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Saturday, April 04, 2009

Department of Book Reports: This and That

Skull Kill Krew #1 (Marvel Comics, $3.99) Adam Felber has written a comic book! I'm not sure what it's about, but hey! Brainwashed cows who regain their memories and wreck havoc on the universe? Who doesn't want to read about that? You can find it at your local comic bookshop.

HarperStudio has partnered with the Freedom to Write and International Programs at PEN American Center to publish Burn This Book, a collection of essays about censorship and literature in response to oppression, which goes on sale May 12. Edited by Toni Morrison, the volume features an A-list of contributors including Paul Auster, Nadine Gordimer, Pico Iyer, Francine Prose, Salman Rushdie, and John Updike.

The result is Burn This Book, a small volume whose essays range widely in tone and subject, yet all address the common theme of freedom of expression. Morrison's contribution explains why suppressing the voice of opposition is a hallmark of dictatorships: "Authoritarian regimes, dictators, despots are often, but not always, fools," she writes. "But none is foolish enough to give perceptive, dissident writers free range to publish their judgments or follow their creative instincts. They know they do so at their own peril."
Francine Prose balks at leaden overtly political fiction and art, and instead makes a case for "something more unexpected." Pico Iyer tells of a "bright, resourceful, well-educated" trishaw driver in Myanmar, stifled in a country where intelligence is "something to be feared and can best be used by giving oneself to something other than words and ideas."

A petition to stop censorship and more information about the book is available at the right to read.

Flotsametrics and the Floating World: How One Man's Obsession with Runaway Sneakers and Rubber Ducks Revolutionized Ocean Science, by Curtis Ebbesmeyer and Eric Scigliano (Smithsonian Books, 286 pp., $26.95)

This promises to be a fascinating book, the life story of the oceanographer and UW professor, Curtis Ebbesmeyer. I've been watching his work ever since Ridley Pearson talked about asking his help while researching the tidal flows for his novel, Undercurrents. You've probably heard the quirky stories over the years, those shipping containers of 80,000 Nike shoes that washed overboard and how they came in with the tides along the West Coast and the rest of the world. Or that time millions of little yellow rubber duckies were lost at sea and became more popular than Japanese glass floats. Or more recently, the 6 human feet that have washed up in the Queen Charlotte Islands.

You can listen to a podcast of Prof Ebbesmeyer on KUOW.

democommie finally contributes to the Book Report! His brings us this lovely review from Nordette at blogher. I don't want to sell you this book. I want you to go buy it from the ladies at Thistle Farms, where all proceeds benefit their good works.

Find Your Way Home: Words from the Street, Wisdom from the Heart.

The Women of Magdalene wrote this book with the founder of the Magdalene community in Nashville, Tenn., Becca Stevens, an Episcopalian priest. You may be aware this organization under the name Thistle Farms through the marketing of its handmade candles and bath and body products.

Thistle Farms is a non-profit business run by women who have survived lives of violence, prostitution, and abuse. Thistle Farms products are hand-made by the very women they benefit. All proceeds go back into Thistle Farms and the residential program, Magdalene. Into every product goes the belief that freedom starts with healing and love can change lives.

UPDATED: Just for Bukko!


  1. Great line-up. I'm very skeptical of altruistic groups, but Thistle Farm sounds like a wonderful thing. Flotsametrics shot to the top of my want list. Thanks folks.

  2. SeattleTammy:

    Thanks for plugging the Thistle Farms book.

    I'm currently reading "Big Bamboo" (almost done) and will be starting "Atomic Lobster" as soon as I finish. I think I used to be Coleman, in another life. There's just something about the level of cheery carnage that I find exhilirating. I hope they make a movie of one of the books someday, I'll volunteer to be one of the "collaterly damaged".

  3. That image at the top -- by any chance, would that be a new diety? Because I'm in need of a new avatar to worship.

    Ever since the soft, wussy Demoncrats took power and imposed their vision of a mild, merciful Jesus, I've been longing for the old Jesus who shot lightning bolts out of his eyeballs to smite sinners. I miss that Killer Jesus.

    The bloke in the illustration mirrors my inner rage and desire to crush the wicked between razor-sharp teeth of rebuking. We all choose to worship Gods in our own likeness, don't we? Does anyone have an address for that Avenging One's temple?

  4. Bukko, Adam is the guy who made sure we would never look at Unicorns or Bigfoots the same. Watch at your own risk:

  5. Bummer, Tammy -- Hulu hates Australia! (And everyplace else that's not America, IIRC.) It blocks anyone outside of the good sold USA from watching sitcoms and other videodified material. By that measure, I reckon Hulu must be one of the most patriotic Internets tubeographers around. I'll have to wait for the Cliff Notes version.


We'll try dumping haloscan and see how it works.