Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Book Review: The Big Bang Theory


The Big Bang Theory is a television phenomenon. To the casual viewer, it’s a seemingly effortless comedy, with relatable characters tackling real-life issues, offering a kind of visual comfort food to its millions of dedicated fans. But the behind-the-scenes journey of the show from a failed pilot to a global sensation is a fascinating story that even the most die-hard fans don’t know in its entirety.

The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series is a riveting, entertaining look at the sitcom sensation, with the blessing and participation of co-creators Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady, executive producers Steve Molaro and Steve Holland, as well as

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Book Review: Welcome to the Game


Having moved his family from England to Detroit and opened a foreign car dealership, ex-rally driver Spencer Burham’s life was derailed by the death of his beloved wife. Now disconnected from his young daughter and losing control of the cocktail of drugs and alcohol that gets him through the day, he only just keeps Child Protective Services at bay while his business teeters on the edge of bankruptcy.

Then he has a seemingly chance encounter with a charismatic but lethal gangster, Dominic McGrath. Feeling the squeeze from informants, the rise of tech surveillance, and a hotshot detective who’s made busting him a personal crusade, McGrath’s been planning a last heist that would allow a comfortable retirement, provided he can find a very special type of driver—one who’s capable, trustworthy . . . and naïve.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Book Review: The Jordainaires


The greatest backup group in the history of recorded music undoubtedly was the Jordanaires, a gospel group of mostly Tennessee boys, formed in the 1940s, that set the standard for studio vocal groups in the '50s, '60s, '70s, and beyond. In their sixty-five-year career, from 1948 through 2013, the recordings they sang on have sold an estimated eight billion copies. They sang on more than 200 of Elvis's recordings, including most of his biggest hits. They were in three of his best-known movies, appeared with him on most of his early nation-wide TV shows, and toured with him for many years. Throughout Elvis's early career, they were his most trusted friends and probably his most positive influence. "No telling how many thousands of miles we rode together over those fourteen years," remembered Gordon Stoker, the group's manager and high tenor, "and most of those miles were good miles, with lots of laughs, and lots of talk about life."

Monday, September 19, 2022

Book Review: Reverberation


Music is a universal human experience that’s been with us since the dawn of time. You’ve listened to music all your life . . . but have you ever wondered why?

It turns out music isn’t just about entertainment—it’s a deeply embedded, subtly powerful means of communication. Songs resonate with your brain wave patterns and drive changes in your brain: creating your moods, consolidating your memories, strengthening your habits (the good ones and the bad ones alike) . . . even making you fall in or out of love. Your music is molding you, at a subconscious level, all day long. And now, for the first time ever, you can take charge.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Book Review: Acid For the Children


In Acid for the Children, Flea takes readers on a deeply personal and revealing tour of his formative years, spanning from Australia to the New York City suburbs to, finally, Los Angeles. Through hilarious anecdotes, poetical meditations, and occasional flights of fantasy, Flea deftly chronicles the experiences that forged him as an artist, a musician, and a young man. His dreamy, jazz-inflected prose makes the Los Angeles of the 1970s and 80s come to gritty, glorious life, including the potential for fun, danger, mayhem, or inspiration that lurked around every corner. It is here that young Flea, looking to escape a turbulent home, found family in a community of musicians, artists, and junkies who also lived on the fringe. He spent most of his time partying and committing petty crimes. But it was in music where he found a higher meaning, a place to channel his frustration, loneliness, and love. This left him open to the life-changing moment when he and his best friends, soul brothers, and partners-in-mischief came up with the idea to start their own band, which became the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Book Review: Out of Esau


When a woman questioning her marriage encounters the kind and steadfast pastor of her small town, they are both forced to reconsider their pasts, their faith, and their future

Robert Glory has never quite felt as though he fit in the small town of Esau, Michigan, but he finds solace in his role as the pastor of Esau Baptist and in his spare, orderly routine. When Susan Shearer arrives at his church seeking the strength to stay true to her increasingly volatile husband, neither expect that their immediate connection will upend both of their lives. As their relationship deepens and Susan’s life at home becomes more unstable, Robert and Susan are forced to confront the wounds that have shaped them and discover if they still have the power to change.

Monday, September 5, 2022

Book Review: Sinister Graves


A snowmelt has sent floodwaters down to the fields of the Red River Valley, dragging the body of an unidentified Native woman into the town of Ada. The only evidence the medical examiner recovers is a torn piece of paper inside her bra: a hymnal written in English and Ojibwe.

