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Book Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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Vegas Knockout: A Novel in Stories
By P Moss, 177 pgs.
By todd

Vegas Knockout has the patience of confident noir. Through what at first seem loosely related short stories, a clear, almost invisible filament tightly cinches up the narrative, story by story. The main character of the book isn’t a person, but a city.

Punk Rock: An Oral History
By John Robb, 562 pgs.
By jimmy

I went into this book with no shortage of trepidation, but as it stands, I’d say it’s as close to a go-to tome as you’re gonna get if you’re looking for a street-level account of the origins of Europe’s wing of the punk revolution.

Perfect Youth
By Sam Sutherland, 368 pgs.
By ty

The key to this book working as well as it does is with Sutherland himself. He is an outsider—a fan and journalist—looking in. You can tell he loves his subject deeply but is not above being objective about it. This is where other early Canadian band biographies and autobiographies often fail.

Hardcore Zen Strikes Again!
By Brad Warner, 169 pgs.
By Aphid Peewit

After reading Hardcore Zen Strikes Again, to the same conclusion I arrived at after having read any of Warner’s books: though I don’t always see eye to eye with him and I occasionally cringe when I step into one of the piles of dogma he leaves to mark his philosophical territory, I still enjoy his astringent, irreverent flavor of Zen.

Digestate: A Food & Eating Themed Anthology
Edited by J.T. Yost, 288 pgs.
By CT Terry

The art is varied and always high quality—and the quantity and variety guarantee that there will be at least a few things of interest to anyone who likes to eat or look at pictures.

Wired Up!: Glam, Proto Punk, and Bubblegum; European Picture Sleeves 1970-1976
By Jeremy Thompson and Mary Blount
By Billups Allen

When it comes time to use a phrase more specific than “proto punk,” lines sometimes blur at the seam of what is glam and what is power pop. Wired Up! is an excellent clue to why that is. It’s a beautiful volume of pictures of record sleeves released in Europe during the years leading up to the word “punk” becoming a brand.

What Are You Doing Here? A Black Woman’s Life in Heavy Metal
By Laina Dawes 182 pgs.
By koepenick

This is a revealing book about fans that are not normally mentioned in heavy metal circles: the diehard black female fan. The author talks about her life experiences going to various concerts, from good to openly hostile.

By Bart Schaneman, 84 pgs.
By keith

What follows are brief jaunts throughout China, Mongolia, and Russia, where he befriends other travelers as well as locals. He spends a lot of time writing about the food and about the nights spent drinking with his companions. It’s all incredibly well done and, like I said, reads more like an novel than anything else.

Self Booked: Empty Bottles, Germs Burns and Bootneck Dreams: True Tales of The S
By Todd J. Colberg, 194 pgs.
By kurt

The huge grammatical mistakes (especially the overuse of commas) made this a slightly annoying read. I consider it to be the equivalent of a band with a good sound but a shitty mix. Yeah, the general idea is communicated and it doesn’t need to be a work of over-produced major label sound, but you’re really depriving the listener of the full potential of the work by not cleaning it up.

San Pedro Stories
By Matt Sharar, 69 pgs.
By todd

It’s in this gradation of lightness to darkness, of, “Oh, that makes perfect sense” to “What the fuck?” that Matt excels. Through analogy, metaphor, and symbolism he creates wobbly worlds that appear perfectly calm on the surface.

Office Girl
By Joe Meno, 293 pgs.
By sean

In a sense, with Office Girl, Meno returns to the roots of the novel as an art form. When the novel first started to take off in England in the 1700s, all of the most popular books were about love and art.

Girlvert: A Porno Memoir
By Oriana Small, 310 pgs.
By Jim Woster

Oriana Small’s Girlvert: A Porno Memoir is like a blistering war memoir, with penises instead of bayonets.

Zinester’s Guide to Portland (5th Edition)
Edited By Sean Granton, 129 pgs.
By Lauren Trout

It had most of the information that I want to know when I’m first visiting a city: public transportation options, basic layout of the city, cheap restaurants, and grocery stores.

White Elephants
By Katie Haegel, 127 pgs
By Katie Dunne

White Elephants read less like a book and more like a letter from a friend, a friend who knows all about the art of the rummage and the nuances of reviewing yard sales.

Persepolis 2
By Marjane Satrapi, $12.95 U.S.
By gary

This is the story of a girl from Iran who goes to school in Europe and her accounts of the differences between Western and Middle Eastern ideology.

Mourning Remembrance: A Collection of Mocking Obituaries Ripped from the Deadlin
By Jim Earl, 272 pgs.
By kurt

This book is a series of fake obituaries for random notables, including Steve Jobs, Robert Moog, Aaron Spelling, and many other lesser-known figures.

God, Forgive These Bastards (Stories from the Forgotten Life of Georgia Tech Pit
By Rob Morton, 95 pgs.
By Steve Hart

The stories are well-told, with bright, colorful language describing things that are dark, scary, sad, and, like the author states, the more unbelievable they are, the more they are grounded in truth.

Cambodian Grrrl
By Anne Elizabeth Moore, 95 pgs
By Katie Dunne

In Cambodian Grrrl, Moore travels to Phnom Penh to teach at Cambodia’s first university for women.

Building a Better Robot: 10 Years of the Mr. Roboto Project
Created by Andy Mulkerin, Mike Q. Roth, and Missy Wright with Dan Bidwa, and Art
By Matt Average

The Mr. Roboto Project was a show space on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, PA. It was pretty much a storefront that held all-ages punk shows.

Barefoot and in the Kitchen
By Ashley Rowe
By Katie Dunne

It was delicious, like pretty much everything in this vegan cookbook, and I’m not a vegan. It includes several references in the front that define ingredients and methods that may be obscure to readers.

Time Bomb Snooze Alarm
By Bucky Sinister, 91 pgs.
By sean

I wouldn’t call him the voice of my generation. I wouldn’t call anyone that. But Bucky Sinister is a voice that my generation needs.

Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism
By Peter Marshall, 818 pgs.
By jimmy

Marshall has done a lot of heavy lifting here to provide a scholarly, yet accessible look into a subject long misunderstood, maligned, and misrepresented by those who purport to serve the best interests of general public.

Cambodian Grrrl: Self-Publishing in Phnom Penh
By Anne Elizabeth Moore
By Kevin Dunn

You want a revolution girl style now? What better place to start than in the Harpswell Dormitory for University Women in Cambodia?


By gary

In this comic, our author goes through one hassle or another as he traffics through doctors on his way to correct a stomach issue that include long waits in doctors’ offices until he finally breaks down. Is it stress or eating habits?

We the Animals
By Justin Torres, 125 pgs.
By Guest Contributor

The book follows the family through the highs and lows of their working class life. It is filled with both joy and anger but carries an undercurrent of menace, violence, and dark sexuality throughout. If you are looking for a happy, uplifting, working class pastoral then this book is not for you. If you like your stories a little gritty and tense and are not uncomfortable with an undercurrent of casual violence and sexuality, then We the Animals is a three-hour rush you will enjoy.

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