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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?

Audiobook of the Week: King Kong by Edgar Wallace & Merian C. Cooper, novelized by Delos W. Lovelace, read by Stefan Rudnicki. As we’re all waiting to check out the movie that we hope will punt our asses out the back of the cinema, Blackstone Audio has a great way to get to the primary source material. In addition to an unabridged reading, there’s comments from the likes of Harlan Ellison, Ray Bradbury, and Ray Harryhausen. Excellent warm-up act. (Buy it)

Biography of the Week: The Merchant of Dennis: The Autobiography of Hank Ketcham. A nice companion book to the fact Fantagraphics is releasing the complete run of the Dennis the Menace strips, here they bring you Ketcham’s self-penned life story, from his childhood to work at Disney to finally creating the comic strip that would be his most famous achievement. Any fan will want to pick this up, as it’s chocked with a slew of photos and artwork. (Buy it)

Comedy Book of the Week: Life’s Little Annoyances: True Tales of People Who Just Can’t Take it Anymore by Ian Urbina. Sometimes people just get as mad as hell and they just can’t take it anymore. Like the man said. For them, there’s action. For those of us who believe in karma, we can at least read about them in this book, which details the petty bits of revenge we wish we could lower ourselves to. This hits from Times Books. (Buy it)

Comic-Related Book of the Week: Graphic Novels: Everything You Need to Know by Paul Gravett. This book from Collins Design is a nice overview of the form, whether you’re a novice or have been around a bit. Featuring scads of artwork (reprinted in very respectable sizes with a lot of sweet two-page spreads), if this doesn’t leave you wanting to grab some Miller, Gaiman, Thompson, Moore, on and on and on, then there’s something seriously wrong with you. (Buy it)

Comic Book of the Week: The Middle Man #4 by Javier Grillo-Marxuach & Les McClaine. This first series ends with our heroes going up against something that everybody can appreciate: lots of monkeys, lots of guns, and lots of monkeys with guns! Brilliant! And you’ve got to hand it to a comic that not only smacks around pop culture references but is very self-aware of that fact. Hellacious fun from the madmen at Viper. (Buy it from Viper.)

CD of the Week: Live at Bull Moose by Regina Spektor. This five-track EP hits from Sire Records and is exactly what it says: live tracks from Spektor, who I’m going to work my sizable ass off to get nominated for a Chazzie this year. Includes a version of “Carbon Monoxide” as well as my favorite track on the disc: “Pound of Flesh,” featuring Regina’s meeting with Ezra Pound. (Buy it)

CD/DVD of the Week: A Night at the Opera by Queen. This kickass album gets re-released in a hellacious version for its 30th anniversary by Hollywood Records. Not only do you get tracks from “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “You’re My Best Friend” in both CD and DVD formats, sounding better than ever before, but there’s also two videos, plus video footage for the whole album, complete with audio commentary from the entire band. The fan will want this, most assuredly. (Buy it)

CD Boxed Set of the Week: Elton John Chronicles. Well, there’s nothing on this three-disc set from Island Records you don’t already have if you’re a hardcore Elton John fan: it comes with his self-titled album, Tumbleweed Connection, and Madman Across the Water. However, if you’re looking to smack somebody with all three albums at one time–gift idea, natch–then this boxed set will work wonders in that department. For those that don’t know, those three albums give us tracks like “Your Song,” “Tiny Dancer,” and “Burn Down the Mission.” (Buy it)