Books Fifty to Fiftytwo: Tintin

King Ottokar's Sceptre , Hergé
The Secret of the Unicorn , Hergé
Red Rackham's Treasure , Hergé

Cheating?! Definitely not! Well... maybe a little.

I remember the day, back when I was a kid who spent far too much time in the library, when I found a Tintin book on the shelf and couldn't believe my luck. I thought I had unearthed a rare treasure that no on else knew about. I mean, the drawings! The crazy stories! Snowy! I honestly don't think I ever read more than a couple of these books after that, but I always thought of Tintin with fondness. When I became an adult I rediscovered my love for Tintin and started reading all the books, and have yet to work my way through all of them (just a few more to go).

I have always thought that the notable qualities of the Tintin stories include their vivid humanism, a realistic feel produced by meticulous and wide ranging research. Or at least, I have always thought that until I just read it on wikipedia. But really, the research is incredible. I highly recommend the lovely Tintin: The Complete Companion, which details the research, both visual and historical, that went into each book. King Ottokar's Sceptre, for example, was written at the very start of WWII and seemed to predict Hitler's takeover of Austria (though with far better results for Austria in the Tintin version).

I seem to envision December as a time of cozying up by the fire in the cold and reading book after book after book. What this--and last--December have proved to me, though, is that I get little to no reading done during this month. I have a variety of other factors to blame as well, some of them quite legitimate and some of them rather embarrassing, but I won't bore you (or me, for that matter) with them. Suffice it to say that I am back on the wagon again come January 1st, 2009, which, as I write this, is just 38 minutes away. And with that, happy new year and happy reading!


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