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Our 2017 Road Trip, Part 29: Looks at Books in a Tower of Power

Barnes & Noble!

This photo looks stolen from a tourism brochure, but I promise it’s ours.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. For 2017 our ultimate destination of choice was the city of Baltimore, Maryland. You might remember it from such TV shows as Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire, not exactly the most enticing showcases to lure in prospective tourists. Though folks who know me best know I’m one of those guys who won’t shut up about The Wire, a Baltimore walkabout was Anne’s idea. Setting aside my fandom, as a major history buff she was first to remind skeptics who made worried faces at us for this plan that Maryland was one of the original thirteen American colonies and, urban decay notwithstanding, remains packed with notable history and architecture from ye olde Founding Father times. In the course of our research we were surprised to discover Baltimore also has an entire designated tourist-trap section covered with things to do. And if we just so happened to run across former filming locations without getting shot, happy bonus…

Tourists love shopping in faraway places and bringing home exotic clothing, jewelry, souvenirs, and more. That’s what I hear, I mean. Our shopping habits are narrower in scope and are rarely a primary factor in planning our vacation to-do lists. But if a store that caters to our interests just so happens to have a convenient location by other prominent attractions, we’re amenable to dropping in for some light browsing. If said store has its own unusual architectural features, so much the better.

Hence our short stop at the largest Barnes & Noble we’ve ever seen.

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C2E2 2017 Photos, Part 3 of 4: Comics Creators Cavalcade

C2E2 2017 Comics!

This year’s new reading haul. I may have to work more overtime to pay this weekend off.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

It’s that time again! The eighth annual Chicago Comic and Entertainment Exposition (“C2E2″) just wrapped another three-day extravaganza of comic books, actors, creators, toys, props, publishers, freebies, Funko Pops, anime we don’t recognize, and walking and walking and walking and walking…

…and the densest Artists Alley we’ve ever seen. Eleven double-length rows of writers, artists, cartoonists, painters, print makers, button sellers, novelists, professionals, amateurs, up-‘n’-comers, elder statesmen, internet sensations, and quiet ones you gotta watch. It was an array so nice, I had to walk it twice, and I still missed a few people I’d wanted to meet. Some had autograph lines longer than the voice actors’. Some just weren’t at their tables when I passed by. A few called in sick, but are hopefully feeling much better now.

But before we got that far, we managed to make time for a pair of panels — one about comics, the other about Star Wars.

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My 2016 in Books and Graphic Novels, Part 2 of 2

Best books of 2016!

My ten personal favorites from the pile of 38, but not the only good ones in there.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Time again for the annual entry in which I remind myself how much I like reading things besides monthly comics, magazines, and tweets by self-promoters who pretended to care about anything I wrote exactly once each. Despite the lack of MCC entries about my reading matter, I’m always working on at least two books at a time in my ever-diminishing reading time. I refrain from full-on book reviews because nine times out of ten I’m finishing a given work decades after the rest of the world is already done and moved on from it. I don’t always care about site traffic, but when I do, it usually means leaving some extended thoughts and opinions unwritten due to irrelevance.

Presented over this entry and the next is my full list of books, graphic novels, and trade collections that I finished reading in 2016, mostly but not entirely in order of completion. As I whittle down the never-ending stack I’ve been stockpiling for literal decades, my long-term hope before I turn 70 is to get to the point where my reading list is more than, say, 40% new releases every year. That’s a lofty goal, but I can dream.

New for this year: I expanded the list to a full capsule summary apiece, because logophilia. I’ve divided the list into a two-part miniseries to post on back-to-back evenings (like they used to do with the ’66 Batman TV show) in order to ease up on the word count for busier readers.

Once more: onward!

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My 2016 in Books and Graphic Novels, Part 1 of 2

books 2016!

All 38 books on my list in order by size. For an explanation of the conscious lack of e-books in my literary diet, please enjoy this MCC treatise from 2013.

Time again for the annual entry in which I remind myself how much I like reading things besides monthly comics, magazines, and tweets by self-promoters who pretended to care about anything I wrote exactly once each. Despite the lack of MCC entries about my reading matter, I’m always working on at least two books at a time in my ever-diminishing reading time. I refrain from full-on book reviews because nine times out of ten I’m finishing a given work decades after the rest of the world is already done and moved on from it. I don’t always care about site traffic, but when I do, it usually means leaving some extended thoughts and opinions unwritten due to non-timeliness.

Presented over this entry and the next is my full list of books, graphic novels, and trade collections that I finished reading in 2016, mostly but not entirely in order of completion. As I whittle down the never-ending stack I’ve been stockpiling for literal decades, my long-term hope before I turn 70 is to get to the point where my reading list is more than, say, 40% new releases every year. That’s a lofty goal, but I can dream.

New for this year: I expanded the list to a full capsule summary apiece, because logophilia. I’ve divided the list into a two-part miniseries to post on back-to-back evenings (like they used to do with the ’66 Batman TV show) in order to ease up on the word count for busier readers. Onward!

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“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”: Books > Movie

Miss Peregrine!

“I’m sorry, young lady, but you’ve exceeded your three-minute screen time maximum. Please go fetch the CG monsters from their trailers and then go join the other children on the bench.”

Quite a few commentators have dismissed the big-screen adaptation of the first volume in Ransom Riggs’ bestselling Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children young-adult series as “Tim Burton’s X-Men”. In comics we’ve learned to accept the coexistence of dozens of super-teams among the numerous universes over the past century, many of which aren’t superfluous and forgettable. Meanwhile in movies, someone gathers a few paranormals and no one can think of any other basis for comparison beyond the X-Men. Y’all do know “school for kids with powers” isn’t a rare pop culture concept anymore, right? Besides, I called dibs on the joke four years ago and beat the rush. See below.

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2015 Road Trip Photos #39: Scout’s Honor

Scout Finch!

Jean Louise Finch might gladly welcome you, but she’s busy reading.

By the time we finished our exhausting tour of the U.S.S. Alabama on Day 5, rush hour was on and we were still over two hours away from our hotel. We had one more stop on our itinerary that I was tempted to cut because it required a sizable digression off I-65 and I figured all the businesses would be closed by the time we arrived. Getting to our hotel in Montgomery before nightfall would’ve been a plus, but unlikely regardless of whether or not we stopped on the way. On the other hand, it’s not as though we’re in the area all the time and will have multiple opportunities to drop in. The more attractions we postpone to some other future theoretical vacation, the more of those attractions we’ll probably never see.

So by a unanimous vote of 2-0 we threw scheduling comfort to the wind, temporarily abandoned the interstate, and drove the 30-odd miles out of our way to a brief stopover in Monroeville, hometown of author Harper Lee. You may remember her name from headlines last year.

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