Sunday, April 15, 2012

Biblophile: Somebody please think of the children

I read books like Scrooge McDuck handles money. I put them in a pile, swim through it like a fish, burrow through them like a gopher, and throw them in the air and let them hit me on the head. This is Bibliophile.

 Last week's Bibliophile was intense.  Thousands of entries, and the encroaching evil that was Cambridge.  This week, in comparison, there's a mere 1300+ items, which is less an encroaching evil and more a plodding sneer.

First, we've got a few hundred new graduate student theses and dissertations.  I'll note down some of the more amusing titles, and do a write-up at the end.
 Social behavior inventory : to ipsatize or not to ipasitize, that is the question.
Moustachioed men and marathon moms : the marketing of cancer philanthropy.
Birds of a feather sit together : physical similarity predicts seating choice.
Raising an issue in a relationship : I'll tell you what's wrong, but only if I think it will help.
To tell or not to tell : predictors of disclosure and privacy settings usage in an online social networking site (Facebook).
"To thine own self be true": A narrative analysis of social group disengagement and associated identity implications.
Impact of the BlackBerry on couple relationships.
Two conclusions can be made from this collection.  First, social science graduates are willing to indulge in a bit of whimsy in their titles.  Second, for social science graduates, nonsequitar Shakespearean references qualify as whimsy. 

500 years of resistance comic book / Gord Hill ; [introduction by Ward Churchill].   Vancouver : Arsenal Pulp Press, c2010.
I saw this book in some context in the last week or so, though I can't for the life of remember why.  Anyway, the idea of the book is that it's 80 pages recounting the history of struggles and atrocities involved in the native Americans' history since European settlers.  It's worth noting that the book is filed in the history section rather than in the graphic novel section.  That suggests that someone's decided that content in this case is a more relevant filing criterion than medium.  Categorization aside, the book's got a rather dire review on Amazon, courtesy of Quire and Quill, which criticizes it for being too brief to do full justice to its subject.  Admittedly, putting 400 or so years of history into 80 pages is a rather tall order.

Remember last week, when we discussed the 40s pulp books added to the library's special collection?  Well, here's some more of that. 
 Maximo the amazing superman and the crystals of doom / story by R.R. Winterbotham ; illustrated by Henry E. Vallely.
Nevada rides the danger trail : a Nevada Whalen story / by Jack Chambers ; illustrated by J.R. White.
Ranger and the cowboy : a Sonny Tabor Story / by Ward M. Stevens ; illustrated by Albert H. Wick.
I could take or leave the cowboy stuff.  But that Maximo title is amazing.  Ring bearers : the Lord of the Rings online as intertextual narrative / edited by Tanya Krzywinska, Esther MacCallum-Stewart and Justin Parsler.   Manchester ; New York : Manchester University Press ; New York : distributed in the United States exclusively by Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.
I've been following Krzywinska for quite some time now.  She's a British-based game scholar.  Her anthology with Barry Atkins, Videogame, Player, Text, looks at games in terms of the close-reading, something that leans close to my own preferred method of study.  And her theory book, Tomb Raiders and Space Invaders, with Geoff King, is also worth a look.  As the title suggests, though, this book is a slightly different thing, though the narrow focus may justify calling it a close reading as well.  I can't find a particularly detailed description, but essay topics include adaptation theory, social practices of fandom, narrative generation, monstrous pleasures and demonic art, and "urealistic expectations."  And there are essays by Gordon Calleja, Frans Mayra, and Richard Bartle, among others.  If MMOs are your game studies thing, then this is one to check out. 

Language of gaming / Astrid Ensslin.   Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire ; New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.
A study of videogames from the POV of discourse analysis, looking at how games and designers convey meaning to their audiences, and way people talk about games.  Game studies with a focus on language, in other words.  Get it?  Other words?  It seems to be moving closer to the "cybertext" tradition of game studies.  Incidentally, (I mention, as I'm currently leafing through Eskelinen's Cybertext Poetics), the adoption of cybertext theory by ludologists has always struck me as odd.  One of the chief objections of ludology is applying non-game fields of study such as literature to game studies, but many of the high-ranking ludologists don't seem much wrong with applying very broad definitions of text in order to fix games under their rubric.  And that's what I see here, from a cursory glance--fitting games into rhetoric of discourse.  Well, we'll see.

