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”

The Accountant’s Story: Inside the Violent World of the Medellin Cartel

Once you get past the fact that Roberto Escobar sees his brother more as a Columbian Robin Hood rather than one of the most barbaric, nefarious drug lords… well, ever, The Accountant’s Story is actually a pretty fascinating read that’s incredibly difficult to put down once you’ve started reading. Continue reading “The Accountant’s Story: Inside the Violent World of the Medellin Cartel”

Things I’ve Learned From Women Who’ve Dumped Me

An anthology about relationships written by guys sounds about as appealing as…well talking about relationships with guys. But thanks to a stellar list of authors – heavy on comedians like Jon Stewart, Patton Oswalt, Stephen Colbert and Will Forte – and the comedy-prone topic of getting dumped, makes the task that much more compelling. The essays are offered as lessons of sorts, far from practical, but extremely funny nonetheless. Continue reading “Things I’ve Learned From Women Who’ve Dumped Me”

Is It Just Me or Is Everything Shit?: Insanely Annoying Modern Things

British comedic writers Steve Lowe and Brendan McArthur have made a career of sorts bitching about ‘modern conveniences’ through a collection of books. The best bits have been sandwiched into Is It Me or Is Everything Shit? with additional observations added in by Daily Show writer/American Brendan Hay. For the most, the book has some pretty hilarious, astute observations. Like their straight to the point take on Hare Krishnas: “Hare, hare Krishna/Hare hare/hare Bullshit/Bullshit/Bullshit Krishna/Hare bullshit/Bullshit hare/(Repeat).” Continue reading “Is It Just Me or Is Everything Shit?: Insanely Annoying Modern Things”

I Hate New Music: The Classic Rock Manifesto

Dave Thompson is the Andy Rooney of music criticism.

Bushy eyebrows aside, Thompson puts his stake in the ground early on in his latest manifesto, I Hate New Music, with the outrageous claim that rock music stopped being good sometime around 1978. Seriously. Like the aforementioned 60 Minutes alum Rooney rambling on about not getting as much coffee in the can as he did in the good old days, Thompson rant dismisses everyone from The Clash to Nirvana, choosing rather to dwell on bands like Boston and Grand Funk Railroad. Continue reading “I Hate New Music: The Classic Rock Manifesto”

Revolution On Canvas

Revolution On Canvas / $12.95 / 224M / 1:30 / / 

Poetry usually bores the hell out of me. Bands that have individuals that feel that they are set on this Earth to do anything but create music after making it big annoy me as well. However, this first volume of Revolution on Canvas is something I can get into. Note; this book is purely poetry (well, purely with the exception of a few different drawings from other band mates). If individuals are not big fans of poetry, then this book is something that they could easily miss out on. There is nothing in the way of layout changes between the poems in this book. Rich Balling, the editor, kept the poems as they were originally provided to eir. As far as I know, there is no rhyme or reason to the poems; they are not put in the book by any sort of alphabetical order or anything. However, the one plus is that the poems are grouped together by the writer.

Thus, all the poems done by Fat Mike are put together in a few pages of the book. Another solid organizational facet of the book is the fact that the table of contents is extensive, allowing for individuals to easily go through and locate the works by individuals that they like. While the bulk of individuals writing for this book are from emo acts, a few notable exceptions are present. These include Joseph Karam (The Locust), Tim McIlrath (Rise Against) and Jason Cruz (Strung Out). The poems in this work are not just the melodramatic collage of emo kids, but some really stand out as solid works. Bob Nanna (Hey Mercedes) has more of a prose style to eir poetry, which allows eir to create more of a story than was in anything else in this volume of Revolution on Canvas.

I would like to read other volumes of Revolution on Canvas, but hopefully each subsequent volume covers something different that musicians have created. The Spartan style of this volume should be a hallmark of future volumes. Perhaps the issue per copy of the book could come down to under $10, as the book goes pretty quickly. An hour and a half or two hours and individuals are all poetried out, without anything else to slake their thirsts from material from their favorite acts. Still, there are a few gems in the magazine that make up for some of the higher cost.

