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Razorcake #84
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Razorcake #83

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Book Reviews

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Featured Book Reviews from Issue #83
Cuss words are used!
By Staff

Our featured book reviews from issue 83 take you all over the place, from a haunted Indian casino to New Mexico in the 1990s. 

Dead Kennedys: Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables: The Early Years
By Alex Ogg, 216 pgs.
By Guest Contributor

By Liz Prince, 256 pgs.
By Kurt Morris

Liz Prince isn’t a lesbian. She’s not bi-sexual. She’s a female who likes to wear clothes and participate in activities often attributed to the male gender. Growing up in Santa Fe, New Mexico in the 1990s, that was a difficult concept for people to understand. (Unfortunately it’s still a hard concept for many people to grasp.)

They Could Have Been Bigger than EMI Part 1: Europe
By Joachim Gaertner, 693 pgs.
By Jimmy Alvarado

A mammoth listing of releases from independent European record labels specializing in punk and related genres, thousands of ‘em—from +1 Records to ZZO Recordings—hailing from Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Norway, the UK, and so on.

Slip of the Tongue
By Katie Haegele, 158 pgs.
By Kurt Morris

Haegele has always had an interest in linguistics. She majored in it in college but doesn’t write in an academic way. But it is that exploration of verbal communication that ties these essays and articles together. She writes, “Thinking about language is the way I make sense of my humanity.”

Men Explain Things to Me
By Rebecca Solnit, 130 pgs.
By Jim Woster

Jesus Lizard Book, The
By The Jesus Lizard, 176 pgs.
By Jimmy Alvarado

the book is much like the band—both anarchic and deceptively structured, awash in color, often very funny and a helluva ride.

Forest of Fortune
By Jim Ruland, 288 pgs.
By Matthew Hart

It’s a novel that’s dark and hilarious, illuminating and uncomfortable, rich and page-turning, sweet and tragic, ethereal, painfully real, and unfailingly tragic. It’s possible to be lost within your own zip code. Because wherever you go, there you are. Whatever drugs you take, whatever job you have, whatever love you feel or receive, you still operate within the best and worst aspects of yourself.

Forbidden Activities for Neglected Children
By Skinner, 36 pgs.
By Ashley

This is not a coloring book I’d recommend for any children. Instead, I’d offer this up as a means of appeasing your disturbed and demented inner child that sets small fires in the dark corners of your mind.

Dead Kennedys: Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables: The Early Years
By Alex Ogg, 216 pgs.
By Jimmy Alvarado

Ogg doesn’t shy away from presenting often contradictory accounts of the band’s history up to their titular album.

Burning Britain: The History of UK Punk 1980—1984
By Ian Glasper 449 pgs.
By Steve Hart

Burning Britain is an excellent book for an overview of a hugely influential, prolific, and interesting punk rock scene. I’m amazed by how normal some of these bands are.

Aftermath of Forever, The
By Natalye Chiloress, 159 pgs.
By Ashley

Chiloress’s approach is intriguing: each chapter delineates a different man and each of the experiences with those men, in turn, begets its own playlist. The execution, however, missed the mark for me.

Graphic Underground: London 1977-1990
By Brian Lambert, 240 pgs.
By Rev. Norb

It is probably tiresome for the locals to hear this, yet probably bears immediate mention, that this is London Ontarioof which we speak.... This book was intended to serve as a companion piece to an art exhibit of London punk ephemera—flyers, zines, record covers.

Dungeons & Drag Queens
By MP Johnson, 133 pgs.
By Aphid Peewit

MP Johnson’s latest surrealist-baroque fantasy, entitledDungeons & Drag Queens, is a warty, little psychedelic dwarf of a book, and one tripping on horse tranquilizers at that....Within its pages is a mushroom- and tumor-dotted mythology, crudely similar to something one might come across in Joseph Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces, just with more oozing orifices.

