Wil Wheaton, my lunch date.

Twitter started the whole thing, I swear. Yesterday I saw Wil Wheaton post that someone had found his Kindle and was now buying stuff with it. Wil Wheaton has a Kindle! I chirped excitedly to myself. Well, okay, he probably doesn’t at the moment, but he usually does! I love it when people use Kindles. Ever since that time in class when someone saw me reading on one and said, “Look who hates books!” I appreciate the solidarity. (More on that some other time, if time and stored up spit permit.)

I went to his website, and was immediately charmed. Being charmed turned into looking at his bibliographg, because books are awesome, and I desperately need a break from all the dark mysteries I’ve been reading lately. (I mean it. One more murder, rape, or incidence of child abuse, and I’m going to curl up in a little ball and refuse to watch anything but reruns of Green Acres for the foreseeable future.)* The bounty on his virtual bookshelf was delightful, and I decided to buy a few books.

Wil is a geek. A good geek, not a bad geek, and he isn’t scared to take the internet on, even though he knows the consequences are probably going to be rough. I watched his keynote address for the first PAX East, and I thought that was wonderful, too. I never understood the Wesley Crusher hatred, for the record. I adored him. I thought the character was criminally underused, but I adored him. I sensed deep undercurrents of angst. And you know how I like deep undercurrents of angst. So, uh, in case Wil reads this, I totally used to have a crush on your character, and always thought there was more to him than what we saw on the screen. That’s how much you brought to the role. Anyway, I digress. Back to the reading.

On the very device which Mr. Wheaton was currently bereft of, I purchased Sunken Treasure and Just A Geek. Then I read Sunken Treasure. Then I stayed up past midnight to read the first third of Just A Geek. (Our long-suffering correspondent was even moved to tell me I should probably think about turning the light off and going to sleep. He’ll probably deny it, but I think he was just worried about me staying up late with another man.) A lunch-hour reading binge just this afternoon, and I was done.

I don’t often say this about books, but I felt privileged to read Wil’s writing. (I’m not sure how I feel about calling him by his first name, but I guess it would probably be okay with him in this context. For whatever it’s worth, it feels like I know him now, at least a little bit.) He’s very honest about a lot of important things. Like what it’s like to be a man, and an actor, and a writer. How it’s possible to change from one career to another, and about the very real magic that nearly always comes into being when you finally find your own voice and relax enough to speak with it. Or write with it, as the case is here.

He writes from the heart about so many things. I think I like the idea of being an adult, if I can be an adult like Wil is. Not perfect, doesn’t have everything figured out, but he knows what he’s good at, and what he can be better at. His memories of being onStar Trek, while fun to read, aren’t nearly as engaging as the times when he writes about being with his wife and his stepkids. He’s much more of an adult when he writes about those things, and it is the adult Mr. Wheaton who shines most clearly.

What sticks with me most after reading it is when he says that he knows he’s a good husband and a good father. It’s the sense that he really pays attention to himself, the good and the bad, that makes him so compelling to read.

So, in conclusion, I recommend this book. If you like stories about growing up while you’re already a grown-up, if you want to watch, through the course of somebody’s writing, the process of self-acceptance and growing honesty, then this is a very good book.

*The joke turned out to be on me. One of the best parts of Sunken Treasure was his production diary from playing a serial murderer and rapist on Criminal Minds. Which I now want to watch. Noooo…

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