Archive for the Books Category

Release Dates: 2017 Edition

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Books, Games, Lists, Movies, Music, Street Fighter, Tolkien, Uncharted on March 3, 2017 by slateman

The usual ‘post so I can check back and remember’ release-date listing! This is for my interests only, really. I should mention it’s been a good start, with a great Kreator record and a solid outing for Overkill. RE7 was a spectacular game as well. However, I’ll be honest, I don’t see 2017 as being a tremendous year. There’s no major music on the horizon and movies??? That’s kind of frustrating. Surely something will be announced at E3, right?

Today: The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
07 Mar: The Americans (Season 5)
29 Mar: Proof Set 2017
14 Apr: Dimmu Borgir – Forces Of The Northern Night
16 Apr: The Leftovers (Season 3 – Final Season)
26 May: Bloodline (Season 3)
30 May: House Of Cards (Season 5)
01 Jun: J.R.R. Tolkien – The Tale Of Beren And Lúthien
23 Jun: Emperor/Slayer in Norway
30 Jun: Vintersorg – Till Fjälls Del II
xx Jul: Wintersun – The Forest Seasons
22 Aug: Uncharted 4: The Lost Legacy
19 Sep: Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite
31 Oct: Stranger Things
15 Dec: Star Wars: Episode 8 – The Last Jedi

Other Records
–A Perfect Circle
–Arch Enemy
–The Black Dahlia Murder
–Dimmu Borgir
–The Haunted
–Satyricon
–Skeletonwitch?

Other Shows?
–Taboo (Season 2?)
–Westworld (Season 2 – 2018)
–The OA (Season 2 ordered)

Astonishing X-Men: Excellent!

Posted in Artwork, Blog, Books with tags on December 3, 2016 by slateman

tmp_13683-51gm7_awvzl-_sy344_bo1_204_203_200_-1486351120I stopped reading comics probably about 15 years ago. To be honest, after Joe Madureira, almost every other artist was just a let-down. I wouldn’t say I outgrew comics but I did just simply stop reading. And, I sold almost my entire collection this past spring while cleaning house to prep for my move. Sure, I saved all my Battle Chasers and Street Fighter comics, but all my beloved X-Men comics went.

And now, without home broadband (how primitive!) I’ve been frequenting the local library often. It’s the most spectacular library I’ve ever been to! I’ve been able to rent games like Diablo III and obviously the book collection is vast. However, there is an entire room dedicated to games, comics and the like. There are three TVs with consoles hooked up and, unsurprisingly, people gather to play football games every day. But I saw a huge hardcover collection of Astonishing X-Men and decided to take a peek. The art was pretty cool. It’s written by Josh Whedon. The team is a cool one (Beast, Emma Frost, Wolverine, Shadowcat and Cyclops (and later Colossus)). And as I started going through it, it felt a bit more mature. Not that comics are reserved for the young, but it was emotionally more mature. The story felt real and practical despite the supernatural. The urgency didn’t feel forced. The strained relationships between Logan and Scott, Emma and Kitty were as if I’d stepped right back into an old, yet oh-so-familiar pair of shoes. It was darker but still honored the 50-year tradition of my favorite heroes. And…really…I never read much outside of the X-Men. Never liked any DC comics…not Batman or Superman or anyone. Never liked Spider-Man, The Hulk or The Avengers, despite the recent successes of the movies. Nope, it was always just the X-Men and halfway through this monster of a book, I’m totally sold. My love for Stan Lee’s creation never waned. While I certainly won’t be returning to buying books weekly, this has been a fun and compelling read and one that, forgive me, astonished me. I truly have enjoyed reading this as much as I have looking at it. And one major reason is its minimalism. Every page is not riddled with bubbles of conversation. Just as often things are left unsaid which genuinely makes them feel more powerful. The comic medium is art in itself and John Cassaday has done a remarkable job. I’d buy this book…if it weren’t like $120.

Release List: 2016’s Final Quarter

Posted in Blog, Books, DoDon Pachi, Games, Music, Resident Evil, Tolkien on October 21, 2016 by slateman

I had this as part of my first post in Sweden, but it keeps growing and I thought a separate post would do. This is a quick list of what’s coming out throughout the remainder of 2016 (and a little beyond). What was initially a rather lackluster year has turned out to be quite exciting, for music at least. Insomnium and Alcest just released stellar records and some promising ones are on the horizon. Gaming, however, seems a bit stagnant. Anyways, here’s the list:

Oct 11 – Rise Of The Tomb Raider
Oct 13 – Rez Infinite
Oct 14 – DoDonPachi: Daifukkatsu
Oct 23 – The Walking Dead (Season 7)
Oct 28 – Testament: Brotherhood Of The Snake
Oct 31 – Council Estate Electronics: Arktika
Nov 03 – J.R.R. Tolkien: The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun
Nov 04 – Dark Tranquillity: Atoma
Nov 11 – In Flames: Battles
Nov 18 – Metallica: Hardwired…To Self-Destruct
Nov 18 – Lamb Of God: The Duke
Nov 23 – Alcest @ Pustervikbaren
Nov 25 – Einherjer: Dragons Of The North XX
Nov 25 – Witchery: In His Infernal Majesty’s Service
Nov 29 – Anne Rice: Prince Lestat & The Realms Of Atlantis
Nov 29 – Final Fantasy XV
Nov 30 – Vikings (Season 4 – pt 2)
Dec 16 – Amon Amarth @ Lisebergshallen
Jan 01 – Sherlock (Season 4)
Jan 15 – Homeland (Season 6)
Jan 24 – Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Feb ?? – Overkill: The Grinding Wheel
Mar ?? – Nintendo Switch
May 04 – J.R.R. Tolkien: Beren and Lúthien
Autumn – Red Dead Redemption 2

Kullervo – More Money

Posted in Blog, Books, Tolkien on August 16, 2015 by slateman

Kullervo
By the time Kullervo is released in 2016, it’ll have been 43 years since my beloved JRR Tolkien passed away. I can say his best work was posthumous; The Silmarillion is my favorite book of all time. However, every year I’m duped into buying something…and Kullervo will prove no different. Christopher Tolkien’s last two publications, The Fall Of Arthur and Beowulf were both short on content, long on essays and neither were particularly compelling reads. They look great on my bookshelf. I enjoy having them in my collection, but I don’t love either and I never finished The Legend Of Sigurd & Gudrun. Now, The Children Of Húrin is great, but I’d read most of it in both my favorite book and in Unfinished Tales.

So, while Kullervo’s concept sounds nice, we cannot forget it was written 100 years ago. Tolkien’s works from that time, such as The Book Of Lost Tales (1 and 2) are not my favorite. I’ll admit I look forward to this tragic tale. However, I’ll keep my expectations in check.

Now Reading: Prince Lestat!

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Books on October 31, 2014 by slateman

lestatAfter voraciously tearing through the first three Vampire Chronicles books, I was very disappointed with numbers four and five. The next half-decade would provide me with plenty to digest as the New Vampires novels focused on the historical side of the preternatural world, my favorite! I stopped after Merrick and Blood And Gold and thoroughly enjoyed both. That was over 10 years ago.

When Rice merged the world of vampires and witches I lost some interest (though, again, Merrick was phenomenal!) and I never read the Blackwood Farm titles. However, now, after abandoning this world, another tale of our brat-prince appears and I couldn’t be more enthusiastic. Only 40 pages in and I’m bathing in the glory of Rice’s words. She paints such vivid pictures of landscapes, sights & smells, the human/inhuman condition. It’s evident a decade has passed though. The layout has changed to meet George RR Martin’s style. The need for a glossary (Blood Argot, as she calls it) appeases the newcomers who may have grown up on the nu-vampire trends. The topics of science and technology contrast her histories spanning the millennia. However, Rice is as colorful here as ever and the story so far has gripped me. Plenty of familiar names and ‘oh! I recall that!’ type moments. Truly psyched to have this (and another evidently in the pipeline! Now…to get back to it!!!

The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug Poster

Posted in Blog, Books, Movies, Tolkien with tags , on June 16, 2013 by slateman

hobbit2-posterWhile The Lord Of The Rings was truly a cinematic event, I find The Hobbit films to be more of a fun jaunt. I’m psyched about the remaining two, but they certainly don’t have that epic grandeur that the LOTR films did. That’s OK, because the book was just a fun, lighthearted adventure. So, I’m quite looking forward to the film this December and here’s a poster for it. Sorry for no updates in a long time. Not like anyone is reading anyways!

Review: The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey

Posted in Books, Movies, Reflection, Reviews, Tolkien, Video with tags on December 28, 2012 by slateman

poster-gandalfIn the 1990s I started reading Tolkien. In the 2000s, we were given the spectacular film conversions of The Lord Of The Rings. In the 2010s, we have another epic journey to embark upon.

I was so excited about this movie. In fact, no movie since Return Of The King had me so compelled to plunk down my cash and spend hours in a theater. Of course, in the ’90s I was young and now I’m riddled with responsibility. I think that’s what makes this more profound for me. Tolkien’s masterpieces follow us through our own epic journeys.

Perhaps this is all too dramatic, but as the New Line logo came and went, Howard Shore’s familiar tunes entered my ears and I returned to Middle Earth, it was so reassuring to see certain images on the screen precisely as I have seen them in my head for 15 years. It was all too amazing to see Erebor’s hoards of gold torn directly from the images my imagination conjured up.