Cash Blackbear, a 19-year-old Ojibwe woman, sometimes helps Sheriff Wheaton, her guardian, on his investigations. Now she knows her search for justice for this anonymous victim will take her to the White Earth Reservation, a place she once called home. When Cash happens upon two small graves in the yard of a rural, “speak-in-tongues kinda church,” Cash is pulled into the lives of the malevolent pastor and his troubled wife while yet another Native woman dies in a mysterious manner.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Book Review: Welcome to Dragon Talk


If it seems like everyone you know is playing Dungeons & Dragons, it’s because they are! After nearly five decades, the iconic roleplaying game is more popular than ever. Famous Hollywood actors and directors, therapists, educators, politicians, kids, parents, and grandparents all count themselves as fans. In Welcome to Dragon Talk, hosts of the official D&D podcast Shelly Mazzanoble and Greg Tito and their surprising guests show how this beloved pastime has amassed a diverse, tight-knit following of players who defy stereotypes.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Book Review: The Come Up - An Oral History of the Rise of Hip-Hop


The music that would come to be known as hip-hop was born at a party in the Bronx in the summer of 1973. Now, fifty years later, it’s the most popular music genre in America. Just as jazz did in the first half of the twentieth century, hip-hop and its groundbreaking DJs and artists—nearly all of them people of color from some of America’s most overlooked communities—pushed the boundaries of music to new frontiers, while transfixing the country’s youth and reshaping fashion, art, and even language.

And yet, the stories of many hip-hop pioneers and their individual contributions in the pre-Internet days of mixtapes and word of mouth are rarely heard—and some are at risk of being lost forever. Now, in The Come Up, the New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Abrams offers the most comprehensive account so far of hip-hop’s rise, a multi-decade chronicle told in the voices of the people who made it happen.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Book Review: Jar of Hearts


When she was sixteen years old, Angela Wong—one of the most popular girls in school—disappeared without a trace. Nobody ever suspected that her best friend, Georgina Shaw, now an executive and rising star at her Seattle pharmaceutical company, was involved in any way. Certainly not Kaiser Brody, who was close with both girls back in high school.

But fourteen years later, Angela's remains are discovered in the woods near Geo's childhood home. Kaiser—now a detective with Seattle PD—finally learns the truth: Angela was a victim of Calvin James To the authorities, Calvin is a serial killer of several women. But to Geo, he's something else entirely. Back in high school, he was Geo's first love. Turbulent and often volatile, their relationship bordered on obsession from the moment they met right up until the night Angela was killed.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Book Review: Chuck Berry - An American Life


Best known as the groundbreaking artist behind classics like “Johnny B. Goode,” “Maybellene,” “You Never Can Tell” and “Roll Over Beethoven,” Chuck Berry was a man of wild contradictions, whose motives and motivations were often shrouded in mystery. After all, how did a teenage delinquent come to write so many songs that transformed American culture? And, once he achieved fame and recognition, why did he put his career in danger with a lifetime’s worth of reckless personal behavior? Throughout his life, Berry refused to shed light on either the mastery or the missteps, leaving the complexity that encapsulated his life and underscored his music largely unexplored—until now.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Book Review: 1980 - America's Pivotal Year


1980 was a turning point in American history. When the year began, it was still very much the 1970s, with Jimmy Carter in the White House, a sluggish economy marked by high inflation, and the disco still riding the airwaves. When it ended, Ronald Reagan won the presidency in a landslide, inaugurating a rightward turn in American politics and culture. We still feel the effects of this tectonic shift today, as even subsequent Democratic administrations have offered neoliberal economic and social policies that owe more to Reagan than to FDR or LBJ. To understand what the American public was thinking during this pivotal year, we need to examine what they were reading, listening to, and watching.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Book Review: Blade Runner 2019 volume 1


Return to the original rain-soaked dystopic world of Los Angeles, 2019. A hardboiled future noir world of renegade Replicants, deadly femme fatales, Spinners and bloody, violent death!

There's a new Blade Runner in town, and she's out for blood. Replicant blood. When a rich industrialist's wife and young daughter go missing, seemingly the victims of a Replicant kidnapping, Blade Runner Ash is called in to rescue them before they end up on a slab or worse. As Ash's investigation deepens she uncovers a shocking secret that could very well end up costing her her life.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Book Review: Charlie's Good Tonight


Charlie Watts was one of the most decorated musicians in the world, having joined the Rolling Stones, a few months after their formation, early in 1963. A student of jazz drumming, he was headhunted by the band after bumping into them regularly in London’s rhythm and blues clubs. Once installed at the drum seat, he didn’t miss a gig, album or tour in his 60 years in the band. He was there throughout the swinging sixties, the early shot at superstardom and the Stones' world conquest; and throughout the debauchery of the 1970s, typified by 1972's Exile on Main St., considered one of the great albums of the century. By the 1980s, Charlie was battling his own demons, but emerged unscathed to enhance his unparalleled reputation even further over the ensuing decades.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Book Review: The MGM Effect


Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s emblem, which has opened thousands of movies since 1924, is the most recognized corporate symbol in the world. Not just in the entertainment industry, it should be noted, but of any industry, anywhere, in the history of human civilization. But MGM has been a competitively insignificant force in the motion picture industry for nearly as long as it once, decades ago, dominated that industry.

