Well, Christmas is only a week away. Things seem to have gone by so fast, or at least faster than the agonizing crawl these days used to take during my childhood. I guess that’s what happens when you have to start looking for and buying all the presents yourself. I almost wanted to do a blog entry about all the books I’ve been picking out for friends and family, as a sort of guide to books I’m recommending as gifts, but then I realized what a horrible person I’d be to pull a stunt like that, listing everyone’s presents and all, so instead I’m writing a list of the books I put on my Christmas wishlist. Not all of these are new reads, of course. I can’t be that hip, but they are books I’d love to get my hands on.
1. Sandman Overture By Neil Gaiman: Geez, have I really not talked about this series on my blog yet? You know, I don’t think I have. That’s a problem I really need to fix. Maybe I can fix it after reading this gem, one of the many returns to a series that technically “ended” in the nineties. Really though, it’s just too good to leave alone. This time, we have not only the writing of the lovely Neil Gaiman but also the artwork of J.H. Williams III, who’s created some of the most beautiful comic book art I’ve ever seen. He does appear later in this list because of that.
2. Welcome to Night Vale A Novel, by Joseph Fink and Jeremy Crandor: I’ve been a fan of the Welcome to Night Vale podcast for some time now, and was naturally overjoyed when they came out with the book. The world of Night Vale has a singular bizarre, unspeakable horrors done in a funny way that’ll actually make you laugh, sort of thing going on, and the writing is just as solid and profound in novel form as it is on the podcast. I may have already listened to the book on audio, as it is narrated by the same luscious voice that narrates the podcast, Cecil Baldwin. I loved it enough, though, that I am earnestly hoping to get my hands on my own personal copy of the book.
3. DC’s New 52, by various writers and artists: No, I didn’t ask for ten tons of comics, but I’m intrigued enough by this new run of comics DC, which puts all their heroes and villains back to a square one, of sorts, that I asked for a number of issues from heroes I like to follow. I am by no means an expert comic book nerd, but the great thing with these books is you don’t have to be. As I said, the New 52’s main attractor factor for me, someone curious enough to try comic books but not sure where to start, is that this is, by definition, a place where you can start relatively clean, reading about Batman, Cat Woman, Wonder Woman, etc., without worrying about running into random bits of plot from story arcs that have been running for months if not years.
Particularly, I love what Brian Azzarello is doing with Wonder Woman and the art and writing J.H. Williams III did on Batwoman, although he is no longer on the project, as he and the very gifted writer W. Haden Blackman had the audacity to try and write a story line wherein the lesbian Batwoman Kate Kane gets happily married to her partner, Maggie Sawyer, and the comic book industry is still run by a bunch of guys with about as much security in their sexuality as a bunch of thirteen-year olds boys fearfully awaiting puberty. It’s still a very good read though, and I definitely recommend checking it out.
4. Mary Oliver: That’s right, I asked that my family to find and kidnap the poet Mary Oliver so she can live in our basement forever and ever. Okay, well, not quite. I do love and admire her work as a poet immensely, I just haven’t read nearly enough of it yet. I believe one of my very first posts was about how much I loved this woman’s poetry, but she’s been writing since well before I was born, so I still have have plenty of catching up to do on her works. As such, I’ve requested as many books by Mary Oliver as my friends and family can get their hands on. It’s the greatest sort of problem a book-lover can have. So many books, so little time.
Well, there you have it, the books I am most excited about this Holiday season. If you don’t hear from me these next couple of Holiday Fridays, (wow, really, next Friday is Christmas and the one after that is New Years day,) it’s because I’ll be nose deep in any one of these, getting ready to write a spectacular review about them.