Saturday, July 1, 2006

More books, both reading and writing...

And once again plans (to blog more often) collide with reality in unpleasant and sometimes dangerous ways...

OK, not really dangerous. Don't know why I said that, really.

I've been reading, though my pace has slowed down considerably. Work slammed me hard this week, to the point that I had to put my novel aside. Then I found out on Wednesday that I had less time to write my novel than I thought I did—eight weeks less time, in fact. On the plus side, it's looking like I'm going to write two more after this one's done.

Reading: I read John Grisham—first The Client, then The Firm, then The Broker, because it turns out this guy can write. The three books have a lot in common, and by the time I finished The Broker I was getting a little tired of petulant people who don't think Witness Protection is good enough for them. Especially since I read in Mental Floss that Witness Protection actually works very well, as long as the people being protected don't do stupid things like commit more crimes or contact old acquaintances. Anyway, they're all good books.

Somewhere in between, I borrowed Everything Bad is Good for You, by Steven Johnson. The subtitle is, How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter, which pretty well sums up the thesis of the book. It's intriguing, and well-argued. He quotes a section from the D&D Player's Handbook as an example of how complex our entertainment has become. He discusses video games, and the complex series of tasks you need to fulfill to achieve objectives in games like Zelda. Just after I read it, my son was playing Pok√©mon Emerald version, and I got him to explain all the things he had to do before he could challenge the next gym leader, which helped me explain Johnson's point to my wife. He goes on to talk about the high end of today's TV dramas (things likeThe Sopranos), comparing them favorably to earlier shows, and even emphasizes the emotional-intelligence aspect of reality TV shows. It was an interesting, and very quick, read.

Speaking of my son playing games, my article about playing D&D with him has gone live on the Wizards website. Check it out! I've got another Design & Development column coming up, as well.

Yesterday I saw the first galleys of Expedition to Castle Ravenloft. It looks pretty awesome.

Finally, when I took the Google ads off, a Loyal Reader sent me this email:
Feel free to add a paypal link to your site, in lieu of the google ads.  I’m sure some of us would be glad to periodically help with the upkeep of the site.

So there it is, down below the Amazon search box. Do with it as you please. :)
OK, that's about all the time I've got right now. Happy Independence Day (U.S.)! Don't kill yourself (or anybody else) with fireworks.

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