In fact, the MGM lion now presides not over movies alone, but over thirty world-class resorts, and is, or has been, also a recognized leader in the fields of real estate, theme parks, casinos, golf courses, consumer products, and even airlines, all around the world. But the MGM mystique remains. The MGM Effect is a look at what made MGM the Mount Rushmore of studios, how it presented itself to the world, and how it influenced everything from set design to merchandising to music and dance, and continues to do so today.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Book Review: ABBA At 50


After winning 1974’s Eurovision Song Contest with their song “Waterloo,” ABBA catapulted to fame, capturing hearts across the globe with their melodic and ever-so-catchy pop songs. Formed in Stockholm, in 1972 by Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid “Frida” Lyngstad, ABBA became one of the most commercially successful acts in the history of popular music, topping the charts worldwide with classic hits such as “Dancing Queen,” “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man after Midnight),” “SOS,” and “Knowing Me, Knowing You.”

Monday, August 8, 2022

Book Review: Lady Gaga - Applause


As one of the world’s best-selling musicians, Lady Gaga has set the musical bar high. Since her debut album, The Fame (2008), she has sold more than 124 million records and scooped numerous awards, including twelve Grammy Awards and eighteen MTV Music Video Awards.

Yet she is much more than a musician. At the helm of the Haus of Gaga—a close-knit circle of behind-the-scenes creatives—Lady Gaga is a performance artist like no other; her forward-thinking fashions and innovations mark her out as the ultimate maverick.

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Book Review: Full House


In hardcover for the first time, Full House: A Wild Cards collection brings together the Wild Cards stories that have been previously published on Tor.com, including works from: Daniel Abraham, Cherie Priest, David D. Levine, Walter Jon Williams, Paul Cornell, Carrie Vaughn, Caroline Spector, Stephen Leigh, Melinda M. Snodgrass and more! Editted by George R.R. Martin.

Friday, August 5, 2022

Book Review: The Intimate City


As New York came to a halt with COVID, Michael Kimmelman composed an email to a group of architects, historians, writers, and friends, inviting them to take a walk. Wherever they liked, he wrote—preferably someplace meaningful to them, someplace that illuminated the city and what they loved about it. At first, the goal was distraction. At a scary moment when everything seemed uncertain, walking around New York served as a reminder of all the ways the city was still a rock, joy, and inspiration. What began with a lighthearted trip to explore Broadway’s shuttered theater district and a stroll along Museum Mile when the museums were closed soon took on a much larger meaning and ambition. These intimate, funny, richly detailed conversations between Kimmelman and his companions became anchors for millions of Times readers during the pandemic. The walks unpacked the essence of urban life and its social fabric—the history, plans, laws, feats of structural engineering, architectural highlights, and everyday realities that make up a place Kimmelman calls “humanity’s greatest achievement.”

Book Review: The Bullet That Missed


It is an ordinary Thursday, and things should finally be returning to normal. Except trouble is never far away where the Thursday Murder Club are concerned. A decade-old cold case—their favorite kind--leads them to a local news legend and a murder with no body and no answers. Then a new foe pays Elizabeth a visit. Her mission? Kill or be killed. Suddenly the cold case has become red hot.

While Elizabeth wrestles with her conscience (and a gun), Joyce, Ron, and Ibrahim chase down the clues with help from old friends and new. But can the gang solve the mystery and save Elizabeth before the murderer strikes again?

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Book Review: Hollywood Park


We were never young. We were just too afraid of ourselves. No one told us who we were or what we were or where all our parents went. They would arrive like ghosts, visiting us for a morning, an afternoon. They would sit with us or walk around the grounds, to laugh or cry or toss us in the air while we screamed. Then they’d disappear again, for weeks, for months, for years, leaving us alone with our memories and dreams, our questions and confusion. …

So begins Hollywood Park, Mikel Jollett’s remarkable memoir. His story opens in an experimental commune in California, which later morphed into the Church of Synanon, one of the country’s most infamous and dangerous cults. Per the leader’s mandate, all children, including Jollett and his older brother, were separated from their parents when they were six months old, and handed over to the cult’s “School.” After spending years in what was essentially an orphanage, Mikel escaped the cult one morning with his mother and older brother. But in many ways, life outside Synanon was even harder and more erratic.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Book Review: This Is What It Sounds Like


A legendary record-producer–turned–brain-scientist explains why you fall in love with music.

