With too many solid book releases to count this week, picking just a few was difficult. But with a biography on the recently deceased Steve Jobs, a new novel from Haruki Murakami, and a special re-release of a children's classic, there should be something for everyone. We also have a few incredibly geektastic DVD releases, including Attack the Block, which seems like it was in theaters just a few weeks ago, and some great games and comics to round out the weekly paycheck splurge.
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
For those who want to drop some conspiracy theory nonsense, lets clear one thing up real quick: this book was originally slated for a late November release, but was pushed up after Steve Jobs died earlier this month. The biography should be illuminating for a lot of reasons, but the most important one, where he got all those sweaters, is what we're most looking forward to. While it will be interesting to read about his business process and mentality, its Job's day-to-day life that should be most fascinating.
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
Haruki Murakami has long been lauded as one of the great novelists of the last thirty years. His books, from The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle to Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World can be found on nearly every 20-something's book shelf, but his newest, 1Q84 might put off the fly-by-nighters based on its lack of brevity alone. Clocking in at 944 pages, this is a tomb of weirdness, as Murakami sets his story in Tokyo in 1984. Playing off Orwell's novel on its themes, not everything in this novel is as it seems and in typical Murakami fashion, things get a little magical. World's unravel, dimensions are broken and a dystopic vision is realized, and that's just on the first few pages.
The Phantom Tollbooth 50th Anniversary Edition by Norton Juster
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Hands down, Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth is one of the greatest children's novels off all time. It seems to have disappeared a bit from the collective consciousness over recent years though, which is why it's nice to see it getting a lovely looking 50th anniversary edition. Along with the wonderful tale of Milo venturing into the Lands Beyond, essays from authors and educators, including Maurice Sendak, Philip Pullman, Suzanne Collins, and more will accompany the book. If you've never read it before or you've forgotten about it, this your chance to pick up a great expanded edition of it.
Attack the Block
Attack the Block struggled to get much grounding in the U.S., but the film, which was written and directed by Joe Cornish, is well worth seeing if you're a fan of science fiction, horror or simple, goofy pop-culture films. Taking place in a South London slum, the film follows the story of a few teenage punks as they battle it out with aliens. It's more of an homage to the cheesy B-rated films of the past than anything else, but coming from the perspective of one of the minds behind the likes of Shaun of the Dead, it's a surprisingly solid experience, even if half the slang is incomprehensible.
Captain America: The First Avenger
Considering they're churning these out by the baker's dozen these days, there's a chance Captain America: The First Avenger is going to be the last decent super hero movie for a while. Maybe we're wrong, but as far as we can tell, all these films are starting to blend together a little. Thankfully, Captain America is about as over-the-top as it should be and doesn't seem to take itself too seriously throughout. After all, it's about an American hero who gets a super-soldier serum so he can beat the crap out of a variety of enemies -- it can't be too serious.
Battlefield 3 (PC, Xbox 360, PS3)
For those who like a good man-shooter, you're not going to get much better than Battlefield 3 this year. The series has defined itself by offering gigantic maps with plenty of vehicles to use and it continues here. There hasn't been much positive feedback on the single player campaign, but for those who like to take their gaming online, this is one of the better options. It's a bit more tactical and refined then most shooters and requires actual communication between squad members, so be sure you can talk some friends into purchasing it as well, otherwise you'll get stuck with a 12-year-old kid who's way better than you.
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De Profundis by James Jarvis
It has been five years since British illustrator and toy designer James Jarvis' last book, and De Produndis looks to be worth the wait. It follows the story of an artist who encounters a mysterious being who commissions him to paint the inside of a temple to unnamed gods. As you'd expect, things start to get a bit weird, and Jarvis strings his character along through many trials throughout the short book. Jarvis might be better known these days for his vinyl figures, but he's an illustrator first and foremost, and it shines in De Produndis.