Jon Ronson's new e-book on Donald Trump and Alex Jones

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Jon Ronson is my favorite author of book about charismatic charlatans, dangerous lunatics, and interesting weirdos. So I am eager to read his brand new Kindle Single, The Elephant in the Room: A Journey into the Trump Campaign and the “Alt-Right”

The e-book is $1.99, or you can read it for free if you're a Kindle Unlimited subscriber (I am and I love it). Try Kindle Unlimited with 30-Day Free Trial

From the bestselling author of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, Them, and The Psycopath Test, comes Jon Ronson’s new Kindle Single – a shocking and entertaining unveiling of the people behind Donald Trump’s candidacy, The Elephant in the Room: A Journey into the Trump Campaign and the ‘Alt-Right,’ (a Kindle Single, on sale today). Over the summer, Ronson travels to the Republican National Convention, where he reunites with an old acquaintance -- the influential provocateur and conspiracy talk-show host Alex Jones -- who draws him into one of the most bizarre presidential campaigns in American history. From the private Winnebago where conspiracy theorists and fear mongers discuss key campaign decisions, to encounters with the notorious political operative Roger Stone, Ronson’s journey into Trump’s world introduces us to a who’s who of the campaign machine, and discovers what makes them tick—and what ticks them off.

Whimsical, hilarious and often downright terrifying, The Elephant in the Room captures a defining moment in our time as only Jon Ronson could see it.

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Cheap Novelties – RAW's Julius Knipl, real estate photographer, finally finds a suitable home

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Cheap Novelties: The Pleasures of Urban Decay by Ben Katchor Drawn and Quarterly 2016, 112 pages, 8.8 x 10.9 x 0.7 inches (hardcover) $23 Buy a copy on Amazon

Like a lot of bourgeois bohemians in the 1990s, I was a huge fan of the RAW comics anthologies which, among other incredible discoveries, introduced me to the work of Ben Katchor. One might not think that a comic strip about urban architecture, culture, city development and decay, real estate photography, memory, and loss would make very compelling comics, but then you probably haven’t met Katchor’s beloved comic strip character, Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer.

Cheap Novelties: The Pleasures of Urban Decay, a collection of Katchor’s Knipl strips, was originally published in 1991 by RAW/Penguin as a cheap paperback. Twenty-five years later and Drawn & Quarterly finally gives Katchor and Knipl their due in a lovely hardbound, landscape edition of the original RAW strips.

If you’ve ever stared in wonder at the decades-old, sun-bleached product boxes inside of the display window of the only original hardware store left in town, or smelled an old typewriter repair shop, or purused gag gifts and tricks in a magic shop that’s been in the same city location for generations, then you’ll understand some of the lost urban culture that Cheap Novelties so deftly and melancholically evokes. As Julius Knipl is called out on building photography assignements, we see these vanishing haunts through his lens, momenents before they leave the city landscape forever, and we hear Knipl’s thoughts on the loss, reflections on his own rather homely life, and urban trivia – all rendered in a very confident and characterful hand in ink-and-gray marker washes. Read the rest

The odd pleasures of reading Proust on a mobile phone

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Author Clive Thompson once wrote an essay about the experience of reading War and Peace on his iPhone. On his blog, he writes about how Sarah Boxer read Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu, all 1.2-million words.

From Boxer's essay:

Soon you will see that the smallness of your cellphone (my screen was about two by three inches) and the length of Proust’s sentences are not the shocking mismatch you might think. Your cellphone screen is like a tiny glass-bottomed boat moving slowly over a vast and glowing ocean of words in the night. There is no shore. There is nothing beyond the words in front of you. It’s a voyage for one in the nighttime. Pure romance.

In a curious way, I think reading Proust on your cellphone brings out the fathomless something in the novel that Shattuck calls “the most oceanic—and the least read” of 20th-century classics. It makes you feel like Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo in his submarine, which is just right.

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Morbid Curiosities – A dark and delightful glimpse into 18 macabre collections

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Morbid Curiosities: Collections of the Uncommon and the Bizarre by Paul Gambino Laurence King Publishing 2016, 160 pages, 7 x 9.8 x 1 inches (hardcover) $22 Buy a copy on Amazon

Dark and delightful, artistic and unusual, Morbid Curiosities: Collections of the Uncommon and the Bizarre is a glimpse into 18 fascinating collections of oddities. But more than that, it is also a collection of the collectors themselves. Author Paul Gambino’s familiarity with these traders of the macabre has granted him access to their greatest finds and most beloved possessions and in turn into their psyches as well.

We are talking about the types of things that most of us don’t encounter grouped together outside of museums: Jars of diseased organs and the owner’s own placenta; shelves of human skulls of various shapes and histories; exhumed items; masks; ephemera; the letters and art of serial killers; antique wax anatomical dummies; shrunken heads and mummies; parts of deformed people and animals; vintage prosthetic devices; poisons; Ouija boards and séance contraptions; a hangman’s record book and tape measure...and the list goes on.

Gambino presents the collections to us succinctly, with great visuals and a thoughtful introduction. And in doing so, he also presents to us a look at the folks who champion these items, who go to the ends of the earth to acquire them, who save them from garbage bins and bonfires, and who display them lovingly, beautifully, as objet d’art.