When you listen to music, do you prefer lyrics or melody? Intricate harmonies or driving rhythm? The “real” sounds of acoustic instruments or those of computerized synthesizers? Drawing from her successful career as a music producer (engineering hits like Prince’s “Purple Rain”), professor of cognitive neuroscience Susan Rogers reveals why your favorite songs move you. She explains that we each possess a unique “listener profile” based on our brain’s reaction to seven key dimensions of any record: authenticity, realism, novelty, melody, lyrics, rhythm, and timbre.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Book Review: Noisemaker


Inspired by the sonic anarchy of The Clash and The Sex Pistols, teenager Billy Stamp flees a chaotic family life in Halifax to drum his way to superstardom in punk-era London. But Billy is woefully unprepared for a city populated with tattooed skinheads and violent thugs, rock wannabes and, worst of all, universal indifference to his talent. As Billy stumbles through the music scene, playing punk clubs and dank pubs, his search for the perfect groove forces him to choose sides in the battle between art and commerce.

Part ghost story, part fictionalized memoir, Noisemaker by Andy Tolson is a love letter to when thrashing guitars, pounding drums, and the three minute pop song ruled the world. It comes out on September 1st, 2022. Moose House Publications provided an early galley for review.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Book Review: Don Rickles - the Merchant of Venom


Riding a wave of success that lasted more than sixty years, Don Rickles is best known as the “insult” comic who skewered presidents, royalty, celebrities, and friends and fans alike. But there was more to “Mr. Warmth” than a devilish ear-to-ear grin and lightning-fast put-downs. Rickles was a loving husband, an adoring father who suffered a devastating loss, and a loyal friend to the likes of Bob Newhart and Frank Sinatra. Don was also a young student at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and intended to become a seriously committed actor. But it was in small nightclubs where Rickles found success, steamrolling hecklers, honing his acerbic put-downs, and teaching the world to love being insulted. Sex, race, religion, nationality, physical appearance, political leanings—nothing and no one was safe from the “Planned Parenthood Poster Boy,” as Johnny Carson referred to him.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Book Review: Nerd


From the moment Maya Phillips saw the opening scroll of Star Wars, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, her childhood changed forever. Her formative years were spent loving not just the Star Wars saga, but superhero cartoons, anime, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Harry Potter, Tolkien, and Doctor Who—to name just a few. As a critic at large at The New York Times, Phillips has written extensively on theater, poetry, and the latest blockbusters—with her love of some of the most popular and nerdy fandoms informing her career. Now, she analyzes the mark these beloved intellectual properties leave on young and adult minds, and what they teach us about race, gender expression, religion, and more—especially as fandom becomes more and more mainstream.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Book Review: How to Write Like a Writer


Combing anecdotes and hard-won lessons from decades of teaching and writing—and invoking everyone from Hemingway to your third-grade teacher—retired professor Thomas C. Foster, the New York Times bestselling author of the beloved classic How to Read Literature Like a Professor, guides you through the basics of writing. With How to Write Like a Writer you’ll learn how to organize your thoughts, construct first drafts, and (not incidentally) keep you in your chair so that inspiration can come to visit.

Monday, July 11, 2022

Book Review: Escape Into Meaning


As YouTube’s The Nerdwriter, Evan Puschak plays the polymath, posing questions and providing answers across a wide range of fields—from the power of a split diopter shot in Toy Story 4 to the political dangers of schadenfreude. Now, he brings that same insatiable curiosity and striking wit to this engaging and unputdownable essay collection.

Perfect for fans of Trick Mirror and the writing of John Hodgman and Chuck Klosterman, Escape into Meaning is a compendium of fascinating insights into obsession. Whether you’re interested in the philosophy of Jerry Seinfeld or how Clark Kent is the real hero, there’s something for everyone in this effervescent collection.

Book Review: Zatanna - The Jewel of Gravesend


Zatanna's not your typical New Yorker. She walks her giant rabbit on a leather leash down the boardwalk, lives in a colossal architectural wonder known as the Golden Elephant, had her first kiss in the Haunted Hell Gate ride--and wouldn't have it any other way. But the time for having fun in Luna Park comes to an end when a mystic's quest for a powerful jewel unravels everything Zatanna thought she knew about herself and her beloved neighborhood. Mysteries and magic surround her as she reveals the truth about her family's legacy, and confronts the illusion that has been cast over her entire life.

From the bewitching mind behind The Casquette Girls, Alys Arden and with enchanting artwork by Jacquelin de Leon comes the story of a girl stuck in the middle of a magical rivalry and forced to choose between love, family, and magic without hurting anyone...or worse.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Book Review: Boldly Go


Long before Gene Roddenberry put him on a starship to explore the galaxy, long before he actually did venture to space, William Shatner was gripped by his own quest for knowledge and meaning. Though his eventful life has been nothing short of extraordinary, Shatner is still never so thrilled as when he experiences something that inspires him to simply say, “Wow.”

