23
Aug
08

What I’m About to Read: Little Brother, Lost and Philosophy, Paradox in Oz

One of my favorite features here at Evertime Realms is my “What I’m Reading” segment — a fancy name for a book review. At the moment, though, the book I’m reading isn’t one I’m quite at liberty to review. Y’see, I’m part of the Amazon.com “Vine” program, in which the company sends frequent reviewers (like myself) free copies of yet-to-be-released books to review on their site. I’m only on my second book, The Unnameables by Ellen Booraem, but I’m enjoying being part of the system. My first review, of the upcoming teen horror/fantasy novel The Last Apprentice: Wrath of the Bloodeye by Joseph Delaney, went online not long ago. I’ll try to remember to alert you guys whenever I do a new Vine review.

But I’m almost done with this book, which means it’s time to move on to another. Now I’ve got to be honest with you, I’ve fallen behind a bit on my reading. Between the two plays I’m working on, school, my reviews and columns, working on Summer Love, and a couple of podcasts of which you may be aware, it’s taking me longer than it used to to get through a book. But I’m still getting books at the same rate as ever! So as a result I’ve got piles of unread books lying around, waiting to fulfill their destiny (i.e., be read). Today, I thought I’d take a different approach to the “What I’m Reading” category. Here are a few books that I have not read, but that I’m planning to get to relatively soon.

Little Brother

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. Doctorow has become pretty popular among a certain segment of the reading public, and although I haven’t yet read anything by him, a while back he released the first chapter of this book as an audio file, which was then included to the feed of a podcast I listen to. (I actually don’t even remember which podcast it was, but that’s beside the point.) I really loved the first chapter of this story, so I decided to give the book a try. Now obviously, I haven’t read it yet (else it wouldn’t be on this list) but the idea intrigues me — a 17-year-old computer whiz winds up turning himself and his friends into unwitting suspects in a terrorist attack on San Francisco. When released from prison, he finds his city has become a police state, and he takes it upon himself to save them. The title of the book is an obvious reference to George Orwell’s 1984, and while I don’t really like when my fiction gets overtly political, from what I’ve read of this book it sounds like it doesn’t go down the sort of paths that make me roll my eyes. I’m looking forward to finally cracking the cover of this one.

Lost and Philosophy. People who have been with this website since the June relaunch will recall one of my earliest “What I’m Reading” reviews was of the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series edition of The Office and Philosophy. Those of you who haven’t been here that long, here it is in a nutshell: this series of books collects essays by modern philosophers which examine a piece of pop culture — a TV show, a movie, even a rock band — and dissect it from a philosophical standpoint. Other books in this series have featured shows as diverse as The Simpsons, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and South Park and films such as Lord of the Rings and The Matrix. If ever there was a show open to an in-depth philosophical dissection, it’s Lost. The show is an incredible science fiction parable about power, the nature of good and evil, and the struggle between science and faith. It’s one of the best TV shows I’ve ever seen, and one of the few shows that I absolutely, hands-down have to watch each and every week. If the writers who contributed to this book can help shed a little light on the many mysteries of The Island, I shall be forever in their debt.

Paradox in Oz

Paradox in Oz. I’m a huge fan of the Oz series of books. I’ve read all 14 original books by L. Frank Baum. I’ve read dozens of comic book series that have tried to tap into the Oz magic. I’ve seen more Oz-related motion pictures than most people reading this probably even know exist. (Incidentally, the 1939 movie with Judy Garland? Excellent as a classic Hollywood musical. As an adaptation of Baum’s book, though, it’s terrible.)

What has proven to be a problem for me, though, is finding other early Oz books. After Baum’s death, the series was taken over by his illustrator, Ruth Plumbly Thompson, then later by Jack R. Neill, then dozens of other writers over the years. Once the earlier Oz books went into the public domain, there were even more, and not all of them were actually that good. Others, while good, didn’t really fit into the world that Baum created. (Gregory Maguire’s Wicked comes to mind — an excellent novel, but there’s simply no way to reconcile it with the true Oz mythos.) Unlike the Baum books, however, there doesn’t appear to be much interest in keeping the earlier books by other authors in print. Thank goodness for the good folks at Hungry Tiger Press, who not only have reprinted some of the earlier books, as well as many non-Oz books by Baum, but they also produce new books that feel like they belong in Baum’s world. I’ve read one of their original books before, The Living House of Oz, and I loved it. My sister game me Paradox in Oz, by the same writer-artist team of Edward Einhorn and Eric Shanower, for Christmas last year. It’s finally made its way to the top of the read-pile.

So anyway, these are the next few books in my reading queue, as it were. This isn’t necessarily a promise that I’ll get to ’em — after all, that queue seems to get rearranged more often than my NetFlix queue. At the moment, though, this is what I’m looking at reading next. I’ll be sure to let you know what I think of them all.


1 Response to “What I’m About to Read: Little Brother, Lost and Philosophy, Paradox in Oz”



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