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I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone
At the heart of any novel about music and musicians is the question, Can music save your mortal soul? Stephanie Kuehnert’s wonderfully gritty novel "I ...more
Jan 2008
Feb 04, 2009
Out Stealing Horses
I wasn't familiar with Per Petterson until my wife read this book and suggested that I read it. This is perhaps the best book I've read over the past ...more
Jan 2009
Feb 01, 2009
A Complicated Kindness
I know I'm late to the party, but I just loved this novel--perhaps the best I've read since Russell Banks' entirely different "Cloudsplitter." Mariam ...more
Oct 18, 2014
Oct 21, 2014
No Man's Land
I thought I'd already read everything written by Graham Greene, but I recently stumbled across this book at the local library. This is a collection th ...more
Mar 04, 2009
Mar 05, 2009
Lilly: Reminiscences of Lillian Hellman
My wife, who's a fan of Lillian Hellman's writing, found this book at the library; I'm not sure that it's still available elsewhere. In any event, thi ...more
Jan 2007
Feb 06, 2009
Me, the Mob, and the Music: One Helluva Ride with Tommy James & The Shondells
I'm not normally drawn to books about pop musicians, but the title of this book caught my attention when I was wandering through the library one day. ...more
Jun 27, 2010
Jul 08, 2010
Merle's Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog
I debated between giving this a three-star or four-star review. Anyone who has ever loved a dog will enjoy this book--and I have and did--but parts of ...more
May 16, 2009
Apr 27, 2009
As a dedicated music nerd and music writer, I've always been a big fan of Nick Hornby's novels. "Songbook" is the type of book all of us music nerds w ...more
Dec 28, 2010
Jan 31, 2011
Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West
I gave "Blood Meridian" four stars because it's an epic literary accomplishment, but I'm not sure I can say that I actually liked it. Admired, yes, li ...more
Aug 15, 2011
Sep 01, 2011
Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life
Despite spending the last few chapters relentlessly hammering on DiMaggio as a hyper-greedy misanthrope, Richard Ben Cramer paints a lively picture of ...more
Aug 22, 2014
Aug 07, 2014
Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood
The author's thesis--and he builds a strong case--is that the films nominated for Best Picture in 1967 marked the point at which moviemaking shifted f ...more
Oct 07, 2014
Oct 21, 2014
The Roosevelt Family of Sagamore Hill
This book focuses more on Teddy Roosevelt's family life than on his public life as a war hero and president. From that perspective, it provides a very ...more
Nov 21, 2010
Jan 31, 2011
X-Ray: The Unauthorized Autobiography
When I picked up this book, I expected a fairly typical autobiography of a rock star, but I should've known better. Ray Davies of the Kinks never did ...more
May 24, 2010
May 28, 2010
Miracle in the Andes
I tracked down this book after watching a documentary called "Saved!", which is a riveting reenactment of what Nando Parrado and his rugby teammates w ...more
Apr 25, 2010
May 28, 2010
Irish Wake: In Loving Memory of Us All
I've long been a fan of James Freeman's fiction, having read his novels "Parade of Days" and "Never the Same River Twice." I came to this new collecti ...more
Oct 10, 2011
Oct 13, 2011
A Rose for Mrs. Miniver: The Life of Greer Garson
I met the author, Mike Troyan, at a book signing event I did at a Barnes & Noble in Citrus Heights, where Mike serves as the community relations m ...more
Jan 2008
Feb 03, 2009
Bill Graham Presents: My Life Inside Rock And Out
Having grown up in northern California and having attended many shows promoted by Bill Graham over the years, I was curious to get the inside scope on ...more
Oct 30, 2010
Oct 07, 2010
Just Kids
This is a beautifully written memoir of the intertwining lives of the punk poet Patti Smith and the controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Al ...more
Dec 20, 2010
Jan 31, 2011
The End of the Affair
This is my favorite book by my favorite author. Dark, depressing, and brilliant. Who else could write a story about an illicit affair, shot through wi ...more
Jan 1989
Feb 03, 2009
Never Let Me Go
This book slowly pulled me in, creating a story that unfolds, becoming darker and more disoncerting as it goes along. Although beautifully written, ho ...more
Aug 22, 2009
Sep 21, 2009
The Loved One
This short novel is a darkly wonderful farce set in Hollywood in the 1940s, featuring a displaced British poet who's supporting himself by working at ...more
Sep 19, 2009
Sep 21, 2009
Talk Talk
This fast-paced novel is a modern horror story about having your identity stolen. In this case, the victim is deaf, which compounds all the problems t ...more
Jan 2007
Feb 10, 2009
The Van (The Barrytown Trilogy, #3)
Roddy Doyle has become a favorite of mine, crafting novels of seeming simplicity that pull you into the hopeful but hard realities of his characters. ...more
Sep 2009
Sep 21, 2009
Random Harvest
I first came to this novel by way of the 1942 movie version, starring Ronald Coleman and Greer Garson. (Well worth seeing.) The book greatly expands o ...more
Apr 07, 2011
Aug 31, 2011
High Fidelity
This is one of my all-time favorite books, and one that influenced me when I was writing my novel, "Getting in Tune." Nick Hornby nails that uneasy, d ...more
Jan 1997
Feb 03, 2009
Love is a Mix Tape
This book was passed along to me by two of my favorite friends. It's a poignant reflection on how music and love will blend together in our memories. ...more
Jan 2007
Feb 02, 2009
Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World
I love books about other places, and this one took me took me to one--in this case, Rome. It's a nice journal/memoir, set in 2005, written by Anothony ...more
Oct 23, 2009
Oct 22, 2009
White Bicycles: Making Music in the 1960s
Joe Boyd is an American music producer who ended up in London at just the right time to become an important player in the '60s British music scene. He ...more
Jan 2007
Feb 10, 2009
Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain
"Musicophilia" is a compilation of case studies focusing on how music affects the brain. Much of it is facinating, but some is a little tedious, espec ...more
Jun 15, 2011
Sep 01, 2011
Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time
I probably wouldn't have picked up this book on my own, but it came to me through my brother and my wife. In these times, with the Taliban and their i ...more
Jan 2008
Feb 03, 2009
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