Within these affecting, entertaining, and informative essays, he demonstrates that astonishing possibilities and true wonder are all around us. By revealing stories of his life—some delightful, others tragic—Shatner reflects on what he has learned along the way to his ninth decade and how important it is to apply the joy of exploration to our own lives. Insightful, irreverent, and with his signature wit and dramatic flair, Boldly Go is an unputdownable celebration of all that our miraculous universe holds for us.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Book Review: Muppets In Moscow


After the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the timing appeared perfect to bring Sesame Street to millions of children living in the former Soviet Union. With the Muppets envisioned as ideal ambassadors of Western values, no one anticipated just how challenging and dangerous this would prove to be.

In Muppets in Moscow: The Unexpected Crazy True Story of Making Sesame Street in Russia, Natasha Lance Rogoff brings this gripping tale to life. Amidst bombings, assassinations, and a military takeover of the production office, Lance Rogoff and the talented Moscow team of artists, writers, musicians, filmmakers, and puppeteers remained determined to bring laughter, learning, and a new way of seeing the world to children in Russia, Ukraine and across the former Soviet empire.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Book Review: Station Eternity


From idyllic small towns to claustrophobic urban landscapes, Mallory Viridian is constantly embroiled in murder cases that only she has the insight to solve. But outside of a classic mystery novel, being surrounded by death doesn’t make you a charming amateur detective, it makes you a suspect and a social pariah. So when Mallory gets the opportunity to take refuge on a sentient space station, she thinks she has the solution. Surely the murders will stop if her only company is alien beings. At first her new existence is peacefully quiet…and markedly devoid of homicide.

But when the station agrees to allow additional human guests, Mallory knows the break from her peculiar reality is over. After the first Earth shuttle arrives, and aliens and humans alike begin to die, the station is thrown into peril. Stuck smack-dab in the middle of an extraterrestrial whodunit, and wondering how in the world this keeps happening to her anyway, Mallory has to solve the crime—and fast—or the list of victims could grow to include everyone on board….

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Book Review: The Littlest Library


A little red telephone box full of stories, a chance to change her life...

Jess Metcalf is perfectly content with her quiet, predictable life. But when her beloved grandmother passes away and she loses her job at the local library, Jess’ life is turned upside down. Determined to pick up the pieces, Jess decides it’s time for a new beginning. Unable to part with her grandmother’s cherished books, she packs them all up and moves to a tiny cottage in the English countryside. To her surprise, Jess discovers that she’s now the owner of an old red phone box that was left on the property. Missing her job at the local library, Jess decides to give back to her new community—using her grandmother’s collection to turn the ordinary phone box into the littlest library in England.

It’s not long before the books are borrowed and begin to work their literary magic—bringing the villagers together... and managing to draw Jess’ grumpy but handsome neighbor out of his shell. Maybe it’s finally time for Jess to follow her heart, let go of her old life, and make the village her home? But will she be able to take the leap?

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Book Review: Groupies


It’s 1977, and Faun Novak is in love with rock ‘n’ roll. After her mother’s death, Faun, a naïve college dropout, grabs her Polaroid and hops a Greyhound to Los Angeles. There she reconnects with her charismatic childhood friend Josie, now an up-and-coming model and muse. To make their reunion even sweeter, Josie is now dating Cal Holiday, the frontman of the superstar rock band Holiday Sun, and Faun is positively mesmerized.

Except it’s not just the band she can’t get enough of. It’s also the proud groupies who support them in myriad ways. Among the groupies are: a doting high school girl at war with her mother; a drug-dealing wife and new mom who longs to be a star herself; and a cynical mover-and-shaker with a soft spot for Holiday Sun’s bassist.

Faun obsessively photographs every aspect of this dazzling new world, struggling to balance her artistic ambitions with the band’s expectations. As her confidence grows for the first time in her life, her priorities shift. She becomes reckless with friendship, romance, her ethics, and her bank account. But just as everything is going great and her boring, old life is falling away, Faun realizes just how blind she has been to the darkest corners of this glamorous musical dreamland as the summer heats up and everything spirals out of control . . .

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Book Review: The It Girl


April Clarke-Cliveden was the first person Hannah Jones met at Oxford. Vivacious, bright, occasionally vicious, and the ultimate It girl, she quickly pulled Hannah into her dazzling orbit. Together, they developed a group of devoted and inseparable friends—Will, Hugh, Ryan, and Emily—during their first term. By the end of the year, April was dead.

Now, a decade later, Hannah and Will are expecting their first child, and the man convicted of killing April, former Oxford porter John Neville, has died in prison. Relieved to have finally put the past behind her, Hannah’s world is rocked when a young journalist comes knocking and presents new evidence that Neville may have been innocent. As Hannah reconnects with old friends and delves deeper into the mystery of April’s death, she realizes that the friends she thought she knew all have something to hide…including a murder.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Book Review: Wham! George Michael and Me


In 1975 Andrew took a shy new boy at school under his wing. They instantly hit it off, and their boyhood escapades at Bushy Meads School built a bond that was never broken. The duo found themselves riding an astonishing roller coaster of success, taking them all over the world. They made and broke iconic records, they were treated like gods, but they stayed true to their friendship and ultimately to themselves. It was a party that seemed as if it would never end. And then it did, in front of tens of thousands of tearful fans at Wembley Stadium in 1986.

