Tom Wolfe’s Birthday

Happy birthday to Tom Wolfe, prolific American author probably best known for The Bonfire of the Vanities and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. He celebrates his 82nd birthday today, and is still writing. Many happy returns, Tom!

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Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere coming to radio

Fans of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere will be please to hear that that a date has been announced for the upcoming radio series. Starring names such as James McEvoy, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Christopher Lee, the first episode will be airing at 6pm GMT (12pm Central) on March 16th on BBC Radio 4. Most of you probably aren’t in the UK, but you can listen to the show live on Radio 4’s website worldwide.

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Clearance/Spring Sale!

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Clearance Bag Deal! We are marking lots of our regular store stock down to clearance prices and our bargain tables are filling up!  Come browse expanded selection of bargain books. Fill a bag for $10.00.

Also, we’re offering 20% off online orders through the month of March. Use Coupon Code:  SPRING13 

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The two faces of Middle Earth

JRR Talkin

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New in stock

 

 

 

 

 

Four new novels available at The Book House from small press publishers Candlemark and Gleam, finest purveyors of speculative fiction and fantastika to the anachronista. All are available in trade paperback for $19.95

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Broken is a tale of broken down superheroes on the run in a dystopian future vision of a fascist controlled United States, making it sound like it was written to the theme of Born to Run by Springsteen. Instead, it’s a touching look at what makes superheroes iconic to our culture, and also, what makes them human.

Debris Dreams by David Colby is a sf novel set in the mid twenty-first century, an account of a teenager drafted into a war she doesn’t want to fight, her correspondence with a friend on Earth, and her dreams of one day actually setting foot on the planet.

 

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Mr Blank is a noir crime novel set in a world where conspiracy theories are the norm, where the main character uses so many aliases and pseudonyms that he seems no longer sure of who he really is, and deals with his run ins with “The Knights Templar, little green men, Russian gangsters, a cult of anorexics, and various cryptids” on a merry chase across Los Angeles.

And (re)Visions: Alice, a personal favorite of Michelle and myself, a collection of short stories exploring the legacy of Lewis Carroll. Included in the book is the complete text of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Stop by the store to pick these up, or order from our website!

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Hope you all enjoyed Valentines Day

Hope you all enjoyed Valentines Day

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The Power of Books

From Workman Publishing, via Neil Gaiman:

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February 9th: Brendan Behan born

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Happy Birthday to Brendan Behan, Ireland’s finest professional drinker and sometimes writer and poet, born in 1923, and died at the young age of 41.

A couple of stories regarding Brendan: When visiting Canada, a reporter asked him “What brings you to Canada, Mr Behan?”

He replied “Well now, I was in a bar in Dublin and it had one of those coasters, and it said “Drink Canada Dry,” so I thought I’d give it a shot.”

The second regards the time that Behan offered to write a slogan for the Guinness company if they would send him a few crates of the stout for inspiration.

The next day, the advertisers from Guinness returned to find the crates empty, surrounded by bits of crumpled paper, and he said “I’ve got it: ‘Guinness makes you drunk.'”

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Fun with numbers

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How many books are there in the world? A better question might be ‘How many possible books can be written?’

For the purposes of this experiment, we’ll stick to the English language. We’ll also assume the average length of the books in question is about 100,000 words, a typical novel. If we take all 26 letters in the alphabet (and include a 27th for spaces between them), how many combinations of 100,000 word books is that?

The approximate answer (forgive me for rounding up) is 10860,000. That’s a one with eight hundred and sixty thousand zeroes after it. That’s a lot of reading. Were I to type it out, the number alone would be about 40,000 times larger than this entire post. It w0uld be larger than one of the novels we’re talking about.

Except of course, we wouldn’t be reading most of those, because there’s going to be a lot of them filled with words like ‘zqjkfd’, ‘aerjsho’, and ‘vvvx’. So let’s narrow it down a little, and only have books with actual English words in them. This reduces the number dramatically, to a mere 10400,000, a mere four hundred thousand zeroes following that one. Still plenty to be reading over the weekend.

We’d still have the problem that most of the sentences in these books are going to read like ‘Superb apex visigoth wombat’. So let’s narrow it down further, and just allow books that make actual grammatical sense.

Even if we do this, however, we end up with an alarming figure with far too many zeroes after it. If we were to take all these possible, comprehensible books, and print them in the typical mass-market paperback format, they would actually fill a volume larger than the limits of the visible universe (which, last time anyone checked, is around 47 billion light years across).

And this is why we never have enough space on our bookshelves.

(Adapted from and with thanks to Terry Pratchett‘s Science of Discworld)

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