Monday, July 27, 2015

What I'm Reading: Roundup

Hitlers letzte Tage or in English, the Last Days of Hitler, a truly classic account of the last months of the Nazi regime by H.R. Trevor-Roper. It's been a long while since I've read a book in German, and this is probably not the one I should have started back in with, as it's written in a very elevated, intellectual style. Getting through this is one reason I haven't been posting much here lately--this has monopolized my reading for much of the last few months. Endlessly fascinating, about how the last days of the war and the turning of the tide against Germany affected all the members of Hitler's inner circle. I've actually only gotten through about two-thirds of the book, but I'm going to put it aside for awhile.

Little Town on the Prairie I've been reading the Little House books to my six-year-old daughter for her bedtime stories over the past 18 months or so, and we're up to LTOTP, covering Laura Ingalls Wilder's life as she turns fifteen. This one is less interesting to me than some of the earlier ones, as it follows Laura's budding social life with the other girls her age in the small town of De Smet, North Dakota. Simply harder for me to get into the birthday parties and "sociables" that make up her evenings and weekends than the accounts of setting up a homestead in the wilderness in the earlier books. Still, even this one is packed full of details of interest to a modern reader--how the town celebrated American Independence Day (with lemonade and horse races), or what the new telegraph office looked like, or what jobs were available in a small town in 1881. My favorite remains Little House on the Prairie, with the Banks of Plum Creek a close second.

Silver Surfer I've recently filled in the couple issues I'm missing from the first dozen issues of the Silver Surfer's 1987 series, written by Steve Englehart and drawn exquisitely by Marshall Rogers, and am re-reading them now that I have the missing pieces. This was after a long period when the Silver Surfer had been exiled to Earth after betraying his former master, Galactus, which frankly made his earlier comics fairly boring. In the first issue of this series, though, he manages to escape the Earth's atmosphere, setting in motion the sort of galactic space adventures he should have been having all along. In these issues, he gets involved in a war between the galaxy-spanning empires of the Kree and the Skrulls, he tangles with a race of ancient space gods known as the Elders, and he acquires a girlfriend of sorts in Mantis, a half-plant half-human woman who can communicate with plant-life on any world she travels to with the Surfer. Highly entertaining and beautiful art. I don't think this is quite in the very highest tier of Marvel comics ever published, but it's certainly at the top of the second rank.

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