I finished Tarzan of the Apes, by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and I really enjoyed it. It's definitely a pulp-style action novel, which is okay by me. There are many similarities between ERB's work and Robert E. Howard's work, the latter being, arguably, my favorite author. In both this book, and many of R.E.'s, there's a sense that barbarism, tempered with innate nobility, is a preferable middle ground between civilization (which makes people soft and weak) and an outright "savage" existence. In Tarzan, this is summed up by Tarzan being superior (obviously) to the American and English character (civilized and unused to jungle life), but also to the native Africans, who are depicted as savage killers with few redeeming features. There's also elements of racism in there as, even though he was stranded in the jungle and taken in by the apes as a baby, it was Tarzan's innate English "nature" that made him superior to both the apes and the natives. There are similar themes in much of pulp literature of the time and it's actually a bit funny reading it now. I do recommend it to anyone wanting to read a good action story and I plan on picking up the rest later.
I purchased three new books today; Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Books of the South (2nd Black Company Omnibus) by Glen Cook, and The Living Dead 2 by various authors. Even though it took a while for me to finish A Feast of Crows, it did rekindle my passion for reading that I had nearly lost (my comic book addiction notwithstanding). I also think that getting back into reading will help with the writing hobby that I'm pursuing.
Earlier today, several friends and myself went to watch Machete in the theatre. I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, it was very preachy about how open borders with Mexico is a good thing and how we, the Americans, take advantage of illegals, who just want to work. Personally, I realize there are people, not just Mexicans, who are here illegally and want to make a honest living. I just don't know why they can't go through the process of either getting a work visa or citizenship. I also don't feel they should be entitled to welfare or Medicare, particularly since those need to be scaled back on citizens. That having been said, as far as Machete goes, the movie is so filled with over the top violence, language, and situations that it's a good movie once you get past the preaching. Overall, I liked it.
I went and seen KISS perform last night and, all in all, it was an excellent show. Of course, you can expect a certain level of quality just from their seniority in the rock world; they've been around a long time and know what they're doing. It was also the closest I've been to the stage and I'm not sure if that made the lights and pyrotechnics that much greater, but it was a brilliant display of showmanship. I only have two real complaints and they both concern vocals. The first is the fact that Paul Stanley was obviously a bit hoarse from the onset. He still performed greatly (and far better than I could dream of attempting), but it was noticeable in certain songs and sometimes even when he addressed the crowd. The second problem was with the backing vocals, particularly Tommy's vocals, didn't seem properly "levelled" (if that's the correct term). Once again, it was only obvious on certain songs, but then it stuck out like a sore thumb. The show was still among the best concerts I've ever been to and, if given a chance, I'll go again next time.