User profile

Nombre: Jack
Nickname: Jack
Miembro desde: 2008-09-18 17:05:12
Sobre mi: Hi, I'm Jack and I'm the Chief Blogging Officer and Evangelist over here at Better World Books. I'm the one you'll primarily be reading, with my two personalities: admin (for official posts and normal features) and Jack (for book reviews and things that typically involve my opinion). However, unlike most bloggers, I'm not actually working from my mother's basement, although I don't actually get paid, I just sort of show up to work like Milton in Office Space (ok, this isn't true). I do however, serenade books, like the one in the photo. I went to Holy Cross (the Jesuit school in MA, not the one from "Rudy"), am from NYC, lived in Ireland where I worked for a Fortune 500, was a Music and English major, prefer modernism and Brit Lit, don't believe in the DH (even though I'm a diehard Yankees fan), think sampling (particularly the Grey Album and Girl Talk's work) should be legal, and eat oatmeal every morning at work. Oh, and my real name is John, but don't tell anyone. My fave book is The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The scene in which Gatsby stands with the green light blinking on the dock, never closer to Daisy and never further away breaks my heart every single time and I relish that feeling. It's not often that the written word can hit you in the gut like that.

User comments

Top Ten Best Books of 2008

Marie, thank you so much for coming and checking us out! I tallied the votes and Gods Behaving Badly was certainly well loved! I also thoroughly enjoyed The Road–what a hard-hitter.

Midnight Sun, Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Gone Rogue

Hey Jamie,
I agree with you, fundamentally, but I don’t feel too bad, especially considering there are studies that show that books released on the internet before publication actually do BETTER sales (

We’re actually going to have a number of signed copies of Meyer’s work… so look out Twilight fans!

Welcome Invisible Children!

Thank you very much, Dr. Daniel. We do whatever we can, and support of people such as yourself helps us to work that much harder every day!

Music and Moments

Sorry to disappoint. Consider a madlib in the works.


Better World Books Raises $5 Million!

So true, PK, thanks for the continued support!

Book Review: Lila by Robert Pirsig

I agree with your assessment to a degree. Pirsig’s ability to take things apart, inspect them, and put them back together as they were but with a far better understanding is one of his best qualities.

In terms of his use of “they” I think he got some help from Martin Buber’s “I and Thou” which is an excellent text in regards to something as simply complicated as our use of pronouns.

In any event, as a New Yorker, I love his assessment there, and reading Lila would make anyone want to go on a boat trip; not because he romanticizes it, but rather because he can see the excursion for what it is: as much a journey into the self as down the Hudson River Valley.

Poll Wednesday: Airport Bookstore

I bear no ill will towards bookstores, my only problem is that I’ll crank out one of those books and then at the end of a trip have little to no use for it. Besides, the markup is pretty high. Planning ahead is definitely the way to go… on the Blogs

Thanks so much, Deborah. We always try to do the right thing, so inflated shipping costs just don’t make sense to us!

Better World Books Funds Shipment to University of Oran in Algeria

Hi fatema,
I would be happy to answer any of your questions, sorry I haven’t been back to you earlier. I’m just not completely sure what you want to know? Are you asking if people who have already been taught English have access to these books? If that’s what you’re asking, then yes, they do. In fact, many of the books help people learn important mathematical and scientific concepts, in English.

Anti Word of the Week: Besties

Haha, Ok Laura, you got me there to an extent. My point was more which person with whom I was more likely to be in accordance.

Also, you are absolutely correct with the titles you have selected and their canonical status, but I would suggest that O’s picks have turned more in that direction of late. If you look at her body of picks, (, I think we can agree there’s a good percentage of works that will hardly make it out of this decade, forget about this century.

Also, the term “challenging works” is a sticky one in that regard… but we can talk about that later :)

Anti Word of the Week: Besties

I’m on board with you about needing a new word for that, Juicyfruits. Personally I’m not sure I could use the word effectively, which perhaps leads to my reluctance to embrace it. Jealousy of not being able to pull off the new lingo :)

That being said, I think you may be correct about it’s origins. I am, alas, not in the target demographic.

The REK Bookcase

It’s a trifle mod for me as well, but I love the prospect of setting up the books more as art. Besides, everything these days is so IKEA-y, it’s nice to have some outside the box thinking!

