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Feb 9 16 9:30 PM
Chick With Brains
William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back
The Bard's Star Wars saga continues! Yoda speaks in haikus. Boba Fett speaks in prose, and his armor is knightly. Lando is Lando of Calrissian, and sports a curlique mustache and striped shorts. Lobot is described as his man-at-arms, and the Ugnaughts as 'the merry dwarves of Bespin.' And they sing. Han and Leia have plenty of snarky asides over their frustration with their love/hate relationship. Action, adventure, escapes, betrayals, romance...what more could you ask for?
Mar 5 16 11:20 PM
William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return
And the Bard's saga comes to an end. But it's a well-done end to a good trilogy. Plenty of action, drama, romance, and humor. Salacious Crumb is described as 'Jabba's Fool', and comments on everything in snarky asides. Admiral Ackbar ends every bit of dialogue with a word ending in 'ap'. The Ewok's language almost sounds like pidgin English. And Han sings. When he and Leia aren't getting gushy on each other, that is. All in all, good stuff here.
Mar 13 16 9:17 PM
Donald J. Sobol
Part of the back cover blurb: "Earthquakes--floods--volcanic explosions--plagues--fires--collisions--here are the true accounts of nightmares come true!"
Once again, I shouldn't have mentioned a book I had growing up to my mom! But I did, and she decided to surprise me with another copy of it. It was fun to re-read it, though. There's 13 stories, in chronological order, from the Black Death to the 1977 NYC blackout. Grim, but still a good read.
And yes, Sobol is the same guy who wrote the Encyclopedia Brown and Two-Minute Mysteries series.
Zone-ish touch: the chapter about the Hindenburg is called 'The Last Flight'.
Mar 14 16 1:44 PM
May 29 16 12:01 AM
A brief history of cats and how they were treated and regarded in medieval times. Valued as mousers, regarded as tools of the devil, valued as pets, and routinely sold to fur-traders for their pelts. Almost a trivia book. The overriding theme is how often they showed up in medieval manuscripts, whether they showed up in the illustrations themselves or as decorations in the margins. And they showed up in all kinds of books--Psalters, Books of Hours, Bestiaries, and even the Lindisfarne Gospels. An interesting read, but not a keeper.
Jun 4 16 10:30 PM
The Spirit: Femmes Fatales
A collection of the Spirit's adventures where he tangles with various wicked women.
Eisner's art is great, but that's the only thing I liked about this. Well, that and the names he gave his villainesses--Black Queen, Silk Satin, Madam Minx, Dulcet Tone, Skinny Bones, Powder Pouf, and Wild Rice--to name a few. Otherwise, it was not interesting. It didn't help that in several of the stories, the Spirit had a black manservant, Ebony, who is the typical devoted servant (he arms himself to the teeth and helps the Spirit out of a trap in one story); unfortunately, he's also a horribly racist stereotype. He's child-sized, walks in a crouch, talks like Stepin Fetchit, and--much as I hate to say it--has a very ape-like appearance. I guess something was eventually said to Eisner, for one story ends with Ebony leaving to seek his fortune.
Definitely not a keeper. Unfortunately, it's going in the trash--the binding broke by the time I finished it.
Jun 11 16 10:12 PM
Hit songs rewritten as Shakespearean sonnets.
This is fun reading. The songs run the gamut of genres--rock, rap, country, pop, folk--and range from old classics like My Way to recent hits like Call Me Maybe.
Horsenameographies: Life Stories In A Racehorse Name
Edited by Rudolph Valier Alvarado
If you could sum up your life in a racehorse name, what would it be, and why?
Fun and interesting. The names and the stories behind them ran the gamut. Definitely a keeper.
And my racehorse name would be Nose In A Book, since that's how you'll usually find me!
What would yours be?
Jun 24 16 9:05 PM
The Weather Is Front Page News
Various weather events and disasters from the late 1800's to 1982.
It was interesting reading. Some of the events covered are well-known, such as the blizzard of 1888, the Johnstown flood, the Galveston hurricane, hurricane Camille and the 1977 NYC blackout. It covered a lot of lesser-known weather events, as well. But it's not a keeper. But it's also going in the trash, as the binding broke and the pages started coming out.
Jul 9 16 10:23 PM
Showcase Presents The Phantom Stranger, Volume 1
From the back cover blurb: He travels a dark thoroughfare. He offers guidance, but not answers. If you meet him, your life is at a crossroads, and the wrong path can lead to dire consequences. He is the Phantom Stranger. Accompany him on his enigmatic journey into the lives of those who need him most.
Also featured in this Omnibus of the Obscure are the adventures of Dr. Thirteen, an astounding ace of the arcane in his own right.
I thought this would be more ghost/paranormal-type stories, but they were more occult-type stories, instead, with the Stranger frequently mixing it up with evil wizards and sorcerers and the like. Some enemies turned up more than once, like the immortality-obsessed Tannarack and Tala, a demoness who thrived on human wickedness and was always encouraging it. I thought she bore a strong resemblance to the ElfQuest villainess, Winnowill.
Dr. Thirteen appeared in both the Stranger stories and in his own stories. I liked his standalone stories best; he was a 'ghost-breaker' convinced that there was a rational explanation behind every 'supernatural' occurrence. He was willing to work with the Stranger when necessary, but was convinced the Stranger was at best, a magician, and at worst, a fraud, and was obsessed with proving it.
It was an interesting read, but not a keeper. Unfortunately, it's going in the trash--the binding broke completely, and pages were tearing out by the time I finished it.
Jul 14 16 8:28 PM
Showcase Presents The House Of Mystery, Volume 1
From the back cover--Do you dare enter The House of Mystery? Just beyond the door await spine-chilling (and rib-tickling) stories of the supernatural--tales of ghosts and witches, and ghouls and gargoyles, all hosted by Cain, the able caretaker of DC's foremost forum for fearful fun!
