Today we continue the giving season with our recommendations for books. Slip off to another world or learn something useful. Books are a gateway to fantasy and learning alike. Read on for some of our suggestions.
Comics for a Strange World: A Book of Poorly Drawn Lines
Suggested By: Jenny Bristol
Purchase: Comics for a Strange World: A Book of Poorly Drawn Lines
A mix of humor and usually-not-overt social commentary, the comics in this book are a combination of brand new and well-loved comics that have run at author/illustrator Reza Farazmand’s webcomic, Poorly Drawn Lines. Drawn in subdued color and simple lines and stretching to about 200 pages, this book addresses different aspects of our society, providing subtle humor to help us cope with our everyday experiences. Read my review at GeekDad.
Star Wars Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to a Galaxy Far, Far Away
Suggested By: Jenny Bristol
Mfg: Chronicle Books
Purchase: Star Wars Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to a Galaxy Far, Far Away
If you obsess over everything Star Wars, like, down to the minutae of things like character height or how many times “the Force” was mentioned in a film, this 176-page book, chock full of graphical data covering everything from the original Star Wars movie to Rogue One, will make you very happy indeed. The book’s graphics are very meta, fashioning much of the data in visuals that will be familiar to anyone who enjoys the franchise. An ideal book for a Star Wars-loving data junkie. Read my review at GeekDad.
The CS Detective: An Algorithmic Tale of Crime, Conspiracy, and Computation
Suggested By: Jenny Bristol
Mfg: No Starch Press
Purchase: The CS Detective: An Algorithmic Tale of Crime, Conspiracy, and Computation
For a fun way to learn about in-depth computer science concepts, author Jeremy Kubica has written another winner. Following the success of his first two books, Computational Fairy Tales and Best Practices of Spell Design, Kubica continues sharing his fictional tales that teach computer science in a narrative way. A perfect introduction for kids or an entertaining way to brush up on knowledge for adults, this book entertains while it educates. Read my review at GeekDad.
The Hero’s Closet: Sewing for Cosplay and Costuming
Suggested By: Will James
Purchase: The Hero’s Closet: Sewing for Cosplay and Costuming
The Hero’s Closet by Gillian Conahan is a great introduction to sewing book for cosplayers, costumers, and anyone interested in sewing. Not only does the book cover a ton of basics of sewing, but it also includes a bunch of patterns for making amazing costumes! You can read my full review, but do yourself or the costumer in your family a favor, and make sure this book is on your shelf!
If you’re a fan of the original Star Wars you need to read this book. Even if you think that Star Wars fiction is superfluous, From a Certain Point of View is that rare gem of a collection that not only honors the property that inspired it, but brings new appreciation to the source material. Penned by some of the best authors working in the biz today, every story covers a major (or exceedingly minor) scene in the original Star Wars movie, but from the point of view of someone other than the main cast (or at least not the cast focused on in those scenes), from the opening crawl, to the medal ceremony. There are derelict Stormtroopers, heroic (and not so heroic) droids, Jawas who dream of seeing the stars, and Rebels making hard decisions as they fight a losing fight against the Empire and its new super weapon. There’s even a Shakespearean soliloquy from Emperor Palpatine. It made me love Star Wars even more and is easily one of my top five books for the year.
Usually I wouldn’t recommend the ninth book of a series for a gift guide. But the great thing about Sandman Slim is that, if you’re not yet familiar with this noir-ish, Buffy-ish, bitingly funny, summer-blockbuster-worthy series, then you get to binge them all! The Kill Society finds our hero, Stark, wandering around the outskirts of Hell, trying to figure out how to get back to L.A. Unfortunately for him (and good for us) the only viable route seems to be by joining up with a roving band of zealots, roaring through the Limbo like a nightmare version of the Wild Boys in Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s a satisfying character examination, a hard-driving story, and ultimately a satisfying tale of redemption and damnation, something that author Richard Kadrey wanted to take the time to explore with his hard-worn hero. If you’re a fan of Sandman Slim and haven’t read The Kill Society yet, amend that immediately. If you’re new to the series, get ready for a ride.
While Super Mario Odyssey may have supplanted Splatoon 2 as my video game of the year, The Art of Splatoon is far and away my favorite art book of 2017. With 320 pages of beautifully colored images, from early concept designs and sketches to maps and character assets, it’s the perfect gift for the Inkling enthusiast on your list!
