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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.

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

Book of the Week: Nerd Girl Rocks Paradise City: A True Story of Faking It in Hair Metal L.A. by Anne Thomas Soffee. Oh Lord, hair metal. Not much could make us want to revisit that dark period in culture. However, Soffee’s memoir of trying to become a rock reporter and succumbing to the drugs and alcohol of the scene–then having to pull up out of it–is worth going forward without fear. And it’s damn funny to boot. This hits from Chicago Review Press. (Buy it)

Audiobook of the Week: When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro, performed by John Lee. Being told the story by a protagonist who may or not be a little wonky in the head, who was traumatized by the disappearance of his parents one after the other when he was a child. Now, decades later, he returns to Shanghai to try and find them and solve this great mystery of his life. This Harper Audio release gets the unabridged CD treatment courtesy of reader Lee. (Buy it)

Graphic Novel of the Week: The Silencers: Black Kiss by Fred Van Lente & Steve Ellis. Seldom are comic book villains featured. Or at least featured well. Whether it’s the Joker’s ongoing series or simply turning villains into good guys (Sabretooth, Juggernaut, Magneto about seventy-two times) because it’s easier that way, it’s just hard for the comic book companies to do. Waid and Kitson’s Empire is the one that springs to mind. Enter this collection from Moonstone, in which a group of evil mob enforcers take center stage as they try to figure out what the hell is up when they suddenly find themselves being hunted down like dogs. Has some great moments in it and some delightfully evil bastards. Definitely worth picking up. (Head over to Moonstone’s online store and buy it)

Comic Book of the Week: Fables #41 by Bill Willingham & Mark Buckingham. The end of the Homelands story arc featuring Boy Blue is here, and it’s delightfully twisty and re-twisty in a way that doesn’t make you feel contrived and cheap. It’s hard to explain what the hell is going on without giving anything away but suffice to say I’ll be fascinated to see where the title goes from here.

CD of the Week: Breakout by Soulive. I’ll admit something to you: I had never heard of these guys before. I stumbled across them when I read that Needcoffee fave and Living Colour front man Corey Glover was providing vocals for a track. But I’ve heard of them now. This is pretty much a groove fest from start to finish, the kind of thing you can either put on as perfect background for working music or actively listen to. There’s few things that disappoint, for example I thought “Crosstown Traffic” took a while to get up to speed. But mostly, it’s smooth and tight with some great surprises, like Corey doing some low-end vocal acrobatics for once in “Freedom.” And “What Can You Do” with Reggie Watts is the stand-out of the album–a song is so smooth it’s positively frictionless. This hit this past week from Concord Records. (Buy it)

Postcards of the Week: Super Heroes: The DC Comics Universe of Alex Ross. Chronicle Books has released this collection of some of Ross’ most potent work on the DCU, all done up in a book of postcards so you can buy it and marvel at it, since…does anybody use the postal service anymore? Anyway, these images are from all over Ross’ work, including his posters, Kingdom Come, JLA: Liberty and Justice and others. Comes with thirty cards. (Buy it)