ABOUT M. Clifford

M. Clifford
I was born in 1978, in a suburb of Chicago and grew up in a forest-encroached neighborhood called Northwoods, where the embers of my imagination were kindled during solitary treks through the lonely wilderness. I wrote my first book, The Bullet That Never Stopped, on my mother’s rickety  More...


It begins with four words: “Don’t read The Book.” 
All information, past and present, is controlled by The Book, a handheld digital reading device that exists in a paperless, sustainable, dystopian future that looks shockingly similar to our own. Among the multitude of Book lovers, we find Holden Clifford, a simple sprinkler-fitter who is content with his small life. Through his favorite story, The Catcher in the Rye, Holden discovers an inconsistency between the digital version and a rare paper page, preserved in the form of “recycled” wallpaper in his favorite Chicago bar, The Library. His quest for answers leads him beyond the page to discover a secret library of books and a man named Winston who explains the subtle, potent censorship of every story ever written. Alongside a group of like-minded readers called the Ex Libris, Holden dedicates himself to freeing the world from the grip of the Publishing House. His heroic mission draws him hastily into a dangerous scheme to overthrow the Editors of The Book and save the last remnant of printed words left on earth. As his mission unfolds and the depth of their government’s deception reveals itself, Holden is forced to accept that the only way to succeed may be to sacrifice the one thing they love more than life-–-books.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Book

Read 4/14/10 - 4/19/10
5 Stars - Highly Highly Highly recommended
Pgs: 302

Don't read The Book.

Let me begin by saying that I don't mean This Book. You should definitely read This Book!

I mean The Book, the one that M.Clifford tells his story about. The Book that replaced all other books. The Book that is governed, updated, and edited by The Publishing House. The Book that is full of lies.

Imagine a world eerily like the one Bradbury introduced to us inFahrenheit 451. A world where owning a copy of a paper book is illegal. A world where books are recycled - burned, destroyed. Except, THIS world is in the future. And everything is digital. The government demands that people begin to take care of their Mother Earth, to stop harming her, to stop ruthlessly cutting down her trees to make paper - a world where everything you ever need to read can be found within the electronic screen of The Book.

There was a Great Recycling. Everyone was urged to purge their homes of their paper books. If they turned in their paper books, they would receive a free copy of The Book - filled to the brim with every book they could ever dream of reading. Those that didn't cooperate were fined. And eventually jailed. Until the government, The Publishing House, felt certain that all paper books had been recycled.

There were those who concealed their collections, those who saved and protected their books for sentimental reasons, hid them in fear of being found out and punished... but the world was obsessed with The Book. The world would wait with bated breath as the Editors interrupted their reading with endless Updates. Rather than using a stylus to navigate it's many options, The Book readers began to sharpen the nail on their pointer finger. The mark of a true reader.

Holden Clifford was a true reader. Holden believed in The Book. Holden was not alive during the Great Recycling, and had never read from a paper book before. Until the night that Holden met Shane at The Library - a bar that was run by Marion, the daughter of bar's owner. A bar that featured pages from books plastered all over the walls, as if it was used for wallpaper. Marion's father's way of "recycling".

Holden pushed his way into the bathroom that night, urgently needing to use the bathroom. Only a stall was available. As Holden leaned in to release his bladder, his eyes happened across a page from the wall that belonged to his favorite novel "The Catcher in the Rye". He read the page. And then re-read it. And then read it a third time before admitting that something was not right. The words he was reading on that page were not in the digital version of The Book. He was certain of it.

He left The Library, and returned home to check himself. Pouring over the pages, before and after the one he read on the wall, Holden discovered a horrifying truth. The Editors of The Book had changed the story. This revelation leads Holden on a journey to uncover the truth. A truth that The Publishing House and The Editors will do ANYTHING to keep a secret.

Do not read The Book.

M. Clifford creates a frighteningly realistic digital future. One that I can certainly see coming to pass if we are not careful. A world where we blindly believe the information we are fed. A world where people control what we read, what is available to us, and what we are allowed to think.

Imagine - no books. No bookshelves, no libraries, no journals. No ink. No writing.
Imagine - everyone carrying around one government owned eBook instead of newspapers, magazines, and novels.

M.Clifford takes our current digital world and cranks the dial way up. A warning? Perhaps. A vision of what we might become? Maybe.

Read his book!