Saturday, November 10, 2012

39. The Importance of a Good Book

The day I was in the hospital and got my cancer diagnosis was also the release date for Jenny Lawson's book, Let's Pretend This Never Happened. Lawson's hilarious memoir (well, sort of memoir) was a big help in helping me keep my sense of humor on that day, and I was glad to have my Kindle Fire so I could download it and read it so easily.

This week, as I suffer through the recovery from my cancer surgery, I was happy to be able to use a gift certificate from my awesome sister Wendy to buy Alan Sepinwall's book, The Revolution Was Televised, on my Kindle app for iPad. Sepinwall's an Internet friend going back to when he was writing about NYPD Blue on Usenet and I was writing reviews on the comics part of Usenet, and I've always loved his TV writing.

The book is terrific, with chapters on the breakout dramas that have redefined television in the last decade or two, including Deadwood, The Sopranos and lots more. Mixed in with Alan's analysis are thoughts from the showrunners and writers who he interviewed, and it's a fantastic read, something anyone who reads Alan's "What's Alan Watching" TV recaps will love.

On top of making me want to re-watch The Wire, Deadwood and The Sopranos (so far), it has me wishing I'd written a book like this, about a dozen influential graphic novel series, back when I was doing more writing and had more access to creators. I don't think I'm capable of that book now, but I think I could have written it then, and I wish I had. Alan has provided the exact roadmap of format I could have used.

At any rate, I highly recommend Alan's book to anyone who loves TV and Jenny's book to anyone who loves off-beat humor. And I recommend books in general when dealing with cancer, a little change in subject and change in perspective is nice. I even stumbled across a Deadwood quote in Alan's section on Deadwood that I thought was particularly apropos and inspiring in my current state, from Deadwood's Al Swearingen:

“Pain, or damage don’t end the world — or despair, or fuckin’ beatings. The world ends when you’re dead. Until then, you got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man, and give some back.”

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