Top Five Godzilla/Kaiju Books
by Armand Vaquer
With Christmas just around the corner, it is worthwhile to take a look at what English language, mass-market books to buy for the newbie or longtime kaiju fan.
Most of these books are still available through various sources such as Amazon.com, eBay, Barnes and Noble, Border's Books, etc.
So if you are wondering what to buy, here's my top five Godzilla books:
Number One. Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters by August Ragone is the top book to pick up without question. Ragone is thorough in his research on the genius of Japanese special effects with many rare photographs. Toho Co., Ltd. and Tsuburaya Productions cooperated in the production of this book and it shows! Hardcover.
Number Two. Japan's Favorite Mon-Star by Steve Ryfle is a valuable reference book on the history of the Godzilla movies. Although dated (this one cries out for an update as it ends with the 1998 U.S. Godzilla), Ryfle's research on the King of the Monsters makes this a must-have in your book collection. Softcover.
Number Three. Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda by Peter H. Brothers is the first (it came out last year) English language biography of Japan's top director of science-fiction and fantasy films. Although it has no photos and there's some glaring typos, this is a must-have book for G-fans. Softcover.
Number Four. Monsters Are Attacking Tokyo! by Stuart Galbraith IV is a collection of interviews of actors, directors, special effects directors and others organized by topic. Although the organizing could have been better executed (some fans feel it is too disjointed), it is a valuable resource as it includes interviews with some who have since passed on. Softcover.
Number Five. Godzilla On My Mind by William Tsutsui is a tome of what Godzilla means to fans. If you're looking for a filmography, this isn't the book for you. But if you're interested in Godzilla and his pop-culture influence, grab this book. Softcover.
A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series, 2d ed. by David Kalat. This edition just came out and I haven't read it yet. But, I am told that it is an excellent book on the Godzilla series. It is available at Amazon.com. Hardcover.
The Official Godzilla Compendium by J. D. Lees and Marc Ceracini is long out of print and if one can find one, it is generally pricey. It is a good introductory book aimed at the small-fry fan. It has reached the status of a collectors' item. Softcover.
The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan by Armand Vaquer came out this year and is a travel guide to Japan tailored to fans of Japanese science-fiction and fantasy films featuring movie locations, attractions, transportation and accommodations. Magazine format.
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