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· 1:Razorcake #79 Now Available
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· 5:Record Reviews in Razorcake #79

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Razorcake #79
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Book Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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Why We Drive: The Past, Present, and Future of Automobiles in America
By Andy Singer, 160 pgs.
By Sean Arenas

Singer's suggestions are optimistic but his tone is never chastising; he remains steadfast and constructive.

Snake Pit Gets Old: Daily Diary Comics 2010-2012
By Ben Snakepit, 288 pgs.
By Todd Taylor

Those unfamiliar with Ben Snakepit, he’s a DIY punk who draws three panels, every day of the year, with a soundtrack song at the top, peppered with movie suggestions. The comics are more simple line drawings—visually more “three chords punk” than Frank Fazetta.

Outlaw Efforts
By Natalie Jacobson and Joey Maltese, 116 pgs.
By Bryan Static

As both a hardcore comic book nerd and a punk rock fanatic, I’m displeased with this book on a number of levels.

Left of the Dial: Conversations with Punk Icons
By David Ensminger, 320 pgs.
By Jimmy Alvarado

It is less a history lesson in the strictest sense than an attempt to document the threads of punk’s ideological framework, its common core motivations, and its unspoken philosophies.

Hunter, The (and the other novels in the Parker series)
By Richard Stark
By Jim Woster

If Raymond Chandler is jazz, Richard Stark is punk.

Fan Interference, a Collection of Baseball Rants and Reflections
Edited by Mike Faloon and Steve Reynolds, 226 pgs.
By Steve Hart

Thankfully, Zisk has put together this interesting collection of baseball stories for the long winter months to keep baseball fans satiated.


Spy Rock Memories
By Larry Livermore, 238 pgs.
By Dave Brainwreck

A healthy (or unhealthy) amount of ego and drive often bring people to such heights of productivity, and just as both resulted in Livermore’s many accomplishments, it seems they have also now brought him to the domain of self-indulgent memoir. I don’t mean that as a totally disparaging label: this book is not for ego-stroking or navel-gazing.

Madhouse Fog
By Sean Carswell, 287 pgs.
By Matthew Hart

Madhouse Fog is a novel of location.  If you’re familiar with Carswell’s writing, you’ll immediately recognize this novel as a departure from his everyman-punk-tales. It’s Carswell being Carswell. And apparently Carswell is pretty strange.

Fan Interference: A Collection of Baseball Rants and Reflections
Edited by Mike Faloon and Steve Reynolds, 226 pgs.
By Kurt Morris

I was pleasantly surprised by Fan Interference. Not everything in it was up my alley, but there was so much packed in the book’s 226 pages that even though I didn’t like a number of things, there was still plenty in here for me to enjoy.

Dezerter: Miscarried Generation?
By Krzysztof Grabowski, 300 pgs.
By Kurt Morris

Dezerter is a punk band that formed in the early 1980s while living in communist Poland. Reading this biography of the band Dezerter, however, really showed me how hard some punks can have it for the sake of wanting to share their music.

By Ann Witherall, 254pgs.
By Steve Hart

Fly is a semi-autobiographical story of a young punk rock girl from a small town who moves to the big city and carves out a life of her own. Believing in the power of punk rock, Annie and a friend begin squatting and search for members of their tribe. Each chapter brings a sense of dread, the threat of sexual assault, violence, and drug overdoses.

Grow: How to Take Your D.I.Y. Project and Passion to the Next Level and Quit You
By Eleanor C. Whitney, 125 pgs.
By Steve Hart

I’ve lived my life almost exactly the opposite of this book, leaving a lot of unfinished ideas in a disorganized pile of clutter, burned out dreams, and broken relationships. Grow is a how-to book for people with ideas and no idea how to begin.

High on Blood at the End of the World
By Joel Kaplan, 284 pgs.
By Steve Hart

High on Blood at the End of the World travels down some dark corridors, leaving no dirty room unexplored. Satanists, hypersexual teenage girls, serial killers, drug abusers, and incest-curious siblings tangle with each other in a novel of supernatural freakiness. Frank, the protagonist, is always up for adventure. Have some drugs? Don’t know what they are? Don’t know what they do? No problem for Frank. He’ll take ‘em. Need some dirty work done? Frank’s got this one handled. Wanna have some freaky sex?

Rich Boy Cries for Momma
By Ethan H. Minsker, 336 pgs.
By Sean Koepenick

Initially, I was drawn to this book due to a brief blurb I saw on a music blog. It basically stated that this was a book about a punk rocker growing up in DC in the 1980s. I didn’t even need to see the picture on the back cover which flashes forwards to the author today, his Grey Matter and Marginal Man vinyl still at his side. But what you get with this memoir is so much more.

