Want a great nonfiction book that’ll read like a thriller but with more humanity? Pick up Jeff Johnson’s amazing Tattoo Machine, all about his experiences as a tattoo artist. It’s blurbed by Katherine Dunn and Gus Van Sant for a reason: it’s awesome. These anecdotes are note-perfect, paced to perfection, and contain amazing details. Johnson is also honest and personal in his approach. It’s a truly compelling and humane and sometimes touching account. You’ve got to read it. (I’m also excited because it looks like I’ll be able to do an event with Jeff when I’m in Portland this fall.)
And, while I’m at it, links to some recent Omnivoracious features you shouldn’t miss, followed by a…video…
Tad Williams and Deborah Beale on their new book for kids, The Dragons of Ordinary Farm, in a really wonderful interview.
Amazon.com: What did you do when you disagreed with each other about something related to writing Dragons?
Deborah: Argue. Shout. Try and deal with it as quickly as possible so there aren’t too many repercussions elsewhere.
Tad: Here’s a telling difference between the two of us that comes out in collaboration: Deb’s family doesn’t shout for fun like mine does. In my family, any serious discussion sounds like a grease fire during dinner rush in an Italian restaurant — lots of bellowing and hand-waving. So with Deb, I try to argue less…um…vociferously than is my wont.
Mark Chadbourn guest-post on mysterious places in Britain.
From one perspective, Britain is as much a land of fantasy as Middle Earth. Over its thousands of years of history, it has accrued a great many mysterious and mystical places that still haunt the modern mind. My Age of Misrule sequence, which deals with the return of the Celtic gods to our time, can also be read as a magical mystery tour of Weird Britain. As part of the research, I spent six months on the road around the UK, sitting in stone circles on fiery summer dawns, creeping through haunted castles, stalking storm-lashed moors at twilight, all the time searching for the places that still resonated with the power of ancient days.
Clarion West Write-a-Thon interview with K. Tempest Bradford
Amazon.com: Why is Clarion West important?
K. Tempest Bradford: So many reasons. And different for different writers. I think one of the main reasons is that a lot of people don’t often have the chance to devote a significant chunk of their time to writing immersion. Where your main concern is writing, talking about writing, learning about writing. Some people find that in graduate writing programs, but many of them aren’t very genre-friendly. At least two of the students in my class were also in MFA programs and still found value in the workshop.
A preview by Larry Nolen of the new novel by Falcones.
Spanish author Ildefonso Falcones sets out to explore the tensions that existed in late 16th century Spain in his new novel, La Mano de FÃ¡tima. Over the course of over 900 pages, Falcones covers the period from the Alpujarras revolt of 1568-1571 to the 1609 expulsion through the character of Hernando Ruiz. Young Hernando, the offspring of the rape of a Moorish woman by a Catholic priest, serves as a small-scale representation of the divisions that rent Spain after the fall of Granada in 1492. Rejected by his fellow Moors as being a “Nazarene”and condemned to be treated as a Moor by the Christians due to his crypto-Muslim Morisco culture (public Muslim practices being banned in 1499), Hernando bears witness to the mutual distrust that Morisco and Spaniard alike felt toward one another.
A mixed review of the comics antho Flight 6, which had a lot of stuff that made me snooze.
Other pieces tend to blend together, seemingly a lot of talk with little of consequence being said–indeed, it seems to me that Flight 6 is in some ways no different from the kid-oriented Flight Explorer series spin-off, and that this mirroring might be sapping some of the energy from Flight 6. Story has never been the strong suit of the series, but some of the regulars that Kibuishi uses are wearing thin. Still, it’s a lovely volume in many ways, and firmly recommended for kids, just slightly less so for adults.
And now your video, from one of my favorite post-punk bands…