The book that inspired the Youtube channel, basically. Mark’s book is an awe-inspiring treatise on the entire show broken down with episode by episode essays that dig at themes, philosophy, and psychology deeply rooted in Buffy. It is a wonderful piece of writing and far more comprehensive than the Guide will ever be.

I am blessed to be able to say that, after reaching out to Mark when I started the channel, he and I, over the years have become friends, to the point where he let me design the cover to the paperback version when he was ready to publish.

If you’ve been a fan of the channel for any period of time, you need this book.

 

A piece of fiction with some of the most beautiful passages in the English language. I have read excerpts of this on the channel and can honestly say that the book helped me understand family and love in a way I hadn’t before. Talking about that type of fiction is, after all, why I do what I do.

A book that helped me understand the series more clearly than I had. It is an anthology of essays ranging from the philosophy of the show, to Jewel Staite’s Top 10 favorite moments from the show. A good read.

Joss Whedon and Race: Critical Essays
By Mary Ellen Iatropoulos

A series of essays that have helped me to understand some of the Whedonverse’s successes and failures when it comes to issues of representation. A source for the “War Zone” video and likely future episodes of Angel and things to come.

One of the most important books I’ve ever read. Viktor Frankl was a holocaust survivor who created an entire arena of therapy called “logo therapy” - essentially a focus on curing a patient’s ills by having them focus on the pursuit of meaning in their lives.

Nausea is the book Joss Whedon cited in the “Objects in Space” commentary as being the most important book he’d ever read. River’s journey in the cold opening of that episode is not very unlike the journey of Sartre’s Antoine, as they both come to understand the invented meaning we apply to all things.

If you’re looking for an episode by episode compendium for Angel, Nikki Stafford’s book is a great place to start. There are interviews, season and show wide essays, and an episode by episode set of essays with some terrific observations that I have brought up in the Angel Guide.

Reading Angel is a solid anthology of essays on a wide range of Angel-topics: from the series’ opening credits, to it’s use of music, to the arc of Wesley. Compared to Buffy there are not many books of critical essays written about Angel. This one is solid.

“Have you read the comics,” is one of the most regular and persistent questions I get.

Answer: I’ve read part of Season 8. I couldn’t get into it. But I have read Fray and Tales of the Slayers and Tales of the Slayers is wonderful. From the writers of the actual show, it contains a piece that I eventually hope to perform in live action at some point.

Whenever anyone asks me for my favorite books A River Runs Through It and Kavalier and Clay always jump to mind. Kavalier and Clay is just a crackling good piece of fiction about two cousins who start a comic book during the industries hey day. A wonderful read.

The Book of Renee
By Renn Martin

My father’s book that he wrote after my step-mother’s death. They were high school sweethearts and found each other again later in life. It is a series of anecdotes my Dad wanted to capture to celebrate their lives together and to try and process her loss as best he could.

The Elements of Moral Philosophy
By James Rachels, Stuart Rachels

This is the first book on philosophy I ever read. It is a college text (so hunt around for the cheapest version if you can) that is a WONDERFUL introduction to a wide swath of philosophical ideas - from Kant to utilitarianism to everything under the sun. And all in a format that is easy to digest and comprehend.

The Fall
By Albert Camus

The Fall is Camus’ last piece of writing and explores themes of innocence, imprisonment, non-existence, and truth. In a eulogy to Albert Camus, existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre described the novel as "perhaps the most beautiful and the least understood" of Camus' books.

The Myth of Sisyphus is the basis for my essay on “Amends”. Camus’ use of the Greek myth as a model for the human condition is so perfect that the idea of, “Go and get the rock,” has become common philosophical short hand in my community.

“One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

If you’re just interested in the philosophy of the Whedonverse this is a great wide net to cast. There are bits here delving into everything from “The Big 3,” to Dollhouse, to Doctor Horrible.

The Philosophy of Joss Whedon examines Whedon's plots and characterizations to reveal their philosophical takes on the limits of personal freedom, sexual morality, radical evil, and Daoism.

Why Buffy Matters is another wonderful set of essays on the series that skew towards examining the philosophy of the show through it’s use of language and symbolism. I’ve referred to her book several times throughout the episode guide including in “The Zeppo” and “Restless”. A great read.