Oh, these lists. They drive me nuts! But this one does include Bridget Jones’s Diary, so maybe it isn’t all that bad. (via @PenguinBooks)
“… I was struck by this question, of what happens when previously “locked up” content – stuff that is invisible, lost, or in far-off backlist – becomes free, and even more freely available? How will we judge, choose between, or come to find/value content – new or old?” (via @bookoven)
“A new kind of illiteracy is confronting more and more seemingly educated people these days: the inabilty to read handwritten text.” (via @bookoven) Well I know I certainly don’t remember how to write in cursive, except for my signature. Though I do write in a modified print/cursive mix, so. Er. Dunno. (Apparently that’s being taught in some school now?)
Summary from Amazon:
Michael McGill is a burned-out private detective who suddenly becomes enlisted by an army of presidential goons to retrieve the Constitution of the United States, but not the one we all know about. This would be the real Constitution (the one with invisible amendments) created by some of the Founding Fathers as a fallback for their great experiment. Along the way, McGill gains a polyamorous sidekick named Trix, gets scared to death by what men do with warm salty water, and descends into a world where crime, sex, and madness all seem to be the same thing.
Oh, it’s worse than that. Crooked Little Vein is about the underground going mainstream. It’s about the outside coming in. It’s about Godzilla bukkake porn.
Well, maybe not just about Godzilla bukkake porn, but porn is a part of it. The weird parts that make up America is a part of it. This quote pretty much explains the whole book:
“You don’t just get to keep the parts of the country you like, ignore the rest, and call what you’ve got America.”
You’ve got to accept all of it, even the stuff that grosses you out. Anyway, besides the porn stuff (which does play a big part in the book, by the way. You can’t just skip it and still expect to understand what happens.), there’s the standard awesomely weird Ellis characters, including the surprisingly sweet male narrator and the dirty, corrupt government officials. All his characters are a little cynical (sometimes a lot cynical), but they’ve still got edges of kindness and hopeful optimism to them that keep me from hating everyone in the story. The sex scenes aren’t explicit, actually, but I’m not sure how much of a comfort that might be after running into the Godzilla porn-lovers.
Ellis’ America– minus the porn antics– is an America high on cremated dog turds: a little weirder, a little more prone to crazy, but still resonating slightly with “omg this could be real.” Take the crazy taxi drivers, for instance, that drive Michael around. I’m sure there are plenty of normal taxi drivers out there, but in CLV all the crazy ones came out and pissed all over it. I don’t think there was one non-crazy taxi driver in the book, and that’s because Warren Ellis’ America is populated by the ones who carve X’s in their foreheads. Wonderful, isn’t it?
Besides all that, Crooked Little Vein is well written, with an exciting ending action sequence, romance, and a lot of dark humor. I liked it, but I was already a Warren Ellis fan beforehand, so I’m not entirely sure how non-Ellis fans would read it. Punk kids might like it, actually, but I’m still not sure if they’d like it as much if they had read something else of his beforehand.
I would recommend, if you haven’t read any Ellis stuff, to start with something like Transmetropolitan or Fell. They’re really excellent comics, with pretty art and fantastic writing. (Transmet is my favorite Ellis creation ever, and I reread it every year.)
Though I suppose if you’re into Godzilla bukkake porn, you could just…dive right in.
Just realized I forgot to post these last night!
“For the last four years, Google has been digitizing millions of books, including many covered by copyright, from the collections of major research libraries, and making the texts searchable online. The authors and publishers objected that digitizing constituted a violation of their copyrights. After lengthy negotiations, the plaintiffs and Google agreed on a settlement, which will have a profound effect on the way books reach readers for the foreseeable future. What will that future be?”
“Great Books of the Western World, the 60-volume set of classics published by Encyclopaedia Britannica, is now available to libraries, universities and schools in electronic form and distributed exclusively through Ingram Digital’s industry-leading MyiLibrary™ aggregated e-book platform.”
Trish’s (from Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’?) own views on reviewing free books.
Really good post on the ethics of reviewing free books. I myself don’t mind getting free books from publishers (I’ve even asked a few for a review copy), but since it matters to some readers, I’ll make sure to mention that I got a book for free (from a publisher) when I review it. Not that it should affect my reviews, anyway– I’ll always be honest, no matter how good or bad the book is. (via Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’?)