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The Art Assignment, Episode 1:

How to Adult:

In which Hank is a somewhat disgruntled lover of books.

Good morning John, it's Friday. You're an author, you love books, I love books too. I read a lot of 'em, though apparently I am mildly dyslexic enough that I read at the level of third grader according to this Staples test.

But listen, we've been making books for thousands of years now, so you'd think that we'd've perfected the process, and yet I HAVE SOME THINGS that I would like to discuss with publishing companies.

So I love to spend time at bookstores, and to figure out what I want, I read the reviews, and I read the blurbs, and also I read the description. WHY would you put a major spoiler in the description on the back of the book?! I don't want to be halfway through a book and the thing that I know is going to happen hasn't happened yet 'cause I read it on the thing that's like two paragraphs! Is it so hard to keep a spoiler out of that?! Why would you do that!?

Interestingly, Looking for Alaska does not do this, but, in one edition that I noticed—so there's the author bio on the back page, and it's like "Looking for Alaska was written by John Green, who likes to make candy canes and lollipops and lives with his puppy in Indianapolis"—that's what it says, right?—if you turn to that page to read about the author, which you might want to do before you read the book, on the facing page there's a, like a question for, you know, reader questions for like if it's taught in a school or something, and the—the question is: "Do you think that SPOILER SPOILER was a SPOILER or a SPOILER?" Think about this stuff!

Okay, also, if a book is part of a series, please just let me know. On the cover, or the inside flap, just like five words. "This is the second book in the Sword of Butts trilogy," so I KNOW. Do it like graphic novels do it, just put a little number on the bottom that—it so—it's great. There's nothing wrong with -- EXCEPT WHEN YOU DO THIS! NEVER, EVER! THAT'S THE WORST THING ON MY BOOKSHELF! They're all first editions! It's not even from a different edition! They just made a mistake! And I hate it so much!

Anyway, covers. You can't judge a book by 'em, but don't, if it's like a really high quality fantasy epic, I don't want to see a half-naked guy on a horse with a sword. I'm not gonna believe that it's a good book if there's a half-naked guy on a sword with a horse! On a sword with a horse? I take it back. If there's a half-naked guy on a sword, then I'll probably buy that book.

Decapitated YA fiction ladies? Stop. We've had enough.

Books that look like they're Twilight but aren't Twilight? No, why would you do that?

Okay, here's another thing. This is the, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, amazing book. This — I don't know if you can see this, let, let's get in here. This is the, your deckle edge, where it's not, it's not, uh, flat. Why? Why? Why? This makes it harder to read the book! And it's always in books that are, like, fancier and more expensive. So it must cost more. If you're paying more for something that makes something less functional, maybe not do it. It's like during those years when pants got really expensive if they had pre-made holes in them. I can make my own pant holes, thank you.

Also, just don't lie to me. This is The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling, and it says on the back "The big novel about a small town that became a #1 worldwide bestseller." That is a little misleading. "It overcame insurmountable odds to become this popular book!" It's written by the eleventh most popular author of all time. It might become a number one bestseller. I don't think anybody was surprised.

Books are nice, but they're not a perfect format. I mean, you have to charge the battery all the time, there's all those annoying pop-up advertisements, pre-rolls. What I'm basically saying is THIS  IS A FAR SUPERIOR MEDIA TO.. MOST OF THEM. Except for Vlogbrothers videos, which are the best of all the media. By pinnacling it! This is the Cadillac of the ultimate! Not penultimate, which does not mean the same thing, which I learned while I was giving an oral presentation and somebody laughed at me. So...

John, I'll see you on Tuesday!


The first episode of The Art Assignment is. On. Line. Right. Now! Go to and watch it. The Yeti has a YouTube channel. Who would have guessed?