WEEKLY BOOK BUZZ- Which Books Are You Most Thankful For? - Mania.com

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WEEKLY BOOK BUZZ- Which Books Are You Most Thankful For?

Come in and name a few of your favorite books.

By Tim Janson     November 24, 2008

Titan Books’ The Spirit Visual Companion
© Titan Books


It’s Thanksgiving week so let me wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving. It is one of my favorite holidays because perhaps more than any other, it is truly American and filled with traditions. On what other days does about 75% of the country all eat the same thing? For me, it’s always been about getting up and watching our parade here in Detroit (as well as the other parades around the country). Then we settle in for football with the Lions who have been playing on Thanksgiving for over seventy years. We used to be able to count on them to pull big wins on that special day but, alas, we are beyond horrible this year. After football it’s onto all the food and then more football!
So it had me thinking…What books are you, the great Mania readers most thankful for? It can be a book you just read, a book you’re hoping to maybe get for Christmas, or maybe something you read years ago that made a strong impression on you. Please use the comment section below to tell everyone what book or books you are most thankful for.
For me, one book I am thankful for is Terry Brooks’ The Sword of Shannara.  I read the book when it was first published in 1977 and it was my first fantasy book. Yes it’s obviously VERY derivative of Lord of the Rings but since I had not read LOTR yet, I didn’t know that. All I knew was that it was something very new and different to me. Even after reading LOTR I still love Shannara. I think Brooks has proven over the years that he’s more than just a Tolkien imitator and Shannara is like a condensed version of LOTR. It is THE book that got me interested in fantasy.
So now it’s your turn…
Top Picks in Fantasy
Princeps' Fury (Codex Alera, Book 5) Jim Butcher (Ace Hardcover)
Tavi of Calderon, now recognized as Princeps Gaius Octavian and heir to the crown, has achieved a fragile alliance with Alera’s oldest foes, the savage Canim. But when Tavi and his legions guide the Canim safely to their lands, his worst fears are realized. The dreaded Vord—the enemy of Aleran and Cane alike—have spent the last three years laying waste to the Canim homeland. And when the Alerans are cut off from their ships, they find themselves with no choice but to fight shoulder to shoulder if they are to survive. For a thousand years, Alera and her furies have withstood every enemy, and survived every foe. The thousand years are over…
The Engine's Child Holly Phillips (Del Rey)
Lanterns and flickering bulbs light the shadowy world of the rasnan, the island at the edge of a world-spanning ocean that harbors, in its ivory towers and mossy temples, the descendants of men and women who long ago fled a world ruined by magical and technological excess. But not all the island’s inhabitants are resigned to exile. A mysterious brotherhood seeks to pry open doors that lead back to their damaged, dangerous homeland. Others risk the even greater danger of flight, seeking new lands and new freedoms in the vast, uncharted sea.
Amid a web of conspiracy and betrayal, three people threaten to shatter this fragile world. Scheming Lord Ghar, faithful to lost gods and forbidden lore, plays an intricate power game; Lady Vashmarna, an iron-willed ruler, conceals a guilty secret behind her noble façade; and Moth, a poor, irreverent novice, holds perhaps the darkest power of all: a mysterious link to a shadowy force that may prove to be humanity’s final hope–or its ultimate doom.
New Tricks John Levitt (Ace)
Former enforcer Mason would normally be concerned with finding ghosts and vampires stalking the Castro section of San Francisco. Fortunately, Halloween provides the perfect explanation for the abundance of ghouls. But someone is trying to possess his old flame, Sarah. Now, with the help of his magical dog Louie, Mason must uncover the black magician responsible.
Top Picks in Science Fiction
Star Trek: Destiny: Lost Souls David Mack (Star Trek Books)
The soldiers of Armageddon are on the march, laying waste to worlds in their passage. An audacious plan could stop them forever, but it carries risks that one starship captain is unwilling to take. For Captain Jean-Luc Picard, defending the future has never been so important, or so personal -- and the wrong choice will cost him everything for which he has struggled and suffered.   For Captain William Riker, that choice has already been made. Haunted by the memories of those he was forced to leave behind, he must jeopardize all that he has left in a desperate bid to save the Federation.
Imperial Guard Omnibus: Volume 1 (Warhammer 40000) Steve Lyons (Games Workshop)
The Imperial Guard is the largest body of fighting men in the galaxy. Drawn from the myriad planets of the Imperium, it is the solemn duty of these grim soldiers to fight the wars of the Immortal Emperor against the many enemies that threaten the very existence of humanity. With incredible manpower, and supported by massive battle tanks and hordes of priests, clerks and engineers, it is an indomitable war machine, the Hammer of the Emperor.
