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Recommendations: Books & CDs

Audiobook of the Week: The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre by Dominic Smith, performed by Stephen Hoye. So mercury can give you serious issues–but of course, Daguerre didn’t know this, and thus Smith puts forward a version of Daguerre that’s suffering from poisoning. In his delusional state, he decides the world is ending and wants to get ten important pictures before the whole thing goes down the tubes, aided by Baudelaire and a prostitute. Sounds crazed? Which is why it’s right up our alley–this hits from Blackstone Audio. (Buy it)

Book of the Week: On Bullshit by Harry G. Frankfurt. How could we resist this book? A scholarly look at the nature and purpose behind bullshit from Princeton University Press? Easy pickings, that’s us. While it’s a very small and short read, and of course it’s amusing just in the topic it’s covering, Frankfurt is taking a serious look at the amount of bullshit we must all contend with and why it’s something to be overcome. I’m sure Penn and Teller would agree. An excellent find. (Buy it)

Gift Book of the Week: Fairy Wishes for Friends by Becky Kelly. Gift books. You know what I mean. Those things you grab for folks when you don’t know what else to get them. But hey, if you know somebody who likes cute fairies, then Becky Kelly does cute fairy art. Short, sweet, and it comes with a fairy. This is from Andrews McMeel. (Buy it)

And if you think I got some cheap thrill out of mentioning books about “bullshit” and “fairies” back to back, then you’re right. That’s what this site is all about.

Comic Collection of the Week: Silver Star: Graphite Edition by Jack Kirby. That’s the thing about TwoMorrows–just when I think my knowledge of comics is pretty complete, they teach me something I never knew before. Behold: the final major original creation of Jack Kirby, which started life as a screenplay, was transformed into a six-issue series, and is now collected here in its pure pencilled form. Not only do you get that, but the screenplay version is here, along with the bonus art bits and context that you’ve come to expect from TwoMorrows. They’re donating a portion of sales to the Jack Kirby Museum and Research Center, so this is such a no-brainer it’s ridiculous. (Buy it)

CD of the Week: Harry on Broadway, Act I. There’s always room for Harry Connick, Jr., as far as I’m concerned. And here he’s got the cast album from the Pajama Game revival that he was in, plus his own theatrical creation, Thou Shalt Not. Personally, I think it’s pretty smart to market this (hitting from Sony, BTW) as a Harry Connick, Jr. album even though it’s really two soundtracks in one, because then you’ve got fans who wouldn’t think to pick up a Broadway CD doing just that. And hell, maybe they’ll enjoy some theatre. Until, of course, the Goonies musical hits. (Buy it)

Soundtrack of the Week: The DaVinci Code. A really great soundtrack is one that you can remember the scenes from the movie while listening to the CD later, even though the music blended so well with the images that you weren’t even aware of the score at the time. Usually the best you can say about a soundtrack is that it’s good music to work with in the background, since, well, that’s what musical scores are originally designed for: background embellishment for mood and whatnot. Since I haven’t seen the film yet–and probably won’t until it hits video–I can say that this Howard Shore-penned Decca release is nice to have on while you’re typing things. This post, for example. (Buy it)

Classic CD of the Week: Joe Cocker: Gold. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Joe Cocker can cover a song like nobody’s business. Specifically, his Beatles covers, especially “With a Little Help From My Friends” and “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window” (both included here) are the stuff of legend. The boy can wail. Now, this two-disc set isn’t going to be news to any fan of the man, but if you find yourself with a deficiency in your album collection and need to fix it quick, this Hip-O release will do the trick. (Buy it)

Magazine of the Week: Write Now! #12. TwoMorrows is here yet again with their mag that covers writing for comics and animation. If you have any interest in either field, then you’re doing yourself a disservice by not snagging this. DC Comics head burrito Paul Levitz is on hand for an in-depth interview, as is Steve Engelhart. They talk to editors from various companies about how to submit your work to them (feel free to ask me my opinion on this topic), and throw your way plenty of examples to help you step up your game. Simply one of the best writing mags out there. (Buy it)

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