SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — Working in the news industry has kept me busier than I had been before the coronavirus pandemic. That's not a complaint, I enjoy a certain sense of security that many of my family and friends in the entertainment industry are sorely missing. I miss seeing movies in theaters and the occasional night out for some live theater. I also miss the peace and calm that I feel while sitting, escaping this world for another in a book.
With Father's Day approaching and the idea of sitting under a shady tree in the park a reasonable possibility, I took a look at the Spring and Summer Collections from The Folio Society and picked out a few new titles that were either books that I would like to own or give away to the fathers and father figures that I know.
Being a film fanatic, I'm very aware of Arthur C. Clarke's contribution to the sci-fi genre, but I've never actually read one of his books. I need to remedy that and "Rendezvous with Rama," a story set in 2130 about a group of scientist who set out to investigate a mysterious object that has entered our solar system. Initially believed to be an asteroid, photo evidence proves otherwise. The Folio Society edition includes an introduction by John Clute, co-editor and contributor to "The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction" since 1979. The book's striking illustrations are provided by Matt Griffin, an artist who has worked with film studios like Lucasfilm and Warner Bros. and book publishers Penguin and HarperCollins.
Before I embarked on a career focus in film criticism (that has somehow morphed into also working "hard news"), I wrote a monthly music column for a local publication and worked in a music store. Between the two jobs, I would from time to time step outside of my comfort zone to explore the history and evolution of music. "Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock 'n' Roll Music" was something of a touchstone as Greil Marcus explores Americana and the early days of rock 'n' roll. This new edition features an updated discography and expanded notes from Marcus. David Bowie was a fan, how could I not be?
The films and television series inspired by Pierre Boulle's "Planet of the Apes" played a big part in my childhood. The book? Well, it was something called "La Planète des singes" and I'd yet to learn how to read French. Actually, my relationship with sci-fi was rather different then. I wasn't interested in the books; I was captivated by the films they inspired. The Folio Society's edition has been translated by Xan Fielding, includes an introduction from respected primatologist Frans de Waal and striking illustrations by David de las Heras.
Last year The Folio Society released "Marvel: The Golden Age 1939-1949," a book so beautifully packaged that I'd recommend to anyone interested in comics, book design and publishing in general. I've owned a variety of hardcover comic collections, none of them felt like actual works of art. This one does. The second volume, "Marvel: The Silver Age 1960–1970" is equally impressive.
This set includes legendary issues featuring The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, Daredevil, The Mighty Thor, The Avengers and X-Men. They've faithfully reproduced "Fantastic Four" #1 and included a print from contemporary Marvel artist Paolo Rivera. Until I track down a first edition of "Tender is the Night," these Marvel releases will likely be the crown jewels of my collection.
Elmore Leonard's "Get Shorty" made for an entertaining film starring John Travolta (his first film following "Pulp Fiction") as Miami loan shark Ernesto "Chili" Palmer. Palmer finds himself in Hollywood, trying to produce a film with no real understanding of the process. Despite its ridiculous ideas, Leonard's tale isn't nearly as far-fetched as you might think. The film industry is often stranger than the films they make.
I went through a golfing phase prior to being a teenager. I had little skill and tended to hack at the ball with a 3-iron club regardless of the distance to the green. I have a trophy from a scramble competition that probably has more to do with my cousin than it does with me. That said, I know a lot of people who love golf and its history and when it comes to writing about golf, few, if any, match P. G. Wodehouse's ability to capture the joy and humor of the sport. "The Clicking of Cuthbert" is a collection of some of Wodehouse's short stories with illustrations by Paul Cox.
Because of my movie roots, I was introduced to Lee Child's character Jack Reacher via the film starring Tom Cruise (enjoyed the first, was disappointed with the second). I think it is about time I go to the source material as The Folio Society is releasing an illustrated version of Child's "Killing Floor" with art by Oliver Barrett. "Killing Floor" is where it all began.
George R. R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series was the inspiration behind HBO's "Game of Thrones." Last year, The Folio Society published an elegant edition of "A Game of Thrones." Now the second book, "A Clash of Kings" is available in a hardcover edition with new illustrations from Folio favorite Jonathan Burton.