Andrew Ridgeley—one half of one of the most famous bands in the world—tells the inside story of Wham!, his lifelong friendship with George Michael, and the formation of a band that changed the shape of the music scene in the early eighties. Andrew’s memoir covers in wonderful detail those years, up until that last iconic concert: the scrapes, the laughs, the relationships, the good, and the bad. It’s a unique and one-and-only time to remember that era, that band, and those boys.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Book Review: The Memory Librarian


Whoever controls our memories controls the future.

Janelle Monáe and an incredible array of talented collaborating creators have written a collection of tales comprising the bold vision and powerful themes that have made Monáe such a compelling and celebrated storyteller. Dirty Computer introduced a world in which thoughts—as a means of self-conception—could be controlled or erased by a select few. And whether human, A.I., or other, your life and sentience was dictated by those who’d convinced themselves they had the right to decide your fate.

That was until Jane 57821 decided to remember and break free.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Book Review: Babysitter


From one of America’s most renowned storytellers—the best-selling author of Blonde —comes a novel about love and deceit, and lust and redemption, against a backdrop of child murders in the affluent suburbs of Detroit.

In the waning days of the turbulent 1970s, in the wake of unsolved child-killings that have shocked Detroit, the lives of several residents are drawn together with tragic consequences. There is Hannah, wife of a prominent local businessman, who has begun an affair with a darkly charismatic stranger whose identity remains elusive; Mikey, a canny street hustler who finds himself on a chilling mission to rectify injustice; and the serial killer known as Babysitter, an enigmatic and terrifying figure at the periphery of elite Detroit. As Babysitter continues his rampage of abductions and killings, these individuals intersect with one another in startling and unexpected ways.

Monday, June 6, 2022

Book Review: Influenced


Individuals seeking to widen their tribes of friends, fans, and followers have an abundance of resources for building their digital footprints and social media popularity. All of this seems well and good from the perspective of revenue, exposure, and perhaps ego-building, but what is the impact of this on the human brain and our behavior? Is anyone paying attention to the lurking side effects of the social media influencer revolution?

As “Dr. Brian” Boxer Wachler—one of the world’s most esteemed authorities on human perception—reveals in Influenced: The Impact of Social Media on Our Perception, we are oblivious to the mental evolution that is already in process. Science is proving that our addictive reliance upon social media and its influencers is having a demonstrable impact on how we think, feel, and perceive everything around us— and even how we react to stimuli. One might think that a “Like” is nothing more than a split-second tap on a device. However, brain scans tell a different story. Our brains literally light up with every buzz, ding, alert, and ring in anticipation of how our network is responding to us. As we tap away at our devices, we anxiously seek the approval of others—often people we don’t know.

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Book Review: Stan Lee - A Life


The definitive biography of Marvel legend Stan Lee, celebrating the 100th anniversary of his birth. Stan Lee’s extraordinary life was as epic as the superheroes he co-created, from the Amazing Spider-Man to the Mighty Avengers. His ideas and voice are at the heart of global culture, loved by millions of superhero fans around the world.

In Stan Lee: A Life, award-winning cultural historian Bob Batchelor offers an in-depth and complete look at this iconic visionary. Born in the Roaring Twenties, growing up in the Great Depression, living and thriving through the American Century, and dying in the twenty-first century, Stan Lee’s life is a unique representation of recent American history. Batchelor examines Lee’s fascinating American life by drawing out all its complexity, drama, heartache, and humor, revealing how Lee introduced the world to heroes that were just as fallible and complex as their creator—and just like all of us.

An up-close look at a legendary figure, this centennial edition includes completely new material to give the full measure of a man whose genius continues to mesmerize audiences worldwide. Candid, authoritative, and absorbing, this is the biography of a man who dreamed of one day writing the Great American Novel, but ended up doing so much more—revolutionizing culture by creating new worlds and heroes that have entertained generations.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Book Review: The Book Haters' Book Club


All it takes is the right book to turn a Book Hater into a Book Lover…

That was Elliott’s belief and the reason why he started The Book Haters’ Book Club—a newsletter of reading recommendations for the self-proclaimed “nonreader.” As the beloved co-owner of Over the Rainbow Bookshop, Elliot was passionate about and gifted in recommending books to customers. Now, after his sudden death, his grief-ridden business partner, Irma, has agreed to sell Over the Rainbow to a developer who will turn the cozy bookshop into high-rise condos.

