09 July 2012

2012 Reading List: April – June

Andrew Finkbeiner, Mopar B-Body Performance Upgrades 1962-79. New York: S-A Design, 2012

See full review here
Eric Walker, The Sinister First Baseman and Other Observations. Millbrae, LA: Celestrial Arts, 1982.

The title refers to the fact that first basemen have traditionally been left-handed, while the other infield positions are denied lefties because of their usual throwing motions. This, and other thoughts on the game—following the Bill James example of questioning assumptions and seeking fundamental truths—are expressed in literary essays that remain delightful even if the questions have long-since been answered and the novel observations are now accepted as obvious.

Bernard Malamud, The Natural. NY: MJF Books, 1992

You’ve seen the movie. Forget the movie; Robert Redford was too pretty to play someone who suffers as much as Roy Hobbs. This story is dark, full of mystery and abuse and doubt and regret, rendered in prose that glows like the moon swimming in lemon juice.

Jim Abbott and Tim Brown, Imperfect: An improbable life. NY: Ballantine, 2012.

See full review here
Lowell L Blaisdell, Carl Hubbell: A biography of the Screwball King. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2011.

See full review here
Salman Rushdie, Luka and the Fire of Life. NY: Random House, 2010.

The follow-up to Haroun and the Sea of Stories, written for Rushdie’s own younger son, requires Rashid Khalifa’s younger son to undertake his own quest into the Magic World for the Fire of Life, which is all that will save Rashid’s life. Great adventure ensues.

David Wellington, 32 Fangs. NY: Broadway Paperbacks, 2012.

The fifth and final volume in a series chronicles vampire hunter Laura Caxton’s preparations for and climactic battle with Malverna, the powerful monster whose own story is told in parallel with Caxton’s.

05 July 2012

Walt Crawford, The Librarian’s Guide to MicroPublishing. Medford, NJ: Information Today, 2012.

Crawford defines micropublishing as using print on demand services to produce copies of a book as required for a niche market. This definition is too narrow; micropublishing is ANY content creation, print or online, for a niche market—publishing, being the act of making public, is not limited to any particular format. What Crawford means to suggest is that libraries can and should be involved in community content creation, because libraries are their community information centers, and can inexpensively utilize print on demand processes to assist interested authors.

What Crawford give us is a how-to manual for producing a polished physical manuscript—the content development process is out of scope here. He provides templates for laying out a manuscript, step-by-step instructions for making the text look good, and details for navigating the interaction with a print on demand vendor. The goal is to enable anyone to create a good-looking physical book, using only common software. Crawford assumes access to MS Word and the internet; with only this basic equipment, anyone should be able to follow the steps he lays out and, without too much difficulty, have a reasonably-priced object for sale.

While Crawford sees this as most applicable for public libraries, where writing groups and local history or genealogy students may produce content of interest to a small or local audience, his methods are equally useful for a self-publishing fiction author or even an open-access academic imprint that wants to make an archival copy available. This book’s value, though, comes from its detailed layout instruction; readers are encouraged to apply these skills to their own imaginative ends. After all, the goal of micropublishing is to produce a high-quality content carrier, cheaply. Crawford shows us how to do exactly that in this book.