I've come up with a game that involves history books. The rules are as follow:
1) Pick a non-fiction book to read, preferably about a person or period centuries ago. (If you want a real challenge, start with the Egyptians.) In my case, I picked Bill Bryson's brilliant biography of Shakespeare.
2) After you've read it, find a way to move chronologically forward in world history through a subject raised somewhere in the book. I chose King James of Scotland since he came into power halfway through Shakespeare's life.
3) Keep doing this until you reach present day.
After King James I, I was re-directed to the Americas, the colony of Jamestown, John Smith and Pocahontas (the first modern celebrity, in my opinion). My next book will be on the first African slaves brought to the east coast colonies.The Guardian
's most recent books podcast is on the future of Science Fiction
. They mentioned how Ursula K. Le Guin had a problem reviewing Margaret Atwood's most recent novel, The Year of the Flood
, because Atwood refuses to label her distopian fiction "science fiction" (she calls it instead "speculative fiction".) Something to do, it seems, with Atwood's fear of being shoved into the sci-fi ghetto. I love both Le Guin and Atwood and hope they don't get into any Dynasty-style cat fights that might lead to a balcony fall
One of the podcast's speakers predicted that 2010 will be the year Paranormal Romance novels like Twilight
lose their popularity to Epic Fantasy (thank god.) HBO is currently filming a series based on George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels, which made me think Avatar
's style and success truly is the face of what's to come. The Guardian
's Saturday Review also had a small article on Avatar
and a recent accusation of plagiarism aimed at it from Russian sci-fi writers. But, the article said, the person with the biggest claim against Cameron is Ursula K. Le Guin (there she is again), whose novel The Word for World Is Forest
is uncannily similar to the film. I hear an echo from the time reviewers said Le Guin should take J.K. Rowling to the courts for lifting so much stuff from her Earthsea novels.
Today, I'm finishing off Stephen King's latest novel Under the Dome
, meeting a friend at the Museum of Childhood and then going for a swim which will hopefully fix my back.