Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game — Enthusiasticast Episode 69


Mark endorses Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game.

We also mention

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If Only We Could Read Faster (for August 30)

If time and money were infinite, this is what I would buy and read.


The Cat’s Table
Michael Ondaatje
I first read Ondaatje in 1992—The Collected Works of Billy the Kid—while in the grip of an untreated fever from streptococcal pharyngitis. (Being Canadian and having access to free healthcare still requires the individual good sense to go see a doctor. Ah, 19 year-old me… such a fuckwit.) I mean it only as a compliment when I say that he was the perfect writer to read while shivering and hallucinating in a tiny garrett in a bad part of town, though I am certain that reading his new novel on a commuter train while sipping hot coffee will be equally evocative and illuminating.

The Leftovers
Tom Perrotta
All I know about Tom Perrotta is that he writes novels that get turned into good movies (Election, Little Children). This time out he is tackling the timely topic of a post-Rapture world, telling the story through the lens of those left behind in one small town. It’s being adapted for HBO, but I’m thinking that it’s best not to wait. I mean, I’ve only got until October.

Scorch City
Toby Ball
Something weird is going on: if I read an author and am looking forward to their next book, they take forever (Markus Zusak, Mark Haddon, Max Brooks) but if I’ve dawdled and taken my time getting around to someone, they stack them up like cordwood so that I’m only more daunted to start. Such is the case with Toby Ball, whose well-received debut novel The Vaults is still glaring out at me from the to-read pile, and who now has a follow-up on the shelves. Apparently it’s good, too.
Fine, Ball, I’ll read your bloody books. Let’s see how quick you are then.

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If Only We Could Read Faster (for August 9, 16, 23)

If time and money were infinite this is what we would buy and read.
This post brought to you by no time for plot synospses.


Machine Man
Max Barry
I read the first draft of this book (you can, too!) and seriously enjoyed it. It would take a fucking-up of significant proportions to turn it into a bad book, and nothing I have read by Max Barry makes me think that’s what happened. This will be my first time with a director’s cut of a novel and I can’t wait.
(Book trailer.)

Ready Player One
Ernest Cline
The book trailer for this one also serves as a litmus test. If you get a wave of nostalgia while watching it, then this is probably for you.

by Alex Shakar
I know pretty much Jack about this book, but… but… I did read this superb article by Shakar about the fate of his first novel, The Savage Girl, and on the basis of that I will now read whatever he chooses to put between two covers. Or, you know, into an ePub file, or… gah! I hate shopping for new metaphors!

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Irmgard Keun’s After Midnight — Enthusiasticast Episode 68


Special guest Emily St John Mandel endorses Irmgard Keun’s After Midnight.

We also mention:

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While You’re Waiting

New shows are coming soon, we promise, but until then here’s some supplemental reading to go with two of our past recommendations. And they’re free!

Back in Episode 51 Mark was enthusiastic about Ian Tregillis’ Bitter Seeds. If you took him up on that, then you definitely want to check out this short story over at his publisher’s website. And if you didn’t then you still should. “What Doctor Gottlieb Saw” works perfectly as a standalone historical sf short, and it also serves as a nifty prequel to the events of Bitter Seeds. (Sadly, there is still no firm release date on Bitter Seeds’ follow-up The Coldest War. Apparently it’s written, though. It has a cover and everything.)

And I’ve gone on about Max Brooks’ World War Z a bunch of times. So here’s a nifty short story from Brooks about what the vampires thought when the stupid fucking zombies ate all the livestock. (Oh, and they’ve announced a release date for the WWZ film starring some middle-aged bloke named Brad Pitt: December 21, 2012. Mr. Pitt has apparently been travelling back and forth to the “set” using vehicles called “cars”, which he occasionally gets into or out of. It is a fascinating ritual and must be extensively documented. For science.)

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If Only We Could Read Faster (for August 2)

If time and money were inifinite, this is what we would buy and read.


David Whitehouse
Who hasn’t wanted to just stay in bed? Mal Ede goes to bed one day and stays there for twenty years, eventually becoming the world’s fattest man and a media sensation. Billed as a parable about modern life, media culture and family bonds, this British first novel has the kind of advance praise that’s so over-the-top it makes me leery, but a comparison to Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, a striking cover design and a wonderfully engaging premise mean that I am inclined to check it out despite the fact that it is apparently wonderful.

Bet Me
Jennifer Crusie
I wasn’t kidding about liking Jennifer Crusie. This is the first manuscript she ever completed, although not her first published. A re-written version eventually saw the light of day in 2004, and this is a paperback reprinting of that edition with–in my opinion–a much better cover.

Zero History
William Gibson
Mark and I quibbled about this on the show, but it grew on Mark enough to make it onto his best of the year list, and here it is in paperback. Despite the danger of a windowed release schedule for a book that was only written five minutes into the future to begin with–can such a thing survive intact a whole year past its initial publication date?–I think ZH squares the circle by making itself in part an analysis of that exact problem. If I hadn’t already read it, I still would.

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If Only We Could Read Faster (for July 26)

Well, that was a longer hiatus than planned!
If time and money were infinite, this is what we would buy and read.
This edition brought to you by second chances.


Collecting Cooper
Paul Cleave
I read Paul Cleave’s Blood Men last year and it was a perfectly good thriller, but I have a rather low threshold for bad things happening to children, which it exceeded, and that’s why you didn’t hear about it on the show. Nonetheless, the writing was strong—he certainly knows how to execute the ‘sympathetic character + clear objective x the toughest obstacles imaginable’ formula—so I am well up for giving Cleave another spin.
(Review. Book trailer.)

Sam and Twitch: The Complete Collection
Brian Michael Bendis (writer) & various artists
Ten years ago when I was voraciously devouring every Bendis book I could get my hands on, the price point on the first collection of his run on Sam and Twitch stopped me in my tracks. $34.95 for a black and white paperback? Forget that! And then five years later a new edition was released, this time with a second volume collecting the rest of the Bendis S&T stories: still paperback, still black and white, $31.99 apiece. Sigh.
Now, another five years later, they’ve finally got it right. The entire run in one hardcover, plus backmatter, for $37.50.
By all accounts these are top-notch crime comics, and I’m really looking forward to finally reading them.
(Review of an earlier edition.)

Touchy Subjects
Emma Donoghue
When a writer is as good as Donoghue, is getting her back catalogue reprinted on the heels of a massive success considered a cash grab or a public service?
Oh, who cares? If you’ve read Room then you know this book’s title is probably the least-kidding title on a long list of titles that are not fucking kidding.

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Dana Spiotta’s Stone Arabia — Enthusiasticast Episode 66


Special guest Ed Champion endorses Dana Spiotta’s Stone Arabia

We also mention:

See also Ed’s Roundtable part one, two, three, four, and five.

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Ben MacIntyre’s Agent Zigzag — Enthusiasticast Episode 65


Mark endorses Ben MacIntyre’s Agent Zigzag.

We also mention:

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Jay Asher’s Th1rteen R3asons Why — Enthusiasticast Episode 64


Jon endorses Jay Asher‘s Thirteen Reasons Why.

We also mention:

Music: Thanks to Drift for licensing ‘Invisible’ under creative commons.

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