25 November 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know I've been neglecting to post as often as I usually do on here, but getting settled into the work routine is taking some time. I went from about 16 hours of work per month as a substitute teacher to about 25-30 hours per week at Borders starting just two short weeks ago.

At least work is improving for me. As I mentioned in my last post, the employees and managers are all very nice people, if a bit disorganized in the run up to the holidays. I am slowly but surely getting my training in on the various aspects of the store, though to be honest, I still spend most of my time out at the calendar kiosk, so I don't need to utilize that training much yet.

Earlier in the week, I also got my first "free" book from the store. Like I would imagine many large booksellers do, some publishers send out advance "press" manuscripts which are unedited or uncorrected for people to read and prepare themselves to sell or to write reviews on. Borders allows employees to read these advance copies, and once the book has been released and upon approval from management, we can take the copies to keep. Well, I got a manuscript of Anthony Zuiker's (the creator of the "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" TV phenomenon) new novel Level 26: Dark Origins. I finished it earlier this evening, and found it to be pretty good. There were some things I wish had been explained further, and some parts of the storyline were left as dramatic cliffhangers that I didn't feel were adequately resolved in further chapters, but all-in-all, it was a satisfying read.

The novel follows protagonists Steve Dark and FBI Agent Riggins in their search to catch the serial killer known as "Sqweegel." This sadist is an entirely new breed of serial killer, off the charts of the FBI's scale of "evil" which runs from 1 (justifiable homicide) to 25. Ted Bundy and Charles Manson didn't even crack the 20th level, whereas a new level had to be created for Sqweegel, a brutal homicidal maniac with a narcisistic complex so deep he actual believes he is a God among men, and has the skills and talents to make it seem almost plausible. That's where the book gets its "Level 26" title. Sqweegel has been maiming, torturing, and killing people for over two decades, and the only member of law enforcement to come even remotely close to catching him is Dark. However, after Dark's near apprehension of Sqweegel, the serial killer brutally murdered Dark's entire foster family, causing Dark to suffer an extreme breakdown and retire from the Special Circs Division of the FBI. The story begins here, with Riggins sent to bring Dark back into the hunt.

I won't give away any more details here, but I will mention that I am looking forward to the next Level 26 book, coming out in 2010. Aside from a good plot and writing, Level 26 is also the world's first "Digi-Book." At the end of every few chapters (about every 40 pages), readers are given a code which they can punch into a website (Level26.com) and watch the "Director's Cut" of what happened in that set of chapters. It's a way for the reader to really envision - quite literally - what the author was thinking without resorting to guessing on some details through one's mind's eye. Sadly, my press copy did not have the codes available to access the site's videos, but I plan on writing them down next time I can take a few minutes to go through a regular copy.

Anyway, enough blathering. If you're in the area, come stop by and say hello at the mall sometime. I'll be there for Uber-exciting Black Friday all-day goodness. I just hope I don't go completely crazy with how busy I'm imagining it will be. Apparently my little calendar kiosk will also be having a special sale: buy three calendars, get one free. Good gifts and all that.

Otherwise, I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving with your families, friends, or absent anyone else, the peace and goodwill of the country for a day. Enjoy the food, the floats, and the football... all the staples of a festive holiday!

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