Better World Books Funds Shipment to University of Oran in Algeria

If you forward your info to
Jack [at] betterworld [dot] com

I can’t promise that we can get books to you, but I can promise that I will forward the information to Books for Africa and we can see what can be done…


Poll Wednesday: On Used Books

You and I see eye to eye here. I’m totally fine with used books, it’s just going to get beat up as I carry it around anyway and I hate being the guy who causes folds on the book. And who doesn’t want more books for the price of fewer?

However, the most important thing you touch on is highlighting and, I would add, writing in the margins. Is there anything more loathsome than trying to read and having to read someone else’s views on what is important and their analysis thereof? That is a major no-no for giving.

On the Book Industry and its Byproducts

It has indeed been this way from the start, a parade going through the eye of a needle. I just hope that as we stand looking into whatever is next that we don’t make the eye of a needle into a pinhole.

Oh to become an “influential blogger.” I get the feeling that with the crash of the MSM that the term “influential blogger” has become a bit like “samurai” in post-colonial emerging Japan. Few love them but fewer still don’t fear their power 😉

Book Review: Practical Demonkeeping

If getting what is deserved is hell, than I fear many will be in for a rude awakening. Truly a brilliant scene though. My favorite part of his writing though I think is the Angel character in Lamb, or the John the Baptist character.

On the Book Industry and its Byproducts

I agree with you to an extent, but let’s hope that an authors death doesn’t become a prerequisite for his success. I’m sure more people will now read Infinite Jest than ever before (or at least crack it open) but talk about “nothing more terrible, nothing more true!” Yikes.

However, spot on with “Authors will have to be like artists and produce because they love to and can’t imagine not doing so.”

On the Book Industry and its Byproducts

Agreed, Keira! Hopefully blogs will pick up the slack and get to all those great books so oft lost in the cracks. The problem is that depending on how much of a hit the publishers take, will these books ever even get printed? It seems insane to suggest that great books would not be printed, but if there isn’t a perceived market, who knows what never sees the light of day? Imagine if these standards stopped some of the previous greatest writers ever?

Top Ten Most Influential Books Ever

Admittedly it was hardly a scientific selection process. I collected what I thought to be the books that either captured the wild shift that was soon to occur (Common Sense, Civil Disobedience) or became the official book for something that has drastically shifted the world (Adam Smith, the religious texts) or changed our understanding of the world (Origin of Species, Relativity).

Happy to hear they’ve made your reading list. I promise none will disappoint, each at least deserving of a look.

Better World Books Funds Shipment to University of Oran in Algeria

Thanks Salim, it has taken many people to make this possible but we believe that it’s important and that we’re making a sincere difference. It’s words like yours that help us to know how important the effort really is.

Top Ten Bestselling Books Ever

I know many people who agree with you, Kay. I personally have not had reason to consult this particular text, but I do find it really interesting that the bulk of this list, in some way or another, is advice books…

Lux Perpetuam: Michael Crichton

Charlene, this is really well done. I personally haven’t read any of Hillerman’s work, but I can’t agree with you more about the disappointment I feel when you see what often qualifies as “news” when tested against the accomplishments of a great artist’s life.

SNL, despite its recent relative jump in popularity still is about as compelling as the current OJ Simpson trial. *Yawn*

Happy to hear that the written word still can move people, literally :)

Show Us Some Love: Scotland Edition

Alice, that’s not dumb at all, just go to and enjoy the selection!

Shipping to mainland Europe (and anywhere that’s not the US for that matter) is $3.97 per book (factored in to our prices that’s still heaps better than bookstores around there. When I was in Ireland I used to pay out my nose for good book).

Top Ten Friday: Movies Based on Books

JPark hasn’t aged well, perhaps, the landmark nature of its effects can’t be discounted. It’s also a pretty solid read.

Agreed on “No Country…” completely, and Cuckoo is major oversight (oops) but Contact, although well done in text was… less than optimal on film.

Wasn’t aware that “Unbearable…” was a movie as well… gotta add that on my Netflix. Oz is a great one but I wonder how many have read the book (interestingly, a satire against moving from the country to the city/NY (notice OZ are the letters right after NY… not a coincidence).

I too am very, very excited about Watchmen.