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Weekend Recommendations: Books & Music

Each weekend,’s staff of whackos will wrack our brains to give you interesting and new things to do over the weekend. Books, movies, whatever. We’ll throw them out, you do with them what you will. And hey…if you have something you want to recommend–whatever it is–drop us a line.

Incidentally, we’ve provided links where we can for you to buy the stuff or find out more if you’re interested, courtesy of those Amazon types, in the US, the UK and Canada.

Hey, come on, we can’t be totally selfless in this, can we? Okay, books and music first…

Book of the Week:Take the Cannoli by Sarah Vowell. This collection of autobiographical stories and essays by Vowell (probably the funniest liberal on the planet, we’ve decided–and in a good way) doesn’t exactly paint a complete picture of the wacky journalist/writer, but there’s something to be said for the gaps. From the strategic use of mix tapes in a relationship to a journey down the Trail of Tears to a separate trip involving Disney, we think she’s getting better with time, but this earlier work is definitely worth checking out. From Simon & Schuster. (US)(UK)(CAN)

Audiobook of the Week: Batman: The Complete Knightfall Saga, masterminded by Dirk Maggs. At first, I thought I was in for a mixed bag of audio play fun. Then Tobias reminded me that Maggs is the guy who put together the Hitchhiker’s Guide audio productions…and I felt better. This Time Warner audiobook has been reissued just in time for the new Chris Nolan film and features a full cast, including Michael Gough returning as Alfred, the poor guy. Now what we really want to see is the Cecil B. DeMille production that would be the Crisis audioplay. (US)(CAN)

Graphic Novel of the Week: James Bond: Casino Royale by Ian Fleming, Henry Gammidge & John McClusky. Your friends at Titan continue to reprint great hard-to-find strips that collectors, those in their right mind anyway, should salivate over. Prime example: this volume, which contains not only the title story arc (and Bond’s first tale) but also Live and Let Die and Moonraker as well. If that wasn’t enough, then know this: Bond actor Roger Moore provides the intro. Nice. (US)(UK)(CAN)

Comic Book of the Week: Oddly Normal #3 by Otis Frampton. As our heroine, Oddly, begins to adjust to live in Fignation, there’s the promise of learning more about her mother’s life before entering the “real world” (still looking for that myself) and her new friends and their secret lab. While the Big Two comic companies continue to either ignore younger readers (or just botch attempts to get them to be comic converts), I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to have creators like Frampton and companies like Viper give a damn. If the comic book industry somehow manages to make it to the next generation, it’ll be because of books like this and not Marvel Age Fantastic Four (or whatever it’s called this week). Okay, soapbox time over. Buy the book already.

Music CD of the Week: Whipped Cream and Other Delights by Herb Albert. Shout Factory made a bunch of folks happy by reissuing this in a nifty fortieth anniversary edition. Not only do you get the sweet sounds of Tijuana Brass on tracks like “Love Potion #9” and “A Taste of Honey,” which I still dig even after all these years, but you get two bonus tracks plus a twenty-page booklet and a collectible poster. And of course, you get that cover, which is still incredibly hot. Sorry, but it is. BTW, did you know that the model, Dolores Erickson, has her own website here? Check the URL. (US)(UK)(CAN)