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Weekend Recommendations: Books & CDs

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: Stray Dogs & Lone Wolves: The Samurai Film Handbook by Patrick Galloway. Like samurai movies? And I’m not asking that in a Captain Over kind of way. But if the answer’s yes, then you really have got to have this book. Stone Bridge Press’ tome packs a helluva lot of blade-speak into just over two hundred pages, plus an extremely handy glossary and cross index. Ten of the best folks in the genre are given focus, including Kurosawa and Toshio Mifune, and fifty-two films get the spotlight, everything from Zatoichi and Rashomon to Sanjuro and Throne of Blood. Both primer and instruction book all in one. Now Doc’s going to kick my ass and take this copy. Life sucks. (Buy it)

Audiobook of the Week: True Story by Michael Finkel. Harper Audio brings you this portrait of a bad day. After concocting some bullshit for a story of his, Finkel got canned. That same day he discovered that he had apparently been the victim of identity theft. And where a bunch of us have had appliances bought in Shanghai on our charge cards, he had been running around Mexico as a wanted felon suspected of mass murder. Or rather, Christian Longo, was doing this under his name. Yeah, that was some hell of a day. As Finkel struggles to deal with the mess he’s made of his career, he also corresponds with the man who stole his name. Finkel reads this abridged version himself, and it’s a fascinating portrait of a life that’s suddenly hung a left turn into Surrealville. (Buy it)

Comic Book of the Week: Bear #9 by Jamie Smart. Bear rocks the house. As does his nemesis Looshkin. Every issue of this thing is chocked to the gills with dead animals, dismemberment, maiming, and general chaos. This time out is no exception, featuring Smart’s concept of the movie Face/Off. We think. There’s a reason why this book was nominated for a Chazzie. And it wasn’t necessarily the reconsituted bunny meat. Dindrane, I promise. Really. The bee made us do it. Honest. Buhhhhh.

Graphic Novel of the Week: Modesty Blaise: The Black Pearl by Peter O’Donnell & Jim Holdaway. Another excellent collection of newspaper strips thanks to the folks at Titan Books. This has four adventures, “The Magnified Man,” “The Jericho Caper,” and “The Killing Ground,” in addition to the titular story. Modesty and amigo Willie Garvin find themselves in Tibet, in Central America, and working to foil a jewel thief. And just like the other books in this series, there’s bonus info to be had, like the intro here which comes with an O’Donnell interview. Sweet. (Buy it)

CD of the Week: War of the Worlds soundtrack by John Williams. There’s just something about a Williams musical score that makes even crap movies sound good. I know reactions to this were mixed, and I honestly haven’t seen the film so I can’t speak to it completely, but I know that the new trilogy at least sounded good, even though ninety-five percent of the rest of it was total rubbish. If you are a Williams fan or enjoyed the film, this Decca release is worth checking out. (Buy it)