I like narrowly-focused histories of small, yet pivotal things.
"Scurvy" by Stephen Bown, "Longitude" by Dava Sobel, and "The Book
of Absinthe" by Phil Baker, for example. I'm fond, in equal
measure, of P.G. Wodehouse, Raymond Chandler, and H.P. Lovecraft.
I'm currently reading "Anathem", "Two Years Before the Mast", and a
collection of papers about artifacts recovered from the wreck of
the Mary Rose. I'm waiting for George R.R. Martin to get around to
finishing "A Song of Ice and Fire".
I also read a fair amount of graphic novels, an increasing number
of which do not feature people running around in their pajamas and
indulging in ultraviolence. "Persepolis" and "Pyongyang" were
recent favorites, and I'm making my way through the annotated
edition of "From Hell". I also really, really like Ben Katchor's
homage to New York That Was in "Julius Knipl: Real-Estate
That said, I do like the superhero stuff. Astro City was awesome.
I'm exceedingly fond of Doctor Strange. Matt Fraction's recent
stint on Hawkeye is amazing.
I suspect I will continue to have much to say on the subject of
Batman when I am old and doddering (and it occurs to me that my
generation is destined to become a very odd bunch of
A whole bunch of arty stuff not made in the U.S.; most mid-20th
Century film noir, a smattering of costume dramas, and the
occasional Big Dumb Action Movie. Lately, though, I'm finding
myself leaning towards obscure costume dramas.
I really enjoyed the documentaries "Helvetica" and "Sputnik
Madness". I've seen "Koyaanisqatsi" three times.
Also, some really awful stuff, which I actually enjoy in a
non-ironic manner (I know, it's heresy to do so). This includes
some classic cheese from the '50s, as well as later efforts like
"Danger:Diabolik" and "Zardoz". I'm especially happy when I find a
DVD of this sort of thing which has director's commentary on it, so
I can get an idea of what was going through the director's head.
This is hit-and-miss. Boorman's commentary on "Zardoz" was good.
The commentary on "Conan the Barbarian" (which, mind you, I'm not
at all categorizing as a "bad" movie) with John Milnius and Arnold
Schwartzenegger, however, was dire ("Ja, John! Dis is vere dey vere
making da sworrd!" "Yes, Arnold, that's right. They're making the
sword." Bloody painful to listen to).
This is all over the place. Thomas Tallis. Guitar Wolf. George
Gershwin. Django Reinhardt. Dead Can Dance. Philip Glass. Flogging
Molly. JS Bach. Devo. eX-Girl. Sleater-Kinney. Richard Wagner.
I'll eat damn near anything. I'm the sort who tries, as much as
possible, to find the oddest thing on the menu. Sometimes this
works beyond my wildest dreams, and sometimes I spend the next hour
testing palate cleansers.