Kevin Smith films, Spiderman, Comi-Con, and Seth Cohen on The O.C. have all brought nerds some street cred. This book explores the geek-dom of Japanese popular culture. Anime, video games and Manga (Japanese comics and graphic novels) are chronicled, discussed and defined in this encyclopedia. Otaku, the Japanese word for “geek” or “nerd”, is now just another word for awesome. This guide is perfect for a whole slew of people on your Christmas list: anyone interested in fashion, video games, comics, travel, Japan, movies, anime, anthropology, or humor will thoroughly enjoy this paperback.
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A great book for the grown-up punk, or anyone who just likes to read about the darker side of life. Bunny Munro is a traveling salesman with charisma, a drinking habit, drugs on hand, and a nine-year-old son hitting the road to escape his wife’s recent suicide. As the titles suggests, this trip turns into a downward spiral of bad decision making, great entertainment. Do not gift this to anyone who enjoys Oprah Book Club selections. Give this to the guy that sympathized with the protagonists in Camus’ The Stranger.
For those too-cool-for-school travelers who wouldn’t be caught dead in public with a guidebook or a map, Phaidon has the solution to save such poor souls from wandering aimlessly not knowing where to visit or what to do. The slim Wallpaper guides look like a classy old paperback fiction novel and are thin enough to fit in a small pocket. Focusing on the essentials for the urban traveler and targeted at hip cities like London, New York, Milan and others, this $10 volume is both a nice stocking stuffer and a handy accessory for newbies to any of the cities covered in the series.
In a tucked away corner of Iraq, a community of Kurdish Jews live such an isolated existence that they speak the language of Jesus, Aramaic. Ariel Sabar’s father called this place home before moving to Los Angeles as a professor. Sabar travels back to his father’s homeland in search of his own heritage and identity. Part linguistic exploration, part history lesson and part memoir, the Sabars’ tale lends another, oft-overlooked dimension to the story of the Iraqi people.
GraphJam.com was founded in February 2008 with one mission: to rescue pie charts, Venn diagrams, decision trees, and other graphs from the terminal boredom of the office. Why should accountants and actuaries have all the fun? GraphJam succeeded online, with a whole community of interpreters of pop culture via the graph chart springing up, breathing new life into PowerPoint and Excel. Now you can have the best of the lot to date in hand, between these pages. Using line graphs, pie charts, Venn- diagrams, and pictographs Graph Outloud dissects popular culture in amusing ways you’ve probably never considered, before. They’re a bit of a puzzle, with a laugh at the end. Thankfully, someone charted out how much of Jesus’ love Mrs. Robinson will actually know versus how much love He actually has. It’s all there, very clear, in the chart.
// Notes from the Road
"Cage the Elephant rocked two sold-out nights at Summerstage and return to NYC for a free show May 29th. Info on that and a preview of the full Summerstage schedule is here.READ the article