Doug: I think it's been a long time since we've checked in with each other concerning what lies atop (or a'bottom for that matter) the reading pile. I know I never feel like I read enough, although at the end of any day I guess I've read quite a bit either in the context of work, checking Twitter a few times throughout the day, or a daily newspaper early in the evening. But in terms of some seriously dedicated reading, I always feel deficient. So in the interest of prying into your personal lives and interests, here goes:
Doug: Presently I find myself in the middle of no less than four books, and that's a lot of plates to be spinning for me. Academically, I'm a few chapters into Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder and Hitler's Beneficiaries by Gotz Aly. Both are quite interesting and each book fills in my knowledge for the purpose of my teaching but also in regard to my "summer job" at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Each of these books is engaging, and neither appears to be a slog to get through. I just seem to never find a decent run of time to dedicate to really digging into them with the attention that I need to give in order to truly internalize the material.
Doug: On the lighter side of fiction, I've mentioned a few times that I began A Princess of Mars over the summer. It really never grabbed me, and although close to 3/4 of the way through I am not very eager to return. I think I'd rather re-read The Return of Tarzan, or perhaps return to The Complete Chronicles of Conan. Those short stories were nice, and as we remarked earlier Robert E. Howard seems to stay away from some of the formulaic storytelling tropes employed by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I especially enjoy reading one of those short tales and then finding the adaptation in my first four volumes of Essential Savage Sword of Conan. It's great to see the words of REH set to the comic medium.
Doug: Comics-wise, you know I've been enjoying the Marvel Pocketbook edition of The Astonishing Ant-Man: Origins; the last story I read was the 3-parter with the Hulk that originally ran in Iron Man #s 131-133. David Michelinie, Jerry Bingham, and Bob Layton paid homage to Avengers #s 93 and 140 in IM #133. I've also returned to Ed Brubaker's Captain America, finishing the Red Menace: The Ultimate Collection and now well into The Death of Captain America: The Complete Collection. Brubaker's writing is simply excellent, and the cadre of artists who illustrated these stories are top shelf. I must declare that when I've sat down to read one of these trades I do not want to put it down. It is so entertaining. And there aren't a lot of comics that I read that are like that - page-turners. James Buchanan Barnes has really become a complex character for me, rather than the one-dimensional sidekick I'd previously believed him to be. We remarked about it earlier, but Brubaker has respectfully touched on elements of war that had been glossed over for decades. That Captain America never killed in WWII? Foolish, and Brubaker deals with that. Again, as we've said (we do have an abundance of conversations around here, don't we?) in the past, I will pass on the modern coloring for a brighter palette. But I don't let that kill my pleasure from soaking in the narrative. And I've come to employ a tactic encouraged by our friend Edo Bosnar -- in regard to the return of Bucky Barnes I just treat these as a sort of What If? or Elseworlds tale and leave it at that. I just want to find enjoyment without the continuity baggage, and Brubaker et. al accomplish that for me. I've also recently purchased the collections of Captain America: Reborn and The Winter Soldier (purchased in Lima, OH last Saturday). Once I'm done with this massive "Death of" trade, I'm hoping to get into my soon-to-arrive copy of The Monster of Frankenstein, Vol. I. I've only read the first issue and some other appearances of the Monster, so am looking forward to digging a bit deeper. And, another hardcover I need to get off the shelf is Legion of Super-Heroes Archives, Volume 13 -- gotta love some Bronze Age Superboy!
Doug: Your turn -- let's hear about your triumphs, shortfalls, and wish lists!