This omnibus contains three novels – Fifteen Hours, Death World and Rebel Winter – each with its own associated short story. It is the ideal introduction to the Imperial Guard, and their struggles on the battlefields of the far future.
Fantastic Four: Doomgate Jeffrey Lang (Pocketstar)
Deep beneath the Empire State University library, a frustrated student finds the lost legacy of ESU's most infamous alumnus. Victor Von Doom's lab notebooks -- instructions for how to build a machine that can pierce the veil between Earth and the netherworld -- have fallen into the wrong hands. A gate is opened where none should exist, and someone -- or something -- has invaded our world. The Fantastic Four would be the team to face such a threat...if they could reach one another. Force shields erected around Manhattan by the over-anxious agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have trapped Reed Richards, Sue Richards, Ben Grimm, and Johnny Storm. All are in danger of succumbing to the pernicious effects of the energies emanating from the dark dimension, forcing the F.F. to seek aid from their greatest enemy, whose nefariously brilliant mind first conceived the Doomgate.
Top Picks in Non-Fiction
The Spirit: The Movie Visual Companion Mark Cotta Vaz (Titan books Hardcover)
Will Eisner’s classic comics character makes the leap to the screen in this spectacular new live-action movie written and directed by Frank Miller (Sin City, 300), and starring Gabriel Macht as The Spirit, Samuel L. Jackson as his psychotic arch-nemesis The Octopus, and Eva Mendes and Scarlett Johansson as alluring femmes fatales.
In Central City, one man fights crime using nothing but his wits and his fists. He wears a mask, a suit and a fedora, and he is known only as The Spirit...
This stunning volume, with director’s commentary, contains interviews with the cast and the crew, color photos & production art, and scores of Frank Miller sketches, plus excerpts from the screenplay.
Rogue Leaders: The Story of LucasArts Rob Smith (Chronicle Books) $60.00
In 1982, Lucasfilm wanted to branch out into other forms of entertainment and formed an agreement where videogame pioneer Atari provided $1 million in seed capital with only the vague directive of "see what you can make." The resulting two games sold 100,000 units, twice as many copies as had been projected, and were a critical and commercial success. In 2005, LucasArts' Battlefront II game sold 2.1million copies and generated an estimated $200 million in revenue. In the past 25 years, LucasArts has cemented its place in videogame history though a combination of the two strengths of its parent company: master storytelling and innovative technology."The Magic of LucasArts" reveals its illustrious history, including more than 250 samples of never-before-seen art, including storyboards, concept paintings, and character developments from its cherished games, as well as art from cancelled projects that were never announced to the public. George Lucas contributes a rare foreword on his vision for interactive entertainment. Original interviews with key team members past and present make this book a must-have for gamers young and old.
Ghost Whisperer: The Spirit Guide Kim Moses (Titan Books)
Starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ghost Whisperer is the sometimes chilling, sometimes heart-rending hit drama inspired by the work of real-life mediums.
Melinda Gordon has the “gift” — the ability to see and talk with the spirits of dead people. While running an antique store and settling into married life in a small town, Melinda helps ghosts who are trapped between worlds to cross over to the other side by communicating with the living in order to resolve their unfinished business.
This full-color Spirit guide contains information on communicating with ghosts in the real world as well as a comprehensive guide to the world of the show, packed with exclusive interviews, stunning photos and an episode summary.
Capsule Reviews
Black Cathedral L.H. Maynard & M.P.N. Sims (Leisure Books)
When several managers of a large company disappear without a trace during survival training on a remote Scottish island, the government calls in Department 18, their special paranormal investigative unit. The well-trained psychics and ghost-hunters discover that theses corporate white shirts are just the latest in a series of disappearances on the island that date back for centuries. Nothing will prepare the group for the horrors that await them, however, horrors that have their roots in long-forgotten religious practices.
Black Cathedral is a masterful haunted house tale that reminded me of the old film, “The Legend of Hell House”. It’s a throwback to films and tales that relied on atmosphere and psychological terror rather than blood and gore. Sims and Maynard move the plot along with a rapid pace but they still don’t slouch on building a brooding tension. The story was unique in it’s combining of modern Catholic Jesuit ideology with ancient Jewish kaballahism. Grade A-

