Category Archives: Books

Dave Barry Learns Everything You Need to Know About Being a Husband From Reading 50 Shades of Grey | TIME

Two things that you never want to happen to you:

1. Dave Barry reviews your book.

2. Dave Barry reviews your book.

This book review is the funniest thing I’ve read in some time. Since he’s reviewing 50 Shades, of course, it may be a bit explicit for some readers, but even that is funny.

Barry reviews books like they did in the old days, back in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when book reviewing was a bloodsport. He doesn’t get as personal as the older reviewers sometimes did, but he certainly has fun going after the book.

Dave Barry Learns Everything You Need to Know About Being a Husband From Reading 50 Shades of Grey | TIME.

Update on Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety

Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety

Great news: I happened to visit WorldCat for another reason today and, while there, checked the status of my book Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety. According to Worldcat, as of March 30th, 2014 my book has been purchased by 604 libraries/locations around the world. It’s currently available at (mostly university) libraries in the following countries or territories:

Armenia
Australia
Belgium
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Botswana
Brazil
Canada
China
Columbia
Costa Rica
Cyprus
Denmark
Egypt
France
Georgia
Germany
Greece
Honduras
Hong Kong
India
Iraq
Ireland
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Jordan
Kyrgystan
Lebanon
Lithuania
Malaysia
Mexico
Montenegro
Morocco
Namibia
Netherlands
New Zealand
Nigeria
Norway
Philippines
Poland
Romania
Russian Federation
Singapore
Slovenia
South Africa
Sweden
Switzerland
Thailand
Turkey
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
United States
Virgin Islands

That’s 53 countries on six continents. Someone needs to set up a library in Antarctica. If there is one down there, hey guys — would you buy a copy of my book? Ha.

Needless to say, I’m very pleased. If you’re not familiar with academic publishing in the humanities, over 600 libraries isn’t an academic bestseller, but it isn’t bad at all either. The predictable minimum sales for an academic book is around 200 copies, and very low-end publishers like Mellen set royalty payouts at around 500 copies over the first five years to almost ensure that no author will ever get royalties for their book — because most academic books don’t sell that many copies. By the way, after five years full ownership reverts to Mellen, so the author will never see royalties after that — don’t publish with Mellen unless you’re willing to give up ownership of your work forever. I highly recommend working with Bloomsbury/Continuum.

I’m very grateful to the faculty (both library and humanities) who supported the purchase of my book. I think I know who made the recommendations in Singapore and Croatia: thank you both, especially since it seems to be in most or all of the major libraries in Croatia. I was fortunate that Continuum/Bloomsbury published it, because they’re one of the better publishers. An academic publisher who actually backs their own product is a rare thing these days, and publishing with Continuum was a great experience. Excellent editorial process despite a few glitches, which were my own.

I’m especially grateful to Michael Phillips, Sherry Truffin, and Sheridan Lorraine for being my book’s first readers and for their valuable insight and editorial assistance.

I’ve also been fortunate enough to have had the book reviewed four times, so I’m very grateful to the reviewers for their work reviewing my book and for helping to spread the word, and I need to extend that gratitude to the journals that published these reviews. You can read excerpts of these reviews and find links to them on my book page.

I’ve added an errata page. Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety is currently available in paperback, hardcover, and eBook edition on both amazon.com and the publisher’s website.

 

The Woman Who Married a Cloud

Jonathan Carroll, The Woman Who Married a CloudEvery so often, you’ll read a short story and come across a line that hits you just right. Here’s my latest:

“I’ll buy you any two pencils you want if we can leave right now.”

Ha…

It’s from the short story “Home on the Rain” by Jonathan Carroll, which you can read in his latest collection, The Woman Who Married a Cloud.

Americananity

GenevaBibleRevisedBlackLeatherLrg.1__47984.1291496242.1280.1280A website called The Patriot Report (subtitled Supplies for the Conservative Revolution) is currently advertising a 1599 Geneva Bible, buy one get one free for $49.99. It looks like an attractive enough product, and if it’s an exact reproduction of the 1599 Geneva Bible it’s worth having. There’s no disputing the historical significance of this specific English edition of the Bible. I don’t think I would pay the full price of $69.99 for any bonded leather Bible, or even the regular sale price of $49.99, because bonded leather is very cheap and falls apart in pieces over time, but around $25.00 isn’t too bad a deal.

What interests me is how this website is marketing this product. Consider this language from the final paragraph of the ad page:

For nearly half a century these notes helped the people of England, Scotland, and Ireland understand the Bible and true liberty. King James despised the Geneva Bible because he considered the notes on key political texts to be seditious and a threat to his authority. Unlike the King James Version, the Geneva Bible was not authorized by the government. It was truly a Bible by the people and for the people.

The final and strongest selling points for this Bible reside in the political circumstances of its production: it’s not enough that it is, presumably, the Word of God. The Geneva Bible is a better Word of God than that Other Word of God, the King James Bible (which used to be the fetish of far-right Christians who insisted that if “the King James Bible was good enough for Paul, it’s good enough for me”), because the Geneva Bible is an anti-monarchical and anti-government Bible. It’s a better Bible because it

1. Threatened the authority of King James, and

2. Was not authorized by the government — so presumably the King James Bible is actually now a socialist, big government, left wing Bible.

There really isn’t a better illustration of how even the Bible itself is subordinate to correct politics within American right wing Christianity — particularly the far right  — which leads me to think that American right wing Christianity has essentially become an anti-Christian cult in which Christ is a marginalized figure upon which right wing ideology is hung, and the Bible is only useful to the extent that it can support this state of affairs. I think we should rename this new religion Americananity. . .

Zombies in the Academy

Zombies in the AcademyMy former colleague Sherry Truffin, now of Campbell University, has launched a new publication. Her latest essay appears in the anthology Zombies in the Academy: Living Death in Higher Education. This essay is an extension of the work that she began in Schoolhouse Gothic: Haunted Hallways and Predatory Pedagogues in Late Twentieth-Century American Literature and Scholarship, which explores the implications of locating gothic literature in educational settings.

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