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The Best Introductory Books

A big list compiled from this Metafilter thread, entitled “What single book is the best introduction to your field (or specialization within your field) for laypeople?”

I have a feeling I will be revisiting it for many years.

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The Art of Penguin Science Fiction

A historical guide to the book jacket designs of Penguin’s Sci-Fi line.

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[Sponsor] The Extra Future Amazon Store

In which, among other lovely items, you’ll find what I’m currently reading: Hello Americans by Simon Callow.

This is the second volume of Callow’s biography on film legend Orson Welles (the first being 1997’s The Road To Xanadu) and it is every bit as worthy a portrait of Welles as it’s predecessor. It covers Welles’s life post-Kane, including the hatchet-job that RKO unleashed on The Magnificent Ambersons. It’s tone is one of someone who neither demonizes or worships Welles, but seeks to find the truths of his life.

Sponsorship of Extra Future is available on a first-come, first-served basis. If you’d like to sponsor the site, contact me.

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The LA Times on Amazon’s “De-Ranking” of Books Deemed Too Adult

This is quickly turning into a PR coup for Amazon. The gist of this is that most of the books labeled as “adult” and made hard to find on Amazon’s site are lesbian, gay, transgender or bisexual-themed, or even just LGBT-friendly. This is extremely bad form on the part of Amazon, as not showing up on best-seller lists or search pages can cripple the sales of a book. One of the books affected is “Unfriendly Fire” by Nathaniel Frank, which now doesn’t show up on bestseller lists on Amazon.com despite it’s selling of more copies than the entire Twilight series.

The #amazonfail tag on Twitter is spreading very quickly in response to this, and I encourage the use of it.