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Are Books A Threat To Our Children, Or An Innovative New Food Source?

Is that a Prussian Robot Death Squad Commando, or a Prussian Robot Squash Commando?

It’s a fun Xmas story and serves as a better-than-expected shield when fending off blows from siblings.

Kids do the damnedest things.

Particularly to books.

Especially when they can’t read.

Let’s face it, if you hand a book to a young enough kid, he or she will try to eat it (and sometimes succeed). Even if they aren’t hungry.

Which makes me wonder, if you can buy edible underwear, why has no one come out with an edible book?

This lack of fresh and healthy edible books is why I only buy my toddlers hardback books. They can try, but they aren’t getting those down. At least, not easy.

Sadly, that all changes once they discover the knife drawer. Damn you, Williams-Sonoma!

But the resilience of the format is what really makes me wish CreateSpace offered a hardback option.

The paperback proof of my latest offering, the Marlowe and the Spacewoman short story The Santa Claus Gang, arrived in the mail yesterday.

I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out (and have subsequently released the book for publication).

My kids seemed pretty excited too, until they discovered there were no pictures inside.

Then it was just another weird, seemingly pointless toy kept in the special shelf next to similar weird, seemingly pointless toys that you go to when you want to tear yourself a sheet of paper.

Philistines.

But if nothing else, they deemed the cover a huge success, which is more than can be said about their views of my previous book, Marlowe and the Spacewoman. They were very unimpressed with that cover. Perhaps because of the bar of soap that features so prominently on it.

There, that takes care of the shameless plug for my new book. Back to the topic at hand: kids and books.

The other night my kids barricaded themselves in their bedroom, pushed the toy box over to the door, and started removing books from the hanging shelves on said door.

Not every book, mind you. One kiddo would pull a book out and show it to the other kiddo, who would judge it either ‘scary’ or ‘not scary’.

The scary books were handed down and dumped into a basket in the corner of the room furthest from the beds, behind a dresser.

“Why are you putting the books there?” I asked.

“They’re scary books,” Kiddo #2 answered solemnly. “We don’t want them to get us.”

I’m not sure exactly what the perceived threat was from these books, but they were definitely taking it seriously.

Now I can understand my deranged foray into children’s books, Kleencut, ending up exiled to the ‘Danger Zone’ – after all, it’s a terrible, 1-star review freebie on Amazon that really shouldn’t be read to children no matter how much they clamor for it.

But the Berenstain Bears?

Apparently, the Berenstain Bears book Safe and Sound! is particularly scary, because it was at the bottom of the pile.

I would have given them ‘boring’, because man it does drag, but scary?

I guess my kids feel safer knowing I am more likely to be injured as I contort myself in an attempt to get at that book so I can read it to them.

And that, in itself, is pretty damn scary.

And now, a word from our sponsor: me! My books are available!
 

The Santa Claus Gang:

The Santa Claus Gang: A Marlowe and the Spacewoman short story

Marlowe and the Spacewoman:

Marlowe and the Spacewoman

Kleencut (FREE!):

So bad it won a Voidy for the next THREE consecutive years (would have been FOUR, but 2012 was a leap year)

 

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What price, ebooks? Or a tale of the Rise of the Machines, available on Nook and Kindle!

I’ve been thinking about the rise of the machines.

By which I mean ebooks.

Oh, I’ve heard all the arguments in favor:

– An entire library on a tablet thinner than most paperbacks (excluding Neal Stephenson and J.R.R. Tolkien, of course).

– The ability to buy a book (or download a free one) without having to leave your home or local coffee shop.

– Now anyone can publish a book – no more insidious ‘gatekeepers’ holding back those who would redefine a genre by experimenting with language, eschewing traditional plot expectations, or wholeheartedly embracing outside-the-box characterizations.

– We get eased into acceptance of machines controlling our lives with the “Recommended Book” and/or “Readers who bought this book also bought…” functionality. It seems so convenient, so…harmless.

But then you start hearing about the consequences:

– The end of brick and mortar stores as we know it.

– Sellers able to rescind a sale and remotely delete a book from your eReader. Or worse, transfer altered versions of books to your device without your knowledge.

Do you have any idea how hard it will be for our children to cite passages from ever-changing ebooks in their book reports? The ‘A’ may become a mythical, unattainable grade!

– The introduction of bastardized, non-English words into the lexicon, such as e-book and eReader. They’re not real words, people! Fight the corruption of our language!

– Now anyone can publish a book – no more fastidious ‘gatekeepers’ making sure grammar is correct, plot discernible, characters believable.

– The disappearance of bookcases from homes.

This last one was news to me, until I heard mentioned on the radio that the rise of ebooks means that in thirty years, homes won’t have any bookcases anymore.

I heard it on NPR, so it must be true.

That one gave me pause. A home without bookcases.

I have a lot of bookcases in my home. It would look weird without them. But if they become unneeded and rare, then that means demand will dropped, production been scaled back, and those of us who still want them will have to pay more money for them.

That’s not fair. Where else am I going to put all my knickknacks? I can’t use the top of the TV since society transitioned to wall-mounted flat screens.

My curios curse the day the LCD TV was invented.

Reading Marlowe and the Spacewoman under the covers against the missus' express orders to go to bed

A generation won't destroy their eyesight trying to read in the dark - how is this sane?

And what about that time-honored childhood tradition of being curled up under the covers, hours after bedtime, reading by the fading illumination of a trusty flashlight? Are we to deprive future generations of that bookish act of rebellion?

Clearly society has not thought this out!

The only really cool thing about electronic readers is that you won’t ever have to burn books again. You can just use an electromagnetic pulse to fry the reader instead.

And if there’s one irrefutable fact, it’s that EMPs are cool. Ebooks win!

 
And now, a word from our sponsor: me!
 
My book, Marlowe and the Spacewoman, is out!
 

Marlowe and the SpacewomanClick here to learn more or order a copy!

 
1 Comment

Posted by on 20 February 2012 in Reading

 

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