Staff Pick

Did you ever wonder why Brahm’s lullaby, the Star Wars movies, Seinfeld’s TV series, or the Instagram app—just to name a few examples—became popular? In Hit Makers, Derek Thompson addresses these and many other instances of success as well as failure as he examines why some things become big hits and others not. A senior editor at The Atlantic and a frequent TV commentator, Thompson ranges widely in his book, looking at movies, music, art, TV shows, literature, ideas and much more. A talented storyteller, he explores in engaging and enlightening ways the psychological and economic forces that shape what we like. Is it the familiar or the exotic that attracts us most? Do we want the next big thing or the last big thing—or perhaps both? What role does luck play in popularizing something? Thompson offers answers.

Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101980323
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Penguin Press - February 7th, 2017

Once upon a comic published three quarters of a century ago a boy’s parents were murdered in front of him. We’re still following that little boy, turned man, in all types of media as he fights crime as…Batman! Glen Weldon, nerd expert extraordinaire, delves into the history and phenomenon of the Dark Knight with the intellectual heft of a historian, the wit of a comedian, and the enthusiasm of a fan. Reading this book will be like talking to that one funny, smart friend you have. Read it and learn what it means to be a superhero and a nerd.

The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476756691
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Simon & Schuster - March 22nd, 2016

The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476756738
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Simon & Schuster - March 21st, 2017

Superhero dramas rule our theaters and our television screens, but the real-life stories of comic book artists and writers can be just as exciting. This book tells the story of the creators, primary among them Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, who transformed Marvel Comics from also-ran to phenomenon; creating fan-favorite characters like Spiderman, the Incredible Hulk and the Fantastic Four in the process. But it's also a succession of tragedies. Artists betrayed, writers gone broke, coalitions of maverick artists subsumed by corporate. Howe doesn't give short shrift to the miracles and feats of imagination that allowed Marvel Comics to survive, but he also finds truth in the old saying that "comics will break your heart."

Marvel Comics: The Untold Story Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061992117
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - October 1st, 2013