Sunday, October 21, 2012

My thousandth, and what is there to read around here?

It’s post number 1000 for Insomnia Notebook, which began its humble life as Paranoia Strikes Deep in April, 2006. My original intention was to write about what makes one paranoid. I had been going through a lot of it for over ten years, both my own and living with my mother’s overwhelming paranoid delusions.

My first posting was about a drug test I had to take, and reeked with paranoia: Paranoia Strikes Deep. When I retired most of the things that made me paranoid stopped. I understand now how much of my paranoia came from my job, and specifically my boss. I can’t say I’m totally free of the feelings, because there are still things that bother me. Even if I was totally free of it I’d still remember the bumper sticker, “Just because you’re not paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.”

Now that I’ve congratulated myself for sitting down at my keyboard long enough to produce one thousand entries for this blog, it’s time for a semi-regular feature, which is showing what I’m reading right now. Since I have a short attention span I jump around in my reading. I’ve always done that. I read a few pages of a magazine or a chapter or two of a book, then go to something else and come back later to the other, then try to keep everything straight in my head. Sometimes I can, sometimes I can’t.

John Ball is a favorite mystery writer, and of course Virgil Tibbs (In the Heat of the Night) is a great character.

I've been picking up graphic novels, both at thrift stores and library sales. When I sent this cover scan of the Battlepug graphic novel to my friend Dave, I noted that it was in a library sale, amongst the picture books for young readers. I said, “Maybe the librarian didn't see the naked girl on the left of the cover.” The book is done lengthwise. I haven't read it yet.

Marvel Comics does more than superheroes. Here's an adaptation of the Dumas novel. The Classics Illustrated versions of classic books (i.e., in public domain) has been around since comic books were invented.

Whoo! Watch out for Spinecrawler! Sex, violence and extreme creepiness. Right under the cover is a sample page. 

House of Mystery was a DC Comics title for decades. I love the Halloween cover.

Another intriguing graphic novel is Kill Shakespeare.

Getting away from graphic novels into traditional novels, this is a book that Collins completed for Spillane after his death. It lay unfinished in Spillane's files for decades.

I think it's nothing short of blasphemy for Tales From the Crypt to go from the ne plus ultra of fifties horror comics, controversial and then banned, into this kind of kiddie-parody book. Stinky Dead Kid isn't bad, but doesn't belong in anything called Tales From the Crypt. Why did they license that title to this publisher for this series? And the ad for The Hardy Boys Crawling With Zombies is appalling! Frank and Joe, what have these cretins done to you?

I can find American Heritage magazines in local thrift stores, usually for about a dollar. Done in hardcovers with sewn signatures, these issues were designed for permanence. Interesting article in this issue about Sacco and Vanzetti, Italian anarchists put to death in an American prison.

I'm interested in the article, “Mitt Romney's Mormon Ghosts,” from the latest issue of Rolling Stone. “Rod Stewart’s Wild Memoirs” also sounds like something I’d be interested in. I’m less interested in anything about Taylor Swift, except her pictures. I felt like a dirty old man looking at pictures of her when she was 18 or she's legal, in her twenties and I can be a dirty old man if I want to.

Funny cover by Koren, his hairy people lining up for the New York marathon. There's also another of the New Yorker God cartoons to add to my collection.

Who's your favorite James Bond? I didn’t think anyone ever played him as well as Sean Connery, but after seeing him as Bond I believe Daniel Craig is playing him very well. He'll never overtake Connery in my mind, but he'll be a strong second place.  I was never a fan of either Roger Moore or Pierce Brosnan, but I imagine they have many fans. Maybe amongst the cognoscenti even Timothy Dalton and George Lazenby might have a vote or two for best Bond.

Richard “Dick” Lupoff was a longtime science fiction fan-editor, doing the fanzine Xero for many years. He's had a long career as a novelist, also. I love this book because it’s full of pop culture references, and I'm familiar with the locales he uses, in and around Berkeley, El Cerrito, Oakland, cities across the Bay from San Francisco. There's even a heart-tugging pang from the lead character, Hobart Lindsey, for Cody's, the world famous Berkeley bookstore that finally went out of business in 2008. The Emerald Cat Killer is from 2010.


DEMiller said...

Congrads on #1000. Nice article. I was interested in the Lupoff book mentioned at the end. Hobart is or was a local character well known for giving radical speeches on Berkeley campus. I met him once when I was demonstrating for a union at my hotel. I wondered if Lupoff used that name because of him. I Googled it and found that Hobart is also a small press publisher in Berkeley.

Postino said...

Dave, thanks for the information. I thought Hobart was just a name, not realizing it could have an origin in Berkeley politics. I appreciate you pointing that out, and I appreciate the link to the publisher, too.