Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu

Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu

In the great hierarchy of book genres, the media tie-in novel occupies a tier decidedly close to the bottom: higher than coloring books or street maps, but lower than, say, Jesus, Life Coach. All the worse when the corporate property in question in DC Comics’ Batman, a character whose appeal (whether in the comic books of his origin or the movies and TV shows that followed) has always depended in no small measure on the striking imagery of visual media. Seen in the four-color panels of Detective Comics, a man leaping rooftops in a bat suit reaches heights of the sublime. Described in typeset prose, he seems merely ridiculous.

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The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

 The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

For such an enduringly popular writer, Alexandre Dumas, pere, has been surprisingly ill-served by his English-language translators. This is nowhere more true than in the case of his most famous and endlessly-adapted novel, The Three Musketeers. That book’s original 19th century translators, conforming to the delicate sensibilities of audiences across the Channel and the Atlantic, excised much of the sex, gambling, and bloodshed from what was once a happily raunchy historical adventure, transforming it into a fun but politely Victorian story for boys.

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The Landmark Julius Caesar: The Complete Works

The Landmark Julius Caesar: The Complete Works

Time has a funny way of turning scoundrels into icons. Jesse James was a racist, a war criminal, and an all-around sociopath who, for his sins, became the hero of folk ballads and dime novels. Just over a century ago, the deficiencies of Napoleon were so vast and obvious that Madame de Stael (who had reason to know), could write of him that, “The force of his will consists in the impossibility of disturbing the calculations of his egoism; he is an able chess-player, and the human race is the opponent to whom he proposes to give checkmate.” 

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The Cute One Redux

The Cute One Redux

Sooner or later, everyone has to choose one. For anglophone children of a certain age, picking a favorite Beatle is a rite of passage akin to choosing a political party or deciding between the Yankees and the Mets. The Beatle you choose is more than just a statement of musical preference; it’s a totemic spirit, a symbolic encapsulation of a whole set of philosophical values and priorities that will follow you through your life. There’s a lot riding on that little moptop.

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