Weekend Recommendations: Audiobooks, Books and Comics

Here’s the first half of what we covered in Friday’s podcast.

Audiobooks:

Audiobook of the Week: The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl, performed by Erik Singer. From Simon & Schuster.

Comedy Audiobook of the Week: Holmes on the Range by Steve Hockensmith, performed by William Dufris. From Tantor.

Poetry Audiobook of the Week: Essential Eliot by T. S. Eliot. From Caedmon.

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By | 2017-09-24T23:41:20+00:00 August 19th, 2006|Recommendations|0 Comments

Your Weekend Recommendations Podcast

Covering books, graphic novels, audiobooks and DVDs, along with some extra detritus in there. Ideas for how to waste your weekend. Cover art and links to Amazon shall follow hard upon. And hopefully we’ll have theme music soon. And a pony.

Download the podcast here.

BTW, you iTunes subscriber types can nab this feed here. Or if you want to do something else with it, the feed feed is here.

By | 2017-09-24T23:41:21+00:00 August 18th, 2006|Podcasts, Recommendations|1 Comment

Recommendations: Stuff to Read

Book of the Week: When They Were 22: 100 Famous People at the Turning Point in Their Lives by Brad Dunn. This Andrews McMeel book is interesting, in that I think what it’s supposed to do is be something you can hand to young people to make them feel better about being young and stupid. Now what it’s supposed to do for someone like me, in his early thirties, is up for speculation. Personally I’d prefer a book that talks about folks whose turning point came later, since I’m still waiting for mine. Or maybe we passed each other on the freeway. No idea. Regardless, if you want to turn somebody in their twenties onto the idea that their life is still ahead of them, go for it. The rest of us will probably just get depressed. Or…more depressed. (Buy it)

Thriller Book of the Week: The Serial Killers Club by Jeff Povey. Imagine Neil Gaiman’s “Cereal Convention” except you find yourself having killed one of the attendees…and you’ve taken his con badge. A simplistic comparison, but that’s the gist behind this, in which our “hero” finds himself among a private organization of serial killers. Circumstances force him to do something he was proven to enjoy anyway: killing the killers. This dark but amusing tome hits from Warner Books. (Buy it)
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By | 2017-09-24T23:43:18+00:00 July 9th, 2006|Recommendations|0 Comments

Recommendations: Stuff to Watch

Kids DVD of the Week: Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?. Well, this Shout Factory release is a little confusing, because it’s the complete first season even though the box itself doesn’t state that. Still, from game to quiz show to animated series, now the dastardly Sandiego (voiced by Rita Moreno) is going up against a brother and sister team, who will chase her to the ends of the earth and whatnot. This three disc set comes with art galleries, a storyboard to screen comparison for one episode, plus the opening title sequence in eight languages. (Buy it)

Animation DVD of the Week: Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist: Season One. The line between therapy and comedy has never been thinner than in this, the first six episodes of this classic series, brought to DVD by the fine folks at Paramount and Comedy Central. Among the patients whose minds are explored: Ray Romano, Dom Irrera and Dave Atell. There’s a Katz bio, commentaries by some of the comedians involved, short films and another Squigglevision short, if you simply couldn’t get enough. (Buy it)

Space DVD of the Week: Exploring Space: The Quest for Life. What timing: just recently didn’t we hear Stephen Hawking making the case–again–for us getting off this rock for the safety of all mankind? And isn’t that just an echo of what Clarke has said: dinosaurs went extinct because they had no space program? This two-hour PBS special talks about looking for something else out there, and hopefully if nothing else one day it will be us. (Buy it)

Brit DVD of the Week: Monarch Of The Glen: Series 4. Archie returns home to become the lord of the estate and must then go from dealing with running a restaurant to suddenly dealing with gobs of acres of land (huge tracts, in fact), gobs of debt, and a potential love interest there when he’s already got one back in London. Now, after the loss of his father, he’s got this wild idea to turn the estate into a center for wolves. And of course, there’s all the drama of who loves who and why going on. Comes with all ten episodes, plus a wildlife special. This hits from BBC Home Video. (Buy it)

Romantic Comedy DVD of the Week: Imagine Me & You. There’s nothing worse than finding somebody you’re crazy about on your wedding day. I mean, you know, when it’s not the person you’re there to get hitched to. That’s what happens in this romantic comedy from Fox, in which Piper Perabo’s character meets Lena Headey’s character on the Big Day and things just get more complicated from there. There’s a decent amount of bonus bits as well, with a commentary by the director/writer, deleted and extended scenes also with commentary, a Q&A with the director and the cast, and more. (Buy it)

