Friday, 31 January 2014

January Book Haul

January Book Haul

Top 5 Pixar films



Pixar Logo
Top 5 Pixar films
   Since 1995, the annual(-ish) release of Pixar’s latest movie has been one of the highlights of my year. Their films are always beautiful with extraordinary visuals and superb animation with an emphasis on rich story and well developed characters. Every one of their films is a pure delight and enjoyable whatever your age.

  Sadly, with The Good Dinosaur being pushed back to 2015, this marks the first year since 2005 where we won’t get to see a new film from the studio. But let’s not dwell on that, instead let’s look back at the top 5 films the studio has released so far to help us whet our appetites for next year.
   For this list I’m going to concentrate purely on the theatrical films so while there’s some shorts I’d love to talk about, I’ll ignore them (they’re worthy of their own top 5 in the future).
   As ever, this list is purely my personal choice feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments. Also, if you haven’t seen any of these films, there may be some slight spoilers, you’ve been warned.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

The Diviners



The Diviners
The Diviners
Libba Bray
 Naughty John, Naughty John
Does his work with his apron on,
Cuts your throat and takes your bones
Sells them off for a coupla' stones.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Hoofing It



Hoofing It
Hoofing It
Ian M. Pinder
 "In 1996, just before university, Robert and his best friend Spud hedonistically set off around Europe in their neighbour’s stolen car, with the £28,000 they have `acquired,’ forged documents, no insurance and class A’s under the bonnet."

Friday, 3 January 2014

The Gigantic Beard that was Evil



The Gigantic Beard that was Evil
The Gigantic Beard that was Evil
Stephen Collins
 
    When I started to read this book I expected it to be a quick jokey read. Entertaining, but dumb. With a title like The Gigantic Beard that was Evil, how could you not.
    I was both intrigued and excited therefore, when the book turned out to be a far more sombre affair. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a decent amount of humour in the book, but it’s a far more meaningful story than you’d expect.

    The book tells the tale of Dave, a resident of the eternally neat and tidy island of Here. A place engrained with a crippling fear of the outside world, the messy uncertainty of There…
    Dave works at a regular office job and spends his nights drawing what he sees from his living room window and listening to “Eternal Flame” by the bangles.
    One day, Dave begins to grow a large, unstoppable beard, that quickly fills his home before bursting free to the outside world, bringing the horrid untidy world of There, to Here.

The Gigantic Beard grows
    First of all, we need to discuss the artwork as it is absolutely stunning. While Collins’ style is bold and simplistic, it still manages to deliver an impressive level of detail with several panels featuring small charming details, easily glanced over during a quick read. The simplistic style also masks an impressive cinematic eye as Collins strays regularly from the standard close ups and midshots, providing a far grander set of angles.
    The whole book is in black and white and it works perfectly, any page you turn to is an impressive piece of art in itself which only serves to make the entire book a delight to hold. It’s beautiful.

    The story itself, despite the humorous plot, is a surprisingly melancholic one. The effect that the beard has on Here asks a lot of interesting questions. The book is a commentary on mankind’s fear of the unknown. A fear which leads the community of Here to continually move inward, changing nothing, refusing to move outside of its comfort zone. Becoming more and more routine, the people more sheep like until one single example of the unknown cripples it entirely.
    It also deals with the manner in which society deals with those that wish to stand out from the crowd. While Dave has the curse of the beard thrust upon him, he is the only person in Here who ever asks any questions, who sees through the cracks in the utopia. When the beard arrives, the government see that it is leeching out, beginning to affect the usual running of things, and basically spend the rest of the book trying to find ways to get rid of this aberration before it can have too much effect.

    The Gigantic Beard that was Evil is a stunning book, both in terms of visuals and story telling. It’s a deep, rich story with a lot to say and a very surprising and enjoyable read. 