But others won’t give up the bookshop without a fight. When Irma breaks the news to her daughters, Bree and Laney, and Elliott’s romantic partner, Thom, they are aghast. Over the Rainbow has been Bree and Laney’s sanctuary since childhood, and Thom would do anything to preserve Elliott’s legacy. Together, Thom, Bree and Laney conspire to save the bookshop, even if it takes some snooping, gossip and minor sabotage.

Monday, May 30, 2022

Book Review: The Rewind


When college sweethearts Frankie and Ezra broke up before graduation, they vowed to never speak to each other again. Ten years later, on the eve of the new millennium, they find themselves back on their snowy, picturesque New England campus together for the first time for the wedding of mutual friends. Frankie’s on the rise as a music manager for the hottest bands of the late ’90s, and Ezra’s ready to propose to his girlfriend after the wedding. Everything is going to plan—they just have to avoid the chasm of emotions brought up when they inevitably come face to face.

But when they wake up in bed next to each other the following morning with Ezra’s grandmother’s diamond on Frankie’s finger, they have zero memory of how they got there—or about any of the events that transpired the night before. Now Frankie and Ezra have to put aside old grievances in order to figure out what happened, what didn’t happen...and to ask themselves the most troubling question of all: what if they both got it wrong the first time around?

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Book Review: Flying Solo


Smarting from her recently canceled wedding and about to turn forty, Laurie Sassalyn returns to her Maine hometown of Calcasset to handle the estate of her great-aunt Dot, a spirited adventurer who lived to be ninety-three. Alongside boxes of Polaroids and pottery, a mysterious wooden duck shows up at the bottom of a cedar chest. Laurie’s curiosity is piqued, especially after she finds a love letter to the never-married Dot that ends with the line “And anyway, if you’re ever desperate, there are always ducks, darling.”

Laurie is told that the duck has no financial value. But after it disappears under suspicious circumstances, she feels compelled to figure out why anyone would steal a wooden duck—and why Dot kept it hidden away in the first place. Suddenly Laurie finds herself swept up in a righteous caper that has her negotiating with antiques dealers and con artists, going on after-hours dates at the local library, and reconnecting with her oldest friend and her first love. Desperate to uncover her great-aunt’s secrets, Laurie must reckon with her own past and her future—and ultimately embrace her own vision of flying solo.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Book Review: Slaying The Dragon


Co-created by wargame enthusiasts Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, the original Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game released by TSR (Tactical Studies Rules) in 1974 created a radical new medium: the role-playing game. For the next two decades, TSR rocketed to success, producing multiple editions of D&D, numerous settings for the game, magazines, video games, New York Times bestselling novels by Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman, and R. A. Salvatore, and even a TV show! But by 1997, a series of ruinous choices and failed projects brought TSR to the edge of doom—only to be saved by their fiercest competitor, Wizards of the Coast, the company behind the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering.

Unearthed from Ben Riggs’s own adventurous campaign of in-depth research, interviews with major players, and acquisitions of secret documents, Slaying the Dragon reveals the true story of the rise and fall of TSR. Go behind the scenes of their Lake Geneva headquarters where innovative artists and writers redefined the sword and sorcery genre, managers and executives sabotaged their own success by alienating their top talent, ignoring their customer fanbase, accruing a mountain of debt, and agreeing to deals which, by the end, made them into a publishing company unable to publish so much as a postcard.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Book Review: Miss Memory Lane


Four years ago, Colton Haynes woke up in a hospital. He’d had two seizures, lost the sight in one eye, almost ruptured a kidney, and been put on an involuntary psychiatry hold. Not yet thirty, he knew he had to take stock of his life and make some serious changes if he wanted to see his next birthday.

As he worked towards sobriety, Haynes allowed himself to become vulnerable for the first time in years and with that, discovered profound self-awareness. He had millions of social media followers who constantly told him they loved him. But what would they think if they knew his true story? If they knew where he came from and the things he had done? Now, Colton bravely pulls back the curtain on his life and career, revealing the incredible highs and devastating lows. From his unorthodox childhood in a small Kansas town, to coming to terms with his sexuality, he keeps nothing back.

By sixteen, he had been signed by the world’s top modeling agency and his face appeared on billboards. But he was still a broke, lonely, confused teenager, surrounded by people telling him he could be a star as long as he never let anyone see his true self. As his career in television took off, the stress of wearing so many masks and trying to please so many different people turned his use of drugs and alcohol into full-blown addiction.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Book Review: Squirrel Girl - Universe


Squirrel Girl is in a pickle and a jam, a metaphor that mixes about as well as it tastes. She and her friends are lost in outer space, where there is a conspicuous absence of oxygen and, even more troubling, a shortage of squirrels. After hitching a ride on a passing space whale, Squirrel Girl and her trusty companions find themselves on a free-merchant space station and on the front line of a looming interstellar war. The stakes have never been so high, and trillions of lives are at risk! Luckily for the universe, Squirrel Girl is here to stand up against the odds and set things right across the galaxy.

