Saturday, April 18, 2009

All the pieces matter.

If you haven't been following Covered, the blog where artists recreate comic book covers both classic and otherwise, you are officially missing out. Yesterday's entry, Robert Goodin covering a 1958 Carl Barks Donald Duck cover, is nothing short of awesome. Other recent favourites: Dan Zettwoch covering David Collier, Ben Newman covering Sheldon Moldoff, and Mike Lowery doing Kirby & Ditko.

And come on, spending 15 minutes a week looking at drawings on the Internet is a lot easier and more manageable than reading a book. Books are tough. I'm sitting on a mountain of books. I'm not even at the top of the mountain, I'm not even sitting. I'm at basecamp, and the mountain keeps getting bigger. Aw, hell, I'm under the mountain with a plastic beach shovel. A week ago, I was between books. I'd just finished the surprisingly excellent Martin Beck Police Thriller The Laughing Policeman, by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, which I only picked up because I really liked the Walter Matthau movie. I wandered in and out of bookstores. Sometimes I wandered with my baby tucked snug against my chest in her carrier. Sometimes I wandered solo. I talked to coworkers, lent them books, gave some away forever. By the time yesterday hit, though, what began as a simple quest for something to pass the time on the bus and on my lunch breaks by the port (on days w/o rain) had become a mountain. Some words now on who/where/how/why/whatever. When, I already dealt with.

The Writing Life by Annie Dillard - I mentioned this book yesterday. Y'know who else wrote about Annie Dillard yesterday? Roger Ebert (He also talks about God and science: "If I'm wrong about this, I'm encouraged."), that's who.

The Man on the Balcony by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö (seriously, umlauts over both ö's?) - Dollars to donuts, Ian Rankin musta read at least some of the Martin Beck Crime Thrillers.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams - Lent to me by coworker Jamie, who can't believe I've never read it. But Mike read it when we were 13, and he spent most of the Eighth Grade talking about it, so I've always kind of felt like I have read it. Even now that I'm reading it, Mike's is the narrator's voice I hear.

The Corner by David Simon and Ed Burns - Look, David Simon, I know you read my blog. Give me a call. I've got a few ideas. I know you're busy making Treme (with Steve Zahn and Melissa Leo, no less!), and giving awesome interviews on PBS, but I'm willing to let you be my mentor and benefactor.

Alligator Pie by Dennis Lee, with illustrations by Frank Newfeld - I loved and feared this book when I was little. Even though Lil already has a lot of books, and doesn't yet have the comprehension to distinguish between books, I felt it was important she have this one.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak - Same as above, with added urgency to get an edition w/o movie tie-in or other merchandising elements.

Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned by Walter Mosley - Walter Mosley. Haven't read anything by him for at least a year. Gotta make amends. Also, that reminds me, gotta finish This Year You Write Your Novel, and then, um, write my novel. Damn.

Also, a couple of Dortmunder novels from Donald Westlake, at least 15 Rebus books, at least 6 issues each, sometimes more, of back issues from Captain America, Blue Beetle, The Spirit (going all the way back to when Darwyn Cooke was still doing it), The Winter Men (since the final chapter came out about 3 years after the previous, I gotta go back and read the whole thing), plus Eddie Campbell & Dan Best's The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard and the latest Scott Pilgrim book.


Finally: While I can and sometimes do sympathize with people who get frothingly mad about typefaces, I gotta wonder: What are you not getting mad about that you have that kind of surplus righteousness? But then, who am I to make fun? I used to be a rock critic. I used to waste all kinds of energy getting mad about useless junk.

mp3: "Stronger Than Jesus (Harlem Session)" by A Camp
mp3: "Vampire" by Pink Mountaintops

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