Thanksgiving Reading List

I paid off a bit of my credit card this morning and, well, I got a late fee — I guess it’s Thanksgiving on Thursday? Happy Holidays, indeed.

As I have gotten older, the whole concept of holiday has changed. My ten year-old self would be dismayed to find out that, many years later, instead of being excited when I walk into a store or a mall or a gas station and see Christmas lights and candy canes and holly and wreaths and angels and elves and red and white striped candy canes and bundles of red and green candy, I get absolutely freaked out and almost depressed that the holidays are here. Indeed, even the concept of a “holiday” has changed for me — instead of being about family and presents and all that, it has become about time off from work and my normal life to, hopefully, one or two days where I can just stop, sit, unwind and do what I want to do — which, more often than not, is to just read.

“Waitwaitwaitwait…” the 10 year old Mike(y) would cry, “You read every night before you go to bed, right?”

“Well, yeah, of course, but–“

“How about that big TV you got? And all those speakers that you promised you would get me when you grew up?”

“I got those, they’re awesome, you were right–“

“And computers, right? You got a computer, right?”

“Yeah, but I work on them all day–“

“Are you just tired because of the astronaut work?”

The thing is, even run-of-the-mill life’s relaxing just has a hard time cutting it these days. I mean, yes, I do watch movies and TV but, I mean, I just watched an episode of Smallville that I recorded back in May — I have 11 more to watch before I catch up. And even watching TV feels rushed, in a way — fast forwarding through the commercials, it’s good, but… nothing’s leisurely, you know?

I’m not complaining, really, I’m just saying that, if the holidays are truly gonna be holidays, you need some time to turn off the phone, turn off the TV, turn off the computer and sit down and read the books you’ve wanted to read all year.

I am not sure I am going to have this time, to be honest, at least not until I am literally forced to take the week off during Christmas, but hopefully I’ll at least get a taste this coming holiday weekend. So, in addition to Anathem, which I still have not finished, here’s what I want to read and why:

Starman Omnibus Vol. 1 by James Robinson and Tony Harris

I bought this when it came out because I kept hearing about omnibus collections selling out and didn’t want to miss what I hear was a great story with solid art. It’s a really nice book — I mean, I know nothing about the character, really, but it’s been recommended by the iFanboys often enough that I just went for it. I haven’t read anything by James Robinson until he started up on Superman, and although I thought he had a bit of a slow start, I have been assured, many times, that he is a great writer and well worth reading. And while I have kind of gotten over my initial Tony Harris fanaticism, I hear that his art is different than what he is doing currently (which sounds like a good thing). So, this will definitely be the book I start in on first when I get up to my parents’ place.

Captain America Omnibus Vol. 1
by Ed Brubaker, with art by Steve Epting, Mike Perkins, Michael Lark, Marco Martin and Lee Weeks

I got this at the same time I got the Starman Omnibus. (I think I got an expected check from a commercial that I was in for a second, so I was feeling flush.) This was an interesting choice, because I already had several of the issues, at least the second part of the book, but I deftly rationalized the purchase because I liked the stories so much that I thought it would be good to get it from the beginning. Of course, I am still reading Captain America and find myself more interested in what is going on right now, so I haven’t had much time (or interest) to go back in time to read about the late Steve Rogers. Silly, really, but until recently I had the same issue with left-overs. I just would save them, but was never in the mood to eat them. For some reason, I have been more amenable to leftovers, and I am looking forward to rocking this book this weekend when Whit and I stay at the Madonna Inn on the way back from San Francisco.

Interjection: Now, when I read a hard cover book, I tend to take the cover off so I don’t mess it up. But recently I have been wondering–is the cover meant to protect the actual book? I mean, technically, is the cover itself designed to sacrifice itself as to make sure that the cover itself does not get scratched? Am I actually circumventing the purpose of the jacket when I take it off? Likewise, it’s often called a “dustcover.” Now, I tend to put my trades in a shelf, so the dust tends to collect along the top of the book, so that never made sense, but I guess if I stacked them… I dunno. Regardless, what do you do when you read a hardcover book? Cover or no cover?  

