Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wowbrary Wednesday/Waiting for Wednesday

I really, really, really need to get my checked out books read and returned.  We have several weeks before the fall publishing season starts; we have a ton of books already ordered for September and October, and I'm on pins and needles waiting for them!

Slimed! An Oral History of Nickelodeon's Golden Age

Eeek! Am beyond excited for this one. I was definitely a Nickelodeon kid. Now, it wasn't the juggernaut it is today; they were still importing several shows from Canada (Pinwheel, Today's Special, You Can't Do That on Television), and  the network switched over to arts programming in the late afternoon/evening (looks like it shared programming with what eventually became A&E, which would explain the abrupt switch to opera or something like that) until it created Nick at Nite (I loved Nick at Nite when I was in middle school; this was when classic pop/rock stations and all things 50s/60s were very popular, so everyone watched Nick at Nite).  All that changed when Double Dare was created (and then Family Double Dare, and then SUPER SLOPPY DOUBLE DARE), and thus the greatest kids' game show EVER was born.  I envied the kids on Double Dare; I wanted to slide into a vat of whipped cream, I could totally kill on the trivia questions, and I so wanted to go to Space Camp (not because I was interested in space or science all that much, but I wanted to ride the simulator that whirls you around until you feel/get sick).  Nickelodeon became a major player in the early 90s, but I had aged out of the demographic by then (other than occasionally watching shows with my younger brother).  I'm really looking forward to reading about the history of this network.  Pop culture fans who can't wait for this should check out other oral histories of networks/shows, such as I Want My MTV, Those Guys Have All the Fun (about ESPN), We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy, and Live From New York , which covers the history of Saturday Night Live until 2002 (so before the rise of Tina Fey, Kristen Wiig, etc). We also just received another oral history of MTV, this time from the perspectives of the VJs (video jockeys); I Want My MTV included musicians, network executives, and other industry professionals as well as the VJs. For those of who who don't remember or didn't watch MTV then--the VJs hosted blocks of music videos and would introduce the videos, talk about the musicians/bands, banter, etc, just like a radio DJ. They were discarded once MTV turned to original programming, but in their heyday, they were just as popular as the rock stars they featured.

Jim Henson: The Biography

I have been waiting for this book for nearly a year.  It's finally (almost) here, and getting fine reviews.  In the meantime, I recommend Jim Henson: The Art, The Magic, The Imagination, these two excellent children's biographies of the great puppeteer, and Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street. And, of course, The Muppet Movie, which I recently watched for the first time in a while, and can definitely tell it was made in the 70s (the running Hare Krishna gag, and all those cameos from folks popular in the 70s/early can play the "Hey! It's That Guy! Whatever Happened to Him?" game).  Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem are totally groooovy and like, faaaar out in this one.

The Daughters of Mars

The Daughters of Mars is receiving a ton of outstanding reviews and attention.  Not shocking for the author of Schindler's List, of course.  His latest is set in World War I and features two Australian sisters who join the war front as nurses; sounds like a winner.

Johnny Cash: The Life

I'll admit that I didn't know much about Johnny Cash until Walk the Line came out; since then, I've purchased a number of his recordings and have perused Youtube videos, but have never read an actual biography.  When this popped up in a recent Wowbrary newletter, I figured I would give it a shot.  I appreciate the fact that it's written by a music critic, although this apparently "tells the unvarnished truth about Cash, whose personal life was far more troubled and his artistry much more profound than even his most devoted fans have realized." All right, then.

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

Love it or hate it, Amazon is definitely a game-changer for both small businesses and big box chains.  I haven't read any reviews of it, so I don't know how Brad Stone covers the criticisms of Amazon. We shall see. If you like business biographies (some are better than others), try Brick by Brick: How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Invention and Conquered the Toy Industry.

One Summer: America, 1927

Any new book by Bill Bryson is sure to get a lot of attention; we already have several holds on this book, and it won't be out until early October. Babe Ruth, Charles Lindbergh, Al Capone, Herbert Hoover, and Calvin Coolidge all made waves during the summer of 1927; this should be an engrossing read.

We also just ordered a bunch of new children's/YA books, and I'm going to send our fall holidays book order soon.   The fall publishing season is in full swing--get ready!

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