Let Freedom Sing: Of 19th Century Americans (Review)

Vivian B. Kline, Outskirts Press

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Vivian Kline is a Class A name-dropper. The names she drops — Nicholas Longworth, P.T. Barnum and sister poets Alice and Phoebe Carey among them — have the satisfying clunk of historical import and might mean most to history buffs. Although, if you’re not, this is a good place to begin.  

Neil Young's Greendale (Review)

Josh Desert and Cliff Chiang, Vertigo

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 9, 2010
You might already love Sun Green. You might already love her flowing blonde hair, her activist demeanor and her happy place, the Double E Ranch. She is the center of the Greendale “musical novel” and film, both written and produced by Neil Young.  

David Simon's Total Immersion

'The Wire' and 'Treme' writer/producer gets below the surface of his subjects

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 2, 2010
David Simon's 'The Wire' garnered nearly unprecedented critical praise — by the end of its five-season run on HBO, some were calling it the best show to ever grace television — but drew a fraction of the audience of the cable outlet's other series 'Sex and the City' and 'The Sopranos.' Yet HBO stood behind Simon (and continues to stand behind him, offering his 'Treme' miniseries), a television iconoclast who'd rather walk away than betray the authenticity of his subject matter. Simon answers a few CityBeat questions before his June 7 talk at the Mercantile Library.  

Failure Is Always an Option

Journalist-turned-novelist James Greer discusses his latest book, 'The Failure'

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 28, 2010
James Greer has led a curious life. He first surfaced as an editor and writer at Spin during the magazine's early-'90s apex, a period that coincided with the so-called "Alternative Rock" revolution. His just-published second work of fiction, 'The Failure,' is a fast and funny nonlinear riff on crime-noir novels that tells the story of Guy Forget who plans to rob a Korean check-cashing joint in order to fund a Web-based get-rich-quick scheme.  

Just Kids (Review)

Patti Smith, Ecco

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Because Patti Smith’s music can be so ferociously turbulent, and because of her Punk legacy, it’s easy to overlook her tender side — one that exudes a charitable, compassionate sweetness and undying loyalty to friends and family as well as awe at the magnificence of great art. Smith wasn’t so much a rebel against post-war middle-class America as a young woman in love with books and music who wanted to be surrounded by them as an alternative to the working-class life she felt awaited her.  

The Kingdom of Ohio (Review)

Matthew Flaming, Amy Einhorn Books

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Life before the internal combustion engine was no damn fun. That, along with a vague sense of disquiet, is the thrust of The Kingdom of Ohio, the debut novel of possibly former Portlander Matthew Flaming. Flaming builds his story on a solid foundation, filling his characters’ histories with concrete detail. It’s compelling stuff, satisfying despite the novel’s inconclusive and confusing denouement.  

Two Weddings and a Funeral

Novelist Richard Russo discusses his craft

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Richard Russo's latest, 'That Old Cape Magic,' returns to the novelist's longtime topic of choice: family, and all the endlessly fascinating narrative and dramatic tension that topic allows. Its very Russo-ian protagonist Jack Griffin is going through an existential crisis of sorts, set off by the death of his mother and the marriage of his only daughter.   

The Melting Season (Review)

Jami Attenberg - Riverhead Books

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 3, 2010
In Jami Attenberg’s second novel, Catherine Madison is in her truck heading to Las Vegas. She’s leaving her small Nebraska town, her husband and her dysfunctional family. What she’s keeping is a suitcase full of money. From the start, we realize Catherine is running from something. She’s paying for motel and hotel rooms in cash and signs her maiden name in an attempt to cover her tracks.  

The Little Book Of Absinthe (Review)

Paul Owens and Paul Nathan - Pedigree

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 3, 2010
It might be looked upon as a book of cocktail recipes for connoisseurs of underground history or perhaps a lurid history book for those looking for a harder ride than Gentleman Jack can offer. The Little Green Book of Absinthe: An Essential Companion with Lore, Trivia and Classic and Contemporary Cocktails has many faces — all with bloodshot eyes and all flavored with the mystique of the green fairy.  

Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned

Wells Tower - Picador

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 10, 2010
There’s a great moment in “Retreat,” a new short story by Wells Tower. Two brothers have been out deer hunting on a chilly island in Maine. They haven’t bagged anything and they’re wet and cranky. but just as they’re packing up for the day, one spies an enormous moose. He takes a shot and brings it down.   

1000 Comic Books You Must Read (Review)

Tony Isabella - Krause Publications

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Cataloguing a thousand of anything is an impressive, likely painstaking task. If there’s anyone fit to amass a list of 1000 Comic Books You Must Read, it’s prolific comic scribe/industry observer Tony Isabella. Per the title, Isabella has the great fortune of not having to decide the thousand finest but rather the thousand that he finds compelling.  

Spencer's Gift

Former local club owner/city council candidate finds his groove in the comics industry

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 13, 2010
"Nick Spencer Cincinnati" — the results of this Web search yield a litany of news and critical opinions surrounding the now 31-year-old former co-owner of alchemize bar, two-time candidate for City Council and founder of the one-off Desdemona Music Festival in 2006. Buried in that search, though, is news about Spencer's latest venture: writing comics.  

More of This World or Maybe Another by Barb Johnson

Harper Perennial

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 16, 2009
For the past 20 years, author Barb Johnson has been a carpenter in New Orleans. Luckily for us, the reader, she’s put down her carpenter tools and has picked up pen and paper. In More of This World or Maybe Another, the Bubble Laundromat in mid-city New Orleans serves as a backdrop for nine astonishing stories.  

The Anthologist by Nicolson Baker

Simon & Schuster

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Nicholson Baker is a word nut, in a good way. In The Anthologist his narrator and perhaps alter ego, poet Paul Chowder, muses on “divulge” in the very first paragraph — “What a juicy word. Truth opening its petals. Truth smells like Chinese food and sweat” — and you’re off on a tear through Paul’s passionate beliefs about rhyme in poetry.  

Another Galaxy

Red Panda Comics pays tribute to Ed Emberley

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Chances are you know who Ed Emberley is, even if you think you don’t. He’s an old guy from Massachusetts, but he’s also an illustrator and Caldecott Medal winner who’s worked on more than 50 children’s books since the 1960s.