All posts filed under: Books

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BOOK REVIEW: JOE BIEL, “Good Trouble”

A gripping and fascinating read – this is the author’s own story.  And Joe Biel is not just an author – he’s a survivor of alcoholic reality, the do-it-yourself punk lifestyle, the owner and founder of Microcosm Publishing and a person with Asperger’s syndrome.  A heavy load, indeed, but this wonderful book is filled with some very high highs and some despairing lows. For someone who has endured a great deal of turmoil (not of his own doing, either at the hands of others and his disease), Biel tells the story in a very matter-of-fact, lighthearted way because the gist of this is:  one way or another, triumph over tragedy even if it’s with your own endless devotion to working at it.  And work he did, starting Microcosm as both a punk label and ‘zine.  Not all the tales are sad; some downright hilarious moments of typical adolescent punk fuck-ups and foibles are part of the stew, but the most powerful moment comes when he tries to convey his pain at being mocked, especially by …

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Book and suburban planning review: What would Bill Bryson think?

Perhaps it’s my rabid Anglophilia, but one of my favorite books is Bill Bryson’s Notes from a Small Island, in which the American ex-pat travels the length of Britain with equal doses of sarcasm and affection. Good timing played a role. That book was released in 1996. I finally made it to England for the first time the next year. Bryson was a former copy editor, like me. I still aspired — still do, really — to be a “noted humorist,” so I could go speak at a university and have their calendars say “Noted humorist Beau Dure will be speaking at Page Auditorium ….” To me, that book is still Bryson’s masterpiece. He marvels at the history of everything he sees, like so: “When the Duke [W.J.C. Scott-Bentinck] died, his heirs found all of the aboveground rooms devoid of furnishings except for one chamber in the middle of which sat the Duke’s commode. The main hall was mysteriously floor less. Most of the rooms were painted pink. The one upstairs room in which the …

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We Get The Star Wars/Avengers Crossover Movie We Deserve

Let me say right off the bat that I love Stan Lee. If he hadn’t revolutionized superhero comics at Marvel back in the 1960s, I don’t know what I would have done with my free time from 1977 through 1981, which was primarily spent reading hundreds of comic books featuring characters he created. I would have had to go outside or something, and that probably wouldn’t have ended well. But Stan is 93 now, and while I’m thrilled he still seems healthy and active, let’s face it: The man will say anything that pops into his head, as people who’ve lived 93 years on this planet tend (and deserve) to do. Hence the interview resulting in the headline, on Epicstream.com: “Stan Lee Says Star Wars/Avengers Crossover Film Could Happen.” Now, Stan Lee hasn’t been central to the Marvel brain trust in decades, and certainly not since Disney bought the company in 2009, so this would be about as relevant in the real world as a story that says, “Stan Lee Says Zombie Apocalypse Could Happen,” or …