Books Read in August 2009

Darcy's Story by Janet Aylmer

A nice companion to Pride and Prejudice, but it didn't really stand out like some of the others that are intended to tell the story from other points of view.

Dingo by Charles de Lint

I enjoyed seeing de Lint explore a touch of Australian mythology in this young adult book. The basic concept was a bit different and the teenagers very well-characterized with a touch of ambivalence and angst.

The Sea of Monsters and The Titan's Curse and The Battle of the Labyrinth and The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

These are books 2-5 of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. I read the first one - The Lightning Thief - some time ago and had never gotten around to the rest of the stack but was motivated when the last of them was published in May. This is another series intended for younger readers but I'm a sucker for myth and faery moving into the modern world. I moved through them pretty quickly, enjoying each story and the appropriateness of the ending.

Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson

This book was completely overloaded with practical details, making it a great reference, and the conversational approach kept it from being dry. I was especially taken by the attitude of not accepting common wisdom, combining experimentation with frugality, and recognizing that almost everything you do is part of promoting your business. It wouldn't hurt corporate marketers to read it, especially in this age of the internet, even though it's geared towards small businesses.

The Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman

I enjoyed the experience of paging through this visual journal. It was primarily acrylic paintings combined with hand written comments that touched on various stories and aspects of the author's personal life.

Get Content Get Customers by Joe Pulizzi and Newt Barrett

I've been reading both authors' blogs for the last few months and picked this one up as a hard copy resource for the direction I'm taking my upcoming copywriting business. It was nice to see the information laid out in an organized fashion and still in a lively way.

It did a great job of covering the theory behind content marketing, the types of offline and online content you could use, and how to make sure that you were marketing, not just informing, with your content. I especially appreciated the case studies in the second half of the book.

I'll be keeping and rereading this one a couple times as I advance to fully absorb the material.

Dead Until Dark and Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

So after nearly two seasons of True Blood I decided to read the actual series it was based on. It was interesting to see what they'd done to make it a successful tv show. The biggest change was adding stories and even complete subplots to turn a first-person narrative into a successful ensemble show where the characters were persons in and of themselves, not just as seen through Sookie's eyes. The spirit and feel of the two different mediums matched wonderfully.

I'd actually read the first book some years ago and enjoyed it at the time. It came alive for me a little more this time around, with the show in my mind's eye, as it hadn't been enough to inspire me to look for the sequel back then. The second book and the second season diverged further, just enough to disrupt my reading and make it hard to judge the book's plot on its own. I bought the box set of the first seven paperbacks, so I'll see what I think as I move forward.

On the Nightstand:

Guns, Germs, and Steel; Making Things Happen; Selling to Big Customers