On the third day of Christmas…

Too many Christmas gifts these days are just cash, cards, and certificates  — but I do love getting bookstore certificates. Last night I emptied the Barnes and Noble gift card I’d gotten and came home with three books I’m really looking forward to. Which is a rarity — sometimes I go months without finding a book I’m really excited about reading.

First up, Michael Chabon’s “Gentlemen of the Road”, a swashbuckler he was thinking of calling “Jews with Swords”. It’s even illustrated with those pen-and-ink drawings with a caption from the text, just like in Hardy Boys and other adventure books. Too. Much. Fun.

Then the new book by Iain Banks, “The Steep Approach to Garbadale”. This is Banks in non-genre mode — when he writes SF his name is “Iain M. Banks.” Which makes me think that if Banks really cared for his readers, he would have used the initial for Mainstream and left it out for SF. Ah, too late to change now. I’ve read every book the man’s written, going back to 1984’s “The Wasp Factory”, and if you must know, he’s one of the reasons my son is named Ian.

And then I bought my own copy of a book I’ve read years before, but I very much need to re-read, Scott McCloud’s “Understanding Comics.” The thing is, it’s not just about comics — it has a lot to say about all storytelling, and maybe some day I’ll blog about that. My son picked up another book in the series, “Making Comics”, and I’ll be reading that too.

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2 thoughts on “On the third day of Christmas…

  1. One of my employees made the mistake of showing the slightest interest in comics, so I’ve been forcing Scott McCloud’s books on her. And Bill Willingham’s “Fables” series, too.

    Yes, “Understanding Comics” is a great book and is quite blog-worthy. Daniel Pink put it on his list of must-read books in “A Whole New Mind“. Which is itself not a must-read book, but I digress.

    And while I’m digressing, you commit a classic fencepost error when you call December 28th the “third day of Christmas.” It’s the fourth day. Did the calling birds not arrive?

  2. Hey, I may have posted that fencepost on the 28th, but I was writing about the books I got on 27th. (That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.)

    Still, no calling birds.

    As for “Fables”, I’ve only read one trade paperback, the Jack book, where a bunch of characters are being kept in an asylym. Great stuff, especially Humpty Dumpty. But I still wish Willingham would go back for another round of “Elementals.”

    I finished Chabon’s “Gentelmen of the Road” yesterday, and I pronounce it a whole lotta fun. If you’ve ever liked, even slightly, the Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories, you’re gonna love this. No magic, though, except in the words themselves.

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