The Rock & Roll Librarian

December 13, 2007

Terry Prachett’s Sad News

Filed under: authors,books — Tyler Rousseau @ 2:47 pm
Tags: , ,

DEATH Button BadgeI don’t really like to read fantasy but I love Terry Pratchett.  Those who have read any of the Discworld books probably understands how such a seemingly contradictory statement can be made. 

True, Discworld series is built completely around a world of Elves, Goblins, Zombies, Golems, Vampires, Dwarfs, Trolls, and so forth which is pretty much the definition of Fantasy.  These characters even play major/leading roles in the Discworld books but that is hardly the point of the series.

Pratchett’s world is all about satire.  It’s about taking a look at our societal norms and beliefs then showing them for the utter ridiculousness they embody.   From girl witches trying to get into an all-male wizard academy, the creation of post offices, the Trolls and Dwarves disdain for each other and, my personal favorite, the creation of a war for a few people’s personal gain… that one sound familiar?

With over 30 books in the Discworld series (and about a dozen others not part of Discworld) Pratchett has created a fantasy world so deep in characters and details that readers who do not normally find themselves fans of the genre get sucked in to spending the better part of a few months reading the entire collection of books.  They learn the streets, the buildings, the people and immerse themselves into the crazy place that is Discworld.

Sad to say, despite the prolific nature of Pratchett, the possibility of only a few more Discworld books has become a harsh reality.  Even though he is only 59 years old, Pratchett released a statementon his artist’s website stating that he has a rare form of Alzheimer’s.

Although Pratchett reminds us in the end of his letter that he is “not dead” and we should not be saddened by the news it is hard to feel optimistic.  I have seen the effects of Alzheimer’s and the tolls it eventually takes on the afflicted and their family from watching my own grandmother suffer its fate.  It is painful as all you can do is watch their world slip away.

And as the years pass by for Pratchett, the saddest thing his family and fans will see is not just one world slipping away, but two.

The Librarian

June 22, 2007

Frank Portman’s Upcoming Book

Filed under: authors,books,music — Tyler Rousseau @ 1:52 pm

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So, so, so psyched.

Frank Portman, author of King Dork, is putting the finishing touches on his next book Andromeda Klein.  This time, the story is about a “bookish girl” whose tarot cards start predicting her life with incredible accuracy.  Maybe she would be able to deal with the bizarreness of this if her friend didn’t keep harassing her… especially since she is dead.

When an author has such an incredibly successful first book, fans are often left wondering how he/she will be able to follow up with their next one.  From the plot given at Random House, it seems Portman has stuck within his comfort zone.

The toughest part about this book for me is going to be the wait, it is not due for release until January 8, 2008!

But, as Tom Petty sings (and what better time to quote lyrics than when you are pushing a musician/author), “The waaaiiiting is the hardest part!”

June 20, 2007

Skullduggery Pleasant (Audiobook) by Stephen Edgley

Filed under: audiobook,authors,Book Review — Tyler Rousseau @ 3:18 pm

Skullduggery Pleasant is essentially your average kind of detective; he is smart, smart mouthed, observant, has a gun and a habit of breaking laws “for the greater good.”  Yep, he’s pretty normal…

Except he is a skeleton, with someone else’s head.

Oh, and he throws fireballs and studies magic.

 But he does drive a classic car, a Bentley in fact, and that is seemingly mandatory for your average literary detective.

When Stephanie’s beloved Uncle Gordon dies he leaves her the house.  Upon her first night staying there she is attacked by a strange man asking for a key, which she has no clue of.  Fortunately, before he can kill her, Skullduggery Pleasant kicks down the door and saves the day… or night that is.

As a result, Stephanie insists on joining Skullduggery on his quest to find out who killed her Uncle and what this supposed key is which people are so keen to kill for.  Each step brings her deeper into a world of magic and danger, a world that she may never return from.

All in all, it was a pretty fun listen.  The narrator, Rupert Degas, does a great job with voice characterizations and narration.  The plot itself was alright as the “twists” were somewhat obvious, but even figuring out the mystery didn’t take away from the enjoyment.  I was still more than willing to listen to Degas’ expressive abilities that really brought the characters alive… no pun intended, of course.

As an avid listener of audiobooks, I’ve lately found more unlistenable productions than I care to admit.  Skullduggery renews my enjoyment of audiobooks as it shows what a great job can be done when the production budget is there and an enthusiastic narrator takes hold of the book and breathes life into the story.

May 9, 2007

Song for Shel Silverstein

Filed under: authors,Celebrities — Tyler Rousseau @ 7:30 pm

I’m going to go ahead and post this a day early as I will probably not be able to get to it tomorrow. 

In 1999, I was working as a Surveyor.  My coworkers were gruff men who enjoyed using their machetes to hack down site lines for their instruments.  Sum’bitch was a popular word to use as both an adjective and noun.  So, it was a bit suprising when, on May 10th, my crew chief took the morning paper, rolled it up, and told not to open it until I got home… he actually forced me to leave work and paid me for the day.  When I got home, I opened the newspaper he gave me and saw that Shel Silverstein passed away the night before, I’d lost my favorite childhood writer.  My chief knew that too and I guess he figured that news was enough work for one day.  So I took the day off and wrote this song:

I’ll never forget that day May 10th, 1999

When I opened up the paper and saw my favorite writer

a mentor had died.

Now there’s no more kids in the tub

and the channels on the TV have become

boring and dumb.

Then I called up my best friend

and said “I think we finally found out where

the sidewalk ends.”

A Light in the Attic

can tell me how people

dream to get by.

I’d climb the highest mountain

to meet Baba Fatts

and find his perfect high.

But lesson number one,

I’ll never try to cheat the devil

like Billy Markham.

I guess what they say is true

People’d rather waste their life on dope

then hear the truth.

Well, someday, I’ll write a book

and it will be successful

overnight.

It will be called

“How the Giving Tree

Came to Change My Life.”

I’ve read it since I was four

and to a thousand other children when I was

a camp counselor.

And I laughed a lot

but not as much as I cried

the day that my mentor Shel Silverstein died.

April 12, 2007

R.I.P. Kurt Vonnegut

Filed under: authors,politics — Tyler Rousseau @ 2:16 pm

birdcage.jpgAs a humanistVonnegut will appreciated the saying, “He is in Heaven now.”  He loved that line and even told it himself at his friend’s, Issac Asimov’s, funeral.  He thought it absolutely hysterical

Whether he believes in the afterlife or not, it is comforting to me to think of him laughing somewhere.

This morning was a sobering moment for me when I checked the news and found that my favorite author, Kurt Vonnegut, had passed away.  And true, he might have been 84, he was well known for joking about the unjust longevity of his life despite his long-term smoking habit.  A brain injury doesn’t seem right.

Yesterday, we were asked to pick our favorite book to put on display for National Library Week in the library and I said to my colleague it would have to be Bluebeard; if only because it made me understand art.

There really isn’t too much to write about though.  Fans of Vonnegut probably understand what I mean.  About the most you can say is, if you haven’t read anything by him, you just have to pick up a book and experience it.

Before today, there was only one other time I cried for the passing of an author; that was Shel Silverstein.  Today makes it two and I cannot think of any other authors that will affect me in such a way again.

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