December 7, 2005

Reading Is Fundamental

Well, I'm slowly (but surely) recovering from this cold - plenty of bedrest, plenty of fluids, and all out positive thinking have helped me feel much better. (Of course, it also means now that I have to get back into the swing of my job search). Luckily, part of my "recovery" has involved catching up on reading various books I checked out of the library, and I'm here to share my reading list with you.

(Also, if you haven't already, be sure to check out Yet Another Comics Blog's 2nd Annual CBLDF Fund Drive - it's a great cause, and you'll be doing a great service).

Birth of a Nation - quite frankly, it's the funniest graphic novel I've read in a long time. A satirical look at how East St. Louis - after a fixed election - secedes from the US, this is one of the most pointed jabs which spares nobody. The writing is strong (although it does slightly fall apart at the end), Kyle Baker's "storyboards" are appropriately cartoony - you do yourself a disservice by not reading this.

School Days - After the rather Hawk and Susan-centric Cold Service, Robert B. Parker has Spenser return to what he does best: solve crimes, make wise cracks, and just be a tough guy. It stars with Spenser being hired to "clear" a young man involved in a school shooting, and ends up taking some twists and turns. Well worth a read. And speaking of tough guys...

Lost Stories - This book features some of Dashiell Hammett's earliest work, and is half really short pieces and half biography. I would really suggest, if you're unfamiliar with Hammett's work, starting with the Hammett Canon before reading this book. If you are familiar, you'll find a diamond in the rough. Either way, this book is highly recommended.

Filler - a graphic novel from AIT/PlanetLar (can you tell I dig mystery & crime fiction), it's limited color palate suggests Sin City. The writing, however, is slightly more clever with a subtle last-page reveal that took me a second read to figure out. For some reason, the art did not quite appeal to me - however, it worked in connoting the overall noir-ish atmosphere. Recommended.

Better Than Homemade - this book talks about all sorts of "foods from the future", from Twinkies to Cheez Wiz, from Jello to Tater Tots. It's an easy read (you'll breeze through it in about an hour), but the only complaint - the tone of the writing can be inconsistent, and praise in one paragraph turns into slight derision in the next. However, in the realm of books about pop culture, it's a pleasant history lesson.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Millennium - You could purchase all three books or get the omnibus, but this is one killer story. I've always thought DS9 was the strongest in the Star Trek "franchise", because it was willing to take chances, and that it had the strongest characters. (Plus, Benjamin Sisko is the greatest captain, and can easily kick Picard's, Kirk's, Janeway's, and Archer's collective heinies. That's right, Sisko is da man). This trilogy only confirms what I (and presumably many others) secretly suspected - DS9 should have been "the franchise" all along....

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