Black Cathedral by L.H. Maynard & M.P.N. Sims (Leisure Books)

The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard (Del Rey)
We all know Howard as the creator of Conan, Solomon Kane, King Kull and the virtual creator of Swords & Sorcery. But Howard was also an accomplished horror writer. As a friend of H.P. Lovecraft, Howard created his own Cthuhlu Mythos stories for pure horror tales, and also frequently incorporated the concepts into his fantasy tales as well. Howard’s horror tales are usually quite short, 8 – 12 pages and are often told in first-person perspective. Howard’s horror tales are remarkably diverse; from gothic European style stories to the dark folklore of the Deep South, and everything in between. 
Howard touches on concepts created by the great Welsh writer Arthur Machen about ancient mythological, long forgotten, in tales like “The Little People” and “People of the Dark”. He offers his own take on Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Myhos in “The Black Stone”, “The Haunter of the Ring”, and “The Thing on the Roof”. Some of these stories feature his well-known characters such as the Puritan adventurer Solomon Kane who battles voodoo in “The Hills of the Dead”.
If you only know Howard as the creator of Conan, you must check this book out to see just how talented a writer he truly was. These are fantastic and underrated horror stories from a master! Grade A+

The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard


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ddiaz28 11/24/2008 6:37:32 AM

I'm completely engrossed in the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin at the moment and very thankful to my friend who recommended it to me.  I should finish the 3rd book Storm of Swords today and Feast of Crows is waiting on my dresser.  The fact that HBO is planning a series around this maked it even more exciting to read.  The way Martin weaves such an engaging story with so many key players, and plot twists and surprises is amazing.  What I love too is that no character is safe in this series which makes it all the more exciting because you never know when your favorite characters might killed off.  I highly recommend this series to anyone.  Well, except for kids seeing as it is teeming with violence, language, and sex.  It is definitely a series for adults.  And don't assume it's a big fantasy series either.  There are definitely some fantasy elements but they come in small doses but when the do come it usually has a big impact on the story.  Read these books, you'll be thankful you did.

sergal 11/24/2008 7:11:20 AM

I'd like inform you that Scarlett Johansson (actress)actually is a clone from original person,who has nothing with acting career.Clone was created illegally using stolen biomaterial.Original Scarlett Galabekian last name is nice, CHRISTIAN young lady.I'll tell more,those clones(it's not only 1)made in GERMANY-world leader manufacturer of humans clones,it's in Ludwigshafen am Rhein,Rhineland-Palatinate,Mr.Helmut Kohl home town.You can't even imaging the scale of the cloning activity.But warning,H.Kohl staff strictly controlling their clones spreading around the world,they're NAZI type disciplined and mind controlled,be careful get close with clones you will be controlled too.Original family didn't authorize any activity with stolen biomaterials,no matter what form it was created in,it's all need to be back to original family control in Cedars-Sinai MedicalCenter in LA.Controlling clones is US military operation.Original Scarlett never was engaged,by the way

wessmith1966 11/24/2008 7:23:11 AM

 Great question...The top of my list would be Dune. I've read the book four or five times in my 42 years and have enjoyed it immensely every time. I used to read just about every Star Trek novel released and love Diane Duane's books. My favorite Star Trek books were Price of the Phoenix and Fate of the Phoenix. I loved mythology and read Edith Hamilton's Mythology more than one time over the years. I love vampire stories and, of course, loved most of Anne Rice's books, but Jeanne Kalogridis' trilogy is my favorite. Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking's books about the universe have always filled me with wonder. I have to read a of of the pages two or three times to begin to understand what was written, but I love those books. Classics like The Count of Monte Cristo, The Once and Future King and Ivanhoe are treasured additions to my personal library. Last in this list, but always first in my heart, anything written by John Steinbeck. In my humble opinion he was the finest writer the world's ever known. East of Eden, In Dubious Battle, Tortilla Flat, Cannery Row/Sweet Thursday, The Moon is Down, The Red Pony, Of Mice and Men, The Pastures of Heaven, The Pearl, To a God Unknown, Travels With Charley, and The Grapes of Wrath. There are more to be sure, and every one of them a classic. I'm a movie junkie, to be sure, but there's nothing better than relaxing with a glass of wine, good music quietly playing in the background, and a great book.

hanso 11/24/2008 2:42:34 PM

What exactly about football, the Detroit Lions and Thanksgiving gets you thinking about books?

hanso 11/24/2008 2:43:30 PM
I'm thankful for that health book from back in the day with the naughty drawings that thought me about the birds & the bees.
liana 11/25/2008 12:30:03 AM

I suppose my favorite book without a doubt is The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. It has everything you could ask for, philosophy, drama, romance, contemplation, history and honest thoughts about love, life and death. Besides that, I could list off many, but I'll stick with another favorite: Where the Wild Things are by Maurice Sendak.

torvar72 11/25/2008 6:08:23 AM

I don't know Hanso I'm a Lions fan and I don't even want to watch the game here in Buffalo. As for books I would say I'm most thankfull for the Stand by Stephen King also the Hobbet and Lord of the Rings. Also Dragons of Autumn Twilight ans the rest of those books by Margaret Wies and Tracey Hickman .



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