Recommended if You Like is Boing Boing's weekly podcast of Brian Heater's cafe conversations with musicians, cartoonists, writers, and other creative types.
Come spend 45 minutes in the Red Hook living room shared by Hospitality's singer and percussionist a day after the launch of their sophomore record. The expectations are elevated this time out, after the healthy amount of buzz generated by the band's self-titled indie-pop debut. You wouldn't know it from outward appearances, however. All is calm in the Brooklyn band's apartment. Dinner is on the stove and Michel is halfway through Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung. The tour, after all, is still a few months away.
Isabel Greenberg is a writer and illustrator who lives and works in North London. In her graphic novel The Encyclopedia of Early Earth, Greenberg combines art, mythology, and humor to tell a story of star-crossed love. It takes readers back to a time before history began, when another—now forgotten—civilization thrived. The people who roamed Early Earth were much like us: curious, emotional, funny, ambitious, and vulnerable. In this series of illustrated and linked tales, Greenberg chronicles the explorations of a young man as he paddles from his home in the North Pole to the South Pole in search of a missing piece of his soul. There, he meets his true love, but their romance is ill-fated. Early Earth's unusual and finicky polarity means the lovers can never touch.
For nine years the popular website Futility Closet has collected arresting curiosities in history, literature, language, art, philosophy, and mathematics. This book presents the best of them: pipe-smoking robots, clairvoyant pennies, zoo jailbreaks, literary cannibals, corned beef in space, revolving squirrels, disappearing Scottish lighthouse keepers, reincarnated pussycats, dueling Churchills, horse spectacles, onrushing molasses, and hundreds more. Plus the obscure words, odd inventions, puzzles and paradoxes that have made the website a quirky favorite with millions of readers -- hundreds of examples of the marvelous, the diverting, and the strange, now in a portable format to occupy your idle hours.
Here's my interview with Greg about his new book and his new career as a full-time curator of curiosities.
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In this episode of Gweek we talked with Toby Barlow, the author of the novel Sharp Teeth, which was notable for being an epic poem about werewolves in LA. We discussed his new novel, Babayaga, which takes place in 1959 Paris. It's got a CIA-funded literary magazine, weaponized LSD, a disenchanted American advertising executive, Russian witches, and a police detective who doesn't let the fact that he's been turned into a flea stop him from solving a gruesome murder case. We also discussed Slap Shot, an overlooked 1977 movie about a down-and-out hockey team starring Paul Newman, international mobile Internet cost-saving tips, the joy of playing Bridge with people in the same room, and how losing an iTunes password obliterated Toby's desire to listen to music.
Join me this Monday for a MAKE Special Event: a live Google Hangout with Bre Pettis, co-founder of MakerBot, the 3D printer company. We will discuss the latest technologies being developed by MakerBot, including the new digitizer and more!
Despite appearances to the contrary, sinister things are happening behind the squeaky-clean facade of Barrington, Colorado.
Josh Kaufman is the author of the new book, The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything... Fast. I interviewed him about the art of rapid skill acquisition.
Do you find yourself staying interested in most of the things you start? If not, what has held your interest for many years? I'm curious about many – often wildly different – things, so I like to explore new projects and skills as often as I can. I usually find something valuable enough in my early exploration to keep at it: I've been doing research on general business principles for over eight years now. My early interest in the web lead to my first career out of school, as well as my current work as an author / researcher / entrepreneur, which requires me to be a jack-of-all-trades. I just learned how to program in Ruby, so I'm coding quite a bit. I love the process of making something from nothing, and learning as I build. Read the rest
So, here's a new writing nightmare. What do you do if, after your book is published, and the reviews start to come in, it slowly dawns on you that you've accidentally written the wrong book ... a book which you would not actually agree with?
That's how I felt after interviewing Curtis White, author of The Science Delusion — a book that has been widely reviewed as containing some good points, buried under a lot of angry rants and straw men. According to White, however, those reviews have all completely missed what he was trying to do and trying to say.
All the invective? White thought he was just being funny and satirical, like Jonathan Swift. The over-generalizing about what all scientists believe and what the culture of science is like? He thought it was clear that he just meant the subset of scientists who don't think there's any value other than entertainment in art, that philosophy is dead, and that culture has no affect on how we interpret science or what we do with it. The weird, pseudo-Deism? He thought he was explaining that science is part of culture, that the questions being asked and the way answers are interpreted are culturally bound and and we have to take that into account. The humanities triumphalism and points where he totally dismisses science and acts like he doesn't understand why somebody would find meaning in being curious about how the mind works? Not what he meant at all, apparently. Read the rest
Later this month PictureBox is releasing Blutch's So Long, Silver Screen, "a series of interlocking short comics that combine scholarly movie history with ribald romanticism, and feature a motley cast of actors and characters, including Claudia Cardinale, Jean-Luc Godard, Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner, Michel Piccoli, Tarzan and Luchino Visconti."
