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suggestions for the consumer whore

When we have days like this (which are rare) when the hours ahead are filled with nothing but fun shopping (thanks to a handful of gift cards, mostly), I like to know what I want ahead of time in order to decrease the time needed to spend in stores because, in all honesty, I hate shopping. I hate shoppers, I hate salespeople, I basically hate people in general when they are in my way, which they always are in malls and crowded stores.


Books - any suggestions for books? I have a Border's gift card burning a hole in my pocket and I'm just about finished with Black House and I need to start stacking up on my fall reading pile. Any genre, I don't care. Fiction, non-fiction, books of Tibetan rap lyrics, doesn't matter. I just want your recommendations.

DVDs - Our Best Buy card, plus two returns I have to make there, will afford us both the Simpsons Season 3 DVD as well as the Two Towers DVD. Any suggestions for other movies you think I that should be part of my collection, let me know.

Comics - we will probably stop at least two comic shops, just to browse and see what looks interesting. I already bought Gaiman's 1602, so no sense in recommending that. Any new titles (or even old ones) you think I would like, pass it along.

We are leaving in about two hours. I'll take your list with me. Help a fellow consumer whore out, will ya? If I can get in and out of stores quickly, you just may save the life of a rude shopper.


Victor Davis Hanson, The Land Was Everything: Letters from an American Farmer

Or anything else by Hanson.

Astro City is coming out again. It's not quite what it once was, but it's still good.

Have you tried Chynna Clugston-Major's "Blue Monday" from Oni Press?

If you haven't read it yet, Nick Hornby's How to Be Good is a great read. I just finished it, and will blog about it when I'm feeling less lazy.

Michael Lewis- "Moneyball"
Frank Abignale- "The Art of Steal"
Bill James- "The New Historical Baseball Abstract"

If you haven't gotten around to Orson Scott Card's "Ender" series, you ought to give them a try. Several of his books have been in the "Spoons' Book Club" since its inception on my site.

"Ender's Game" is the first in the series, and arguably the best. It's set in the future, and is the story of a young boy who goes to a sort of space-military academy to learn to fight for Earth in the anticipated war against the alien "Buggers". As for the first book in the series, at least, this really isn't an "alien" book at all. It's about a young kid who's incredibly gifted and all of the crap he's put through by adults and his fellow students. It's wicked cool. Think "Starship Troopers" (the book, not the movie) meets "Lord of the Flies" -- but good.

There are several different orders you can read them in, but you might like reading "Ender's Shadow" next. It's set in the same time period as "Ender's Game", and deals with many of the same events, but tells the story from the perspective of Bean, one of Ender's classmates. Bean's story is, if possible, even cooler than Ender's.

There are lots more books in the series that follow the further adventures of Ender and/or Bean, and at least one new one is still being written. They change a bit in tone as the series progresses. I still liked them (so far), but "Game" and "Shadow" are two of the best SciFi novels I've ever read.

Jeffrey Lent "Lost Nation" Great book. Also Louise Erdrich " The Master Butcher's Singing Club" You can't go wrong with either.


American Pimp (not for kiddies)
The Lifestyle (really not for kiddies)
Akira (Boxed Edition)
Yojimbo (Akira Kurasowa)
Runaway Train (Jon Voigt, Eric Roberts, based off of a Kurasowa script)
I'm Gonna Git You Sucka! (Wayans Bros.)

Books - Tom Robbins anything, but Villa Incognito is new. This won't help with your Borders card but go here and by all four Nick Pollotta books. Don't question me, woman, just do it.

Some books I read (most over the last year or so) that I really liked:

- All of the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton
- Anonymous Rex and Casual Rex by Eric Garcia
- Cross Dressing by Bill Fitzhugh
- Anything by Christopher Moore, especially Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story
- Galveston by Sean Stewart
- House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
- Night of the Avenging Blowfish: A Novel of Covert Operations, Love, and Luncheon Meat by John Welter
- The Bear Went Over the Mountain by William Kotzwinkle
- The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
- Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum novels

You can find reviews for most of them here: http://www.biblioblog.com/booktitles.html

Book: Andrew Miller's "Oxygen" - seems to have been short listed for every award in the world yet I stumbled over it by total chance. It has more or less destroyed any lingering literary ambitions I nurtured - what's the bloody point with people like him around?

Pratchett, Terry Anything you can find--Discworld books, 'Only You can Save the Planet" "Johnny and the Dead" etc, anything.

Comics--pick up a Flaming Carrot comic and see the Mysterymen as they were meant to be. The Ninja Turtles crossover is.....interesting.


Longitude - great true story of discovery by Dava Sobel

Napoleons Buttons, How 17 Molecules Changed History. by Le Couteur, Burreson

Guns, Germs & Steel, The Fates of Human Societies - fascinating story on why our civilization evloved as it did by Jared Diamond.

Good Omens - A humorous look at the apocalypse by Gaiman and Pratchett

Graphic Novel

The Watchmen - Alan Moore (an oldie but very goodie)


Donnie Darko - hard to explain w/o spoilers. Just see it.

Spirited Away - by Miyazaki - wonderful for you and the kids. The highest grossing film of all time in Japan.

