Book Review: Luke Skywalker Can’t Read, and Other Geeky Truths by Ryan Britt

24611638Essayist Ryan Britt got a sex education from dirty pictures of dinosaurs, made out with Jar-Jar Binks at midnight, and figured out how to kick depression with a Doctor Who Netflix-binge. Alternating between personal anecdote, hilarious insight, and smart analysis, Luke Skywalker Can’t Read contends thatBarbarella is good for you, that monster movies are just romantic comedies with commitment issues, that Dracula and Sherlock Holmes are total hipsters, and, most shockingly, shows how virtually everyone in the Star Wars universe is functionally illiterate.

Romp through time and space, from the circus sideshows of 100 years ago to the Comic Cons of today, from darkest corners of the Galaxy to the comfort of your couch. (synopsis from Goodreads)


Overall Impression: A great book of nerdy opinions by a fellow nerd.

Recommended for: Nerds are into reading the opinions of fellow nerds.

I saw this book on the shelf at the bookstore and knew I had to have it. I’m really into this interesting sub-genre of books that are by people with similar interest as me, and they just write about that interest. I have read multiple books about people adventures reading books. And I love them. I’m weird like that. So a book of essays full of nerdy opinions and observations by a fellow nerd. Count me in!

Ryan Britt did not disappoint. There were some essays that focused on fandoms that I’m not really a part of. However, this didn’t make the essays uninteresting to me. Rather, they made me want to learn a little more about them. I am now aware that I need to read more science fiction about robots and androids, and now have a reading list a mile long. (This is another reason I love books like this. Recommendations!)

What I loved even more were the essays about fandoms that I am a part of. Like Star Wars and Doctor Who. No only did these essays make me feel like Ryan Britt and I could be great friends, but they brought up ideas and viewpoints that I never thought of about the things that I love. His essay, “Luke Skywalker Can’t Read” was intriguing, and he brings up some points that I never even considered, but totally make sense.

I also enjoyed the moments when he would tie in multiple fandoms to explain or demonstrate a theory. It made it possible for me to see cross-fandom connections that I would never have made, but now fascinate me to no end. Making connections between things that don’t seem to have anything to do with one another is something I did a lot while getting my undergrad degree in literature. (I once connected Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Pride and Prejudice.) However, it’s something I don’t do as often now that I’m not forced to come up original ideas about books that have been written about for generations. This book has reminded me how fun that can be.

I could go on forever about how great this book was, but I figure I should leave you to discover that yourself. If you are any kind of nerd or geek, you would be doing yourself a favor by reading this book. Even if you don’t agree with everything Ryan Britt says, it’s a great conversation starter and I personally love debating about nerd related anything.

Ryan Britt is funny, smart, has obviously put a lot of thought into the fandoms he loves, and has gifted us with some of his conclusions. I’m looking forward to more from him, and I’m sure it will be great.


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