Read the rest
As much visual essay as graphic novel, a daydream and fantastic meditation on the other art of telling stories with images, So Long, Silver Screen is the finest work yet from an uncontested master of contemporary cartooning, as well as his first full-length work to be published in English. It is designed by famed cartoonist David Mazzucchelli.
Blutch has published over a dozen books since debuting in 1988 in the legendary avant-garde magazine Fluide Glacial: among his books are Mitchum, Peplum and Le Petit Christian, and his illustrations regularly appear in Les Inrockuptibles, Libération and The New Yorker.
Photo: Matt Bresler
Whatever you do, don't call Ophira Eisenberg a comedienne. That's an outdated, patronizing term from an era when men patted women on the head (or, unsolicited, on the ass) and called Amelia Earhart an aviatrix.
If only her fiancé, now husband, had known that before he compiled a spreadsheet of every woman he had slept with before meeting Eisenberg, a list she discovered by accident and couldn't resist examining, and which listed her as the latest entry with the unfortunate label comedienne in the cell next to her name. She was furious. But Jonathan is a remarkable man, and, in one of the best parts of her new memoir, manages to explain himself credibly. (Spoiler: She marries him.)
Eisenberg is a professional comedian, thank you very much. She tours, she hosts the NPR quiz show Ask Me Another (with the Internet's Jonathan Coulton as the regular musical sidekick), and recently came out with a memoir: Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy. You can hear a half-hour conversation she and I had about the book, her life, and her husband's beautiful, piercing eyes in the podcast in this post.
It's a Bildungsroman, like many memoirs, dealing largely with the period from when she came of age and sexual maturity as a teenager through moves from her hometown of Calgary to Toronto and then New York, and her shift from IT support to full-time funny lady.
Peter Clines is the author of Ex-Heroes, a science fiction novel about super humans trying to save what remains of Los Angeles in a post-apocalyptic zombie wasteland. Above, the cover for the Clines' upcoming follow-up novel: Ex-Patriots. Below, an interview with Clines about his love of Dr. Who. (Keep your eye out for 3 Doctor Who Novels coming out April 2: Plague of the Cybermen, Shroud of Sorrow, and The Dalek Generation.)
Originally published by a small, print-on-demand press without any publicity or marketing support and almost no physical distribution, Peter Clines’s brilliant novels, Ex-Heroes and the forthcoming Ex-Patriots -- which combine the best of the sci-fi, thriller, horror, and adventure fiction genres -- still managed to draw an incredible cult following. Now, Broadway is thrilled to introduce Ex-Heroes and Ex-Patriots to a whole new slew of fans with the release of these paperback originals. With two more novels to follow in the series, including Ex-Communication (July 9, 2013), Ex-Heroes and Ex-Patriots are sure to appeal to fans of such hits as Watchmen, World War Z, and Ready Player One.
How big of a role did Doctor Who play in your decision to become a writer?
It was a huge influence. I watched the show religiously as a kid, and even then I was aware that a good story could really help make up for cheap sets and rubber monsters (pay attention, SyFy!). I got chills from cliffhanger endings in “The Face of Evil” and “The Horror of Fang Rock.” Davros in “Genesis of the Daleks” was the first time I ever realized a character was evil. Read the rest
I interviewed Robert Arthur, author of a thought-provoking book about taboos, called You Will Die. (If his name sounds familiar, it could be because we've run a number of Rob's cartoons on Boing Boing, and they've proven to be popular.)
What made you write You Will Die?
A book that vigorously defends heroin users and sex workers? In You Will Die: The Burden of Modern Taboos Robert Arthur does that and more to demonstrate that taboos are not relics of primitive societies. America has its own ridiculous phobias and beliefs that cause tedium, suffering, and death. The government and the media use these taboos to lie and mislead. It is not a conspiracy, but by pushing panic for votes and viewers they thwart our pursuit of happiness.
You Will Die exposes the fallacies and the history behind our taboos on excrement, sex, drugs, and death. Arthur uses racy readability and rigorous documentation to raze sacred shrines of political correctness on the left and of conventional wisdom on the right. From the proper way to defecate to how to reach nirvana, anticipate the unexpected. It is not simply a novel exploration of sex and drugs, but also of individuality, liberty, and the meaning of life. You Will Die gives readers a new way of seeing their world and allows them to make a more informed choice about living an authentic life.
Disillusionment. I grew up with the angst of believing I was a disgusting perverted heathen and after graduating from NYU Law in 2001 I began to research whether I was broken or if conventional wisdom was. Read the rest