Batman: Nine Lives by Dean Motter and Michael Lark

Now, for whatever reason, I dig watching movies that I like over and over again. Same with good books. So, I think I will take this book with me. This is a really solid Elseworlds book that Conor mentions in iFanboy episode 57; I’ve only read it once when I got it (2003!), but it still sits on my shelf, begging for a re-read. Incidentally, I had originally picked it up not because it was a Batman book but because I really liked Motter and Lark’s work in Terminal City, which I should write about sometime, come to think of it. It’s a classic Elseworlds tale and it turns the classic Batman mythos on its head in a really intriguing way. The widescreen format is a clever trick — I am kind of amazed that we’ve not seen that many books do it (I seem to remember a New X-Men Annual doing something similar a long time ago) but it does add to the “Else”ness of the story. I would love to see more books play with this format, but I admit, it’s a challenge to store this book; I always feel like the pages are pulling down the spine. I tend to rotate the book whenever I think about it (yes, I realize how sad that sounds).

Absolute Sandman, Vol.1 by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by a variety of artists

Okay, I’ll admit it — while I have several Sandman trades, I never read the books in order. I am beginning to think that it might not be necessary to read the books in order, but heck, I got the book for Christmas two years ago and I think it’s high time that I actually open it up for longer than four minutes every time I rearrange my bookshelf. I am not even sure if I will like the book to be honest, but I figure Sandman is an important chapter, an important movement, in a way, in comic book history and I think I really should know more about it.

So that’s it for me (I only have a few days off in the first place so this list is pretty optimistic); how about you? What do the holidays mean to you? Do you even have time to read? Do you have a “back home in my parent’s place” reading list for 2008?

Hope you and yours have a happy Thanksgiving!

Mike Romo is an actor in Los Angeles who is very thankful that he can even describe himself that way. He can be reached at or, if you feel like it, can feed you holiday tweets on Twitter.


  1. I’ve always been confused by the hardcover dustjacket, and I must confess to having no consistent behavior in reagrds to them. I feel like the jacket is supposed to protect the book, but from what? What could a thin, glossy sheet of paper do to protect a solid hardcover? It makes little sense.

    My kids absolutely hate them, btw. All of the jackets from any hardcover book they’ve ever gotten have been stuffed unceremoniously into the back of the bookshelf. 

    My hopeful list for the Thanksgiving (and probably Christmas) break? Scalped vol. 1, The Boys, vol. 1, Phonogram, The King, and making a dent in the kajillion floppies that have backed up in my regular rotation.

  2. "Are you just tired because of the astronaut work?" = Awesome

    I generally drag my family home for about a week around Christmas.  My escape is to lock myself in the bathroom and read ANYTHING to escape the crushing boredom. 

  3. I’m really looking forward to sitting down with my recently purchased Showcase Presents: the Unknown Soldier vol. 1, recently been getting into war comics thanks to Garth Ennis’s work, and the Kubert art looks fantastic in this book.  Also dust jackets confound me and always interfere with my reading, yet i can’t seem to bring myself to remove them as it feels like a part of the book, maybe i’m just crazy.

  4. Dust jacket has to come off for me.  I just love to peel that cover off and really feel the book.  Plus the book slides down in the jacket if I leave it on while reading.

    As for reading this weekend, I just started to read the Fables trades for the first time.  I am on Vol. 3 and my wife loves the Fables and is on Vol.6.  Fables is now one of 5 books I got her reading.  I think it is safe to call her a comic book fan now.  (she also reads Walking Dead, Y The Last Man, Local, and The Sword) 

  5. I always take the dust jacket off and as for weekend reading I’m gonna dive back into my Cap Omnibus as well.

  6. I have this week off of work, so between yard projects and finishing up school work before my quarter ends, I’ve been tackling some books from my shelves.  For first time reads last night I read the first two volumes of the Queen & Country Declassified series and was not disappointed.  I’m really missing that book right now.  After I finished those I started to re-read Jason Aaron and Cameron Stewart’s The Other Side TPB, I think it seems a little scarier the second time around, but oh so good.

    My comic shop is having a Black Friday sale this weekend with everything that isn’t a new release 50% off from 4:00-5:00 for preferred customers, so it looks like I’m finally going to get beyond volume 2 of Fables and probably finish off a few other series that I’ve been lagging behind on. 

