This movie I'm writing is beating me like a red-headed stepchild. But invigorated after a quick lunch with legendary writer (head writer of MASH at twenty-six? Jesus CHRIST) Ken Levine, I can at least toss up some book recommendations, or at least warnings. Being read or already read from Aug 15-Oct 15:
Hello, Lied the Agent -- Ian Gurvitz takes you through two years of TV development, deep from the trenches. Informative and the big funny, which is rare.
The Folly of Empire -- Rereading this during lunch breaks. John Judis explains, pretty goddam well, why Iraq's not Vietnam, it's the Phillipines. A thin, fast read. Useful for some millenialiasm research I'm doing.
The Cold War -- Wow. Just ... wow. John Lewis Gaddis has written an impressively accessible history of the Cold War, tossing off not just dates and speeches but then analyzing the events in some pretty novel ways. Paperback may be out. Both this and Folly are fine, but the scope on this bastard edges it out if you're just going to get one or the other.
Microbe: Are We Ready for the Next Plague? -- Fascinating case studies of the last few North American viral outbreaks, a model for dealing with them, and some well done "what-if" microbe wargaming. I am a null when it comes to biology, and even I was able to track the tech-talk through this.
His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire --Book 1) -- Dragon books ... yeesh. Dragons are like the fantasy literature equivalent of a beautiful pony in lonely 13-year-old girl fiction.
Slap dragons in Napoleonic sea warfare, however, and you have a whole Fed Ex truck of ass-kicking delivered to your door. Broadsides, grappling, black powder and sabers, baby, on decks slick with blood or saddles a half-mile up. Oh yes.
A Brief History of the Dead -- (special Mrs. Kung Fu Monkey reccomend) I didn't read it, but the Lovely Wife did, and loved this story about remembrance and death and loss. As her taste is much finer than mine, I feel confident in steering you toward what is classified as "young adult" fiction but seems a whole lot grimmer and guttier than the norm.
(EDIT: Brief History is indeed mislabeled in the Amazon listing -- it's the author's first "mainstream" novel. Makes sense considering the themes of terrorism, plague and death)
That said, I find the recent boom in young adult fiction fascinating. With nephews and nieces entering that reading zone, I could use some recommendations.
Kibitzes, recomendations and questions from you folk in the comments.