Cop Show DVD of the Week: Hill Street Blues: The Complete Second Season. Believe it or not, there was a time in my life where I actually watched television. And this was one of the first dramas I remember watching on an ongoing basis, learning a lot about dealing with multiple characters in an intense setting. Pretty much every cop show that’s come around since owes something to this. Here, the second season appears thanks to Fox, coming with a handful of featurettes and a couple of commentaries as well. (Buy it)

By | 2017-09-24T23:43:29+00:00 July 3rd, 2006|DVD, Recommendations|0 Comments

Recommendations: Books to Listen to

Audiobook of the Week: Company by Max Barry, performed by William Dufris. Sticking pins in the voodoo doll of corporate America, Barry creates a company that’s a cross between something out of a Twilight Zone episode and the virus corporation from Morrison’s Marvel Boy. We follow a newcomer into the belly of the beast and see much that is so absurd that it’s eeriely like our day jobs. Terrifying. This Tantor Media release comes unabridged, naturally, and I’m sure Barry will be releasing the book into the public domain after ten years is up. We’ll see. (Buy it)

High Weirdness Audiobook of the Week: The Jesus Papers: Exposing the Greatest Cover-Up in History by Michael Baigent. Well, at least until the book and movie sequel hit, maybe we can relax from all the DaVinci Code hysteria for a while. One thing it did provide is an opportunity for lots of books of High Weirdness to hit, because we love this crazy stuff. Basically, the thought here is that Jesus’ crucifixion was a fraud–which means that it’s kinda like the final third of Last Temptation but without the killer Peter Gabriel score. In regards to this Harper release, I don’t have a dog in this fight so take it for whatever it’s worth. (Buy it)

History Audiobook of the Week: 10 Days That Unexpectedly Changed America by Steven M. Gillon, performed by Stephen Hoye. Well, the title pretty much says it all in this Random House release. Keep in mind, however, that the list dodges contention by not touting itself as the “Top 10 Days,” which was wise of them. This book is a tie-in with the History Channel event, taking you through days like Shays’ Rebellion, the Scopes trial, and the unveiling of Elvis to America at large on Ed Sullivan’s show. If you enjoyed the series, then this unabridged release will give you some more on the days covered. (Buy it)

Thriller Audiobook of the Week: The Book of the Dead by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child, performed by Scott Brick. The latest adventure of Aloysius Pendergast pits him against his evil brother Diogenes. As you can imagine, there’s whiffs of the supernatural and a series of murders that must be dealt with as the evil hijinks kick in and start causing sparks. A lot of strings that the authors started in their earlier books get resolved here, so you might want to check out what came before (at least starting with Brimstone) lest you get lost. Scott Brick, one of the new go-to audiobook guys, reads this Warner release, which is available in both abridged or unabridged versions. (Buy it)

Movie-Related Audiobook of the Week: V for Vendetta by Steve Moore, based on the screenplay by the Brothers Wachowski, which in turn eviscerated the graphic novel by Alan Smithee and David Lloyd, performed by Simon Vance. I’m not bitter, am I? Well, let’s not go down that road. I think if you weren’t familiar with the original graphic novel then you might enjoy the film. Here we’ve got one of those weird adaptation things where we’re now four times removed from the original, if you count Vance’s performance. Still, if you dug the film, this adaptation might leave you pleased. Give it a listen then round up the graphic novel and make sure you get the full experience. This hits from Blackstone Audio. (Buy it)

By | 2017-09-24T23:44:01+00:00 June 28th, 2006|Recommendations|0 Comments

Recommendations: Stuff to Watch, Part 2

Anime Boxed Set of the Week: Gun Sword, Vol. 1: Endless Illusion. Endless Illusion is the name of the planet, not a pop album from the 80s. It’s about a guy looking for revenge for the bride that was murdered, pretty standard fare except for the sword he has that can change shape, and he’s doing all this running around in a tux. The first four episodes are here on this first disc and it also comes with a box to hold the rest of the series as those titles hit. Bonus bit is also a diecast metal key chain. This arrives from Geneon. (Buy it)

Theatre Set of the Week: The George Bernard Shaw Collection. We’ll admit it: we couldn’t find a huge Shaw fan around the office. But when it comes to this BBC set, which gives you ten plays in total across six discs (four are considered “bonus”), all you have to do is look at the actors involved: John Gielgud, Patrick Stewart, Tom Baker, Lynn Redgrave, and Helena Bonham Carter to name a few. Then we get excited. Comes with two bonus programs regarding shaw, and more. (Buy it)

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By | 2017-09-24T23:44:07+00:00 June 22nd, 2006|Recommendations|0 Comments

