EPL’s Favorite TV Dads

tv dads
TV dads Robert Crawley, Homer Simpson, Ned Stark, and Dre Johnson (l to r).

Father’s Day is less than one week away, and that party you’re planning for your dad is really coming together.  You’ve already gift wrapped a fashionable necktie, ordered brats for the cookout, and scoured StubHub for tickets to see the Cubs beat those dastardly Pirates.  Well, here on Off the Shelf we’re also planning a special Father’s Day celebration, and we need your help.  You see, this Sunday we’re saluting our favorite TV dads, and between now and then, we’d like to invite you to share yours.  Please let us know at EPL’s Favorite TV Dads where you can choose from candidates like Ned Stark, Homer Simpson, and the Earl of Grantham or write in your own.  Then, check back with Off the Shelf on Father’s Day when we highlight all of EPL’s picks.  Stay tuned.

When will George R. R. Martin get cracking?

It looks as though Martin might be saying, "Soon, I'll have soon," but he's really just welcoming folks to his restored movie house.
It looks as though Martin might be saying, “Soon, I’ll have it soon,” but in fact he’s welcoming folks to his restored movie house.

We just have to be patient, I guess. According to this recent interview on NPR with author Martin, the sixth installment in the hugely popular fantasy series A Song of Fire and Ice (aka Game of Thrones), “Winds of Winter,” is getting written albeit slowly. Part of the reason is Martin’s involvement in many other projects dear to his heart, especially the restoration of the Jean Cocteau, an old movie house in Santa Fe, NM. He’s also reviewing the latest episodes of Breaking Bad, editing a sci-fi series and writing a novella. With fans and HBO network execs grumbling about the long wait for book six, Martin admits to feeling the pressure, “Laying railroad track with the locomotive coming up behind you … you better lay it faster,” Martin says. “And that is the feeling I have right now. The locomotive in this case, of course, is not just the books but the TV show, which is moving along much faster than I’m laying the tracks.” The word is that the book is due out next year with one more book to follow.

Barbara L.

What to read while waiting for Game of Thrones to come back

The Blade Itself Joe Abercrombie (author of The First Law series, which starts with The Blade Itself) writes books for the George R. R. Martin fan who is ready to see what happens when someone looks at Game of Thrones and says, “It’s good, but it could stand to be way darker and more violent. Also, it would be great if the characters could be achingly wonderful and human, and if really horrible things could happen to them.”  If you are not a fan of the grimmer side of fantasy, then this book will not be your cup of tea. Unless you like your cup of tea to try to destroy you and everything you love on a regular basis. (And, if so, you have a really weird relationship with your tea.)
These are not books of redemption or the inevitable triumph of good over evil. And yet, they are wonderfully worthwhile. There is exhilaration in watching the characters face down their demons, both internal and external, without the usual fantasy comfort that they will find a way to win somehow. These characters often lose their battles. Or worse, win them, and find that their heart’s desire is the worst fate of all.  Did I mention that they are also laugh out loud funny, when they are not ripping your guts out (and sometimes when they are)?
Lorena N.