We've hit you with a bunch of gadgets in our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide this year, but don't think we forgot about the readers out there. One of the books that we recommend this year is Cooking for Geeks. Written by Jeff Potter, the book not only includes great tasting recipes, but it focuses on the science of cooking, and includes a bunch of kitchen hacks to actually teach cooking instead of just recipes to follow. It's loaded with info, and is worthy of being gifted to your favorite geek this hoiday season. It's available in paperback, as well as on Kindle. You can get it now from Amazon for $20.71, which is a 41% discount.
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Research firm Forrester has released some numbers on E-book sales for the year, and they're betting that this is the first year where e-book sales will reach close to $1 billion. They also say that by 2015, that amount will pass the $3 billion mark. The survey questioned 4,000 people and indicated that more and more people get their books in digital form. While only 7% read books in e-book format now, they spend a lot of money on them, and that figure will continue to grow. It seems the most popular device to read e-books on is the desktop computer, followed by the Amazon Kindle, Apple iPhone and Sony eReader.
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Mark Waid says it best in the blurb he wrote for the book I most want this Christmas. Says the man from Boom! Studios: “I now have a new book for my ‘Five I’d Take to a Desert Island’ list. Gotham City 14 Miles is the perfect companion to my favorite pop-culture phenomenon of all time!”
In case you need an explanation, 14 miles is the distance from the Batcave underneath “stately Wayne Manor” to Gotham City in the 1960s Batman TV show starring Adam West and Burt Ward. Gotham City 14 Miles is the title of a forthcoming book of essays about that TV classic, edited by my pal Jim Beard.
Inside, Beard’s bunch offers up a thoughtful reevaluation of the 44-year-old show, one of the first big comic book successes on the small screen. The series had an impact not just on pop culture, but on the DC Comics Batman as well. According to Beard, “essays examine Batmania, camp, the role of women, the show’s participation in ‘60s counter-culture, its many celebrated actors, its lasting cultural effects, and other critical subjects.”
So did you read that great interview Adi Tantimedh had with Alan Moore over yet at Bleeding Cool? I was going to write about it precisely because I disagreed with almost every comment on the site and then I discovered that a much better writer, Tom Spurgeon at the Comics Reporter, did a much better job of encapsulating my feelings. So my work here is done.
Remember all those comic book movies that people outside of comics don’t really know are based on comics because they don’t have capes and boots, like The Losers, Scott Pilgrim, Road To Perdition, etc. There’s a new one coming up next month called Tamara Drewe, based on the graphic novel by Posy Simmonds.
The trailer looks awesome and I get a Reuben, Reuben vibe from watching it. (Yes, that’s the world’s oldest reference point, but go look it up.) Tamara Drewe looks like a lot of fun and I hope it moves a few thousand copies of the graphic novel, which is also well worth reading. Here’s a nice article on the movie from the BBC.
Now let’s see what else is out there.
Hey, all you iPad-owning parents out there, if you are looking for a children’s storybook that does more than just read aloud to your kids, you’ve gotta check out Bartleby’s Book of Buttons Vol. 1: The Far Away Island. What makes this different enough to warrant our excitement? Well, we’ve been playing with it since it’s been in beta, and it’s just fun for kids…and to be honest, even fun for an adult to go through once or twice. It’s a case study for how you can take books, and do them differently on the iPad, providing a fun, interactive experience for kids and parents to share together. Each chapter of the book is a puzzle that follows the story, but to get to the next chapter, you must first solve the puzzle. Each puzzle that you solve “unlocks” that chapter in the table of contents, so you can skip to any unlocked chapter from the beginning.
The puzzles aren’t hard, but for a little child it might take them a minute or two of playing with the page to figure it out, which is great to see. We’ve got a Bartleby Book of Buttons gallery that shows you a page from each chapter, to give you an idea of what we mean. But seriously, if you have a child between the ages of, say, 5-10, we don’t see how you can go wrong. Bartleby’s Book of Buttons Vol. 1 is available now on the App Store for $4.99.
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This evening, Amazon introduced us to their new Wi-Fi Kindle ebook reader, and we’ve gotta say, we think they’ve done it again. Hot on the heels of the release of the newly redesigned Kindle DX, the new Kindle is 21% smaller and 15% lighter than the Kindle 2. You don’t lose out on screen real estate though, since the Kindle keeps its 6-inch display size, although the e-ink screen now sports 50% better contrast and 20% faster page refreshes. It now packs 4GB of storage space, which can hold up to 3,500 books. Even better, though, is that Amazon is pricing this at just $139. That’s a significant price drop from the Kindle 2. If you want the new Wi-Fi model, but also want the free 3G connectivity, Amazon will be selling a 3G model for $189, which is still a huge savings from what the Kindle 2 sells for. Here are the links for those who want to pre-order:
The new Kindle will be released on August 27th, and if you pre-order, you’ll receive it that same day. It’s available in both white and graphite.
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Geek goddess and fanboy icon Olivia Munn is the host of G4’s Attack of the Show (for now it seems) and pops up now and again on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show as their Senior Espionage Correspondent (among others).
Now she’s letting her geek flag fly ever more proudly with her new book, a memoir entitled and on sale now: “Suck It, Wonder Woman.”
With Wonder Woman now in the news with a new costume and a new direction, the timing could not be better for a book with that title. Also, too, Comic Con International is right around the corner so comics will once again be in the nightly news cycle (if only so TV networks can run pictures of guys dressed like Stormtroopers and Klingons).
And, she’ll probably be there as well on behalf of G4. (I wonder if she has trouble booking a room?) And she’ll probably interviewing those same cosplayers. But at least she’ll have the sense of where they’re coming from, unlike, say, the manscaped fratboys who cosplay as journalists on TV.
Read More | Olivia Munn
Gerry Conway co-created The Punisher, co-created Man-Thing, co-created Firestorm and wrote some of my favorite Marvel comics, including a long run on Amazing Spider-Man. When he successfully transitioned out of comics and moved into show business, I still followed his career as he worked his way up the ladder. He’s recently been writing and producing for the Dick Wolf Law & Order empire, specifically on Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
Talbot Mundy, author of King of the Khyber Rifles, influenced a who’s who of writers with his tales of manly adventure at the edges of the sun-never-setting British Empire in the early 20th century. Fans included Robert E. Howard, Leigh Brackett, Robert Heinlein and Fritz Leiber.
If you’ve ever wanted to stroll through an author’s personal library, but they won’t let you into their house (and with good reason), Harlan Ellison’s wife Susan offers the next best thing: a book purge from his private collection.
There’s enough good stuff written about Mr. Ellison available on the internet that you don’t need me to cut and paste a bunch of it to reaffirm the award-winning author’s place in literature and pop culture. From books to movies to TV to comic books, he’s really done it all and won awards for lots of it. Mr. Ellison and I have had about a dozen fun and friendly encounters over the years and it was always a pleasure to hear his voice at the other end of the phone.
“What the hell are you doing now, Mason?” he’d call out teasingly and we’d take it from there. Very enjoyable conversations about the state of the world, the comic book industry, and even one about the history of, if I remember correctly, the Golden Age super-hero, Cat-Man.
Just a heads up—one of the benefits of iOS 4 (which is available now) is that you can install iBooks on your iPhone. It’s not included in the OS itself, which allows Apple to update the app without updating the entire iOS version itself, so you’ll have to download it manually from the App Store. The good news is that it’s available now—so go ahead and grab iBooks, it’s free!
[Thanks again, Jason!]