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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.

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

Book of the Week: H.P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life, by Michel Houellebecq. This fascinating essay on the life and works of Lovecraft hits English and these shore thanks to the folks at McSweeney’s. Does Lovecraft really think humanity is a bit of used gum on the shoe of the cosmos? Doomed to be strung out for a few blocks before the shoe’s owner (Cthulhu? No, he didn’t have feet…screw it, run with the metaphor) wipes us all off on the curb of eternity? Or something? Houellebecq dissects the man’s style and his outlook, not to mention his legacy, and does it with style and force. I love it. Stephen King is on board for a freaking excellent intro, and two Lovecraft stories are included for good measure. If you dig Howard Phillips, you must own this. (Buy it)

Audiobook of the Week: Long Stay in a Distant Land by Chieh Chieng, performed by James Yaegashi. It’s not easy being a member of the Lum family, apparently. Tragedy seems to stalk these folks with sharp, pointy teeth. Louis Lum’s mother has been the latest victim, leaving Louis in charge of his father and looking to go off in search of an uncle who’s disappeared. Funny and original, this Blackstone Audio release is the entire shmeal unabridged across six discs. (Buy it)

Comic Book of the Week: Iron Man #4 by Warren Ellis and Adi Granov. Finally, the fourth issue hits. And it’s worth the wait. Although now where the hell is Tony Stark going to go, after having his metal ass handed to him by Extremis? If you can’t beat them, join them? What the hell is that about? Ellis’ writing is spot on, and though Granov’s artwork is good, it’s not good enough to wait months for. Please replace him quickly. Thanks.

Graphic Novel of the Week: Any Easy Intimacy by Jeffrey Brown. I don’t normally like Brown’s work. It’s nothing against him or his style, but “slice-of-life” comics have to really strike a chord with me (like Blankets) for me to really get into them. Because otherwise, why should I read about someone else’s life when I barely have time for my own? If I wanted life, I’d go out and have one. But with this release, Brown details the timeline of a relationship with a disturbed young woman. And blang–consider the chord struck. There’s something to be said for the sickening feeling you get in your stomach when you’re reading a guy saying he’ll just make do with whatever the girl can give him–knowing you’ve done the same thing. As a result, I couldn’t put it down. If you’ve been there, then grab this and commiserate with Brown. It’s from Top Shelf. (Buy it)

CD of the Week: All Over the World: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra. I’m not sorry to say that a great deal of ELO’s stuff rocks balls. Whether it’s the odd happy mish-mash of “Mr. Blue Sky,” the better than you want to admit “Telephone Line” or the rockin’ “Evil Woman,” it’s got goodness. And I’ll be damned if the thing doesn’t sound excellent. Now of course, I’m disappointed we didn’t “Can’t Get It Out of My Head” (source of many a lyric-grab joke) and others on here but what’s here is truly solid. This is out from Sony Legacy. (Buy it)