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Razorcake #87

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Book Reviews

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Featured Book Review from Issue #87
A Wailing of a Town
By Staff

An Oral History of Early San Pedro Punk and More 1977–1985.
“It took thirty pages for Please Kill Me to show its ass, but it only
took fifteen for A Wailing of a Town to show its heart.” –Kelley O’Death

A Wailing of a Town: An Oral History of Early San Pedro Punk and More 1977–1985
By Craig Ibarra, 344 pgs.
By Kelley O’Death

It took thirty pages for Please Kill Me to show its ass, but it only took fifteen for A Wailing of a Town to show its heart.

This Must Be the Place
By Sean H. Doyle, 94 pgs.
By Jim Woster

The “My-Fucked-Up-Life” share is its own genre now, and has moved past the critique of “We’ve read this already,” which would be like panning a detective novel for featuring another private investigator as narrator. 

The Sunshine Crust Baking Factory
By Stacy Wakefield, 228 pgs.
By Chris Terry

After high school, Sid arrives in New York City hoping to move into a Lower East Side squat. When she finds the buildings full of cliques, she squats an abandoned Brooklyn bakery, grows up a bit, and manages to create community.

Snakepit Gets Old
By Ben Snakepit, 285 pgs.
By Lisa Weiss

It’s all about doing grown-up stuff like going to work in the morning, getting married, and passing kidney stones. Going to shows and playing shows, apparently, also fall into the category of stuff people do when they get old. 

Forty Watt Flowers, The
By C.M. Subasic, 244 pgs.
By Steve Hart

Putting together a band is difficult. There are the awkward first rehearsals, the fights about what direction the band should take, and what kind of music they should play. Starting a band is unnerving and frustrating. The Forty Watt Flowersis a novel that documents the beginning of an “all-girl” band in Athens, Georgia in the early '90s. 

A Fictional Tale of Things
By Gary Llama, 119 pgs.
By Kurt Morris

The story seeks to be one of redemption and focuses on the main character’s attempt to find some purpose in spite of a job he hates. He ends up finding it in his wife and daughter, and contrasts this search with tales from his past experiences with depression.

While Llama claims this book is fictional, from what I remember of his past work, I can’t help but think much of this is autobiographical. That being the case, why not just make this a memoir? And if it’s a memoir, there needs to be a lot of expansion.

Collected Poems & Stories
By Mallory Whitten, 101 pgs.
By Indiana Laub

Mallory Whitten’s poems range from vulgar haiku to surreal dream recaps to transcripts of emotional phone calls. They are hyper-confessional, painfully, casually intimate to a degree that may only come this naturally to those generations that grew up—are growing up—with unlimited access to social media. 

Featured Book Reviews from Issue #86
You want innovation? Get into experimental jazz.
By Staff

Our latest batch of featured book reviews covers the gamut from heroin addiction 
to female Italian Renaissance painters. Plus a new Soy, Not Oi cookbook!

Featured Book Reviews from Issue #85
Dysfunction is never the wind in your sails
By Staff

A peek inside Issue 85's book reviews reveals the highs and lows of Lookout Records, life-or-death dodgeball, and the truth behind so many Ramones rumors. 

Boston Hardcore & Punk Factsheet
By Chris Wrenn, 64 pgs.
By Kurt Morris

Chris Wrenn, the founder of Bridge Nine Records, is also a Boston transplant, coming to the city in the late 1990s from Connecticut by way of Vermont. As a way to meet people and integrate himself in the scene, he put out monthly fact sheets on the hardcore and punk scene here, appropriately titled Boston Hardcore & Punk Factsheet.

Crate Digger: An Obsession with Punk Records
By Bob Suren, 191 pgs.
By Matt Average

A couple years back, Bob’s life changed drastically and he was forced to clean house and start from scratch. Selling off a massive record collection, as well as zines and flyers he collected for over three decades, he has since set out on a new journey, but he’s also taking some time and looking back on the past and putting it all into perspective. This book is about that.

