Three excerpts from Roll the Bones

Today I’ve added three excerpts from Roll the Bones to the site to give you a little flavor of the book if you haven’t picked up a copy already. Enjoy!

1. Author’s Note/Prologue

This is the introductory overview to the book, giving an idea of its scope—and the changes in the Casino Edition.

2. Why the Mob won Vegas

This excerpt, from chapter 10, “A Place in the Sun,” explains how the Mob carved out influence on the Las Vegas Strip in the 1950s and 1960s, and why it was so dominant.

3. The Rise of Atlantic City

The opening pages of chapter 12, “America’s Playground…Again” discuss the rebirth and rise to (brief) dominance of Atlantic City’s casinos in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

To learn where you can buy Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling, please visit here

Popular Vegas books

A reporter for that well-known bastion of literary tradition, the LV Sun, has weighed in on the reading habits of Las Vegas library-goers:

Las Vegas, the old truism and sometime political talking point says, is at the bottom of every good list and at the top of every bad one. But what about the lists we keep for ourselves?

To take one instance, what about a list of the most popular 15 fiction books checked out from the Clark County Library District last month? What does that say?

A third of the time, it says, “By Patterson, James.”

Oh, sweet Xenu, what does that say about us?

“Yes, there sure is a lot by James Patterson,” said Robb Morss, the library’s deputy director of public services. “But, you know, good for him.”

Maybe, although Patterson, a former advertising executive, would probably prefer to sell them.

Patterson dapples The New York Times best-seller list with novels like a starling decorating the side of a building. To say his books are bad is to, like Patterson, ignore the descriptive possibilities of the English language. The books are bad the way the sun is yellow: They are massive radioactive balls of flaming badness. They are literally, no exaggeration, honest-to-goodness, worse than “The Da Vinci Code.”

A reading of Las Vegas’ intellect – Las Vegas Sun

I’m not so sure that this is news. After all, it’s been more than fifty years since Theodore Sturgeon said that ninety percent of everything published is crap. I haven’t seen much evidence against his proposition. So out of a list of 15 books, you’d expect all but one or two to be awful.

Perhaps Las Vegans are just being smart consumers: if the Patterson books really are so crappy, they’re being quite savvy by not buying them.

And who is sweet Xenu? Is that like “Sweet Caroline?” A good piece about a Neil Diamond impersonator ran yesterday, so maybe there’s a connection.

Casino cafeteria

While double checking the list of new arrivals from the Gambler’s Book Club against the UNLV catalog, I came across a singular title:Casino Cafeteria.
This gem has the alternate title: What you always wanted to know about casino gambling but were to [sic.] intimidated to ask.

It is allegedly “a smorgasbord of standard and unusual questions that are asked by people who are new, who work and who play in the exciting gaming industry.”

Points for effort, but typos in the title are usually not harbingers of a literary masterpiece.

Good news for visitors to the Gaming Collection: because I’m diligently ordering new books, you’ll have about 200 new titles to browse in a few weeks.