It’s shaping up to be a week of Fleen Book Corners; let’s start with data and numbers before we get to reviews.
- I was lucky enough to pick up Sisters by Raina Telgemeier and Amulet Book Six: Escape From Lucien by Kazu Kibuishi over the weekend, and reviews are forthcoming, but I need to work in a few more readings of each, first. There’s a lot of depth and quality work in both books, which by the way made their debuts at #6 and #5, respectively, at the New York Times bestseller list for graphic novels (paperback). That struck me as unrealistically low until I saw what’s in the top four slots: a Walking Dead collection, Maus, and two editions of Persepolis, and considered how the list is compiled.
First things first: although the list is dated 7 September, it reflects sales for the week ending 23 August, or three days before Amulet 6 and Sisters went on sale; it incorporates pre-orders and stores stocking up, but does not include actual kids went to the store and plunked down money, necessitating restock orders. You also have to consider that the zombie book comes as summer convention season drained stocks, requiring reorders at the distributor level, and the others occur as college bookstores stock up on mandatory reading lists, a place where both Persepolis and Maus have been found for a decade or more. Look for both to bump up next week, and to hang around for a good long time¹.
- Randall Munroe’s What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, which I will be obtaining at the first opportunity, is releasing today (at least, in the US/Canada in print and audio editions). In two days it will hit in the UK and Commonwealth countries, next week in German, next month in Brazilian Portugese and Dutch, and in November in Czech and Spanish. Not content to stop with that fairly impressive percentage of the world’s readers², future editions will be released in Japanese, French, Russian, Hungarian, Chinese, Polish, Greek, Turkish, and Korean, a total of 18 editions in 16 languages (counting English as one language, but simplified and complex Chinese as two), for a reach of approximately 4.75 billion readers out of 7.05 billion, or 100% of the people on the planet, using Munroe’s beloved Fermi estimates.
Furthermore, assuming all the foreign editions have the same dimensions as the US edition³, stacking those 7.05 billion copies up in a tower will produce a stack 232,650 km high. Naturally, the weight of the tower (some 5.77 billion kg, or about equal to the mass of enough uranium to fill the Rose Bowl4) will compress the lower levels to be thinner (not to mention the ground beneath it), but 85% of the tower will be beyond the geostationary height (some 36,000 km due up), thus making the real challenge keeping the damn thing anchored to the ground and not allowing it to fling out into space.
In conclusion, WI?:SSAtAHQ has the potential to end all life on Earth and any other planet that is unlucky enough for the stack to fall onto it. Something tells me that thought secretly pleases Munroe. Before our inevitable doom, however, Munroe will be making a series of book tour stops between now and Sunday, 14 September, where he will likely sign your copy, and maybe apologize for dooming us all.
- And since we’re talking about book tour events, Scott C’s Hug Machine continues with the fun and hugs. The latest announcement is that the official launch party will take place at Books of Wonder in New York City on Tuesday, 16 September, from 6:00pm to 8:00pm.
Spam of the day:
you should opt for a car service by a company that lets you know in advance exactly how much the car service will cost. Additionally プラダ ハンドバグー
Although my Japanese is both narrow and rusty, I can still work out katakana. I mean, bonus points for the attempt, but this is not really the venue to try to entice people into buying expensive Italian purses.
¹ Similar to how, say, Telgemeier’s Smile has sat on the list for 115 weeks of the 239 weeks since its release more than four years ago.
² Remember, and Commonwealth countries includes India, population more than 1.2 billion.
³ 23.1 x 18.3 x 3.3 centimeters.
4 The inadvisability of gathering that much uranium into one place is a discussion for another day, but no doubt Munroe could tell you how long such a collection could last before runaway nuclear reactions dispersed it, along with a goodly chunk of Southern California.