Today I bought a boxful of books for my niece. She’s in third grade, and I think I bought some good books, but honestly, I have no idea whether she would like them. The woman who checked me out talked about giving books to her grandkids. When she was young, she lived in a small town and had only books to keep her company. Now things are so different. It’s not just the lack of interest in books, it’s the whole culture. If something is not a hot videogame or a hit Disney TV show, why should kids care? (And yet the selection of books I found were incredible). Here’s a book I just went crazy over: Stories for Free Children, a 20 year old anthology of stories, articles and poetry about girls compiled by Ms Magazine. (Now it sells for $.01! on Amazon!). Highly recommended for girls 9-12, and heck, even for boys. Heck, even for 42 year old writers!
I haven’t bought anything from this company yet, but I found a great game company Cheap Ass Games. They make games in the $4-7 range. All of them sound clever. Here’s what the site says:
We here at Cheapass Games are aware of two basic facts about games: they cost too much, and they are at some level all the same.
If you ignore the clever shapes they come in, the cheap little plastic pawns are an interchangeable part of most of the board games in your house. So are the dice, the money, the counters, the pencils, and just about every other random spare part. These generic bits and pieces can account for as much as 75% of a game’s production cost, and that cost gets handed to you.
If you had your choice, you’d probably invest a little bit of money in one good set of gaming paraphernalia instead of twenty crappy ones, and then just buy the new part of every "new" game. Yet most companies insist on selling you the whole package every time; it’s like bundling a can opener with a can of beans.
Cheapass Games come with the bare essentials: boards, cards, and rulebooks. If you need anything else, we’ll tell you. And it’s probably something you can scrounge from a game you already own, or buy at a hobby store for less than "they" are charging you for it. Heck, if you need to, you can even buy the parts from us.
Also: I’ll be attending Owlcon to play Dungeons and Dragons in February 2008! I am truly excited! I bought the latest D&D books and realize I have a lot of learning to do.