Immediately after finishing his 2014 novel Horrorstör for Halloween, I anxiously began Grady Hendrix’s follow-up, My Best Friend’s Exorcism. Set in the South Carolina Low Country in 1988, it’s a tale of friendship, growing up, and demonic possession. A night of partying leads to unexpected consequences for besties Abby and Gretchen in a brilliantly detailed novel that could only come from the mind of a guy who previously wrote about a haunted IKEA knock-off.
Future Noir Revised & Updated Edition: The Making of Blade Runner
Suggested By: Will James
Mfg: Dey Street Books
Purchase: Future Noir Revised & Updated Edition: The Making of Blade Runner
Future Noir is a must for any scfi-fi or movie fan on your shopping list, especially if they are a Blade Runner fan. This is a hefty book that delves deep into the making of Blade Runner with tons of photos, cast and crew interviews, and more!
Tomb of Annihilation is a D&D adventure for players level 1-11. Despite the title, this is not solely an adventure in which all characters die. Instead, players will find it difficult (if not impossible) to resurrect heroes and allies, meaning death is more permanent than in the average adventure. New character, NPC, item, and monster options are sure to surprise even veteran players and inspire any DM.
Every D&D player can find something to love in Tales from the Yawning Portal. From weird monsters to fun challenges, this tome gathers up some of the best old-school content, adds in some fun new content, and surprises abound. The many adventures found within are easy to combine with other epic stories in D&D for a new direction of play, or even as a way to let a new DM try their hand at leading the group.
This book series is a little like Men in Black for middle grade readers. The Ministry of Strange, Unusual, and Impossible Things (SUITs) deals with all the unexplained phenomena in the world and keeps it under wraps so the rest of us don’t really have to think about it. Jack is a middle school kid who’s always curious, and winds up at the Ministry, where he’s finally able to get answers to some of his burning questions … and winds up with a lot of new questions, too. The series is hilarious and features a lot of “logical” (nonsensical) explanations of the world; my kids have read them countless times and can’t wait for book three next year.
Theodore Gray follows up Elements and Molecules with this illustrated volume about how elements and molecules interact. With gorgeous photos by Nick Mann, Reactions is a great way to continue exploring the world, with Gray as your tour guide.
This pop-up book by Kelli Anderson turns into a planetarium … and an instrument, a decoder ring, a perpetual calendar, and more. Learn how these different tools function and enjoy Anderson’s masterful papercrafting!
Ultimate Marvel is perfect for fans of the Marvel universe, young or old, novice or expert. It contains a wealth of information about Marvel comics. For younger readers it’s a gateway to classic storylines and characters. For those who have been around a little longer, it’s a fantastic trip down memory lane, bringing together the infamous, famous, and not so famous elements of Marvel comic book history.
Presented in a solid slipcase, complete with two free Marvel prints. Each page is covered in Marvel’s signature high-color drawings. The text is succinct and informative and leads you on a voyage of comic book discovery. Definitely an encyclopedia to be marvelled at. For my complete review, click here
Starting with A Boy Called Christmas , Matt Haig’s trio of Christmas books are a joy to read. They’re great to put under the tree, but possibly better to be read aloud in the run up to the big day. Reading a Matt Haig book is well on the way to becoming a Christmas tradition in our house.
The stories meld classic folklore with more modern traditions to make the books feel as comfortable and right as an old pair of slippers. They’re suffused with a gentle wit, bravery, and daring do. There’s even some gentle social commentary that remind readers, young an old, of the true spirit of Christmas.
They say when a thing is difficult to explain that it is defining something with which to describe the future. Get Jiro is one of these things. It’s not new, but it is interesting and on my giving list for a few friends this year.
Get Jiro make me thing that Snow Crash and Kitchen Stadium collided head on and this was part of the debris left behind. A tale told by Anthony Bourdain set in a not so distant future where master chefs rule Los Angeles. Told with Bourdain’s trademark crass personality the story follows a ruthless sushi chef named Jiro as he’s torn between two waring factions.
The art is beautiful and as colorful as Anthony’s language, so check it out before passing a copy off to your kids. There is a sequel, Get Jiro: Blood and Sushi that I thoroughly enjoyed. Both are available on Amazon, but you may need to look at 3rd party sellers to get the 2nd book at a reasonable price.