Monday, July 14, 2008

A Selection of Books Finished in Recent Months

Soon I Will Be Invincible
Deconstructive super-heroism as recommended by Jackson Publick (co-creator of The Venture Bros.). I ended up coming away feeling about this book the same way I did about the movie Hancock. Amazing first half that addresses tried and true super-hero material in a new way, a middling second half that loses focus and, perhaps, tries too hard to make a ‘grand statement,’ and an ending that, while still shaky, still manages to ultimately redeem the material.

The Alchemist
A fife-affirming fable about finding what you think you really want, and how to respond when you do. Recommended.

Wally’s World
Depressing biography of comic book artist Wally Wood. Overwritten in several places, but well researched and done with love. Even with several (SEVERAL) chapters devoted to comic book history and filling-in-the-blanks of the industry for non-comics readers, this remains a “for fans only” tome.

Heartbreaking young adult novel based on a true story about the relationship between a troubled teen and an elderly man suffering from cerebral palsy. This one will make you cry (I did).

Batman: Hush Returns
A poorly written and drawn collection of Batman comic book stories centering on the villain Hush and his vendetta against the Dark Knight. The Joker subplot is the only thing that makes the volume redeemable, but even that uses chunks of Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s The Killing Joke as the basis. Everything that is "bad" about modern-day Batman comics.

Superman: Red Son Rising
Surprisingly effective Elseworlds take on the Superman saga as filtered through a Communist Russia lens.

The Boy Detective Fails
The most impressive novel I’ve read in several years. Deconstructs the notion of the “boy sleuth” by revealing his sad middle age, the fates of his foes, and the final mystery involving his mystery-solving sister. Being someone who adored the Three Investigators and Encyclopedia Brown, this book spoke to me on a series of levels.

And Then We Came To The End
An amusing and touching look at 90’s corporate America. Not as good as the hype would have you believe, but well worth reading if you have ever worked in a cube or dealt with middle-management types.

Born Standing Up
Steve Martin bears all in regards to his stand-up career, with time spent on his formative years as a child, and the rich career in movies and literature brought to him via hard work and focused applications of talent. Martin is amazing – find this in the audio book form if you can to fully appreciate how well written a bio this truly is.

DC Guide To Action Figures
Lots of photos, very little text, and a total waste of time.

Fargo Rock City
Heavy metal dreams as filtered through the twisted sensibility of the American Midwest’s own Chuck Klosterman.

Killing Yourself To Live
More Chuck Klosterman. A reflective journey across America searching out meaning from ‘death sites’ of famous musicians and how it applies to his own life.

A thought provoking look at human perception, information retrieval and retention of same … you’ll never “see” the world around you again in the same way.

I Am America (And So Can You)
Stephen Colbert and a horde of television writers bring his “message” to the masses. Amusing, but not as nearly good as The Daily Show’s take on the American History textbook America.

Wonderful non-fiction that actually makes economics and numbers a viable, living presence. A book that will truly "make you think." Witty and recommended

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