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Weekend Recommendations: Books & CDs

Audiobook of the Week: The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson, performed by Christopher Lane. Written when Thompson was just a young gonzo, the novel relates a young writer facing the fact that his dreams of a literary career are going up in smoke. Not his best work, but for those who want a complete Thompson experience, they should definitely check it out. This unabridged production from Blackstone Audio is a handy way to do so. (Buy it)

Book of the Week: The Physics of Superheroes by James Kakalios. There’ve been a number of books trying to use science that we know to explain how fictional worlds might work. They’re all pretty entertaining and–gasp–educational. Kakalios’ tome from Gotham Books is no exception, as he addresses the burning questions of our age, like “Can Ant-Man punch his way out of a paper bag?” He also brings up how the Microverse would work, and runs down major mutant players to take you through how they can work their powers as well. It’s a total science geekgasm in a little over 300 pages. (Buy it)

Movie-Related of the Week: The Making of King Kong : The Official Guide to the Motion Picture by Jenny Wake. Pocket Books takes you behind the scenes of the big monkey film, featuring scads of exactly what you would pick up such a tome for: behind-the-scenes shots, pics of models, production art…the whole nine. If you’re salivating thinking of the DVD and its inevitable bonus bits, then slake your thirst for the time being with this. (Buy it)

Comic-Related Book of the Week: Modern Masters, Vol. 6: Arthur Adams by George Khoury & Eric Nolen-Weathington. One of the coolest comics I read in my misspent youth was the X-Men/New Mutants/Asgard two-parter that Adams drew, so this book is near and dear to my heart. How many artists can say they’ve worked on both Gumby and Godzilla? This thing is jammed with a miles-long interview with Adams, not to mention tons of artwork that I had to spend quite a bit of time drooling over. I wish we saw more of Adams these days. This hits from TwoMorrows. (Buy it)

World CD of the Week: Los de Abajo v. the Lunatics by Los de Abajo. Real World, as I’ve said before, puts out only quality stuff. They release it, you buy it–end of story. Here, they’ve got a home run on their hands with the release of a latin-ska band that sounds like Fishbone mated with a mariachi band. And oh, I like it. “The Lunatics (have taken over the asylum)” is headbobbing perfection, but don’t take my word for it. Real World will let you sample the whole thing on their website. Lovely. (Buy it)

Jazz CD of the Week: The Essential Herbie Hancock. Well, Herbie Hancock’s one of those artists that has always been around, and you’ve been hearing their stuff even when you didn’t know it. In addition to his solo work, he’s done stuff with Miles, with Sonny Rollins, he even scored the first Death Wish movie. A little bit of everything is what shows up on this two-disc set from Columbia/Legacy, so if you need a crash course in Hancock, go ahead and grab it. (Buy it)

Broadway CD of the Week: Billy Elliot. Well, we’ve seen a lot of reuse of content, as I’ve mentioned before–and anytime something you liked in its original form gets translated to another form, it can be a scary thing. Personally, I loved the hell out of the movie, and was wondering when I would get to sample the musical which is apparently kicking ass in London right now. Elton John worked with the original screenwriter on the music and lyrics, and original director Stephen Daldry helmed the stage version as well. And now, Decca gives us all the opportunity to sample the results. (Buy it)

Comedy CD of the Week: Beyond the Pale by Jim Gaffigan. Okay, we were pimping the DVD earlier, which I think is an even better choice since you get to see him do the comedian in different voices as opposed to just hearing the weird dialogue going on–trust me, this all makes sense…in a way. Still, if you’d rather laugh a lot in your car–which these days is always a good thing–grab this Comedy Central release. He talks a lot about food, I’ve heard people say–but hell, I do too. So deal. (Buy it)

Soundtrack CD of the Week: Ghostbusters. Fans of the movie (there was never a second movie–say it with me) will be pleased to see this hit, in a remastered edition, from Arista. It also comes with two bonus tracks, including the 12″ mix of the famous Ray Parker Jr.-sung theme song. We promise not to tell anyone you bought a CD that has Air Supply on it. Honest. (Buy it)

Manga of the Week: Spawn: Shadows of Spawn, Vol. 2 by Juzo Tokoro. When Ken Kurosawa is sent to his celestial dirt nap by a car bomb, his desire to take care of his sister eventually brings him back to earth as a Hellspawn, where he must deal with a demon Clown and Malebogia and…Wait a sec, you must be thinking, isn’t some dude named Simmons a Hellspawn, running around dealing with those guys? Not in Japan, boyo. This is the second volume of the manga that was previously only published across the western pond. If you’d like a different spin on the Enormously Caped One, then grab this Image book. (Buy it)

Comic Collection the Week: Theodore Seuss Geisel: The Early Works of Dr. Seuss, Vol. 1. Everybody knows Seuss. The good doctor is one of those cultural icons that you just can’t avoid. But just as much as The Grinch and The Cat in the Hat and Horton are famous today, his earlier work was famous back in the day (which as we all know, was a Wednesday). Checker Book Publishing has pulled together 170 pages of work of Seuss’ you’ve probably never seen–and its here in its complete, unedited glory: everything from instructional WWII cartoons about malaria to advertising to magazine illos. The fan or completist must own. (Buy it)

1 comment

  • One comment regarding the soundrack CD of the week – Ghostbusters – I was doing some browsing at a used bookstore in Adams Morgan in DC this weekend, and what did I see but a 50 cent copy of the Ghostbusters soundtrack on vinyl?

    I had to have it, obviously. And no, there was no second movie. No Viggo. Never happened.