Friday, March 30, 2007

Reading Into the Past: Week of 3/25

And this week the number is 11, so here are the books I was reading around this time back in 1996:
  • Nigel Suckling, Alien Horizons: The Fantastic Art of Bob Eggleton (3/17)
    The first major collection of Bob's art, as far as I remember, and full of good stuff.
  • Anthony Trollope, The Last Chronicle of Barset (3/22)
    I went from this into the Paliser novels, which I liked a bit better -- they're about a wider world, and the insularity of Barset can be tiring, especially when coupled with Trollope's somewhat stereotyped boy-girl plots -- but this was still a fine novel, and a strong end to the series. No one would start here, but that's fine: The Warden is a great book (and was one of the few things in an otherwise full-of-dull-books college class that I really liked).
  • Neil Gaiman, Angels & Visitations (3/23)
    Gaiman's first collection -- the one from Dream Haven -- back when he was just "that guy that writes Sandman. Much of it was re-collected in Smoke and Mirrors, so I'm not entirely sure it's worth paying what this is going for these days as a used book (a hundred bucks for a nice copy?!), but it's a nice-looking book that collects some good stories and some miscellaneous stuff.
  • Terry Moore, Strangers in Paradise: I Dream of You (3/23)
    The first collection of the ongoing series; I liked this quite a bit for a while, until I realized the plot was just a spiral: the same things kept happening, over and over again, in slightly different ways among the same characters. (And the melodrama was never very well integrated into the kitchen-sink drama; the two types of story continually fought each other as the story lurched from one mode to the other.) So I gave up on it a few years later -- the beginning is good, but it wanders around an awful lot, and I have no idea what the end (it did just end, didn't it?) is like.
  • Michael T. Gilbert, Mr. Monster: Origins (3/24)
    A great collection of a great comics series taking Gilbert's darkly funny monster-hunter character from the '80s and giving him a serious, dramatic origin story. It shouldn't have worked, but it did. I bet this is out of print and essentially forgotten now, though...
  • Joe Queenan, The Unkindest Cut (3/25)
    Robert Rodriguez made a movie for $7,000, so Queenan (at that point mostly a movie critic and writer -- though he was hitting the point where he couldn't get anyone with a recognizable name to return his calls, since he was seen as a hatchet-man of Hollywood careers) decided to do the same. The Unkindest Cut documents the process, which is funny. Queenan has gotten more obnoxiously grumpy as he's gotten older, and this book might be the point where bile started to curdle into into sourness -- but I enjoyed it a lot at the time, and it made me happy to be in my own, very quiet end of the entertainment business.
And that's what I read in mid-March of 1996.

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