Reading

Thoughts about something I’ve recently read.

Books on writing

 Posted by (Visited 3530 times)  Game talk, Mailbag, Reading  Tagged with: , ,
Mar 052016
 

Hello!

I watched the recording of your lecture “Teaching to fish.”

At the end you recommend books for the different subjects, and you said that a lot of people start with Joseph Campbell, but that there are a lot more, interesting books, out there.

Do you have any books to recommend about creative writing?

¬†— Christoffer Lundberg

Sure. Starting most broadly, the top recommendation is to read. Read a lot. And read widely, not just in one sort of fiction. I could rattle off a host of recommendations, but there’s probably no point — there’s a huge universe of well-written books out there to look at as models and inspiration. So let’s move on to craft books instead.

To start, though it may be a tough hill to climb, you could go back to Aristotle’s Poetics.1 The amount of terminology and best practices that we still get from this book is hard to overstate. For general writing books, among many others I like John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction and Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. They perhaps tend a little more literary than others. I am tempted to also mention Babette Deutsch’s A Poetry Handbook, even if you don’t plan to write verse, because anyone who wants to master cadences of language, and the use of techniques of rhythm, assonance, and the like, would benefit from poetic training. Continue reading »


  1. All books in this post are Amazon Affiliate links, just so you know. That means I get paid a tiny bit if you buy them from here. 

Guardian picks Six Gaming Books

 Posted by (Visited 4867 times)  Game talk, Reading  Tagged with: ,
Jan 122014
 

At #2:

Penned by veteran games designer Raph Koster, A Theory of Fun was written 10 years ago, a long time considering the rapid pace of advance for its subject matter. And yet the book remains a key games design text that is still in print and highly relevant. While it was conceived to help games designers, it will be fascinating and informative for anybody involved in any field of design, or those curious about, well, harnessing the power of fun …

— Six of the best gaming books | Life and style | The Observer

Continue reading »

Jun 062013
 

In the wake of Indie Game: The Movie, I was asked on Quora about other works that are descriptive of gamer culture, suitable for someone who doesn’t play games, isn’t trying to learn how to make them, but rather is interested in learning about gamer culture.

Something that presents the human side, rather than the technical, and doesn’t assume a lot of prior knowledge. As many of you know, portrayals of the gaming hobby in the mass media have often been rather sensationalistic or inaccurate.

So here’s a quick list of ones that I have enjoyed and recommend for this purpose. It’s not in any particular order. I avoided “business books” that are more about how a company was built, in favor of ones that tell human stories.

In terms of being interested¬† in gaming culture, and game development culture, but not in “how-to” books, I would recommend: Continue reading »

Ray Bradbury, RIP

 Posted by (Visited 9033 times)  Reading  Tagged with: ,
Jun 062012
 

It was a quiet morning, the town covered over with darkness and at ease in bed. Summer gathered in the weather, the wind had the proper touch, the breathing of the world was long and warm and slow. You had only to rise, lean from your window, and know that this indeed was the first real time of freedom and living, this was the first morning of summer.

Douglas Spaulding, twelve, freshly wakened, let summer idle him on its early-morning stream. Lying in his third-story cupola bedroom, he felt the tall power it gave him, riding high in the June wind, the grandest tower in town. At night, when the trees washed together, he flashed his gaze like a beacon from this lighthouse in all directions over swarming seas of elm and oak and maple. Now . . .

“Boy,” whispered Douglas.

Dandelion Wine

Jan 192012
 

I gave a few books as gifts last year. These are the three non-fiction books I most often recommended to people. I ended up giving away multiple copies of these.

The thing they have in common: they all make you revise your view of the world.

1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

It’s sort of like Connections but for world history since that date, with a huge emphasis on the way globalization changed the world. One of the best moments is when he talks about plants… as American as apple pie (apples are from Kazakhstan); Italian food without tomatoes (they are from the Americas); the Irish and potatoes; southeast Asian cooking without chilies (from Mexico); Switzerland without chocolate (also Mexico); and rubber having basically moved from Latin America (where there’s a native endemic pest that kills the trees) to Southeast Asia (where there isn’t… but 40% of the world’s rubber comes from those trees, we’re utterly dependent on it for airplane tires, electrical wiring, and medical use; and we’re just waiting for the moment when some idiot travels from Brazil to Indonesia with some mud on their shoe and kills the entire monoculture crop in Vietnam & South China.

I can’t resist, even though it will bloat the blog post…

Continue reading »