odds and ends

Check this out:

All these books cost me less than $7 dollars. I bought them from Hastings, a regional merchant of new and used books, movies, video games, and all sorts of other things. I’ve made some really fun purchases from Hastings before (see my Halloween decorations post for more on that) but this past week they had a 30% off Used Books sale… and since Hastings always has free shipping for books, I indulged $7 bucks worth.

The Buffy: Panel to Panel book is usually $15 to $20 dollars in stores… I got it and three of these other books for like a buck and a quarter. Ditto all the other books save for the Aliens Omnibus. I believe that one set me back like $2 dollars… but we all know how much I love the Aliens franchise.

Most of these are books I’ve been wanting to check out for awhile but haven’t had the money or the time to give a shot… Jon Sable: Freelance being at the top of that list. In fact, the only dud of the bunch was the NewUniversal trade, which I bought on the strength of Warren Ellis’ writing. Still, at $1.25 or so, I don’t exactly feel cheated about not liking the book.

I mention Hastings here because I had a really good experience with the company and highly recommend them. The books came in like-new condition and they were shipped to me in like a day and a half. Hastings does  sales all the time so it might be worth bookmarking them and/or checking back from time to time.


Besides my Hastings orders, I’m also making my way through the addictive I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution by Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum.

This is an “oral history” book very much like the seminal Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Music, or the more recent Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live. Marks and Tannenbaum interviewed hundreds of personalities, executives, and talent involved with the golden age (1981 to 1992) of MTV. The results are engrossing, especially if you remember the channel from its’ music-playing heyday.

I watched MTV regularly during the early 1990’s (early enough to appreciate the book’s later coverage of Nirvana and Pearl Jam) but I also remember being a kid and scouring the channel during their  “all music, all the time” period. My tastes back then were limited to Michael Jackson, any video employing animation (Take on Me, Sledgehammer, You Might Think), and Weird Al cuts… but there was something to be said for the format, where the randomness of what videos played and when demanded you sit down and watch for hours at a time.

One of the book’s virtues is that it doesn’t seek out many of the big names you associate with MTV; you won’t find candid sit-down interviews with Madonna or Bruce Springstein here. Instead, you’ll find those superstars’ stories being told by the rank and file who surrounded them and I think that’s a pretty apt way to look at those folks. The secondhand nature of the stories shared here extends the air of mystique those performers carried with them then and now.

At any rate, it’s a good read. It will make you think about Alan Hunter for the first time in decades… but it will also make you think of Kennedy for the first time in decades as well, so I don’t know why where I’m going with this.

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