Rating: 6.2/10

The Brujah’s Tale

I know that a long time back, I used to play Vampire: The Masquerade. One of the clans in this RPG (role playing game) was the Brujah. The reason why this is relevant at all is that the title of Tim Madden’s new book – The Bruja’s Tale – is similar to that of the Brujah clan. Tim Madden’s Homepage provides individuals with an insight into the work, which deals with witchcraft (particularly, the brand of magic worked by individuals of the Maya tribe), a murder, and various tawdry relations. Continue reading “The Brujah’s Tale”

Elizabeth Book Review

Elizabeth / 2007 Hachette Book Group / 678M / 5:00 / /

Elizabeth was written by J. Randy Taraborrelli. Taraborrelli may best be known for all of eir other biographies, which include those about Diana Ross, Carol Burnett, Michael Jackson, Cher, Frank Sinatra, Madonna, and the work about the females linked to the Kennedy clan, ‘Jackie, Ethel, and Joan’. This book is about Elizabeth Taylor, and goes in a chronological order rather than trying to link the later years of eir life with earlier events at the onset. This natural progression makes reading this nearly seven hundred page book much easier. The inclusion of a large photo section during the middle of the book provides illustration for some of the individuals and events that occurred in Taylor’s life. Continue reading “Elizabeth Book Review”

Dear Peppers and Pollywogs

Dear Peppers and Pollywogs : What Parents Want to Know About Planning Their Kids’ Parties / 2007 Self / 132M / /

As individuals could guess, this book is a guide for parents. This book is set up to allow individuals to quickly come up with an answer to their party quandaries, whether it be the parent wondering what is age-appropriate or how much individuals should spend on birthday presents. The writing style is simplistic and has a number of ideas put forth in a list form, so that individuals can rapidly evaluate how each idea fits in their own unique situation. Continue reading “Dear Peppers and Pollywogs”

The Hammer: The Best of Hank Aaron

The Hammer: The Best of Hank Aaron / 2007 Borders / $14.95 / 144M / 1:50 /

The subtitle of this book is “From the Pages of Sports Illustrated”, and the tile really gives individuals a good idea what focus that the book may have. This was culled together from the material written about Hank Aaron throughout eir career by the individuals at Sports Illustrated. More so, the language used to describe Aaron is kept as it was originally written. Thus, if there are instances of the word “Negro”, it is present. Preserving history and not trying to revise Aaron’s history is the first step forward by this book, which uses good many of Sports Illustrated’s most famous wrights. This list includes Roy Terrell, William Leggett, George Plimpton and Mike Capuzzo.

The small text in this already-small volume may be a little on the hard side to read, but it does means that individuals will spend a decent amount of time reading through these solid pieces. A criticism about this book has to be the pictures. While there are a decent amount of them, they are bundled together in two specific sections. Obviously, the cost to intersperse the pictures would have been higher if Sports Illustrated wanted to have them be in color, but I don’t see how adding a black and white picture to the beginning page of a piece would have hurt matters any. Still, the writing in this book is solid and will give individuals a little more context into the career of one of baseball’s best hitters. I can’t foresee Sports Illustrated doing the same for Barry Bonds, so that makes this volume all the more sweet.

Sure, it would be easy to search down these articles in the online SI archive, but this puts them all together in an easy to read format. For individuals like me that were born after Aaron’s career had ended, “The Hammer” gives individuals a better understanding of why Aaron was such a stand up player and how eir behavior varies from the rest of the stars in baseball today. Interesting, funny, and at times touching, “The Hammer” is the complete picture of a major baseball star; pick the book up if you have any love for America’s pastime, and make sure to read through from cover to cover to get the full story. Maybe we could see one of these for some of the other storied baseball stars of all time, perhaps even someone as awesome as Nolan Ryan (but I’m letting personal bias show).

Rating: 6.8/10