The Day the Country Died: A History of Anarcho Punk
1980-1984 By Ian Glasper, 471 pgs.
By Kevin Dunn

For The Day The Country Died: A History of Anarcho Punk 1980-1984, Glasper conducted hundreds of interviews with band members associated with those heady days, when British anarcho punks believed that they were engaged in a vital struggle against the country’s swerve to the political right, led by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at the top and a growing gang of quasi-fascists in the streets. 

By Louis Armand, 363 pgs.
By Sean Arenas

The novel follows five separate characters as they navigate the terrain of this farcical cyberpunk world. From the get-go, the reader is swamped with waytoo much information (latitude and longitude coordinates, invented lingo, and symbols, such as a plus, moon, and square, which designate the character for each chapter).

Anarchism and the City: Revolution and Counter-Revolution
in Barcelona, 1898-1937, By Chris Ealham, 284 pgs.
By Ollie Mikse

Ealham has made a very academic study in this book (which also makes Anarchism and the Cityread more like a long thesis than a book for the lay reader) and introduces a lot of verbiage and insists on using the original Catalan spelling which is distracting...

Tour Sucks
Edited by John A. Cahill, Emily Timm, Rick V., and Richard Wehrenberg Jr., 114 p
By Matt Seward

Tour Sucks is a book made from multiple authors’ recounts of their touring escapades. Recounts from Todd C, Ginger from One Reason/Good Luck, John from Fleshies/Street Eaters, Chris Clavin of Ghost Mice, Razorcake’s own Mike Faloon, and many others. Some stories are humorous and some are truly harrowing.

Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse
By Nathan Schneider, 216 pgs.
By Jim Woster

Early in Thank You, Anarchy, his highly readable, from-its-beginnings book about Occupy Wall Street, Nathan Schneider settles the question, “Did Occupy Wall Street accomplish anything of note?”

Songs Only You Know: A Memoir
By Sean Madigan Hoen, 371 pgs.
By Craven Rock

The mark of a good writer or artist is what they can do with damage. How they reflect on it. How they calibrate the damage done to them by others, the damage they’ve done to others and the damage they’ve done to themselves.

My PrisonWalls
By GG Allin, 208 pgs.
By Aphid Peewit

There will probably always be questions about the honesty/genuineness of GG Allin, but I don’t think there can be any question about the honesty of Merle Allin. It’s refreshing to see someone as larger-than-life as GG Allin not hyperbolized into cartoonish black and white oversimplifications.

It’s Alright: A Truckface Anthology Volume One
By LB Briggs, 360 pgs.
By Sean Arenas

Each issue of Truckface is representative of a significant time in Briggs’ life. Issue seven documents low-wage drudgery, issue eight is her leaving her comfort zone and traveling abroad, and, finally, issue eleven finds Briggs’ slouching into adulthood through employment in public education.

Indie Spiritualist: A No Bullshit Exploration of Spirituality
By Chris Grosso, 242 pgs.
By Aphid Peewit

Grosso’s brand of “indie spirituality” is a syncretistic amalgam of mostly eastern traditions, but his emphasis is primarily a Ram Dass-influenced Bhakti Yoga.... and not the Americanized version of yoga that features various exotic calisthenics and women wearing Lululemon tights—a high priced article of clothing that, in truth, functions both as a status symbol and a sort of candy wrapper.

An Index of Around Me
By Gary Llama, 218 pgs.
By Kurt Morris

This is a series of very short essays (most are just three to five pages in the 3” x 5” book) on a number of topics of importance to the author, Gary Llama. They originally appeared in his zines, on his website, and some are entirely new. The author has some good stories to share and, perhaps, he also has some good insights into the world around us. But I felt I was shorted on both ends.

Fastcore Photos
By Will Butler, 128 pgs.
By Matt Average

This book collects the first three issues of its namesake. The primary concern of the zine was to document the punk scene, local and non-local, as it happened in and around North Carolina... with photos of bands like Coke Bust, Bear Trap, Dropdead, Thou, Negative Approach, and the sort.

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