This was a fun read. Some of the stories were very Zone-ish. There's a lot of dark humor in the stories, as well. There's some regular features, too. Cain's Game Room was a page of dark humor bits drawn by Sergio Aragones. There is always some goofy promo on Page 13. And there is Cain's True Case Files--true ghost stories, like the moving coffins of Barbados. And Cain himself is a riot! He has a pet gargoyle, and occasionally takes potshots at a similar DC title, The House Of Secrets, which was hosted by his brother, whose name is--yep, you guessed it--Abel.
It was a fun and entertaining read, but not a keeper.
Jul 16 16 10:49 PM
William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace
The Phantom Menace retold as one of Shakespeare's plays.
And now the second trilogy gets the Bard's treatment. And it's good. Jar Jar isn't a fool in this telling, he only plays the fool because that's what everyone expects of him. He and his fellow Gungans still speak in their unique way. Yoda still speaks in haikus. Qui-Gon Jinn sports a big curlique mustache. And there's plenty of action and intrigue. It may even be an improvement on the movie. It's definitely a keeper.
Jul 19 16 9:24 PM
The Humbug Murders
L. J. Oliver
Cheapside, London, 1833. Six days to Christmas. And ambitious, thirty-year-old moneylender Ebenezer Scrooge receives an early-morning visit from his mentor, Fezziwig. Not so unusual. Except Fezziwig claims he's dead. That he was murdered, in fact. And he warns that unless his killer is found, more murders will follow--including Scrooge's.
So, with the help of a female clerk, Adelaide Owen, Scrooge sets out to find the killer. The investigation takes them face-to-face with the leaders of London's underworld, and takes them deep into London's seamy, vice-ridden underbelly. One wrong move, one wrong word, and they'll both follow Fezziwig in death....
A Christmas Carol is one of my favorite books, so this sounded interesting. But, a whodunit is a whodunit is a whodunit. The plot was ok, and did keep me guessing. And other Dickens characters make appearances here--Fagin, Sikes, the Artful Dodger. Dickens himself appears as a reporter! But overall, it was just ok. Definitely not a keeper.
Sep 2 16 9:03 PM
The Future Of Earth
from the editors of BBC Science Focus
Ways to protect the world from global warming, technologies that can help lessen it, and technology that may help us to colonize other worlds.
Another checkout-counter book. Interesting reading that starts with a timeline of the Earth. Some of the potential technology is pretty out there. But it's not a keeper.
Sep 20 16 7:51 PM
From the front cover: "Thousands of Tantalizing Trivia Tidbits"
Fun reading if you're a trivia fan, or if you do puzzles; the author writes puzzles for newspapers. An interesting read, but not a keeper.
Some of the 'trifles':
Shakespeare Opening Lines--Prohibited Items on eBay--Celebrity Epitaphs--Husbands of Elizabeth Taylor--Woodstock '69 Performers--Expressions From The Bible--Names of Popes--Common Phobias--Unusual Museums--Beatles #1 Tunes--Major Cities on Route 66--Chinese Zodiac Animals--Countries' Former Names--Pasta Names--Dow Jones Industrial Average Original Stocks--Major War-Ending Treaties--Olympic Mascots--The "4 C's"
Oct 7 16 10:09 PM
Oct 30 16 9:42 PM
Scooby-Doo! Team-Up, volumes 1 and 2
Sholly Fisch (writing) and Dario Brizuela (art)
Collections of the Scooby-Doo Team Up comic series
These remind me of the old Scooby-Doo movies with the star-of-the-week guest star, and they're just as silly. The team-ups in the first volume are all superheroes, ranging from Batman and Robin and the Teen Titans to Wonder Woman and the SuperFriends. They're a bit more varied in the second one, ranging from the Flintstones and the Jetsons to Jonny Quest and Secret Squirrel. Dr. Thirteen even makes an appearance in one story. Silly and an easy read. Keepers.
Dec 16 16 10:00 PM
The Book Of Amazing History
A collection of history trivia.
The second of the three 'The Book Of...' trivia books my niece got me a few years back. Hardbound, gilded covers, fancy endpapers--and thick as a Harry Potter book at 680 pages! But it was a really fun and interesting read. Definitely a keeper.
Dec 31 16 7:23 PM
Jan 9 17 9:43 PM
Just finished a book by movie critic Richard Roeper called 10 Sure Signs A Movie Character Is Doomed. It's assorted lists about movies, performers, and things that only happen in movies. His comments on the 40 worst movies he ever saw were hilarious! Entertaining, but not a keeper.
Some of his worst-movie comments:
Citty Chitty Bang Bang: sputter sputter clunk clunk
Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice: dumb and lame and painful and boring
Oh, Heavenly Dog!: Benji out-acts Chevy Chase
Godzilla (1998): redefines the term 'disaster movie'
The Green Berets: shameless propaganda about U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Looks like it was produced by the Department of Defense and directed by Barry Goldwater
1941: proof that even Steven Spielberg can make a bomb, in more ways than one
Jan 31 17 9:05 PM
William Shakespeare's The Clone Army Attacketh
Attack Of The Clones gets the Bard's treatment.
The Bard's trilogy is still going strong here. Again, it may be an improvement on the movie. Jango Fett speaks in prose, like his son, Boba, does in the first trilogy. Yoda still speaks in haikus, and Jar Jar still plays the fool. Anakin gushes on Padme almost from the start, and frequently bumps heads with Obi-Wan. Owen sings. Action, chases, lightsaber fights, arena-clearing battles, intrigue, not-so-secret romance...what's not to like here?
A keeper? Oh, yeah.
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