Ok, we’re days away from Christmas. Days! But it’s not too late to pick up some solid reads for the pop culture fan in your life. Your local book stores are likely doing curbside pickup, same with the bigger chains as well. And look, if all else fails, there’s that online retail giant that could send you something quick. However you do it, here are some titles that will go over nicely:
Martin Popoff is one of the great rock writers of the last twenty years, with a distinct voice and style. Rush is one of the greatest rock bands of all time. Put them together and you’ve got the first two books in a trilogy detailing the history of Canada’s greatest power trios. These two titles are must-reads for the Rush fan in your life, and go deeper than any other books previously written about the band (including Popoff’s excellent Contents Under Pressure).
The Movie Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained (DK)
Writers: Louis Baxter, John Farndon, Kieran Grant, Danny Leigh, Damon Wise
The Peanuts Book: A Visual History of the Iconic Comic Strip (DK)
Writer: Simon Beecroft
The Star Wars Book: Expand Your Knowledge of a Galaxy Far, Far Away
Writers: Cole Horton, Pablo Hidalgo, Dan Zehr
While these may seem like three VERY different titles, the last few years has seen DK create an ongoing series of “The… books that are insightful and , unsurprisingly based on the publisher, quite lovely to look at.
The Movie Book explores the history of cinema by decade and by specific films. Titles such as Vertigo, Jaws, Blade Runner, Pulp Fiction (I’m just naming a few of my favourites here) and so many more are thoughtfully analyzed, with the various writers explaining the impact and importance each movie discussed has had on cinema as a larger whole. Some movies get a page, others have two or three, but all are written about in such a way that you immediately want to sit down and watch them.
The Peanuts Book is a different puppy entirely, but still falls into the series of titles. I love Peanuts. Always have, always will, and I’m always interested in books that give you an insight into the history and creation of the strip. Written by Simon Beecroft and featuring an introduction by Stephen Colbert, The Peanuts Book does an excellent job of delving into Charles M. Schulz’s history, both personal and professional. The Peanuts Book contains character sections, features on iconic moments and ongoing gags (Snoopy’s Happy Dance, for example), while also exploring the impact Peanuts had, not just on the comic strip industry, but on pop culture as a whole. It’s a great book to curl up with on Christmas morning as the Vince Guaraldi Trio play on your speakers.
Finally, The Star Wars Book may not have the latest happenings from The Mandalorian featuring you-know-who showing up, but it is a clear and concise way of learning all about who’s who and what’s what in that particular galaxy. The new canon is included so you’ve got content from the movies, the animated series, books and Marvel Comics all in one place. For newcomers to the force, this is a pretty great and easily accessible read.
Marvel Greatest Comics: 100 Comics That Built A Universe (DK)
Writers: Melanie Scott and Stephen “Win” Wiacek
Speaking of Marvel, I’m not “saying” Marvel Great Comics will cause one of those family fights that we all want to avoid over the holidays, but drilling down the 100 greatest comics in the history of Marvel is a dicey proposition that could lead to great debate. Luckily, the authors and the gathered panelists do a solid job stating the case for why the various books contained on this list make the grade. Wisely, the comics are ordered chronologically so nobody can get into a battle about issue placements. Because that would be far from festive.
Meanwhile, Myths And Legends is an excellent look at the history and impact other stories and cultures have had on Marvel Comics, an impact which then trickles down into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Like every other title in this feature, Myths And Legends looks great, with an exceptionally gorgeous cover courtesy of Tom Whalen. I especially like just how current this book is as well, with Knull, who is part of the current King in Black Marvel event getting his due in here.
So there you have it – books to choose from. On that note, I wish you happy holidays, happy reading, and wear a mask!