The Cocktail Companion

This thorough “guide to cocktail history, culture, trivia, and favorite drinks”, as the subtitle has it, is comprehensive. It’s full of useful and interesting information — maybe too much. It’s a shame that the presentation isn’t as professional as the content. The Cocktail Companion by Cheryl Charming is laid out as though it was printed from web pages. It’s a larger-sized paperback, and it’s a chore to read. Given the page width, columns would have been preferred to the full-width […]

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Interview With Robert Shearman, Author of Dalek

Out this week in the UK, next month in the US, are a new set of Doctor Who novelizations. Target originally published Doctor Who script adaptations from 1973-1993. BBC Books took up the mantle again with five key episodes from the relaunched series in 2018. This new set, called the Target Collection, consists of seven books: The Witchfinders by Joy Wilkinson, who also wrote the script for this 13th Doctor episode; this is the first novel with the current Doctor […]

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You’re Strong, Smart and You Got This

Couldn’t we all use more support for our mental health these days? I’ve been getting a regular dose of encouragement from The Latest Kate, a mailing list by Kate Allan that provides a daily message with a cute colorful animal drawing and an inspirational saying. It may seem silly, but I’ve found it a thoughtful pick-me-up. Allan’s newest book, You’re Strong, Smart and You Got This: Drawings, Affirmations and Comfort to Help With Anxiety and Depression, collects a number of […]

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Bond Vs. Bond: The Many Faces of 007

Released almost a year ago, Bond Vs. Bond: The Many Faces of 007 is an updated reissue timed to tie into what was going to be the release of the 25th James Bond movie, No Time to Die. Obviously, what with the shutdown of movie theaters, that didn’t happen, but the book is still here. I was looking forward to it as a retrospective on one of the most famous characters in British popular culture. It is that, but it’s […]

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LyricPop Picture Books Turn Songs Into Kids’ Stories

We’ve had kids’ books based on movie and TV shows. Now, in the next step for parents wanting to keep their pop culture front and center in their kids’ lives, Akashic Books has launched the LyricPop line of children’s picture books. The lyrics of classic pop songs — including Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop“, the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations“, Otis Redding’s “Respect“, The Go-gos’ “We Got the Beat“, and (most amusingly to me) Dee Snider’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” — […]

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Holly Jolly: Celebrating Christmas Past in Pop Culture

Review by KC Carlson Holly Jolly: Celebrating Christmas Past in Pop Culture is a really fun book, especially since it’s designed very well, with lots of great (and possibly long-forgotten) graphics starring such Festive Folks as Babar the Elephant, Gumby and Pokey, Santa Claus (and his helper, Batman. Wha…?), Frank Sinatra, a whole gaggle of Scrooges, I Love Lucy, Linus and Charlie Brown (of course), and what seems like hundreds of other touchstone holiday characters. It’s written by Mark Voger, […]

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The Weirdness of Seeing a Mention You Forgot: Chicks Dig Time Lords and Torchwood Fandom

In my continuing habit of rediscovering fandoms about ten years after the fact, I started reading Chicks Dig Time Lords, a 2010 collection of short essays by women in the Doctor Who fandom. It’s a pretty neat, thorough overview, and it gave me some ideas of conventions to aim for once that’s a possibility again. (I also discovered that the fan internet hangout around this time was LiveJournal.) But what really struck me was getting to the piece by Tammy […]

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Comics Will Break Your Heart

It’s a famous phrase, at least amongst comic creators. “Comics will break your heart,” reportedly said Jack Kirby, expressing how many people love and are hurt by a tough business with little room for success. It’s also the title of a comic-centered teen romance novel by incredibly productive and talented cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks. (I previously wrote about a few of her inspirations for the story.) It’s a great choice, as Hicks uses the kind of background fans are familiar […]

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