Can you tell I’m on vacation? I got up at 9:15 this morning… Usual time: 4:55. I went to bed at 1:00… Usual time: 10:00.  I have read several books. I am sore from doing “honeydos” for the past several days. I have taken 5.5 naps in five days, and had to make my own lunch for the same amount of time. There have been a lot of potato chips involved.

The books:
Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline. Set in a dystopian near-future where everyone spends most of their time in in giant internet-based virtual world called the Oasis, it follows the adventures (1st person) of a high school kid as he competes with the whole world to find the Easter egg hidden by the world’s creator/programmer. The finder inherits the guys trillions and controls the virtual world. Lots of ’80s pop culture references, so if you’re a child of the ’80s… My boy was born in 1999, and he loved it.

The Wrecking Crew, by Kent Hartman. The book’s subtitle says it best: “The Inside Story of Rock and Roll’s Best Kept Secret.” Did you know that the Beach Boys didn’t do anything but sing on the records? That Glen Campbell had to pretend to be Mexican to avoid be arrested in Alabama as the only white member of Ray Charles’s band, and that he was Brian Wilson’s replacement on Beach Boys’ tours while Brian made the records with the studio guys? That almost every hit of the ’60s was recorded by same handful of musicians? Now you do.

Smoking Ears and Screaming Teeth, by Trevor Norton. This one is non-fiction about all the scientists and doctors who made great discoveries (and sometimes didn’t and died, or almost died) by experimenting on themselves. This one will have you wincing at the stuff these guys would do just to see what happens. It’s a laugh riot. The subtitle here is: “A Celebration of Scientific Eccentricity and Self-Experimentation.”

Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card. Dunno how I missed this one, being a sci-fi fan and all, but I like this tale of “kids in space.” (Cue “Pigs in Space” from the Muppet Show.) It’s sort of Hunger Games in zero gravity with all the mind games, but without the killing. (Well I guess he does commit xenocide, but they’re just aliens, right?) This is a good one for your nerdy middle schoolers too.

I have been reading a bunch of dollar sci-fi from Amazon’s Kindle store. I have my Nook hacked so I can read Kindle books on it too, and Amazon has been promoting what they call Kindle singles for .99. This one guy, Hugh Howey, has really been doing a Charles Dickens with the concept, churning out serialized sci-fi stories almost weekly. And they’re mostly all good. Check him out.

I have also been doing a lot of reading of my middle-L listeserv. There’s been a brouhaha going for a few days between my fave contributor, Marion Brady, and some new whippersnapper, William Lin. I’ll have more on this one very soon, but meanwhile you should check out the archives. This conversation is a lot of fun, and you could learn a lot. Start at the very end of March.

See you soon, Baboon.