should have. No book deserves this. It’s what people with small minds do to ideas.

I was young. I capitulated.

The barbecue fired up. The book thrown on. I couldn’t watch the whole process. I left.

It seems like people will be burning books forever. Or will they? Recently, there have been a rash of book burnings for Fifty Shades of Grey. Do I think this book is worthy of great literary merit? Hardly. Yet it certainly doesn’t deserve burning. These people bought the book. Thus more money flows to EL James.

It got me thinking. Would we still have these burnings in a decade or so? With the advent of ebooks, we might face a time when there are no print versions of a book to burn. What then? Will people burn their Kindles and Nooks? How silly would that be?

Perhaps they would all press the delete button at the same time. Yeah, cause that would send a message. How anti-climactic.

Maybe future book Nazis will create viruses to attack and delete books. A clever concept, though it might be beyond the scope of their intelligence. Also, deleting other people’s books is tantamount to setting arson to a bookstore.

We all know that there will still be print books in some form in the future. After all, people still print out photos despite the plethora of ways to use the digital pictures. It brings up the idea that a clever author might be able to circumvent the mad book burners if he or she knows the book will be controversial. Future authors could simply print their book only as an ebook.

Although a truly brilliant author would want the book to be burned. There’s no better publicity than setting a book aflame. If it weren’t for the repulsiveness of the act, it’s be a great publicity stunt.

This writer is curious as to how people will take out their wrath on future books. I’m certain they will find a way. Hate always does.

Tim Kane