|Essays on Existentialism by Jean-Paul Sartre|
I just finished this book at lunch today. It's a series of Sarte's essays on existentialist philosophy. I've never actually studied philosophy in any formal sense, so I'll admit it was a bit of a slog and a lot of his references to other philosophers went over my head. But it still proved to be a fascinating work, and provided me with, I think, a better understanding of existentialist thought.
I've been watching the old TV show featuring Robert Culp and Bill Cosby on Hulu. I'd never seen it before and had been meaning to catch up with it for at least a year and a half. I have several reasons for watching: 1) to see Culp in his heyday, 2) to see Cosby do something other than comedy, 3) to get a better cultural sense of what progressive meant in the 1960s. I'm most of the way through season one now, and have been enjoying it largely based on the interplay between Culp and Cosby. Culp's recent passing finally prompted me to start watching.
My folks lent me their set of these DVDs back around Christmas and I just started getting around to watching them a few weeks back. I'm not a big fan of mystery stories, generally, and the characters don't aren't particularly relateable for me. But the actors do a good job, and I'm actually quite intrigued by the WWII background information. Being an American, I got very little formal education about that time period (our social studies classes tended to end right around WWI) and what I have picked up on my own is very American-centric. The English perspective, while I understand is fictionalized here, provides me a better sense of what things must have been like for that country at the time. I just started the third season of this.
|Jackie Ormes: The First African American Woman Cartoonist by Nancy Goldstein|
A lot of what I read that isn't comics still relates back to comics. This biography is interesting in that I know very little about newspaper cartoonists from the first half of the 20th century, and next to nothing about the concerns and issue of African Americans in that period. And, yeah, I'm never going to really know what it must have been like but it does help provide perspective. Much like Foyle's War provides some perspective on England in the early 1940s. I want to be able to sympathize here, not just empathize. I'm sure I'll be finished with this by the weekend.
|Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography by David Michaelis|
I stumbled across an audio book version in Barnes & Noble about a month ago. I hadn't realized they had recorded it. I listen to NPR as I drive back and forth to work every day, but I play audio books when I'm on longer trips, so I haven't actually listened to this since Memorial Day weekend and, then, I only got so far as getting Sparky through high school! But I'll jump back into it over Independence Day weekend here in a few weeks.
|Thundarr the Barbarian|
Believe it or not, I'm actually watching these for research. My next column for The Jack Kirby Collector will focus on the villains in Thundarr, many of which were designed by Kirby. (The protagonists all came from Alex Toth.) It's been interesting to see the Kirby influence that I didn't pick up on as a kid. It's also striking to see how the Toth and Kirby designs interplay so well, while some of the tertiary characters seem so amazingly crude and out-of-place. I still have about half the episodes to watch yet.
|A Wealth of Fable by Harry Warner, Jr.|
This is a history of science fiction fandom of the 1950s, a follow-up to All Our Yesterdays which took sci-fi fandom up to that point. Not surprisingly, there's a great deal of crossover with comic book fandom, hence my interest. I've actually been looking for a copy of this book for a while now, and just found a reasonably priced copy not too long ago. Which arrived in the mail today!
And, yes, the one current TV show I watch is Doctor Who. I started watching back when the Tom Baker episodes were being played on my local PBS station and, despite it scaring the crud out of me at times, I absolutely loved. David Tennant did a marvelous job, but I'm not too keen on Matt Smith. Besides Baker and Tennant, Sylvester McCoy and William Hartnell rank as some of my favorite actors to play the title character. I think I've seen just about all the episodes, except those older ones that the BBC destroyed several years ago.
Anyway, that's what I'm looking at when I'm not reading or writing about comics. Anything else that I should keep an eye out for?