Recommendations: Stuff to Read

Art Book of the Week: Fairies by Yoshitaka Amano. Sah. Amano. I love pretty much everything that man does, but here, in this volume, brought to our shores by Dark Horse, he appears to have taken a trip down Froud Lane and brought his own sensibilities to the folks of Titania and Oberon. Yes, plenty of Midsummer Night’s Dream is here, and along with the short squat creatures there are the gorgeous, long-limbed beauties that Amano is famous for. Amazing colors and mind-blowing details. You’d want just about every page of this hanging on your wall. Maybe if we ask nicely Dark Horse can do a 2007 calendar of some of this stuff, hmm? I had to import an Amano calendar for this year from Japan. Help us, DH! In the meantime, slake your thirst for incredible art with this. (Buy it)

Movie Book of the Week: The Art of Cars by Michael Wallis with Suzanne Fitzgerald Wallis. For some reason, a lot of people were disappointed in this film. I think it’s a matter of screwed up expectations. But regardless, for those of us who appreciate Pixar and appreciate their work, especially those of us who like to peek behind the curtain, this is a great opportunity to do so without having to wait for the inevitable Uber Mongo DVD. It’s all here: from photos to concept art to various stages of the development process. And Wallis, you might have caught, was the voice of the Sheriff in the flick. Nice. This hits from Chronicle Books. (Buy it)

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By | 2017-09-24T23:44:15+00:00 June 19th, 2006|Recommendations|3 Comments

Recommendations: Stuff to Watch, Part 1

Action DVD of the Week: Mr. & Mrs. Smith: Unrated. Another re-release that sports “unrated” like a badge of honor (but really is only a few extra minutes of footage), this Fox release is for those of you who dug the film. And really, if you can turn your brain off enough, you can enjoy the “Goes Boom” factor. This time around it’s a two-disc set that sports a single commentary, different than any on the last release (this time the director goes solo), plus deleted scenes, an alternate ending, a large “film school” bit with director Doug Liman, a behind-the-scenes docu, a featurette and more. (Buy it)

TV DVD of the Week: Life Goes On: The Complete First Season. Warner Brothers brings the first twenty-two episodes of this series to DVD, and it’s got a significant fanbase. Even those of us who don’t watch television (like myself) remember the series and what it accomplished: bringing a “disabled” individual to prime time television in a major role and dealing with (in this case) him as a realistic character. Corky was a groundbreaking character and won over a lot of viewers, thanks also to a supporting cast and writers who would give him good stories to work with. This is a six-disc set and comes with commentary by the actor who played Corky as well as the series creator, plus screen tests and a gag reel. (Buy it)

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By | 2017-09-24T23:44:46+00:00 June 17th, 2006|Recommendations|0 Comments

Recommendations: Stuff to Listen to

Useful Audiobook of the Week: 100 Bullshit Jobs…and How to Get Them by Stanley Bing. So apparently we have an ongoing fascination with bullshit, as we’ve shown. Bing tells you how to turn your tolerance for bullshit into a possible career, as occupations like aromatherapists, baristas and even bloggers involve a great deal of it. Of course, if you’ve been reading this site for long, you know that we’ll tell you straight up what we do is bullshit. Although…do people get paid to do this? Where? Anyway, this mildly amusing bit hits from Harper Audio. (Buy it)

Thriller Audiobook of the Week: Nightlife by Thomas Perry, performed by Shelly Frasier. Yes, it’s time for another book with a serial killer. Although this time it’s a woman behind the murders, changing her identity as she moves from place to place looking for her next victim. And she’s a cold one. It’s up to an equally female detective to try and bring her to justice. And, as you can imagine, hijinks ensue. This Tantor release is unabridged, so no mayhem gets left on the cutting room floor…just like we like it. (Buy it)

Sports Audiobook of the Week: Sound and Fury by Dave Kindred, performed by Dick Hill. The film by Michael Mann aside (hopefully far aside), fans of Howard Cosell and Muhammad Ali will want to pick this book up as it traces the careers of both men, how they intersected and then built each other up in an uneasy and sometimes unbalanced friendship, and then their respective declines. This unabridged Blackstone Audio release is capably read by Hill and will keep the sports fan listening for several days’ worth of commutes. (Buy it)

Classic CD of the Week: The Buddy Holly Definitive Collection. This Geffen release doesn’t have anything on it that fans haven’t seen before, make no mistake. But if somebody is looking for a nice best-of for those unfamiliar with Holly’s work, this will prove a good primer. And with twenty-six tracks for fourteen bucks, it serves that purpose well enough. (Buy it)

Blues CD of the Week: Delta Hardware by Charlie Musselwhite. You know when Real World Records puts out any album, it’s going to be good. Of course, when they hit a genre squarely on the head, like they do here with blues, then you know it’s going to be impressive. And this is the best of both worlds, reaching back to the roots of blues and yet giving it a modern tweak (but not tweaking so much that anything, you know, falls off). It’s excellent. Check out “Clarksdale Boogie” and “Church is Out” if you want to grab some samples. (Buy it)

