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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Even though Keith Richards worked with professional writer James Fox on this long-awaited memoir, the voice sounds dead-on true to the "Keef" we know from countless interviews, concert footage, Rolling Stones songs, run-ins with the law, etc.: profane, rambling yet blunt, rough-edged and potentially violent, funny, defiant about his bad habits, passionately unafraid to say what he means and mean what he says.
Kristin Hersh is a known quantity in the Alt-Rock orbit as a solo artist and through her role in the groups Throwing Muses and 50 Foot Wave. Given her extraordinary productivity, perhaps it is not too surprising to see Hersh author a book, and 'Rat Girl' is actually her second of three, starting with 2007's children's book 'Toby Snax' and succeeded by the hardcover book edition of her album 'Crooked' that appeared the day after 'Rat Girl' hit the stands.
How did salt and pepper become our default, go-to spices? Why are there four tines on a fork? How did stairs become so ubiquitous? These are just a few of the curiosities explored in Bill Bryson's latest book, 'At Home: A Short History of Private Life.' He discusses his latest literary endeavor with CityBeat in anticipation of his visit here Saturday for the Mercantile Library's annual Niehoff Lecture.
Back in the 1980s when I was working at the Jockey Club, Newport was in a cultural and financial tailspin. Bereft of its status as a wide open mecca of entertainment and vice, yet still burdened with the sex industry, Newport looked like it was going down for the last count. Newport has since come back in a miraculous way; nevertheless, such transformation never really assuages one's curiosity about the "bad old days."