I don’t know about you but I love hearing about what people around me are reading. However I find online most websites/blogs I run into are geared mostly to YA novels (which I have no interest in) or post about very niche genres that for someone like my who dips my toes into various genres it seems too hard-core (that probably isn’t the right word but that’s how it feels). For a long time now I’ve wanted to find a way to share what I’m currently into reading without having to necessary do a review. I think it is a great thing to share but I also don’t want to feel like I’m doing a High School book report. I love getting intellectual about art books which is why I review them but I honestly feel like I have very limited knowledge about the history of comic books for example so most of my insight wouldn’t be that in depth enough to justify a review. Spring Reads was born out of all that and hopefully I will be doing one post every season to share with you guys great books/comics/zines and everything in-between that I’m reading. Also no plant was harmed in the making of this post, I just happened to amputate one of my lovely vine plants (that had grown as long as the length of my kitchen) by accident right before I planned to take these photos and I thought what better way to immortalize is before it died than use it as a bit of decor.
The Dirty Version: On Stage, in the Studio, and in the Streets with Ol’ Dirty Bastard is a biography of the late ODB by his best friend Budda Monk and rap historian Mickey Hess. I’m half way through reading this book and it’s a compelling read. I am a long-time fan of ODB, and never knew much about him beside his persona and Wikipedia page so I thought this would be a good read. The author Budda Monk can be self-severing at times but you do get a sense of what Dirty’s life was really like behind the scenes. Anyone with a deep connection with their best friend knows that they sometimes know us better than ourselves. While I love biographies of musicians and don’t think you necessary have to be a fan to read most of them, due to the writing style of this book I wouldn’t recommend it as a standalone but if you have any interest in his music or rap history in general this is worth it.
Fischerspooner: New Truth is a larger than life book (book size pun – hoo hoo) about the synth-pop/performance artists group, put together by no other than Fischerspooner. It’s really a book for fans of the group so it’d probably not be very interesting to anyone else. They just happen to be one of my favourite musical artists so it was an easy decision to pick up. I do actually plan on reviewing this book sometime this summer, so far I have only skimmed it and it looks like it has promise but might suffer a bit from self-indulgence.
Elvgren: All His Glamorous American Pin-Ups was actually a spur of the moment purchase last month and I am so glad I did. It’s a beautiful book showcasing many of Elvgrens pin-up illustrations; in fact I wouldn’t be surprised if they managed to squeeze in all of them. Highly recommend if you love pin-ups or illustrations from that era. In fact I’d recommend it even if you aren’t – his work is sublime. I loved flipping through this book and I plan on doing a full review of it in early June.
Tales from a Perilous Realm is a collection of fairie short stories from J.R.R. Tolkien, accompanied by illustrations from long time Tolkien illustrator Alan Lee. Included are the short stories: Farmer Giles of Ham, Leaf by Niggle, Smith of Wootton Major, Roverandom and poems of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. Even though Tolkien is one of my favourite writers I just can’t seem to finish this book. I feel like I shouldered through most of this book so unless you are a Tolkien fanatic I’d probably skip out on reading this. It has an academic foreword which although informative is desperately dry. I also found parts of the book much weaker than I usually find his writing (the poems are not my favourite thing). Highlight of the book is the story of Roverandom which is precious and a must read in my opinion even if it’s more aimed at kids. I also enjoyed the story of Farmer Giles of Ham.
Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country & Memory Prime are two books I found last week at a used book store on the way out to dinner and just had to get. I’ve just recently rekindled my love for Star Trek after rewatching the first two seasons of the original series and can’t get enough. Plus for $2 each it’s hard to not give them a shot. The first one was written after one of my favourite Star Trek movies and the second one, well it has a badass cover. I can’t wait to read these, it’s my first time reading anything in the Star Trek extended universe and I have no idea if these two will be any good. Excited to read! There is hundreds of Star Trek books so it’s hard to really start off but I think used books are a great way to get into an established fan base.
Gaphic Novels & Comics
The Sworn Sword was original written by George R.R. Martin, adapted by Ben Avery, and illustrated by Mike Miller. This is the second book in a two part series of prequel graphic novels to accompany the existing graphic novels for A Game of Thrones (adapted from the original books). I’ve been having a hard time finding time to read Martin’s books and was curious to check out the graphic novels to get a better idea of material without necessary having to dedicate all my time to reading (lazy I know). I thought I would start with the prequels and work my way up to the other graphic novels. I have already read the first one and just finished reading The Sworn Sword earlier this week. I love the art style of Ben Avery and these stories stand alone as is, no prior knowledge about Game of Thrones required. With the lush illustrations and great story, both are easy recommendations. I plan of picking up another set of these to gift to my younger brother for his upcoming birthday. Worth checking them out if you are a fantasy fan.
New X-Men Academy: Choosing Sides 5/6 is a comic I found while in Toronto this winter. It was in the $1 bin and after searching the whole store for a comic to buy I didn’t feel like walking away empty handed. Although I haven’t heard good things about this particular series I thought I’d check it out as I mostly only read vintage X-Men from the 70s and 80s and haven’t fallen in love with any of the newer series. It’s decent, and I probably would pick up the rest of them if I found them in a compilation. For $1 I can’t complain. Let me know if there is a series of X-Men you love because I’m dying to sink my teeth into a good storyline.
The two zines I pick up as far this spring are Uncommon Spaces & Everyday Places Vol. 2 by Erin Dorbin and Fur, Hide, & Bone by a community under the same name. Uncommon Spaces is photography zine about Erin’s trip down the transcontinental roadway in the US. All shots are taken with a vintage Polaroid 195 camera using expired Polaroid and Fujifilm 100C film. It’s a lovely collection of photographs and I have no doubt it will be a future zine of the month! The second zine Fur, Hide, & Bone is a mixture of drawings and stories about their favourite pieces of bones, taxidermy, and leftovers from dead animals. I really wanted to pick it because I’ve always been fascinated by dead creatures and terrified at the same time from an early age. Although I don’t think I would ever start my own collection I wanted to read about others and this zine was perfect for that. I love the illustrations the most.
Lighthouses Of Atlantic Canada: A Pictorial Travel Guide to Lighthouses of Quebec, New Brunswick, PEI, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland, which is a mouth full and not actually my book. I bought this for Victor because he has an obsession with lighthouses (no idea where he got that from) and wanted a book of lighthouses in our neck of the woods. He wants to use the book as a guide to figure out which lighthouses are accessible so me and him can go on adventures to visit them. Which is a grand idea and I hope this year we can knock a few off our list. We already sat down together and went through the book picking out our favourites. I just wish we had a car then we could make a much better go at it but I have faith. The book itself is really helpful as it has instructions on how to reach each, lovely photos and plenty of information about each lighthouse. So if you are into lighthouses or live on the East Coast and want to find something to do this summer this book is great.
Let me know in the comments what you’ve been reading this Spring!