  7. Whoa… everything is all underline-y…

  8. @BrianBaer – What, specifically?  Everything looks fine for me.

  9. @brianbear – I had an underline issue when I was doing a preview of the article — the last two paragraphs were all underlined…not because they were important, it was just a bug. is that what you were seeing?

     I used to love the Unknown Soldier as a kid. He kept popping up in these DC Digests I had as a kid. Him and Deadman–strange characters but they really made an impact on me…

  10. I got lines starting at the batman part. It’s readable though. I take the covers off. I mean, theyre pretty and all, but the book slides out and the cover is too big.

    I’m going to finally read dc universe the stories of alan moore. Either pedro and me or the walking dead this week-weekend

    However, if my four Preacher trades come in from amazon, then those are gonna get read immediately.

  11. I work in retail, so holidays mean nothing to me.

    Well, except that I plot mass murder more frequently.


  12. I always remove the dust-covers too. Just gets in the way while I’m reading.  I also like being secretive about the book I’m reading.  Makes me feel mysterious.  

  13. Re: dust jackets – since I work in the rare book trade, "I know this one!" 🙂 

    Although dust jackets originally protected the books (circa 1890-1920), ever since about the publication of "The Great Gatsby" they have become primarily advertising tools — i.e., they are there to get you to pick up a book at the bookstore and say, "Ooh, this looks cool!"  They serve no real protective function.  On the other hand, if you want to keep your books in collectible condition, you should know that 80% of a modern first edition’s value is determined by whether it has its original dust jacket.  Not that most books published today will ever be worth thousands of dollars — they are generally printed in such huge print runs — but even my local used book store won’t accept modern books without their jackets.

    I either remove the jackets while reading a book to keep them nice, or put mylar protectors over them.  You can get mylar dust jacket protectors from such companies as Gaylord or Brodart.

  14. @BIbliomike— tha was just awesome. thank you for the info!  


    I can’t wait to drop some book cover knowledge tomorrow–you’ve hooked me UP with at least 20 minutes of discussion material…



  15. My thanksgiving reading list contains Northlanders, Scud, and Legend of Zelda.

  16. I always apply a clear dustjacket protector to it, protecting the protector.  It gives me a lot of freedom, I often place drinks on the books for lack of space,  using  the books as coasters.  It’s convinient and keeps the actual jacket in primo condition.   

  17. dust covers always come off when i read.  only a savage could possibly deal with them.

  18. Too lazy to take them off unless I give them to someone to read. They’re pretty useless unless you want a good looking cover that you can take off and have a serious looking book.

    I have about 40 books and some comics TPs and HC to read so I’m going through them pretty fast and so I won’t get bored I have a round of several books where I read a part or 50 pages of a book or a part or two of a TP meaning one or two issues.

    Mort, Cable Classic TP #1, Deadpool Classic TP #1, X-Men VS Apocalypse The Twelve #1, a collection of bed time stories, a collection of greek mythology, a book with information about imaginery creature like unicorns etc, Reinventing Comics.

    I chose things that I can read a portion of and switch to the next book without trouble.

    The next batch is Re-Gifters, lucky star and the pirates of the asteroids, the telling, the dangerous lives of alter boys,  blade runner, mirrorshades, bridge to terabithia, year’s best sf, lion boy – the circus, the wee free men, the complete crumb TP Volume One

    After that it’s mostly books and not collections – 82 (books and TPs and GNs and the now dead PiQ magazone issue #1) + netional getographic issues – 20 or 30.

    seems a lot but today I sould be able to finish the deadpool tp, cable tp, x-men tp, mort, collection of bed time stories, and advance in the other books. 

  19. As per Connor’s suggestion from a past podcast, will give JLI a try.  I read it when it first came out, but somehow it didn’t strike me as engaging or funny.  Fast forward a couple of decades when I read I Can’t believe it’s (not?) the JLI, and quite enjoyed it.  Here’s hoping the source/original is par or better.

  20. i read most of these good picking mike

  21. got two of the books that I wanted to read done so far.  I love having paid work days off.

  22. That sounds like a heavy load of things to carry with you…