The 52 special

Fireside Reading

by Noah Vince – Daily Planet Senior Entertainment Columnist

METROPOLIS, FEBRUARY 22 — 

With the onset of television sweeps and the Oscars looming in the near future, oftentimes literature is overshadowed this time of year by its all-too-accessible modern day competitors. So we here at the Daily Planet decided to take a minute or two to shine a reviewer’s spotlight on a few new releases in the world of prose.

You Can Xana-Do It: A Beginner’s Guide to Love
By Madame Xanadu

Written by well-known Gotham mystic and sometime contributor to this very news magazine, Madame Xanadu’s latest self-help effort attempts to explain the cosmic relationships between the stars and affairs of the heart. With easy-to-understand language and sometimes incredibly detailed personal forecasts, the book seems to know exactly who is reading it, and exactly what they’re looking for in life.

Despite her predilection for titles involving puns, I found the book to be hauntingly accurate. For example, on page forty-seven, for seemingly no apparent reason, a paragraph is interrupted with the words “Duck now!” in bold type. As I was walking down the street, reading this very phrase, I paused and looked up just in time to dodge a wrecking ball heading directly for the building behind me.

Read this book. It might just save your life. Or at least several months recuperating time in the local emergency ward.

Do You Read Me?
By Anonymous

In this postmodernist satire, the reader is treated to a “bug’s eye view” of the world from the perspective of its protagonist named Surprise Attack Insect Man, a thinly veiled portrait of the author himself. This green-skinned antennae-adorned hero navigates Metropolis with a sharp wit, a sarcastic tongue, and a sense of being followed by the reader himself. 

Overall, the novel seems to lack any real substance. There are several chapters dedicated to Surprise Attack Insect Man simply standing in front of the bathroom mirror and brushing his teeth. The writing often makes the author seem put upon, in some cases the protagonist actually yelling at the reader, telling him to give him some space and referring to him as a “Nosy Nancy.” It’s an odd tale written by an odd man. One tip to the writer, though: If you wish to remain anonymous, you should probably refrain from putting your picture on the back flap of the dust jacket. Just an idea, Mr. Bug.

Hanging up the Tights: How to Cope with the Loss of a Super Loved One
By Prof. Charles Expert

Our final work in review is by the Daily Planet’s own advice specialist, Professor Charles Expert. In this slightly long-winded, three thousand and seven page essay about death and grieving, Expert attempts to offer advice to comfort family members or those particularly effected by the death of a superhero. Expert examines ways to keep the hero’s memory alive, like rediscovering old tales of the hero’s exploits, or taking up their particular mantle and fighting crime in their image, an idea which he doesn’t particularly support, although he seems to think that the endorsement deals gained from such behavior might justify the admittedly idiotic risks involved.

Although I found the book to be good nighttime reading (I’m a bit of an insomniac, and this thing really did the trick), I think the essay might be a bit too insensitive at times to the reader’s needs. This is no more evident, than in the book’s final passage: “But when it all comes down to it, does it really matter? Your hero will probably be back to life in a year or two’s time. These guys get resurrected like once a week. Suck it up, whiner-face.”

And that was the compassionate part.

Overall, this book does make good fireside reading for those cold winter nights, but may serve even better as convenient kindling.

Ask Prof. Expert!

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