Stephen Collins signing copies of the book at Gosh! Comics in London

Year in books 2013

Year in Books 2013



NOVELS
The 100 year old man who climbed out the window and disappeared – Jonas Jonasson
Will Grayson, Will Grayson – John Green & David Levithan
Trout Fishing in America – Richard Brautigan
In Watermelon Sugar – Richard Brautigan
Northline – Willy Vlautin
Guards! Guards! – Terry Pratchett
Wicked: The life and times of the wicked witch of the west – Gregory Maguire
Faust Eric – Terry Pratchett
The Red Pony – John Steinbeck
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time – Mark Haddon
In One Person – John Irving
Moving Pictures – Terry Pratchett
Cirque Du Freak – Darren Shan
Looking For Alaska – John Green
Lost in a good book – Jasper Fforde
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Palace of Laughter – Jon Berkeley
      Reaper Man – Terry Pratchett
The Perfect Fool – Stewart Lee
      Carrie – Stephen King
Halting State – Charles Stross
Giovanni’s Room – James Baldwin
Steppin’ on a rainbow – Kinky Friedman
Witches Abroad – Terry Pratchett
Small Gods –Terry Pratchett
Girlfriend in a Coma – Douglas Coupland
A Question of Love – Isabel Wolff
The Circle – Dave Eggers
The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
Lords and Ladies – Terry Pratchett
The Book Thief – Marcus Zusak
Lanark – Alasdair Grey
Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami
Scooter – Mick Foley

BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIRS
The Imaginary Girlfriend – John Irving
Awkward Situations for Men – Danny Wallace
Countdown to Lockdown – Mick Foley
More Awkward Situations for Men – Danny Wallace
My Movie Business – john Irving
Foley is good and the real world is faker than Wrestling – Mick Foley
Tuesdays with Morrie – Mitch Albom

COMICS/GRAPHIC NOVELS
      Guys – Dave Sim & Gerhard
Rick’s Story – Dave Sim & Gerhard
Take What You Can Carry – Kevin C. Pyle
Sita’s Ramayana – Samhita Arni & Moyna Chitrakar
The Troll King – Kolbeinn Karlsson
The Mask – John Arcudi & Doug Mahnke
The Mask Returns - John Arcudi & Doug Mahnke
The Mask Strikes Back - John Arcudi, Doug Mahnke & Keith Williams
Sonic The Hedgehog Archives Vol 9 – Various
Sonic The Hedgehog Archives Vol 10 – Various
Nosferatu – Christopher Wolf & Justin Wayne
Sonic Select Book 2 – Various
Sonic The Hedgehog Archives Vol 11 – Various
Superman: Red Son – Mark Miller, Dave Johnson & Kilian Plunkett
Y the Last Man: Unmanned – Brian K. Vaughan & Pia Guerra
Y the Last Man: Cycles - Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra & Jose Marzan
Y the Last Man: One Small Step - Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra & Jose Marzan
Y the Last Man: Safeword - Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra & Jose Marzan
Y the Last Man: Ring of Truth - Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra & Jose Marzan
Y the Last Man: Girl on Girl Brian K. Vaughan & Pia Guerra
Filmish – Edward Ross
Filmish: Food on Film – Edward Ross
Filmish: Technology & Technophobie – Edward Ross
Pirates – Various
Twelve – Various
Monsters – Various
Robots – Various
Sonic Universe Vol 1 – Various
Sonic Universe Vol 2 – Various
Nosferatu the Untold Origin – Louis john Pecsi
Burnout – Rebecca Donner
Sonic the Hedgehog Archives Vol 12 – Various
Sonic the Hedgehog Archives Vol 13 – Various
Sonic the Hedgehog Archives Vol 14 – Various
Sonic Universe 3 - Various
The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil – Stephen Collins

NON-FICTION
The God Delusion – Richard Dawkins
Reality Hunger – David Shields
      How Not to Write a Novel – Howard Mittelmark & Sandra Newman
The Good the Bad and the Multiplex – Mark Kermode

CHILDRENS
The Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum
The land of Oz – L. Frank Baum
Ozma of Oz – L. Frank Baum
Dorothy and the Wizard in OZ – L. Frank Baum
The Popcorn Pirates – Alexander McCall Smith
The Adventures of Captain Underpants – Dav Pilkey
Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Taliking Toilets – Dav Pilkey
      The Road to Oz – L. Frank Baum
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas -  John Boyne
Sonic the Hedgehog in Robotnik’s Laboratory – Martin Adams
A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning – Lemony Snicket
A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Reptile Room – Lemony Snicket
Spartan & The Green Egg: A trip to the Rainforest – Nabila Khashoggi
A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Wide Window – Lemony Snicket

POETRY
The pill versus the springhill mining disaster – Richard Brautigan
Fabulous beast: The Sow – Sarah Kain Gutowski

SHORT STORIES
Revenge of the lawn – Richard Brautigan
Trying to Save Piggy Sneed – John Irving

OTHER
The Sketchbook adventures of Peter Poplaski – Peter Poplaski
People I’ve never met and Conversations I’ve never had – Nick White
Comedy monologues - Various
Unnovations – Charlie Brooker
      Mad Drew: Beyond Coffeedome – Drew