Their collections are every bit as ghoulish as you would imagine, but the collectors themselves are a variety of folks with regular lives. Read the rest

Super Powereds by Drew Hayes

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Super hero junior college? Drew Hayes has another fantastic series in Super Powereds, adding his humor and irony to the genre!

Landers is pretty much your average college, except they have a special course program for people with super powers. This year five new students are joining the special program, hoping to train up from "powered" to "super" without hurting themselves, or anyone else.

Hayes' Fred the Vampire Accountant stories are some my favorites this year. He does a wonderful job playing around in this genre, and I'm eager to read the second book in the series.

Super Powereds: Year 1 by Drew Hayes via Amazon Read the rest

Rudy Rucker reissues five of his classic books as $12 paperbacks and $2 DRM-free ebooks

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Science fiction writer/hacker/mathematician Rudy Rucker (previously, a Gold Star Happy Mutant if ever there was one, has reissued five of his classic titles with new forematter and his own paintings on the covers, priced to move at $12 for paperbacks and $2 for DRM-free ebooks: Saucer Wisdom ("brilliantly funny, prescient, and as fully engaging as a coffee-fueled late-night conversation with a slightly manic genius"); Spacetime Donuts ("A plugged-in rebel becomes the incredible shrinking man"); The Sex Sphere ("An alien named Babs and her crew take the form of disembodied sex organs that attach to human hosts"); The Secret of Life ("A coming-of-age science fiction novel, blending realism and the fantastic in a transreal style"); and White Light ("A hipster math prof's journey to Abosolute Infinity...and back"). Read the rest

Ghosts: Raina Telgemeier's upbeat tale of death, assimilation and cystic fibrosis

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YA graphic novelist Raina Telgemeier is a force of nature; her Babysitters Club graphic novels are witty and smart and snappy; her standalone graphic novels are even better, but her latest, Ghosts, is her best to date: an improbably upbeat story about death, assimilation and cystic fibrosis.

Flying Saucers are Real! Anthology of the lost saucer-craze

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Jack Womack is an accomplished science fiction writer and part of the first wave of cyberpunks; he's also one of the world's foremost collectors of flying saucer ephemera: the zines, cheap paperbacks, and esoteric material associated with the saucer-craze, a virtually forgotten, decades-long global mania that features livestock mutilations, abductions, messages of intergalactic brotherhood, claims of both divine and satanic origins, and psychic phenomena.

Jo Walton's "Informal History of the Hugos" coming July 2017

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Tor will collect Jo Walton's excellent series of essays on the winners and nominees of the past Hugos in a book called An Informal History of the Hugos coming in July 2017. Read the rest

Everything Change: free anthology of prizewinning climate fiction

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Arizona State University's Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative held a short story contest to write "climate fiction," judged by Kim Stanley Robinson and others; now the best stories have been collected in a free downloadable ebook that includes a forward by Robinson, and an interview with Paolo Bacigalupi. Read the rest

Kickstarting a second volume of Hugo Award nominees

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Following on last year's successful campaign to produce a giant anthology of Hugo Award-nominated short fiction, David Steffen is once again raising funds for a second volume. Read the rest

The Doonesbury Trump retrospective proves that Garry Trudeau had Drumpf's number all along

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On September 14, 1987, Garry B Trudeau ran the first Doonesbury strip that mentioned Donald Trump, in which his characters marvel that New York's "loudest and most visible asshole" had floated a political trial balloon, hinting that he would run for president; thus began 30 years of marveling at, mocking, and skewering Der Drumpf, so rattling the Short-Fingered Vulgarian that he felt the need to issue a series of wounded denunciations. Now, just in time for the election, Trudeau has released a collection of his Trump-themed strips, Yuge: 30 Years of Doonesbury on Trump, just the thing to put the Republican nominee on tilt.

Shel Silverstein's filthy not-kids' book, "Uncle Shelby," beloved of George RR Martin, is back in print

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Back in 2009, I found a rare, used copy of Shel Silverstein's raunchy, hilarious not-kid's book Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book: A Primer for Adults Only, after George RR Martin told me it was uproariously funny and a don't-miss. Read the rest

Inside a multimillion dollar fake Kindle book scam

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Vancouver-based engineer-turned-"entrepreneur" Valeriy Shershnyov published thousands of titles in the Kindle store, "books" of typo-riddled nonsense that he upranked with a system of bots that gamed Amazon's fraud-detection systems, allowing him to sell more than $3M worth of garbage to unsuspecting Amazon customers. Read the rest

Bad Little Children's Books

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Bad Little Children's Books by "Arthur C. Gackley" darkly reimagines innocent kids' books from the mid 20th century.

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Tour New York's invisible, networked surveillance infrastructure with Ingrid Burrington's new book

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Writer/artist Ingrid Burrington has published a book called Networks of New York: An Illustrated Field Guide to Urban Internet Infrastructure, which sketches the physical extrusions of the internet into New York City's streets and buildings, and makes especial note of how much of that infrastructure has been built as part of the post 9/11 surveillance network that NYC has erected over the past 15 years. Read the rest

Printed easter eggs: fore-edge paintings hidden in books

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High-end printers began decorating the edges of books as the craft developed, including dyeing and gilding the edges, but in the 17th century, artisans began creating fore-edge paintings that could only be seen when books were fanned. Below is another example: Read the rest

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