Get into Comix
By Brad Dwyer, 72 pgs.
By Ollie Mikse

Get into Comix focuses mostly on Dwyer’s life during and after high school. (The “wilderness years,” if you will). As Dwyer’s life got more immersed in punk rock, DIY ethics, and the local music scene, it also started spiralling out of control.

Gun Needle Spoon
By Patrick O’Neil, 248 pgs.
By Michael T. Fournier

The omissions, the prose, and the patience with which he tells his frequently disturbing tale all add up to a whole greater than the sum of its excellent parts. Patrick O’Neil is a fantastic writer, and this is a hell of a debut.

Hawaiian Shirts in the Electric Chair
By Scott Laudati, 116 pgs.
By Ashley

He does not sing the body electric but rather passively bemoans his failed encounters with the opposite sex. He does not measure his life out in coffee spoons but rather in lines of coke. The word choice is sparse and to-the-point.

I Know What I Am: The True Story of Artemisia Gentileschi, Part 1
By Gina Siciliano, 72 pgs.
By Kayla Greet

This is the first installment in a trilogy of an intensely powerful historical graphic novel about a female painter, sexual assault, and her pursuit of her attacker during the Italian Renaissance.

Soy, Not Oi! Volume 2
By (All New) Hippycore Krew, 312 pgs.
By Donna Ramone

This is a punk vegan cookbook. But this isn’t just a punk vegan cookbook... this is the perfect cookbook because it feels like my trusty friend, the zine, and is full of recipes from people I would probably hang out with.

States of Terror Vol 1
By Matt Lewis, 150 pgs.
By Ashley

The concept of this collection is brilliant: “Eighteen tales of horror and the surreal featuring the monsters of the United States.” Each section is divided into a specific region, so you know exactly what to be afraid no matter where you are in the U.S.

By Z. Rider, 321 pgs.
By MP Johnson

Z. Rider does a fantastic job of playing off clichés and defying reader expectations every step of the way. Suckersfollows Dan Ferry, guitar player in the sorta-famous-in-a-small-clubs kind of way band Two Tons Of Dirt. 

Swing State
By Michael T. Fournier, 238 pgs.
By Kurt Morris

In this book, Fournier writes about three characters looking for a way out of Armbrister, their dying New Hampshire town. Entire chapters are dedicated to individual characters, with their stories eventually intersecting at the end of the novel.

Featured Book Reviews from Issue #84
Barfing up things of genuine oddness from time to time
By Staff

Our featured book reviews from issue 84 explore everything from
David Yow's feline adoration to Rich V's experience maintaining a DIY space.

Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys
By Viv Albertine, 432 pgs.
By Kevin Dunn

Albertine’s CCCMMMBBB is a remarkable read in places. While her portrayals of the 1970s and early 1980s are breezy and incomplete, be prepared to be gutted by the harrowing portrayal of her adult years.

Dodgeball High
By Bradley Sands, 188 pgs.
By MP Johnson

Bradley Sands is one of the foremost comedy writers in the bizarro fiction movement. He has a knack for writing likeably dislikeable characters and throwing them into wacky situations. In the case of Dodgeball High, that character is Justin Lucas. Justin is basically the coolest teenager ever, at least in his own mind.

Double Nickels Forever: A tribute to Double Nickels on the Dime and the Minuteme
Various Artists, 180 pgs.
By Chris Terry

The Minutemen inspire great things. Case in point: this collection of comics and drawings based on songs from their legendary double album, Double Nickels on the Dime. Fifty-nine artists (including John Porcellino and Dmitry Samarov) each bring a different song to life, creating psychedelic narratives, sharing stories that relate to the songs, or just taking a crack at drawing drummer George Hurley’s floppy ‘80s skater bangs.

Punk Rock Blitzkrieg
By Marky Ramone with Richard Herschlag
By Guest Contributor

Punk Rock Blitzkrieg tells the story of Marky Ramone’s life behind the kit, playing drums for one of the most influential and iconic punk bands of all time, The Ramones.

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