Squirrel Girl: Universe, the latest in the Marvel Heroines novel series by Aconyte Books, is written by Tristan Palmgren. In advance of the August 2, 2022, release date, the publisher provided me an early galley for an honest review.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Book Review: The Book Eaters


Truth is found between the stories we're fed and the stories we hunger for.

Out on the Yorkshire Moors lives a secret line of people for whom books are food, and who retain all of a book's content after eating it. To them, spy novels are a peppery snack; romance novels are sweet and delicious. Eating a map can help them remember destinations, and children, when they misbehave, are forced to eat dry, musty pages from dictionaries.

Devon is part of The Family, an old and reclusive clan of book eaters. Her brothers grow up feasting on stories of valor and adventure, and Devon—like all other book eater women—is raised on a carefully curated diet of fairy tales and cautionary stories. But real life doesn't always come with happy endings, as Devon learns when her son is born with a rare and darker kind of hunger—not for books, but for human minds.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Book Review: We Were Dreamers


Simu Lui's parents left him in the care of his grandparents in China, then brought him to Canada when he was four. Life as a Canuck, however, is not all that it was cracked up to be; Simu's new guardians lack the gentle touch of his grandparents, resulting in harsh words and hurt feelings. His parents, on the other hand, find their new son emotionally distant and difficult to relate to - although they are related by blood, they are separated by culture, language, and values.

As Simu grows up, he plays the part of the pious child flawlessly - he gets straight A's, crushes national math competitions and makes his parents proud. But as time passes, he grows increasingly disillusioned with the path that has been laid out for him. Less than a year out of college, at the tender age of 22, his life hits rock bottom when he is laid off from his first job as an accountant. Left to his own devices, and with nothing left to lose, Simu embarks on a journey that will take him far outside of his comfort zone into the world of show business.

Through a swath of rejection and comical mishaps, Simu's determination to carve out a path for himself leads him to not only succeed as an actor, but also to open the door to reconciling with his parents. We Were Dreamers is more than a celebrity memoir - it's a story about growing up between cultures, finding your family, and becoming the master of your own extraordinary circumstance.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Book Review: You Are (Not) Deadpool


Things seem weird, even by Deadpool’s standards, when Matt “Daredevil” Murdock offers him a profitable – nay, straightforward! – contract. No chaos, no unpredictability, no funny business… C’mon, Murdock, that’s just not Deadpool’s style. Sensing something is up, Deadpool grabs an innocent bystander off the street to confuse any semblance of predictability the universe is trying to force on him. Good-hearted mischief spirals into a sinister plot full of impenetrable bank vaults, crime lords stroking their (lack of) mustaches in very evil ways, and an assortment of offensively stylish suits that are begging to be blown up, Deadpool discovers his choices are no longer his own – they’re yours!

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Book Review: Anatomy of 55 More Songs


Songs that sell the most copies become hits, but some of those hits become something more—iconic recordings that not only inspire a generation but also change the direction of music. In Anatomy of 55 More Songs, based on his column for the Wall Street Journal, music journalist and historian Marc Myers tells the story behind fifty-five rock, pop, R&B, country, and soul-gospel hits through intimate interviews with the artists who wrote and recorded them.

Part oral history, part musical analysis, Anatomy of 55 More Songs ranges from Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising” to Dionne Warwick’s “Walk On By,” the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations,” and Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid.” Bernie Taupin recalls how he wrote the lyrics to Elton John’s “Rocket Man”; Joan Jett remembers channeling her rage against how she had been unfairly labeled and treated as a female rocker into “Bad Reputation”; and Ozzy Osbourne, Elvis Costello, Bob Weir, Sheryl Crow, Alice Cooper, Roberta Flack, John Mellencamp, Keith Richards, Carly Simon, and many others reveal the emotions and technique behind their major works.

Through an absorbing, chronological, song-by-song analysis of the most memorable post-war hits, Anatomy of 55 More Songs provides a sweeping look at the evolution of pop music between 1964 and today. This book will change how you listen to music and evaluate the artists who create it.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Book Review: The Ballad of Perilous Graves


Nola is a city full of wonders. A place of sky trolleys and dead cabs, where haints dance the night away and Wise Women help keep the order. To those from Away, Nola might seem strange. To Perilous Graves, it’s simply home.

In a world of everyday miracles, Perry might not have a talent for magic, but he does know Nola’s rhythm as intimately as his own heartbeat. So when the city’s Great Magician starts appearing in odd places and essential songs are forgotten, Perry realizes trouble is afoot.

Nine songs of power have escaped from the piano that maintains the city’s beat, and without them, Nola will fail. Unwilling to watch his home be destroyed, Perry will sacrifice everything to save it. But a storm is brewing, and the Haint of All Haints is awake. Nola’s time might be coming to an end.