Soundtrack CD of the Week: The Promise. Klaus Badelt first got our attention around here when he did the soundtrack for Pirates. That’s still in medium rotation around the offices. Here, he takes one of those epic histori-fantastical fairy tale romances and provides a most excellent score to back it up. We haven’t seen the film yet, but this Superb release certainly has our interest piqued. Great music to, for example, write recommendations by. Check out “Wuhuan’s Plan” and “Guangming, The General” if you want to taste it. (Buy it)

Kids’ CD of the Week: High School Musical. Personally, this release from Disney scares me. Don’t go into it expecting your typical musical theatre, as it’s much more “hip” than that. I suppose if anything we should be grateful that kids (who are apparently buying the absolute hell out of stuff associated with this TV movie) are interested in anything to do with musicals, so we’ll be happy. Be aware that this is the two-disc special edition, though, so it comes with a bonus disc of all-karaoke versions. So be prepared to hear singing from the back seat when you’re driving any place. (Buy it)

By | 2017-09-24T23:44:50+00:00 June 10th, 2006|Recommendations|0 Comments

DVD Recommendations: Part 3

Classic DVD of the Week: John Wayne: An American Icon Collection. Another Universal boxed set that should be welcomed with open arms by fans, it brings five films of which, as far as I can tell, three have never seen DVD before, and the other two are out of print. So bonus. The films are The Conqueror, Jet Pilot, Pittsburgh, Seven Sinners, and The Shepherd of the Hills. All five are on two discs, and as you might imagine: no bonus bits. But again, for a little over five bucks a flick, it wouldn’t pay to complain. (Buy it)

Musical DVD of the Week: The Producers. The film that returns a story to its original medium brings over the show that gave Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick careers on stage from now until the end of time if they don’t mind it. Sure, Will Ferrell and Uma Thurman are along for the ride instead of the actors from Broadway, but it’s Mel Brooks back in the saddle, so we can’t be too disappointed. Dead and Loving It–all is forgiven. This Universal release comes with a director’s commentary, deleted scenes, outtakes and a scene analysis bit. (Buy it)

Comedy DVD of the Week: Mystery Science Theater 3000, Vol. 9. Four more classics and a short film fill out this latest set from the folks at Rhino. You get The Sinister Urge (introduced by actor Conrad Brooks), Wild Rebels, Women of the Prehistoric Planet (introduced by actress Irene Tsu), and personal favorite movie title of all time: The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies. And of course, the useful short is “Keeping Clean and Neat.” Must-own for our readers, because we know what sickos you all are. (Buy it)

Music DVD of the Week: Faith No More Double Feature. Ah, Mike Patton, vocal god. He and his crew put on a hell of a show at Brixton Academy that was captured in the film You Fat Bastards. Not only is Rhino giving you that here, but you also get Who Cares a Lot?, their music videos. Shows you just how bad my memory is getting–upon watching them, I realized I had seen them before, except for later on when I quit watching television. The shining moment is still their cover of Lionel Richie’s “Easy.” You haven’t lived until you’ve seen guitarist Jim Martin lip sync to that. (Buy it)

Family DVD of the Week: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. No secret that I wasn’t a huge fan of the film, but as far as family fare goes, it’s nice and safe. I think you’re better off with the books, but if you want to use this to shoehorn some reading in with your kids, be my guest. This Disney release comes with a commentary from the kids and the director, a separate commentary with the crew, blooper reel, and multiple featurettes. The FX stuff is worth the price of admission. (Buy it)

History DVD of the Week: Egypt: Rediscovering A Lost World. Not a straight up docu, this is actually a six-part miniseries from the BBC that dramatizes the efforts of Howard Carter, the guy who found King Tut’s tomb, Giovanni Belzoni, who made multiple discoveries, and Jean Francois Champollion, who deciphered hieroglyphics. The story’s there, warts and all, and both the story and production quality’s there like only the BBC (when they have a decent budget) can provide. Comes with a featurette. (Buy it)

Foreign DVD of the Week: The Warrior. A guy whose employed as the title suggests suddenly has an apostrophe while in the midst of battle and swears off violence. But as Al Pacino learned in the third Godfather movie, they just pull you back in. Renouncing his ways will cost him, and he will have to deal with his past before he can deal with his future…if he still has one. This Miramax comes with a director’s commentary, deleted scenes with optional commentary, and a making-of featurette. (Buy it)

By | 2017-09-24T23:44:59+00:00 June 5th, 2006|DVD, Recommendations|1 Comment