Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Almost More Than I Could Chew. . .

But man, it was tasty. Several long months ago, I picked up a copy of The Three Musketeers, a book I'd always meant to read. It may well be the most purely entertaining novel I have ever opened and, in the spirit of the four worthies Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and the unequaled D'Artagnan, I made a vow: I would read all of the musketeer books, five total (over a million and a quarter words), this year. I finished The Man in the Iron Mask last week, and I will assert with complete confidence that there is not a greater work of popular diversion yet created, and certainly no better character than M. D'Artagnan. Eight months well spent. I salute you, Alexandre Dumas. You were truly the prodigious talent they say you were.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Waves, Women, and Wonder, or What I've Been Reading Lately

Recently, a friend loaned me a copy of Charles Bukowski's Women, which stoked me out. I haven't read any Bukowski in years, but I have to say that the older I get the more I like his work, especially his prose. He's funny, filthy, frank in his prejudices and, most important, he gets to the dark dirty heart of the human condition. (Did I mention he's funny as hell to read?)

I love going in bookstores and browsing for used and bargain books, because you just never know what kind of awesome strangeness you're going to dig up. Case in point: just a few weeks ago I found a collection of Prince Valiant comics entitled Far from Camelot. But big deal, right? Well, what I didn't know, mainly because I haven't read a paper with Prince Valiant in it in over a decade, is that Garry Gianni, one of the greatest pulp illustrators since Frank Frazetta, has been the illustrator of Prince Valiant since 2004. If you have no idea how cool that is, then you really Have No Idea. (They have them at Logos, Sean. Take the walk.) Gianni has brought all of his Conan, Solomon Kane, Bran Mak Morn, and H.P. Lovecraft sensibilities to a free, weekly, Sunday comic. The world is truly not worthy.

Finally, I just (yesterday) finished reading Chris Dixon's Ghost Wave, a nonfiction account of the discovery and eventual surfing of Cortes Bank that reads like a 250 page article for Outside magazine. It's good, actually better than good, but it's best read over many days in chapter size or smaller segments, and not necessarily in sequence. I don't know how you'd like it if you don't surf, but I found it fascinating, and it seems that reading about the Bank has somehow made me less fearful to charge the relatively tiny waves I like to surf while still leaving me with plenty of respect for the fickle power of the ocean.

That's all for now.