I do believe the 25th Anniversary Animal House DVD is in stores today.


The following are guaranteed to entertain you:

By Hayao Miyazaki (watch in Japanese with subs):
Castle In the Sky
Spirited Away (see Denbeste for his take)
Princess Monomoke
KiKi's Delivery Service
Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro

Gangs of New York


I will second what Spoons wrote earlier about the Ender series, by Orson Scott Card. I'm re-reading the series now.

Also, on books, if you're into trashy police books, read the JP Beaumont series by J.A. Jance.

I also loved the W.E.B. Griffin series on the Marine Corps (and the one on the Army)(and the one on the Philly police). Pretty much everything he writes is fantastic.

Or, for more "brilliant criminal, brilliant cop" books, try John Sandford's Prey series. Starting with Rules of Prey.


For some pointless fun, try Streets of Fire. And old movie with Michael Pare. To tell you how old, he takes top billing over Rick Moranis, Diane Lane, and Willem Dafoe. Or another old movie with Pare...Eddie and the Cruisers. One of my faves is Singles. Of course, you can always go with the classics, like Casablanca.

Have a great time!

DVDs - If you don't already have them the Futurama DVDs are worth the money. Red Dwarf Series 1 and 2 are excellent. I just picked up SNL's the Best of Will Ferrell and it's pretty decent.

Comics - I just started reading the Exiles and it really brings somthing to a "What If?" (Marvel) or "Elseworlds" (DC) title.

Books - Idoru and All Tomorrow's Parties by William Gibson, Red Mars (The Mars Trilogy) by Kim Stanley Robinson

Not sure how much, if any, Neal Stephenson you've read, but if you haven't read Snow Crash or Cryptonomicon you're missing out.

Also, the books of Sean Stewart are good, if you can find any still in print- I particularly recommend Resurrection Man.

I understand that Animal House (The double secret probation edition) is supposed to come out today.

I also recommend the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett.

Have fun shopping!

Black Sun Rising (The Coldfire Trilogy, Book 1) by C. S. Friedman (or anything by her, but this trilogy is my favourite.) The Outlander novels by Diana Gabaldon -- the first one is called "Outlander", and I second the rec for the Anita Blake books.

DVD rec: Local Hero, & Dangerous Beauty

For comics, I would recommend picking up Marville 1-6; a very underrated comic.

My most recent book purchase was "Billions and Billions" by Carl Sagan. As for DVD's, you can't really go wrong with anything by Kevin Smith, imho. "Dogma" is my favorite, with "Mallrats" a close second. And if you're into anime, you could always get "Cowboy Bebop." Enjoy your rampant spree of unbridled consumerism.

For books, how about "How Few Remain" by Harry Turtledove. It's the start of a seven part (to date) alternate reality series where the South won the Civil War.

DVD: It's been out awhile, but if you haven't picked up the "Sportsnight" DVD collection you're missing out.

May I put in an extra push for Kymberlie's pick - William Kotzwinkle's "The Bear Went Over The Mountain"? Very, very satisfying satire. Oddly, I think he also wrote E.T. (The book upon which the film etc)

How about "The Blind Assasin"? One of Margaret Atwood's best.

I'll third the Ender series, it's good stuff. And "Good Omens" by Terry Pratchet and Neil Gaiman is a must read for anyone with even a rudementary sense of humor.

"Annals of the Black Company", by Glen Cook. There are about 9 of them, and it is a really great story about ruthless mercenaries up against wizards and gods.

I second "Gangs of New York" as an excellent read. Great dry understated humor throughout. Also, "The Namesake" by Jhumpa Lahiri is quite good. I was up until 3 am reading it, which made the group meeting I had to give the next day somewhat trying.

Books - Try some Jack Vance (Sci-Fi for highly literate people) - The Demon Princes Volume 1 & 2 if you can find them. Alistor is good too. He's got some other classics that I haven't had a chance to get my hands on. Also try some good 'ol Raymond E. Feist or David Eddings. =)

DVDs - Um, maybe some overseas films - Amelie, Run Lola Run, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Life is Beautiful, ...?

Comics - Have you read "Y The Last Man"? It's pretty damn good.

Have you picked up 1602 by Neil Gaiman (Sandman and American Gods)?

Here's a review: http://www.scifidimensions.com/Jul03/1602.htm

Three non-fics (history/military genre) that I've recently finished and recommend:

'Stalingrad' followed by a quasi-sequel 'Fall of Berlin 1945. Anthony Beevor does an excellent job of research and puts it all into a well-written format.

'Boyd: The Fighter Pilot who Changed the Art of War' great biography by Robert Coram.

book: the virgin's knot, by holly payne. beautifully written, just came out, wonderful book.

also, anything by jennifer egan. specifically the invisible circus. another beautiful book.

i think thats all i can think of right now.

Books: 2nd the nomination for "Good Omens" by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.

To see how the other half lives, try any of the Deborah Knott mysteries by Margaret Maron, starting with "Bootlegger's Daughter."

And Ev Ehrlich's "Big Government" is a nice satire of Washington.

'Coming of Age in the Milky Way' - A very interesting read on the history of astronomy, it's major players and how social, economic and theological forces all helped to determine our understanding of our place in the universe.

'Malena' - Italian film by Giuseppe Tornatore (Cinema Paradiso). Coming of age film set in WWII Sicily; Beautifully shot, funny, dramitic, all in all a good yarn! Stars Monica Bellucci (WOW!).

Books: the Julian May Pliocene Exile books are excellent. (The Many Colored Land, The Golden Torc, The Nonborn King, The Adversary.) Progressively thicker as you go, and loaded with interesting archtypes. A fusion of SF, Myth, Legend, Timetravel and Geography.

Movies: Unfortunately, Delicatessen hasn't been released on DVD. Yet. In the meantime, check out the Margaret Cho disks, "I'm the One That I Want" and "Notorious C.H.O."

Jeffery Eugenides: The Virgin Suicides
Mervyn Peak: Gormenghast and Titus Groan (also heavy enough to be used as a weapon in hand ot hand combat)
I also agree with Kymberlie's suggestion of anything by Christopher Moore, but i prefer Island of the Sequined Love Nun to Bloodsucking Fiends

Wiseguy: season one
Spirited Away
Very Bad things
Local Hero
Donnie Darki
Requiem for a dream (director's cut)
Blade Runner
The Last Supper
Illsa, She-Wolf of the SS (not kiddie-safe)

DVDs: Animatrix & if you don't have it Spinal Tap.
Books: The Jesus Mysteries, The Ultimate Cyberpunk edited by Pat Cadigan.

Oh yeah, and you can pick up Statism Sucks! Ver 2.0 & Mainely Romance too...doh.

Have to agree with Keith on the Julian May.
Pure escapism, plain and simple.

I'll second the nomination for Cook... I liked his Dread Empire stuff as well, but that series is both incomplete and harder to find than the Black Company stuff. The dragon never sleeps was also good, but long out of print now.

Kim Newman (Anno Dracula series, the Famous Monsters short story collection)

Niven & Barnes, Dream Park series.

David Brin, Uplift series.

George Alec Effinger, Marid Audran series (When Gravity Fails, A Fire in the Sun, The Exile Kiss).

Harlan Ellison, City on the Edge of Forever screenplay (not for the screenplay, but for the 75 page rant on why Harlan hates Roddenberry)

And on, and on.... I've read and enjoyed almost all the SF mentioned above.

My top books to recommend are typically The Black Company, Snow Crash, Good Omens, Small Gods (Pratchett), Ender's Game, Legends (edited by Robert Silverberg.... 10 stories each set in a different fantasy series; a good sampler to get a feel for which you might like to read more of), Foucault's Pendulum (Umberto Eco), Hyperion Cantos (Dan Simmons).

I'll plug www.isfdb.org as a useful tool for trying to track down what SF/Fantasy authours have written. It isn't complete, but it is very useful.

As for DVDs.... Near Dark on DVD is a great watch, both for the film itself and for the accompanying documentary, with good stories from Bill Paxton & Lance Henriksen, amongst other cast members (who is a method actor, which is not good for someone that plays so many creepy characters...)

Michele, for the book, The 48 Laws of Power is an entertaining rehash of Machiavelli and other amoral power play strategies, with literary and historical examples. Not recommended to sit on the office desk/shelf though. I can't think of any DVDs nor comics I'd recommend. I hope you enjoy shopping.

Books: Over in the SciFi section, The Star Fraction, The Stone Canal, The Cassini Division, and The Sky Road by Ken MacLeod.

DVD: Cannibal! The Musical

Comics: Strangers In Paradise

a MOST excellent comic...back issues can now be found in trade paperbacks. Start at the beginning, you won't regret it.

DVD: Galaxy Quest

a hilarious movie if you have ever been to a scfi-fi or comic book convention. Alan Rickman is a god, and the movie is absolutely hilarious.
(for those who have enver been to a comic con, don't waste your time, much of the humour will be lost on you)

Patrick O'Brian wrote a fairly wonderful series of books about the British navy during the Napoleonic wars. Starts with "Master and Commander."

I don't know how big you are on Fantasy, Michelle, but a few years ago I ran across a novel by George R.R. Martin, called "A Game of Thrones" The first in a series. It was quite possibly the single greatest fantasy novel I ever read, few of the old fantasy cliches are in it, and those that are are done in new and very interesting ways.

There are a lot of different characters in it, with several diferent plots running at the same time. But it never gets confusing.

Trust me, I think you'd like it.

The Probable Future by Alice Hoffman is a lyrical novel about a family of women who develop special gifts (feeling no pain, detecting lies, seeing future deaths, etc.) on their thirteenth birthday. If you like Neil Gaiman's whimsical style, you may enjoy this book, too. It's only available in hardcover right now so I suggest your local library where one can take chances with new authors in hardcover without worrying about high book prices.

Enjoy whatever you do pick up to read! :)

God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartelo

The Man Who Ate Everything and the sequel It Must Have Been Something I Ate for pleasure. Smart Mobs to learn how to mobilize the people you inspire here.