 Gaming matters : art, science, magic, and the computer game medium / Judd Ethan Ruggill and Ken S. McAllister.
Three game studies books in one week.  It must be X-Box-Mas.  (Sorry.)  I'm making a mental note on this one, since both  copies are already signed out.  Anyway, the book seems to be a sequel of sorts to Ken S. McAllister's Game Work which I'll confess has escaped my notice (as well as the notice of the local library, it seems.)  Apparently, that book was about creating a framework for game studies, but this is a more narrow (yet still general) discussion of what constitutes a game.  And the chapters are based around the various dichotomies that rise up: anachronistic, while bound to advanced technologies; alchemical while being predictable; idiosyncratic, in a generic sort of way.  And so forth.  It doesn't wow me, but the rhetoric of magic might be worth looking into.

Childhood under siege : how big business targets children / Joel Bakan.  1st Free Press hardcover ed.   New York : Free Press, 2011.

Once upon a time, I started reading a book on Pokemon, as a global brand.  And it presented it as a story that could be interpreted in one of two ways: a canny multinational company exerting global influence, or an example of the global village, of kids around the world banning together and making a product their own.  This book, as you may guess from the title, takes the former approach.  Bakan's approach, going from the Amazon review, is to divide the book into topics: videogames and appeals to violence and sex (which is hardly unique to videogames or children--check the lead grossing action film for any given week). This is followed by a section on psychotropic drugs, a subject I'm a little more kindly inclined towards.  It goes over in some detail how companies skew test results to push their own products.  And another section on environmental polluters.    It seems to be dealing with some rather broad groups rather than those that target children per se,but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Narrating the catastrophe : an artist's dialogue with Deleuze and Ricoeur / Jac Saorsa.   Bristol, UK ; Chicago : Intellect, 2011.

It's time for a weekly Deleuze sighting, and he's bringing his buddy Ricoeur with him.  Saorsa's  combining the former's catastrophe theory with the latter's intersubjective narrative identity to investigate art, and the world in general.  I have to admit, I have no idea what that means.  I can tell you that chapter titles include "Ageless Children and Amputees Ampute" and "Drawing Out Deleuze Documenting the Stone," so... yeah, there's that.

Hunter : a graphic novel / by Darwyn Cooke ; edited by Scott Dunbier.   San Diego : IDW Publishing, 2011.
The sequel to Darwyn Cooke's Parker, both of which are adaptations of Richard Stark's series of novels.  And it's pretty much the best thriller-genre comics you can read.  It's an excellent adaptation, one that really takes advantage of its transferred medium.  Read this.  

How to make love to a Negro without getting tired : a novel / Dany Laferrière ; translated by David Homel. 
That title... wow.  Well, Laferriere is the, uh, titular figure, and the book is his experiences in 1985, in the slums of Montreal.  It's been compared to work by Henry Miller, Charles Bukowski, and Jack Kerouac, so I have even less interest in it than I did when I started this sentence.  
 Brew north : how Canadians made beer & beer made Canada / Ian Coutts.   Vancouver [B.C.] : Greystone Books, c2010.
Nothing says Canadian identity like alcoholism.

 Later Days.

1 comment:



Dear State Senator/State Assemblyperson:

I demand that you propose legislation that allows Nevadans to write in a presidential candidate.

Let's get this voting system changed (back) by November so we can write in Ron Paul's name for President. It's absolutely deplorable that we're forced to vote for CFR Candidate A or CFR Candidate B. This is not democracy. Nor republicanism. Change this system now.

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I - like all PATRIOTIC AMERICANS - want Nevada's voting system changed so, come next November, I can write in Ron Paul's name for President. I don't want to hear any excuses. The system we have now is just glorified vote rigging. We've had enough junk as "president", we're taking America back.

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