Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Book Review: Welcome to Dragon Talk

If it seems like everyone you know is playing Dungeons & Dragons, it’s because they are! After nearly five decades, the iconic roleplaying game is more popular than ever. Famous Hollywood actors and directors, therapists, educators, politicians, kids, parents, and grandparents all count themselves as fans. In Welcome to Dragon Talk, hosts of the official D&D podcast Shelly Mazzanoble and Greg Tito and their surprising guests show how this beloved pastime has amassed a diverse, tight-knit following of players who defy stereotypes.

Shelly and Greg recount some of their most inspiring interviews and illuminate how their guests use the core tenets of the game in everyday life. An A-list actor defends D&D by baring his soul (and his muscles) on social media. A teacher in a disadvantaged district in Houston creates a D&D club that motivates students to want to read and think analytically. A writer and live-streamer demonstrates how D&D–inspired communication breaks barriers and empowers people of color. Readers will see why Dungeons & Dragons has remained such a pop culture phenomenon and how it has given this disparate and growing community the inspiration to flourish and spread some in-game magic into the real world.

Welcome to Dragon Talk will be out on December 5, 2022. University of Iowa Press provided me an early galley for review.

I have been a Dungeons and Dragons player since 1982. So, I am always eager to read books that talk about one of my favorite tabletop roleplaying games. I'm also into watching videos about the game (even watching folks play on streams for hours on end) and even to listen to podcasts about the game. So, this book was right in my wheelhouse.

Even so, I learned a number things I did not know before - thanks to Shelly and Greg's experiences in the industry. I found their narrative approach to be open, friendly and approachable - as I have found with some episodes I have sampled. That made this a fast and fun read for me. They've been doing their podcast for nearly 400 episodes at this point (mostly weekly) so they've had a wide array of guests and topics covered over the years. This book highlights some of those and invites further exploration into their back catalog.

This is a fantastic book that shows the benefits and the positives that can come out of tabletop roleplaying games like Dungeons and Dragons.

No comments: