Staff Review: "Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life"

Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life by Steve Almond

 

With a title like that, you have to wonder how serious this book takes itself. Steve Almond's memoir of his lifetime love of rock music is a display of passion for the music. Almond begins the book in the mid-1970s with himself as a preteen who is trying to emulate his older brother. But every time he thinks he has matched his brother's taste, that brother has already moved on: Styx, the Police, punk, and finally, The Grateful Dead. Almond describes his evolution as a "Drooling Fanatic" and how it eventually destroyed every relationship he had with girls and women, until he met another Drooling Fanatic.  

Ray Bradbury: A tribute

Ray Bradbury

 

The news that Ray Bradbury had passed away on June 5, 2012 saddened me.  Along with authors Andre Norton, Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein, I credit Mr. Bradbury for introducing to the realms of science fiction, horror, and fantasy more years ago than I care to remember.

His works took on social problems in a thought provoking way. Mr. Bradbury wrote of segregation, censorship, and a society that is overly dependent on technology. His characters range from Martians to firemen who start fires instead of putting them out. He had the ability to draw the reader into his world by sympathetic characters and well-written prose.

Food Pioneers

Birdseye: The Adventures of a Curious Man by Mark Kurlansky

 

Two new biographies present the stranger-than-fiction true tales of men who changed the food industry.

Life of a Pretty Boy

Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe

 

Brat Pack member Rob Lowe has written an autobiography entitled, "Stories I Only Tell My Friends." I checked out the eAudiobook version which is read by the author. In the beginning, the strongest part of the biography, Lowe discusses his difficulties getting started in show business. You might think that his undeniable good looks made his an easy life, but such is not the case.  Young Rob Lowe had trouble until his parents divorced and the family moved from Ohio to Malibu, California. Living in the same neighborhood as Martin Sheen and his roustabout sons, Rob Lowe started catching breaks. He gradually became a movie star but the dysfunction of his early life manifested itself in adulthood with scandals, dissolution, profligacy and, luckily, rehab.

Downton Abbey Withdrawal

American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin

Are you suffering from "Downton Abbey" withdrawal? Spending sleepless nights worrying if Matthew and Lady Mary will overcome their past and find true love? If so,
"The American Heiress" by Daisy Goodwin may be just the tonic to assuage your Gilded Age malaise.

Cora Cash -as in cash, money - is the richest heiress in Newport. Beleaguered by tons of dough but not so much social standing, Mama Cash is intent on marrying off her only daughter to a titled Englishman, thereby snagging the credibility to rule the scene. Enter Lord Wareham, a dark and brooding Duke with a threadbare estate and shadowy past. He and Cora meet cute, marry and produce an heir, all the while battling cultural differences and scheming ex-lovers.

Humor 911

The 50 Funniest American Writers

 

Help, I've fallen into a pit of literary despair and can't get out. After four works of murder, mayhem and mystery by Richard Matheson, appropriately collected as "Noir," I turned to another favorite author, Joyce Carol Oates. The title of her book, too, should have warned me off: "Sourland." In one of Matheson's stories, a series of murders is committed by ice pick to the cranium. In Oates, a widow's trip to probate court morphs into a thorough gynecological exam by a uniformed guard.

Suddenly, nothing was funny anymore and I began waking to nightmares. So, I searched the SLCL catalog with the keyword, "humor."

Staff Review: "Nightworld" by F. Paul Wilson

Nightworld by F. Paul Wilson

 

The end of the world begins when the sun rose late one morning.  Scientists are baffled by this celestial phenomenon. The next disturbance occurs when bottomless sinkholes began to appear. When night fell, flesh-eating monsters appeared to attack the New York populace. The following pages are filled with intense action, terror, loss of hope as the world is bombarded with attacks from "The Otherness."

Mankind is doomed unless a small band of fighters led by centuries old, Glaeken, can reforge an ancient weapon to combat the evil. This is a classic battle of good versus evil or order versus chaos. Who will fall? Who will be victorious? You'll have to read this suspenseful book to find out.

Brush Up Your Shakespeare

Iago by David Snodin

 

If you haven't already seen the Shakespeare Festival St. Louis production of Othello in Forest Park, there's still time to read or reread the play before you go. The library has several editions of this unsettling tragedy, including one that features the original text displayed side-by-side with a translation into contemporary English. Many of these books have introductory essays and notes throughout to make the play more readable for the non-academic.

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