While very few of the Dwarves really did the same for me, I loved their diversity (something hardly addressed in the book) and it was wonderful seeing Thorin change his opinion of Bilbo. Spanning three movies, I expected it to be slow. Martin Freeman’s portrayal of Bilbo was spot-on IMO, blundering yet innately brave, he was amazing. The scene with Gollum was another essentially identical to what I’d envisioned. I felt sadness for Smeagol, his pain and suffering. The meeting of Elrond, Gandalf, Galadriel and Saruman was total fiction, but for those of us who cared, it carried such weight. Thousands of years of knowledge, wisdom, power (and rings! All three elven rings, to be precise) all together in one meeting! And such a meeting in Rivendell for that matter! Again, it warmed my heart to return to this imaginary place. That may make no sense at all, but it was a remarkable feeling.

Dol Guldur, Radagast, Hobbiton, it was all great. I thought the Goblin King was too cheesy; I don’t understand the need to make him so goofy.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is no LotR. That’s quite fine by me. It is not without flaws but in so many ways it was exactly what I wanted…and needed. The Misty Mountains song was amazing and I’m posting Neil Finn’s version of Song of the Lonely Mountain below because it was so phenomenal.

I can’t wait to see it again…to see The Desolation Of Smaug in a year…to feel the sadness to leave Middle Earth like I did at the Grey Havens back in 2003. To say this is all more than just a movie, more than a book, more than just a passing interest would be to lie. And it’s all just begun. :D



The Hobbit: Trailer #2 – Getting Psyched!

Posted in Blog, Books, Movies, Tolkien, Video with tags on September 21, 2012 by slateman

This has been a pretty good week. The Yankees are playing last-place teams, which gives the sense of great success. I’m currently joy puking my face off. The Resident Evil 6 demo hit (thoughts soon) and a new trailer for The Hobbit has surfaced. I’m rather thrilled about all of these things but of course, I’m exceedingly excited to see what Peter Jackson has done with my beloved J.R.R. Tolkien novel.

I picked up Lord Of The Rings in the late 90s after a lifetime of desiring to read it. Considering my collection is massive (I should take a pic), it’s safe to say I love his stuff. I love the LotR film trilogy. Obviously I’m looking forward to The Hobbit.

The new trailer is exciting and gives a real glimpse of the light-hearted nature of the book. I’m curious to see Radagast, though through all my readings, I know (and care) rather little. The only real downside is knowing there are two other films, so Smaug and the massive Battle Of Five Armies aren’t shown. However, it also means that those two things should be given proper attention and not glossed over at all. Man…I’m even more psyched now that I got thinking about it! Definitely re-reading this soon, or, in the very least, listening to the audio book on the way to work. Less than three months!!!



The Hobbit Poster (100th Post)

Posted in Blog, Books, Movies, Tolkien with tags , on July 8, 2012 by slateman

The Hobbit (Pt 1)

Drooolll…

What I’m Reading: May 2012 Edition

Posted in Blog, Books, Game Of Thrones on May 13, 2012 by slateman

I most certainly do not have time to read as much as I’d like. It’s quite sad, as I used to read a ton. In my Tolkien days, I was out of control. However, even with four children, I try to find time here and there. Currently I’m reading three books. None are coming along too quickly…

Spoiler Free BTW.

Book #2

The first Hunger Games book was enthralling. It was not well-written, but for what it was, I loved it! All my students were reading it and so I grabbed it. It took me just a few days to tear through the tale of Katniss and Peeta. It was a pretty basic story but was compelling and a fun romp. Katniss was a likeable character and the buildup to the final climax was quite exciting. The final decision made against the Capital was something I didn’t see coming and made a sequel possible. I’ve been hesitant about Catching Fire but my students swear it’s great and while I’m only a few pages in, I look forward to getting back into the swing of things.

An English Classic


I have always wanted to read Beowulf. In fact, I’m embarrassed that I never got around to it. Seeing as how it is a classic and a basis of so many modern tales, it is a must. That it was a great influence on Tolkien really doesn’t hurt. As with Catching Fire, I have barely started this, but it doesn’t look to be a very long read. The Heaney translation came highly recommended and the illustrated edition is actually quite cool. Culling from all sorts of medieval artifacts, it really adds depth to the reading and gives contextual visuals to a world that is oh-so-different from what is familiar.

Book #1


After watching season 1, I was sold. I went out and grabbed this book on sale back in August and only got 200 pages into it. Unlike The Hunger Games, this is HEAVY reading. Even being familiar with the character, it was a struggle sometimes. However, it adds so much depth that the show can never capture. More than halfway into season 2, I’m noticing how lacking the show is on details. It’s not a negative, it’s a necessary part of making a TV show out of such a magnum opus! If I can get through this first book, I will surely get A Clash Of Kings. Until then, I have a lot of reading to catch up on!!!