The beginning of February is the perfect time of year to release media of all shapes and sizes for a number of reasons. Namely, it's because half of the country is bound to be snowed in and with nothing to do at some point during the month. There is nothing worse than getting a snow day away from work and then realizing you have nothing to do, forcing you to watch soap operas and eat stale bread, or worse, do something productive. We'd venture a guess a good lot of you are going to be stuck inside for the day, so if you're looking for something fresh to read or new to watch, we've got you covered.
5. Swamplandia! by Karen Russell Karen Russell is a a rising star these days, with stories featured in The New Yorker, The Best American Short Stories and more, on top of a few best-of list nods from the National Book Foundation and the New Yorker. Thankfully, it appears her content is up to snuff with the hype; Swamplandia! is equal parts fantasy, horror, coming-of-age novel and literary fiction. The story follows Ava Bigtree, a 13-year-old trying to fill her dead mother's shoes as an alligator wrestler while a giant corporation seems hell-bent on destroying that same dream. That's just the start -- it manages to get weirder as it goes on.
4. Let Me In (DVD, Blu-Ray) Let Me In is the American remake of Let the Right One In, and while we haven't a clue why they shortened the title, the film manages to be faithful to the original. We're kind of wondering why Hollywood even bothered with this one, but there is still a lot to gain from watching the movie, which is easily one of the most horrifying, engrossing vampire movies of the last decade. Honestly, the original is far superior just because it happened first, but if you're too lazy to read subtitles, Let Me In makes a fine substitute.
3. Never Let Me Go (DVD, Blu-Ray) Based on Kazuo Ishiguro's fantastic novel, Never Let Me Go is one of the few science fiction movies that can appeal to people outside of the genre's usual fans. That's mostly due to the fact it's not presented as science fiction for the bulk of it, instead relying on the usual mainstays of good fiction; the book had a precise, measured, oftentimes tedious plot, but the film dispenses with much of the tedium while retaining the essence of the novel. It's well worth watching and will certainly leave you in a far more depressed mood than when you started.
2. Captain America Omnibus by Jack Kirby Captain America has been through some of the kookiest plotlines of all the comic book superheroes. He's fought off Nazis, aliens, zombies and more, but it was Jack Kirby's stint between issues 193 through 214 that best rounded out what Captain America stood for. That's what makes this collection so interesting: It's a behemoth of a book, coming in at 568 pages, and it runs through the aforementioned issues as well as a couple annuals and more. It's the best collection of the most ridiculous, but emblematic, of the Captain America legacy.
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1. Endgame by Frank Brady It's too bad Bobby Fischer ended his life by being absolutely insane. He was a brilliant, enigmatic young genius who unfortunately turned into crazed anti-semitic, anti-American loon by the end of his life. Endgame captures all of that with relative even-handedness, looking closely at Fischer's early life and rise to fame and his downfall in equal parts. It's a classic tale of a self-destructive genius with all the plot twists and emotional turns of a Hollywood classic; the only difference is, it's entirely true.