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by Mike Schiller

17 Dec 2008

All dolled up for the holidays, too.

All dolled up for the holidays, too.

All right, I suppose it’s possible that the title up there is insulting your intelligence, and you’re already fully aware of the great game writing and tightly-knit forum scene going on over at The Escapist.  Truly, it’s become one of the most essential gaming sites out there, and if you’re still just going there to look for the video with the yellow background and the guy with the sweet hat, get your weekly dose of profanity-laced insight, and leave, you’re missing out.

Combining a set of weekly features that all revolve around a common theme with daily editorials and reviews, The Escapist is one of a growing number of sites that are treating games as something more than simple diversions.  Founded by Alexander Macris (himself a Harvard Law grad), The Escapist has a way of finding angles at which to look at games that we didn’t even know existed.

As it so happens, L.B. Jeffries has the cover story over there this week, which obviously makes this the perfect time to check it out.

by Sarah Zupko

17 Dec 2008

London is a sumptuous limited edition book of revealing and engaging photography of one of the world’s great cities. Taking in the high spots as well as capturing the pulse of life in the metropolis, this is what the coffee table was designed for. Bryant’s photography captures the full range of life and expression in this iconic city: from the quiet lanes, private gardens and architectural detail of beautiful old buildings to industrial zones, marketplaces, pubs, galleries, parks and the tube. It’s an illuminating and stunning look at the grand old city. As an extra bonus, this book is a limited to an edition of 5,000 and comes with a numbered photographic print of Tower Bridge signed by the photographer.

AMAZON

by Karen Zarker

17 Dec 2008

Part travel literature, part cultural criticism, part humor chronicle, part graphic art, the reputable Guy Delisle (Pyongyang (2007) and Shenzhen (2006) –- English language versions) has done it again: capturing the entire experience of expat life –- complete with family –- in a region far from home. While his wife works in Pyongyang (formerly Burma) for Doctors Without Borders (her work being the catalyst for his far flung travels), Delisle takes his artful view of everyday life (and the baby, too) for daily strolls into cultural and physical environs far different from his own. His natural curiosity, respect and ease with people transcends difference. Upon return to wherever he’s staying -– often without electricity and other luxuries –- he applies intellectual compassion to the stories conveyed in pictures with words, here and there, as needed. People who like travel writing and cultural reporting will find themselves surprisingly taken by this and all of Delisle’s graphic fiction books, wherein panel after panel conveys a wealth of meaning and provides valid documentation of a time and place.

AMAZON

by Karen Zarker

17 Dec 2008

“Holiday spirits. High spirits. Alcoholic spirits. ‘Tis the season for much spiritedness! In the spirit of extending the rest-of-the-year happy hour into a happy, oh, week or two with the help of some delicious, chemical-aided happiness PopMatters highly recommends these two books for the holiday season and for many, many days beyond, as the spirit (tee hee) moves you. Start with a classy selection of cocktail classics with The Essential Cocktail. Here you’ll find none of that overly sweet, headache-inducing stuff found in every-bar, America, but rather time-tested cocktails replete with anecdotal history lessons right next to the recipes that are in themselves far more informative than just ““2 parts xx to 1 part xx”“. I eagerly await my first foray into mixing Angostura bitters ‘just right’ with this book to guide me. 

‘Tis not good to drink on an empty stomach. Best to sop up the above cocktails with booze-infused foods from Peterson’s Holiday Helper.  Pumpkin pie with Amaretto? Why not? Chicken broth with vodka? I’ll give it a shot. Funny little vignettes about scenarios at office parties and scenes of house-bound, wound-up hyper kids on school holiday blink like Christmas lights from page to page. Whomever hosts parties inspired by these books, be prepared to have guests stay the night on the couch, in the bathtub, on the kitchen floor…”

The Essential Cocktail: The Art of Mixing Perfect Drinks
Peterson’s Holiday Helper: Festive Pick-Me-Ups, Calm-Me-Downs, and Handy Hints to Keep You in Good Spirits

by Karen Zarker

17 Dec 2008

“There is poetry in the Rand McNally Atlas and wonder in the back rooms and basements of a thousand local archives and historical societies…”, writes Matt Weiland, co-editor of this anthology. So, too, lyrical prose of varying rhythm and timbre is composed in 50 entries from 50 writers here—each penning an entry about a different state in the Union. But unlike historical archives, these are not encyclopedic entries about, say, North Dakota (although there is a little bit of encyclopedic trivia provided at the beginning of each chapter). For example, who better to write about North Dakota than Louise Erdrich? The paucity of humans in this state, she writes, is “incredibly refreshing”.  Erdrich’s name alone evokes a feeling about place, particularly this place, that one instantly understands from her literary point of view. Vermont’s entry is entirely penned in a cartoon strip by (quick—guess) Alison Bechdel. And she captures it perfectly. Weiland and Wilsey have done a masterful job of casting writer to State; each writer’s style evokes perfectly the state-of-mind, if you will, of the State they are assigned.

AMAZON

//Mixed media
//Blogs

The Specter of Multiplayer Hangs Over 'Door Kickers'

// Moving Pixels

"Door Kickers is not a multiplayer game, but for a while there, I couldn’t tell the difference.

READ the article