‘Black Nerd Problems’ is an extraordinary collection of essays

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“The nerd is not a person, he is a specter.” There are nerds, and there are black nerds. The specter of black nerddom is addressed in “Black Nerd Problems”, an extraordinary collection of essays by Columbus writer William Evans and Omar Holmon that touch on pop culture and black representation.

Essays bounce everywhere, from the volleyball anime and boxing manga to a bitterly serious description of Evans’ journey to a Final Fantasy comic book, where he considered purchasing a replica of the sword of a favorite character but realized that even holding her in public could endanger him. Later, he thinks about first person shooters like Grand Theft Auto and plays with a friend’s brother a few days after that friend died after being shot in a feud.

Much of “Black Nerd Problems” is incredibly funny, like when Holmon assesses his odds of survival in various horror movies: pretty good. (“I’m gonna beat mom’s boy outta [Norman] Bates. I have never heard of Dragon Ball Z, but Omar Holmon’s abrupt withdrawal of Gohan made me gasp with laughter. “Her power level may be over 9,000, but I guarantee this outfit was under $ 9.”

Evans discusses how black characters in movies so often support gamers and, in Disney’s case, a deliberately undetermined legacy. Holmon records his devotion to “Craig of the Creek,” an animated children’s show featuring race-specific characters, as well as LGBTQ +; Holmon’s nephew is thrilled to see a Filipino boy onscreen.

The question of access control, in which comic book or video game fans refer to themselves as gatekeepers of who is eligible or qualified to join the community, arises as Evans describes “How vast our nerddom can be.” “.

If a book has ever requested an audio version, this is it. “Black Nerd Problems” (294 pages, hardcover) costs $ 27 at Gallery Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. William Evans and Omar Holmon are co-founders of the Black Nerds Problems website. Holmon lives in Brooklyn, New York.

"Murder and chaos on Lake Erie"

“Murder and Chaos of Lake Erie”

The Torso Murderer who terrified Cleveland in the 1930s is well remembered, but not the man known as “Joe the Choker” and “Jack the Strangler”. In “Lake Erie Murder & Mayhem,” Wendy Koile tells the story of Joseph Kerwin, who suffocated a woman until she passed out in her cabin on a Lake Erie steamboat in 1904. The same man had been suspected of strangling two women in a Cleveland brothel. in 1903.

Strangely, because he had stolen jewelry from the woman on board the ship, his crime met the definition of piracy – and, according to Koile, Kerwin remains the only person convicted of piracy on the Great Lakes.

Other chapters involve a 1921 Ashtabula bank robbery using a stolen yacht, a woman who disappeared from an opulent cruise ship somewhere between Cleveland and Buffalo. The photo of the ship reveals her astonishing size: 500 feet long, almost as tall as some transatlantic liners. Another chapter includes a story about the famous Sandusky monster or sea serpent, with a first account written in 1793.

The last story in the book dates back to 1833, of the remarkable survival of a woman who was left under the deck of a schooner during a severe storm on Lake Erie. When the ship began to sink, the crew attempted to save it but were forced to abandon the ship, leaving the woman trapped in the water up to her neck for five days. The crew had returned after two days but had not heard his calls for help; after five days, on the day of his scheduled funeral, they returned one last time, hoping to recover his body.

“Lake Erie Murder & Mayhem” (111 pages, softcover) costs $ 21.99 from History Press. Wendy Koile is Director of Teaching and Learning and a part-time English teacher at Central Ohio Technical College in Newark. She is also the author of “Disasters of the Lake Erie Islands of Ohio” and “Legends and Lost Treasure of Northern Ohio”.

Events

Cuyahoga County Public Library: Thi Bui, author of the illustrated memoir “The Best We Could Do”, talks about his family’s emigration from South Vietnam in the 1970s, during a Zoom event from 7 to 8 p.m. on Monday. From 7 pm to 8 pm Wednesday, Sarah Ramey discusses “A Woman’s Handbook for Her Mysterious Illness: A Memoir,” her account of years of suffering with symptoms that doctors suggested were psychological; Thursday from 7 pm to 8 pm, Jenna Blum talks about her memoir “Woodrow on the Beach: Life Lessons from a Wise Old Dog”. From 7 to 8 p.m. on Friday, novelist Wade Rouse, who uses the pseudonym Viola Shipman, talks “Secret of the Snow” with novelist Brenda Novak (“Summer on the Island”). Register at cuyahogalibrary.org.

Mac’s back: Novelist Lauren Groff, whose “Matrix” is nominated for the 2021 National Book Award, talks about her work at a Zoom event at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Go to macsbacks.com.

Cleveland Public Library: Diedre Mask, author of “The Address Book: What Street Addresses Reveal About Identity, Race, Wealth, and Power,” talks about what your address says about you, during a Zoom session from 3pm to 4pm Wednesday. Wednesday at 7 p.m. Heather Morris (“The Tattoo Artist of Auschwitz”) talks about her new novel “The Three Sisters”, about three teenagers who promise their father that they will always stay together, then are sent to Auschwitz- Birkenau. Register at cpl.org.

Medina County Public Library: Debbie Macomber, author of the bestselling Cedar Cove series and “Debbie Macomber’s Table” cookbook, appears in a Zoom event from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Register at medina.lib.oh.us.

Wayne County Public Library (220 W. Liberty St., Wooster): Wooster author Marcy Campbell, whose thoughtful reflection “Adrian Simcox has NO horse” in 2018 teaches a lesson in compassion, launches her storybook “Something Good », On the damage caused by hate speech, in two sessions from 4.30 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. and from 6.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. on Thursday. Register at wcpl.info.

Stark County Public Library: Presented by the National First Ladies’ Library, journalist Elaine Weiss talks about “The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight for the Vote” and “Fruits of Victory: The Woman’s Land Army in the Great War” in a Zoom session from 6.30am to 7.30pm Thursday. Register at starklibrary.org.

Dover Public Library (525 N. Walnut St.): Kent State University alumnus Jyotsna Sreenivasan signs “These Americans”, a collection of eight stories and a short story, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Register at doverlibrary.org.

Supper Club music box (2258 Professor Ave., Cleveland): The Cleveland Stories Dinner Parties series continues with Charles Cassady Jr., author of “Cleveland Ghosts” and William G. Krejci, author of “Ghosts and Legends of Northern Ohio,” Thursday at 7 p.m. . Dinner costs $ 20; the conference is free. Go to musicboxcle.com for more information.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (1100 Rock and Roll Blvd., Cleveland): 2021 Rock Hall Inductees The Go-Go’s follow an interview with SiriusXM host Lori Majewski and Hall Education Director Mandy Smith with a photo book signing by thresher Gina Schock “Made in Hollywood: All Access with Go-Go’s”, Friday noon. Outdoor event depending on weather. Free, but ticket required. Go to rockhall.com.

Email local book information and event notices at least two weeks in advance to BeaconBookTalk@gmail.com and bjnews@thebeaconjournal.com. Barbara McIntye tweets to @BarbaraMcI.


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