Thursday, April 30, 2015


Jason Segel and Paul Rudd happen to be two of my favorite comedic actors. During a 2009 tandem interview about their film I Love You, Man, they got a bit giddy when the subject of a bromance arose.

Rudd: “I couldn’t think of a movie that had told it in quite this way...”
Segel: “Midnight Cowboy.”
Rudd (nodding): “And Urban Cowboy.”
Segel: “And Rhinestone Cowboy.”
Rudd: “And Rhinestone.”
Segel: “And… Stonehenge…”
Rudd: “And Romancing the Stone.”

After a pause, Rudd continued: “Stone cold…”

Segel: “Cold Mountain.”
Rudd: “Brokeback Mountain… that would be one.”

Kind of fun, right? If you’re just immature enough. But instead of citing movies, I’m going to do it for books.

Upon announcing that Why Not Books would be publishing the second fantasy novel by young prodigy Luke Herzog, the most common question has been: Is it a sequel? Luke wrote DRAGON VALLEY, believe it or not, as a nine- and ten-year-old. It was published when he was 11 and captured the imagination of kids all around the country. They sent him emails telling him they’d read it several times. They chose it as their favorite book and wrote school reports about it. One fan even sent a photograph of a sculpture he made depicting one of Luke’s characters—Blue, the water dragon. Luke wrote his new book, GRIFFIN BLADE AND THE BRONZE FINGER, from ages 11 to 13. But no, it is not a sequel.

Dragon Valley tells the story of five baby dragons who were spawned in a laboratory and released in the wilds of a hidden valley. They navigate the next one thousand years of their evolution—the growing pains, the battles, the descendants, the myriad creatures populating the magical valley. Griffin Blade and the Bronze Finger is the tale of a good-hearted rogue, a thief named Griffin Blade, who steals a gem, gets it stolen from him, and embarks on a search for a jewel that becomes an epic quest for redemption. Along the way, he encounters creatures ranging from dwarves, dark elves and djinns to minotaurs, mermen and, oh, a massive sand worm.

So what’s the connection between his first book and his second—besides the author, that is? Well, for that we need to climb aboard a train of thought. Here’s one way to connect Dragon Valley to Griffin Blade and the Bronze Finger, with 69 titles in between:

1. Dragon Valley
2. How Green was My Valley
3. Anne of Green Gables
4. Diary of Anne Frank
5. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
6. Rules of Civility
7. Civil Disobedience
8. A Disobedient Girl
9. Girl, Interrupted
10. Mean Girls
11. A Prayer for Owen Meany
12. A Prayer for the Dying
13. As I Lay Dying
14. The Lay of the Land
15. Alice in Wonderland
16. State of Wonder
17. States of Mind

18. Empire State of Mind
19. Empire Falls
20. Things Fall Apart
21. Needful Things
22. Where the Wild Things Are
23. Into the Wild
24. Into Thin Air
25. The Thin Man
26. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat
27. The Cat in the Hat
28. Cat’s Cradle
29. The Cradle Will Fall
30. Free Willy
31. Long Walk to Freedom
32. A Good Walk Spoiled
33. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
34. My Name is Not Alexander
35. My Name is Memory
36. Memoirs of a Geisha
37. Autobiography of a Geisha
38. The Autobiography of Malcolm X

39. The Joy of X
40. Joy of Cooking
41. Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible
42. South of Broad
43. Innocents Abroad
44. Presumed Innocent
45. Presumed Guilty
46. Guilty Wives
47. The Time Traveler’s Wife
48. The Time Machine
49. The Homework Machine
50. Al Capone Does My Homework
51. Al Capone Shines My Shoes
52. The Red Shoe Diaries
53. Where the Red Fern Grows
54. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
55. Night Tree
56. The Night Before Christmas
57. A Kiss Before Dying
58. Kiss of the Spider Woman

59. Along Came A Spider
60. A Long Day in November
61. Four Days in November
62. The Sign of the Four
63. I Am Number Four
64. I Am Legend
65. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
66. Go the F**k to Sleep
67. Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
68. The Place of Dead Roads
69. Glory Road
70. Blades of Glory
71. Griffin Blade and the Bronze Finger

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