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Wednesday, 23 January 2008

A handful of books I bought the other night

I was in the store the other night while the first silkscreening workshop was going on --mostly just in case I was needed for some reason. I had a chance to browse around and look at some of the books that Chris or I ordered in the middle of the night all bleary-eyed. Of course, I couldn't resist and I bought a few and thought I would share what I found here.


First up, The Inches Incident (Dark Horse) by Tony Millionaire. We have most of his books at home. Georgy loves when I read them although I can't imagine they make a lick of sense to a 2-1/2 year old. This came out last year and was a complete surprise to me. My initial thoughts are that it is even weirder than typical Millionaire what with the caved-in doll's head infested with ants and all.


This book has a simple elegant cover design that kept catching my eye when I'd drop by the store from time to time. Initially I thought it was just some sort of installation project like a collection of fake folk art but when I actually took a chance to read it I realized I was so far off-base. I've scanned a couple of pages (that appear larger if you click on them) as examples but basically the whole book is about "personal inventions" that modern Russian citizens have fashioned to take the place of ordinary houshold items that they can't get either due to lack of money or general shortages. It's a sort of fascinating look at a kind of common household ingenuity that makes everyone look like an inventor.







The next one is just an issue of McSweeneys (24) with yet another fantastic impossible wish-I-thought-of-it cover design. It folds out all crazy, has two spines, and is uncluttered by feminine writing. It's not like an issue of McSweeneys is ever a surprise, right? They are uniformly excellent.



I am generally pretty cut-off from pop culture these days and only found out about this next series about six months ago. When it was described I thought "where have you been all my life?" Then I read a couple and was less than enthusiastic about the results. Except I still kind of loved what I read. What am I talking about? I'm talking about the 33-1/3 series of books about single "classic" rock albums. As far as I can tell the writing is all over the map. But it doesn't even matter because we're talking rock and roll here and that makes total sense. In the end, even if I wasn't impressed with the writing I still loved reading the books because they were spirited and fannish and critical and even funny and only took a couple of hours to read. Next up: "If You're Feeling Sinister." I'm sure I'll love it.



Finally, one of my all-time favorite movies ("The Effects of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds" directed by Paul Newmman) was originally a play (by Paul Zindel). The movie stars Joanne Woodward (and Eli Wallach's daughter and one of Newman's and Woodward's as well) as a self-centered abusive mom who terrorizes her two daughters. Rent the movie or buy the play, whichever. My dream is to make a puppet movie version someday. I'm not lying. Sample dialogue:

RUTH: Did he find out you took the wagon?

BEATRICE: Did he find out? He came running down the street after me and started spanking me right on top of the wagon--not hard--but it was so embarassing--and I had one of those penny marshmallow ships in the back pocket of my overalls, and it got all squished. And you better believe I never did it again...

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