Nice Guys Don’t Work in Hollywood
By Curtis Harrington, 272 pgs.
By Kurt Morris

While I don’t consider myself a film expert, I am trying to work my way through The Criterion Collection, and read a lot about film, so I suppose many would consider me to be knowledgeable. However, I had never heard of the director Curtis Harrington, a twentieth century film and television director, who worked with a wide array of producers, actors, and material. In the interest of learning something new about the film world, I dove into this book, finding the beginning of his autobiography quite enjoyable. He writes of growing up in Southern California, finding an interest in film, and working his way up in the business. After a bit, it became quite clear that this book is primarily about name-dropping (Harrington worked with Dennis Hopper, Joan Collins, and Farrah Fawcett, just to name a few) and less about an introspective journey of the author. None of this is to say that Harrington is showing off. No, instead he comes off as a very kind, gentle man, who just wants to tell the story of how he went from point A to point B in his career in Hollywood.

Anarchy! An Anthology of Emma Goldman’s Mother Earth
Edited by Peter Glassgold, 458 pgs.
By Jim Woster

Founded in 1906 by Emma Goldman, the magazine Mother Earth was designed to be, as Anarchy! editor Peter Glassgold writes, “a forum for anarchism of every school and variety. It appeared without interruption until August 1917, when it was killed by the wartime postal censorship and succeeded by an abbreviated Mother Earth Bulletin, which lasted until April 1918.”

Anarchy! is an anthology of writing from Mother Earth, organized into six thematic sections: Anarchism, The Woman Question (the interpretations of feminism and suffrage are not favorable), Literature, Civil Liberties, The Social War (covering revolutions and labor strikes), and War And Peace.

Music: Pieces on Heavy Metal, Punk Rock, and Hardcore Punk
By Lewis Dimmick, 66 pgs.
By Dave Brainwreck

In some ways this book might be a novella, in others a short story collection, yet it perhaps most resembles (to me) a perfect-bound, typeset, “personal zine.” This Music is a series of loosely chronological vignettes charting Lewis Dimmick’s musical adolescence as a Staten Island teenager and young adult giving himself over the 1980s New York hardcore punk scene. Dimmick’s prose is clear and succinct, with each piece usually making its point in a page or less. I’m partial to memoirish punk writing from this vantage point: someone wholly involved and devoted to a particular scene, yet not one of the big playmakers per se. For example: it’s more interesting to me how Dimmick, as a relatively anonymous yet probably somewhat familiar face haunting CBGB throughout the ‘80s, perceived Roger Miret from the sidelines than anytime I’ve encountered Miret “on” Miret.

After-Life Story of Pork Knuckles Malone, The
By MP Johnson, 93 pgs.
By Aphid Peewit

A squirmy, oozing green horror story about a wayward porker with dark, eldritch powers is a story right in my wheelhouse. As it turns out, my dad was a professor of veterinary pathobiology and as a kid my tender brain meat was forever scorched with the image of a one-eyed pig head that used to sit in a jar of cloudy sick-green fluid on a shelf in his office. So I’m right at home in the realm of demented swine nightmares.

I am also a big fan of Pigasus, the hog that the Yippies ran for President in 1968, so I’m very comfortable with the notion of porcine apotheosis.

Mostly True
By Bill Daniel, 168 pgs.
By Steve Hart

In Mostly True, hobo train-riding graffiti legends Bozo Texino and Herby are featured a window into train and graffiti culture.

Bicycle!: A Repair & Maintenance Manifesto (second edition)
By Sam Tracy, 248 pgs.
By Kurt Morris

A book like Bicycle! is meant for anyone who works on bikes regularly.

Japanoise: Music at the Edge of Circulation
By David Novak, 304 pgs.
By Kurt Morris

Japanese noise artists—that is the subject of Japanoise; a subject the author concedes is small, but interesting.

Unsinkable (How to Build Plywood Pontoons & Longtail Boat Motors Out of Scrap)
By Robnoxious
By Steve Hart

A few features on how to build a pontoon boat and a DIY bike trailer adventure stories.

Spit and Passion
By Cristy C. Road, 157 pgs.
By Craven

Brings you into the claustrophobic closet and desperate longing of a pubescent lesbian girl trying to find something of herself in anything and finding not much anywhere.

Seventeen Television Stories
By Justin Maurer
By Steve Hart

Brutal characters in his mostly-true (?) stories. Small book, with seven short stories.

Pussy Riot! A Punk Prayer for Freedom
150 pgs.
By Kevin Dunn

The complexity (and revolutionary potential) of Pussy Riot and Westerners’ partial understanding of the phenomenon is the over-arching and unspoken theme of Pussy Riot! A Punk Prayer for Freedom, recently published by the Feminist Press at the City University of New York.

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