Through the use of magic, alchemy, corpse theft and the Konami code, Charles Dexter Ward resurrects a long-dead ancestor. This ancestor then proceeds to bore him with stories about how necromancy used to be done in good ol’ days.  I’ve always thought necromancy is a ‘gateway’ magic, not because it leads to eviler magic, but because it literally opens a gateway through which Yog-Sothoth can enter our world. And once he’s here, he crashes on your couch for, like, three months, drinks all your beer and won’t leave. While T.C.O.C.D.W. is great for hardcore Lovecraft lovers, H.P. noobs might want to stick to his shorter works. This one employs too much obfuscating language.

On a scale of famous cases ranging from The Case Of The Distressed Lady to The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, this book is: a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

‘It rubs the lotion on its skin.…’

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When Eddie Riceburger created Tarzan, he wanted nothing more than to couch the notion that blacks are cannibalistic savages and whites are the representatives of all things decent and humane in a simple story everyone could enjoy. Nearly a century later, we’re still witnessing the effects of the titular character’s popularity in everything from Ravi Shankar’s hilarious novelty song ‘Sitarzan’, to Tarzan brand nostril groomers (“Because It’s A Jungle In There!”). That being said, this book is boring as hell and hard to follow without a Phil Collins soundtrack.

On a scale of writers with three names ranging from Louisa May Alcott to Bret Easton Ellis, this book is: John Knowles.

Welcome to the jungle! (Seriously. There's vines and stuff.)

This book is about an 18th century perfumer who brutally murders young virgins and steals their scents. Which, coincidently, is the same method used by Liz Taylor to make White Diamonds. Not only is this book very interesting and well-written, but the dark subject matter is offset by Patrick Süskind’s use of an umlaut in his name, which makes anything unpleasant seem alluring: löose, rünny stöol. See? Recommended.

On a scale of poorly-selling perfumes ranging from ‘Burnt Toast’ to ‘Hospital Hallway’, this book is: Iggy Pop’s ‘T’aint’.

Know what smell I love? Old books.

In this play by the authour of Peter Pan (the title of which he stole from a jar of peanut butter) a sorcerer gives five regretful characters the chance to relive their lives over again. A cosmic mulligan, if you will. They hope they will be able to avoid the mistakes that made them miserable in the first place, but, like the (insert currently underperforming sports franchise here), they’re destined to be losers forever. Just goes to show you that a tiger can’t change its stripes. I mean, even if it could get them to run horizontally instead of vertically, that would be a start. But it can’t.

On a scale of movies about repeating life over again ranging from The Butterfly Effect to Groundhog Day, this book is: Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas.

We can put a mirror into space but we can't cure cancer?

Merlin the magician (as opposed to, say, Merlin the plumber) tutours a young Arthur in the skills needed be the King Of England: posing for stamps, inbreeding and waving to crowds. Rule Britannia! Most people are familiar with the Disney adaptation of this book, but the book is better. It has no musical numbers, and its sales don’t go to fund the construction of Israeli earthquake machines. Highly recommended.

On a scale of kings ranging from Burger King to Martin Luther King, Jr., this book is: Abe Froman, Sausage King Of Chicago.

‘Would you like to come into my hut to see my etchings?’

The Vulkings are the bad guys; a malignant force bent on domination and the systematic obliteration of anyone who bars their way. Kinda like Starbucks. Arair is a rebel magician who fights the Vulkings with a small, pathetic resistance which seems doomed to fail at any moment. Kinda like Second Cup. Rapine and grammary ensue, not to mention numerous incidents of skullduggery, calumny, opprobrium, malaxation, squadrism, wanion and pasquinade. There’s even some tachydidaxy thrown in for good measure. The moral of the story is that life is often sad, bitter and unwelcoming. Like Timothy’s. 

On a scale of things with one horn ranging from the rhino to the narwhal, this book is: the 2004 Toyota Matrix.

Magicians were gayer-looking in those days.

A society of sentient cucarachas living in a man’s kitchen worship Him as their god. But when the Man gets drunk and shoots himself, they begin to question the wisdom and power of their hitherto beloved deity. Basically, it’s Watership Down with roaches. Or maybe Watership Down is this book with rabbits. Either way, it’s a good read. And when you’re done, you can use it to swat real cockroaches. Cut your Raid bill in half. Save some cash. Times are tough out there. Recommended.

On a scale of famous cockroaches ranging from Freddie Roach to Gregor Samsa, this book is: Carl Anthony Payne II.

This book really bugs me.