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Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter

Tom Bissell, Vintage

0 Comments · Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Gamers are typically no sufferers of hardship. They are neither starving nor homeless nor prevented from participating in civic activities. To game, you need a couple hundred bucks and copious free time. Yet to be a gamer among art lovers is to be the blackest sheep in a platinum pack, one that finds themselves defending that which feels indefensible.   

No Easy Answers

New book looks at Ohio-based, post-9/11 security issues

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 7, 2011
By the summer of 2007, Columbus-based AP reporter Andrew Welsh-Huggins recognized that an ongoing story he’d been covering put Ohio at the center of events making important national news. “All this information was swirling around: Christopher Paul was indicted, the coffee-shop meetings were coming out,” Welsh-Huggins says in a recent phone interview.   

Back to the Future

Ernest Cline discusses his ’80s-centric debut novel

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One is a pop-culture geek’s paradise, a futuristic thriller that looks back to the 1980s and its various touchstones — everything from the Atari 2600 and obscure Japanese anime to the Vision Quest soundtrack and the films of John Hughes — with addictive, often inspired glee.  

One Nation Under Sex

Larry Flynt and David Eisenbach, Palgrave MacMillan

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 10, 2011
“How the private lives of presidents, first ladies and their lovers changed the course of American history,” promises the cover of One Nation Under Sex, which also bears the byline of Hustler publisher and onetime Cincinnatian Larry Flynt, towering over the decidedly smaller one of historian David Eisenbach.  

Cowboys

Gary Phillips and Brian Hiatt, Vertigo Crime

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Make no mistake that Cowboys is a book very far removed from whiskey, spurs, horses and any other accoutrements of the Old West. It’s a 188-page graphic novel weaving the exploits of family-man FBI agent Tim Brady and detective Deke Kotto, whose sexual appetite and devil-may-care ingenuity leads him to deadly places.  

The Uncoupling

Meg Wolitzer, Riverhead

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 22, 2011
In Meg Wolitzer’s The Uncoupling, a suburban New Jersey town falls under a strange spell as the local high school prepares its stage adaptation of Lysistrata. The play is a centuries-old Aristophanes comedy in which women are called upon to withhold sex from their men in an effort to end the Peloponnesian War.  

Word Wizard

Michael Griffith’s latest novel employs a dazzling array of stylistic quirks

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Michael Griffith’s singular new novel, Trophy, opens with this succinct sentence: “Vada Prickett is a corpse.” What follows is not nearly as blunt or immediately discernible — a wild, meta-licious ride rife with puns, crafty word play, digressions, metaphors, tangents and puzzles, all of which eventually lead back to Vada, a 29-year-old “Hose Associate” at a car wash in South Carolina.  

2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America

Albert Brooks, St. Martin's Press

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Albert Brooks, one of the most creative and influential comedians and filmmakers of the last 40 years, has turned his attention to writing fiction with his suddenly serious yet wholly entertaining first novel, 2030: The Real Story of What Happens To America. In his futuristic tale, Brooks envisions a dystopian America in which we’re living longer but not necessarily happier lives.  

Five Thousand Years of Slavery

Marjorie Gann and Janet Willen, Tundra Books

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Forget comfortable assumptions about slavery as a terrible habit we’ve outgrown. Marjorie Gann and Janet Willen, in a crisp history of this ancient element of human life, let us know not only where slavery has been, but where it is today, in places you might not expect.  

From Punk to Page

Dead Boys guitarist Cheetah Chrome does book tour

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Chrome, the explosively thrashing guitarist/songwriter with the key American Punk band the Dead Boys, will be at the Comet in Northside at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday as part of the unusual, trend-setting Cleveland Confidential Authors Tour. All three of the authors who will be reading from/signing their books at the free event — Chrome, Mike Hudson and Bob Pfeifer — have their roots in Cleveland Punk bands.  

Over-the-Rhine: When Beer Was King

Michael Morgan, The History Press

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 2, 2011
My first thought was, given Over-the-Rhine’s lengthy (if roller-coaster-styled) history as a drinking and entertainment district, “When wasn’t beer king in OTR?” But, really, the modern volume of lager pales in consideration of the way things used to be. A century ago, the embattled city core was home to several hundred taverns and more than a dozen breweries.  

The Four Stages of Cruelty

Keith Hollihan, Thomas Dunne Books

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Lurid, profane and immensely dark, Keith Hollihan’s descent into the annals of Ditmarsh Penitentiary makes for a serviceable, pulpy page-turner. It’s a mystery thriller that follows the misadventures of Corrections Officer Kali Williams as she uncovers plots of torture and murder that have been carried out by corrupt guards.  

Immaculata on Mt. Adams (Review)

James Steiner [Mt. Adams Publishing]

0 Comments · Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Author Jim Steiner has done more than write the history of a church — he has demonstrated the flavor of a small neighborhood deeply steeped in Catholicism but divided by heritage.  

The Boombox Project (Review)

Lyle Owerko [Abrams Image]

0 Comments · Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Through interviews and retrospectives from artists and cultural icons from the era, Lyle Owerko chronicles the role boomboxes played in the democratization of urban music. And though the book contains dozens of Jamel Shabazz-esque shots of boombox-wielding breakdancers from the late ’70s and early ’80s, it's Owerko’s staged photos that truly capture the appeal of the era.  

The New Biographical Dictionary of Film (Review)

David Thomson [Knopf]

0 Comments · Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Thomson’s 1,076-page tome is as addictive as ever, bound to keep readers engrossed as they move from entries that have appeared in every edition since the first (in 1975) to new and/or updated capsules on those who’ve emerged since his most recent edition in 2004. His elegant prose, incisive critical skills and encyclopedic grasp of film history remain on display, as does his sometimes perplexing omissions, quirky personality, dry wit and seemingly willful subversions of popular opinion.