Blackest Night #1 (Comic)

Along with Batman: Whatever Happened To The Caped Crusader?, the first issue of the eight-part Blackest Night storyline is the first comic that we have reviewed from a major company. Geoff Johns begins this arc with positive imagery, showcasing exactly how many in the DC Universe were able to move on from major events. Those that were in Coast City were able to firmly mend themselves in the years since the city was destroyed, while superheroes were able to continue on, despite many associates and lovers of them falling in various storylines. Continue reading “Blackest Night #1 (Comic)”

The Castaways (Novel)

Many intrepid readers are already familiar with Hilderbrand’s work, as eir 2007 novel Barefoot was a mainstay on the New York Times bestseller list for a solid half-year. The Castaways surrounds the interactions between four families: Kapenashes, Wheelers, Drakes and MacAvoys – that end up vacationing together practically every year. Where the groups have a very clean air around them, certain issues present ensure that no family is truly innocent. For example, Greg and Tess (MacAvoy) are attempting to keep their marriage together after it comes out that Greg was cheating on Tess with a high school student. Continue reading “The Castaways (Novel)”

Hit Hard: A Story of Hitting Rock Bottom at the Top (Book)

And you thought the drugs were a problem? The success the guys in Aerosmith had in the late 70’s and again in the early/mid 90’s is matched only by their mythic reputation for hovering up mountains of blow in the 70’s and 80’s. In Hit Hard: A Story of Hitting Rock Bottom at the Top, Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer touches a little on his troubles with drugs, but spends the bulk of the book talking about issues surrounding his depression, as well as longtime relationship troubles with his father, wife and even fellow band member and childhood hero Steven Tyler. Continue reading “Hit Hard: A Story of Hitting Rock Bottom at the Top (Book)”

Obsession: An Erotic Tale (Book)

Gloria Vanderbilt has had a tremendous life, moving through all of the most elite circles in New York City, birthing a tremendous popular news force (Andersen Cooper) and at 85, has not slowed in the slightest. Obsession: An Erotic Tale showcases an author that does not conform to what most individuals would associate with those in the older generation, pushing hardcore sexuality into a critically appreciable position. Continue reading “Obsession: An Erotic Tale (Book)”

Poisoned Heart: A Punk Rock Love Story by Vera Ramone King (Book)

It’s clear just a few pages into it, that Poisoned Heart, Vera Ramone King’s memoir of her time with Ramone’s bassist Dee Dee, was not easy to write. The book comes off as part therapy, part twisted love letter to the clearly disturbed rocker. King, who met and fell in love with the punk rocker in 1977, just before the band helped introduce punk rock to the world. Her relationship with Dee Dee lasted for decades, despite the tour bus full of baggage he brought into the relationship.

Manic depressive, violent, a struggling drug addict, but also insanely talented, the Ramone’s primary songwriter was clearly not a joy to be around. King’s memoir is revealing without being exploitive and entertaining, without sugar coating Dee Dee’s exploits. There are some amazing revelations in the book – like the fact that Dee Dee and Vera were supposed to hang out with Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen the week Nancy was stabbed to death by Sid. King’s writing, however, is a bit distracting though out with her abusive use of clichés and not so subtle habit of dropping names at any given chance. Regardless the stories are compelling. A handful of others in the band come off as unsympathetic or simply oblivious to Dee Dee’s violent abuse of Vera, with Johnny Ramone coming off as little more than a tyrant who lived to make Dee Dee miserable. The book goes into some detail on the bassist’s fatal heroin overdose in 2002, after years of sobriety. Poisoned Heart could have very easily been just another sleazy punk rock tell-all, but is handled delicately by King. The writing may be a little stilted, but the story and emotions behind them come out loud and clear.

