Shopping Suggestions 2: The Sacrifice
Now that Thanksgetting has passed and Black Friday is behind the world-weary retail workers, let’s look at another series of potential ideas for your favorite geek before the Xmas season is done. Not that shopping can’t be done at any other time of the year, but hey, I’m not the one buying, I’m just telling you what’s good. So open your wallets and get ready for books and movies I suggest for your benefit.
I’m a voracious reader of all things fun, bizarre and nerdy. Your geek might find something here worthwhile…
- Piracy: The Complete History by Angus Konstam. You think you know pirates? You think you know all their names? You think you know the difference between a pirate and a buccaneer? Then you should read this massive undertaking by my favorite living naval historian. Exceptionally researched, detailed down to the nails in the planks, it’s an awesome exploration of where piracy began and where it is now. Obviously it’s the “Golden Age” of piracy that’s of the most interest to the general reader, but that’s just a small portion of this work. It’s colorful, engagingly written and even fun. Steal a copy from Osprey Publishing today! Piracy!
- VEEPS: Profiles in Insignificance by Bill Kelter & Wayne Shellabarger. Friends of mine know of my absolute love of this hysterical gathering of knowledge on every single United States Vice President from John Adams through Dirty Dick Cheney. You’ll laugh, you’ll frown, you’ll be amazed at the wholesale lack of regard the position has had from day one. A typical notation: “If he did anything during his tenure that was typical of his predecessors, it was dying in office. That and being almost immediately forgotten by history.” (Regarding Garret Augustus Hobart, VP to President William McKinley, 1897-1899.) Top Shelf Productions. Or go to the VEEPS page itself!
- Desire Lines by David R. Ross. David Ross was a Patriot, one with a capital P. He was an excellent orator of Scottish history; an amazing personality with great conviction. Desire Lines was his travelogue of Scotland by motorcycle, hitting all the sites many visitors might miss. Written with his signature wit and attitude, it’s a must-have if you want to know anything about why Scotland is the way it is. The directional information is easy to disregard if you don’t intend to use it as a guide and you’ll likely never forget the meaning behind the title. DRR Books.
- Before you all think I’m just into things non-fiction, here’s a series of fun books that cross genres by a favorite writer of mine, Mike Carey. If the series has an umbrella title other than the Felix Castor books I don’t recall it, but here are the titles: The Devil You Know, Vicious Circle, Dead Men’s Boots, Thicker than Water and finally, The Naming of the Beasts. Carey is known to many comic fans from his work with the X-Men, John Constantine and Lucifer (amongst many more series), and he really gets to shine in novels. Part mystery, part horror, part government conspiracy, the Castor books are set in a world where the supernatural exists and the dead regularly come back to walk the Earth. Felix Castor is reminiscent of John Constantine but the books are a far cry from that well-established reprobate. Good and weird are perfect descriptions of these books. Amazon, for lack of another option.
Movies I like are just as far-reaching when it comes to my tastes, so I’ll be gentle on you five or six readers of this.
- JUSTICE LEAGUE: NEW FRONTIER. An animated movie from Warner Bros., this is an adaptation of the comic series done from DC Comics, written and drawn by Darwyn Cooke. Not as detailed as the series, it’s still an excellent adaptation of classic DC characters set in an earlier time. It’s animated in the style of Cooke, an excellent artistic design that truly lends itself to animation. A must-have for all comic fans.
- HARRY BROWN. I love the original GET CARTER, starring Michael Caine. HARRY BROWN could be considered a sequel of sorts, if only in theme. It’s a revenge thriller for the geriatric set – essentially don’t piss off your elders, they may surprise you. It’s slow but not tedious, scary when it needs to be and damned entertaining. You’ll even love it when you’re 80.
- THE BRASS TEAPOT. This is a sometimes funny, sometimes disturbing film about a couple who come to own a magical teapot that dispenses money with extreme emotional situations, that periodically change. It’s one hell of a story, both classical in design and modern in sensibility. It’s well acted and vastly overlooked and a great fantasy movie for men and women.
- STRANGER THAN FICTION. I’ve been a fervent fan of this surprising flick, starring Will Ferrell in his best movie to date. Another far-fetched plot device that works in every single way, right up to the literal sugar coated ending, it’s a true feel-good picture that can be enjoyed alone or with a loved one. Writers in particular will enjoy the odd ramifications for some of the characters, as well as the intriguing investigations into genre. Having Dustin Hoffman in a definitive supporting role is a masterpiece of filmmaking. To bolster an already great movie are extremely subtle special effects that operate on a level far superior to that of Wetaworks and a soundtrack of epic proportions. See it now.
All the movies mentioned above are available at various sites, the best being Movies Unlimited. Otherwise, you’re on your own.
Have suggestions? Let’s see ‘em! Post comments for discussion.