Three miniposts

Three items not really worth full posts–two book-related, one DVD-related:

La misma luna

Last Saturday, our weekly movie night, we watched La misma luna or “Under the Same Moon.” Unless you’re familiar with Mexican cinema, the only actor you’re likely to recognize is America Ferrera, and she’s only in it for about five minutes.

The plot, basically: A young mother is working in LA to send money to her son…in Mexico, staying with his grandmother…to make his life better. She’s undocumented. They talk once a week, when she calls him, always from the same pay phone to the same pay phone (she describes the corner at which the pay phone stands)–and they’re both “under the same moon” even though they’re in different countries.

Grandmother dies, son can’t stand being apart from mother, takes action to fix it. He’s nine years old.

I won’t say more than that. It’s excellent–well made, well acted. It’s also subtitled (not unreasonably), including the “making of” featurette (except when Ferrera is speaking). The only language option is Spanish. That’s only reasonable. We enjoyed it very much. No, I didn’t regard it as political propaganda, but then I don’t view the world as being entirely political statements.

Reservation Blues

On my long-term semi-random walk through the fiction available at Livermore Public Library (each time I go, I get three books: One nonfiction but with a narrative arc; one genre fiction, alternating between mystery and science fiction, and one fiction that’s not in a genre section and looks interesting), I picked up Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie–who I’d heard of but never read.

I can’t say I read it in a single sitting. I can say that, if the rest of life had allowed, I might have done so–and I did read it in two days, which is highly unusual.

Don’t know whether I’d recommend it to others, but I was pleasantly surprised. (OK, so the rest of you, being more up on important literature than I am, have already read this–after all, it’s been out for fifteen years, it won an American Book Award, etc., etc.. What can I say? I’m a couple of decades behind on most book reading.)

Anyway, on the off chance that you haven’t read it…you might enjoy it.

Open Access and Libraries

Going from the sublime to the…well, anyway, I just received my own copy of Open Access and Libraries: Essays from Cites & Insights, 2001-2009. (USPS for the win, as usual: Three days for MediaMail from North Carolina to Livermore.)

I gotta say, the cover is even brighter in real life than on the screen (go down a few posts to see the screen version, or click on the link above for that matter). It is, of course, my tribute to the two primary flavors of open access and some of the many shades of those flavors.

It’s also a thick book (191,000 words in 519 pages): the thickest I’ve done via Lulu, although not actually either the thickest book I’ve published or the one with the most pages. (Desktop Publishing for Librarians, published in 1990 by G.K. Hall, is about 0.05″ thicker as a page block–that is, exclusive of hardcover–even though it’s only 420 pages; The Online Catalog Book: Essays and Examples, published in 1992 by G.K. Hall, is 560 pages and 8.5×11 rather than 6×9, but it’s a little thinner, printed on lighter-weight paper. Hmm. As with this book, I did the typography for both of those.)

Is it a “good” book or a “worthwhile” book? I can’t say. I know the price is right if you want PDF: $0.

4 Responses to “Three miniposts”

  1. John says:

    I would be interested to hear about the effect of the free PDF on your print sales over time. You can’t compare to print sales before and after since they were released together, but perhaps just compared to sales of other books in the past where you did not offer a free PDF. Just curious. Regards.

  2. will manley says:

    Walt, I strongly second your recommendation on the Alexie book.

  3. walt says:

    John: I don’t think I’ll be able to tell much–I can’t find any way to get Lulu to show me the $0-revenue sales, at least for now. In any case, since I didn’t and don’t anticipate selling enough copies of the paperback to cover the cost of the copy I purchased for myself–which would require selling seven (7) of them–it’s probably not a good test case.

    I suppose I could reprice some of my other books at $0 for the PDF and see if print sales are resurrected. Maybe an interesting experiment.

  4. Jeff Scott says:

    Under the Same Moon is a wonderful movie. It really demonstrates the complexity of immigration in Mexico. I would recommend reading Into the Beautiful North which is very similar in tone.