Poisoned Heart: A Punk Rock Love Story by Vera Ramone King/Phoenix Books/167 pages/Hardcover

Vicki Pettersson – City of Souls (Book)

City of Souls is the fourth book in the Zodiac series, and the title itself shows further evolution and explication by Pettersson of eir alternate reality. The title goes by quickly, the rich prose of Pettersson going down like the sweetest drink. The story line that is weaved through this title is fleshed out but does not feel unnecessarily dragged down or wishy-washy; events, characters, and actions taken by these characters all are understandable when put to real life.

For those readers that have not had the chance to delve into Pettersson’s realm before, City of Souls focuses around Joanna Archer. This individual struggles to defeat evil (established here as Shadow), despite having inside eir part of what makes eir home city (Las Vegas) so decrepit. Where previous works in this line really showcased the depths of Shadow in Las Vegas, a child comes upon the scene that may change the entire way Archer understands the world and looks to change it.

City of Souls is a title that does not require that readers have already familiarized themselves with the preceding titles, but gives those readers that have a tremendous amount of further insight into the storyline here. In much the same way, getting a chance to sit down with City of Souls will ensure that readers will be amped up for the next title in the Zodiac series, whenever it may be destined to be released. Where I have found myself moving away from these styles of novels in the last decade or so, I find my interested piqued dramatically by City of Souls. If you are in the same boat, plop down the $8 and see exactly what you have been missing.

Rating: 8.8/10

Vicki Pettersson – City of Souls (Book) / 2009 EOS Books / 352 Pages / http://www.eosbooks.com / http://www.vickipettersson.com

Wish You Were Here: An Essential Guide to Your favorite Music Scenes – From Punk to Indie and Everything In Between by Leslie Simon (Book)

Ever wondered exactly which Haagan Dazs Henry Rollins used to work at in D.C.? Or, how about what San Francisco collective local punk rockers can visit to take classes on underwear making? Neither have I, but thank God Leslie Simon has. In what has got to be the best guide book on punk rock… well ever, rock journalist Simon answers a slew of questions never asked about punk rock and indie scenes across the U.S. in her latest book Wish You Were Here. Simon, who coauthored Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide to Emo Culture, brings back the same snarky tone that made her last guide such a fun read. Continue reading “Wish You Were Here: An Essential Guide to Your favorite Music Scenes – From Punk to Indie and Everything In Between by Leslie Simon (Book)”

Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myth of Republican Politics By Glenn Greenwald (Book)

None of the arguments put forth by Glenn Greenwald in his latest rant against the Right, “Great American Hypocrites,” is going to come as a shock to anyone who has ever made a donation to MoveOn.org. But, that’s not to say it’s not highly entertaining read full of great argument starters. Continue reading “Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myth of Republican Politics By Glenn Greenwald (Book)”

New Brunswick, New Jersey, Goodbye: Bands, Dirty Basement and the Search for Self by Ronen Kauffman (Book)

Those looking to Ronen Kauffman’s book “New Brunswick, New Jersey, Goodbye,” hoping to find a definitive history of New Jersey’s storied hardcore and punk rock scene are better served looking elsewhere. There are mentions and anecdotes of a slew of bands from the mid-90’s scene like the Bouncing Souls, Lifetime, The Degenerics and Endeavor, but the main focus is one man’s discovery and ultimately his passion for the world of underground punk rock music. Continue reading “New Brunswick, New Jersey, Goodbye: Bands, Dirty Basement and the Search for Self by Ronen Kauffman (Book)”

Rock Bottom by Michael Shilling / Black Dogs: The Possibly True Story of Classic Rock’s Greatest Robbery by Jason Buhrmester

Writing a great rock novel is a whole lot harder than it sounds. There have been countless attempts over the years and the result is usually a collection of boring tour urban legends and rejected VH1 Behind the Music scripts. It’s a pretty big feat then that both Michael Shilling and Jason Buhrmester have managed to turn in solid rock stories just months apart from each other. Shilling’s Rock Bottom revolves around a once-promising band playing their last shows of a European tour before imploding. Continue reading “Rock Bottom by Michael Shilling / Black Dogs: The Possibly True Story of Classic Rock’s Greatest Robbery by Jason Buhrmester”