Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks

Calling all gamers! Put down your dice and pick up this book.

My husband doesn’t really—you know—read. As much as I’ve tried, it just isn’t his thing. However, once in a while, I’ll find a good book that I think he’ll like. Or it’s about something he likes. In honor of Valentine’s Day this year, I’m going to share a potential husband-liking book. (He hasn’t read it yet, but if he sees how much you like it, he might be more motivated. Feel free to leave comments to that end. #nevergiveup)

My husband might not read, but he does like to play games. Card games, computer games, board games, video games. You name it, he’ll play it. But I think if he could only pick one, it would have to be D&D (or Dungeons and Dragons for those of you not in the know). If they ever met, my husband and author Ethan Gilsdorf would get along just fine.

In high school, Gilsdorf played D&D and was a self-proclaimed geek. However, when he got to college he realized that most of the real world thought gaming was lame, and he stopped so people would think he was cool. Twenty years and a mid-life crisis later, gaming has become more mainstream and after finding his old D&D gear in a big blue cooler at his Dad’s house, Gilsdorf sets off on a quest to regain his love of gaming. The author goes on beyond regular gaming, joining several different LARPing groups and travelling to England and New Zealand to bask in fabulous Tolkienness. 

I liked this book, even though I, myself, am not a gamer. I play a few games here and there—and even manage to beat my husband once in a while at Mario Cart—the best video game ever, but I can’t play for more than 20 minutes or so without getting bored. I enjoyed getting insight into the mind of a gamer. This was a good read, but if you can’t decide if you should read it, maybe you should roll Initiative (gamers, did I use that correctly?).

Happy gaming…

:) Amanda

PS Gamers, if you can't get enough, our Cube Pushers Game Club and Swap Meet happens at the Main Library on the third Saturday of every month. Come on down, meet my friend Bryan, and get your game on.


Your husband might also like The Adventure Zone podcast! What begins as a *hilarious* set of three brothers and their dad playing D&D together, becomes one of the most brilliant, sweet, beautiful sci-fi epics I've ever encountered in any medium. :)

adembiec's picture

That sounds cool. I'll let him know. Thanks!

I really enjoy this book, and am currently re-reading it (and enjoy it each time I do re-read it) before going to another Sci-Fi/Fantasy convention later in the year. :)

D&D: oh yes, this is a great book for D&D fans and former players too (in my case that is back in 1980s, 2nd-edition sets) - a mix of memoir, travel story, personal commentaries on various aspects of geek/nerd and gamer cultures and how those have continued/changed over time. Also: photos of some of the author's various adventures in geekdom, as described in the chapters, plus his family life, his original group of D&D pals, Gygax's home town and 'that house' he lived in and 'that hall' where he founded Gen Con...and the cooler containing the long-neglected horde of D&D records. :)
The variety of perspectives on D&D life, gaming in general and D&D in pop culture/out on the edges, from 1970s to first decade of 2000s, is one of the strengths of this book, plus the author's enthusiasm and curiosity and he invites the reader along on his personal quest.

For D&D and a more specific angle on its history: also try Michael Witwer's biography of Gary Gygax and the birth of D&D: 'Empire of Imagination'.

Cheers, and happy "rolling for Initiative"
Tim in Canberra, Australia

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Genre / Topics
Biographies and Memoirs
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