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The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson - Book Review

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$18.00
ISBN: 9780375725609
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Published: Vintage - February 10th, 2004

A history of the characters and circumstances behind the building of the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. Larson's telling reads like a novel as he chronicles a city struggling to define itself in a world modernizing with increasing speed. Lurking underneath the bright lights and pleasing facades of a city built to impress the world is a serial killer who rivals the horrors of Jack the Ripper, and who will come to be considered one of America's first serial killers. I was surprised to learn of the great impact this World's Fair had on American culture and technological progress, as well as how easily a cold blooded killer could use his charm and charisma to hide in plain sight while committing such horrible crimes. ~ Reviewed by Allen Boulet


The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music by Dave Grohl - Book Review

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$29.99
ISBN: 9780063076099
Availability: Click Title for IN STORE Location
Published: Dey Street Books - October 5th, 2021

Dave Grohl seems to have been born to be a rock star. Here he weaves together the many stories that tell the tale of how he became one. More importantly, he tells the story of a person who is willing to follow his dream to make a life doing what makes him happy. From dropping out of high school to tour with a punk band, to somehow always finding himself in the right place at the right time (imagine being an unknown drummer in an unknown band and being asked to sit in with Iggy Pop for a gig), to joining Nirvana, and then fronting the Foo Fighters. He seems to always be at the crossroads of some great musical event. Grohl's stories about his life and music are filled with humor and emotion. ~ Reviewed by Allen Boulet


The Cause: The American Revolution and its Discontents, 1773-1783 by Joseph J. Ellis - Book Review

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$30.00
ISBN: 9781631498985
Availability: Click Title for IN STORE Location
Published: Liveright - September 21st, 2021

This is a well-written, quick read given the scope of the complex history and the years it covers. Ellis cuts through the mythology of the Revolutionary War (referred to at the time as The Cause), to unveil the thinking and actions of the founders who somehow came together to form this most imperfect Republic. He is quick to point out the contradiction of these "United States" who often found it difficult to turn away from regional priorities to join a larger cause, and who also allowed the original sin of slavery to fall like a shadow on every decision they made. A refreshingly honest look at the characters and circumstances that made this nation, and how that drama continues today. ~ Reviewed by Allen Boulet


North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail by Jenny Jurek - Book Review

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$17.99
ISBN: 9780316433808
Availability: Click Title for IN STORE Location
Published: Little, Brown Spark - April 9th, 2019

World champion utramarathoner Scott Jurek had either hit a wall mentally or was having a mid-life crisis when his wife challenged him to either retire from the sport he dominated or get back in the game with everything he had. He responded in true Jurek fashion by deciding to set the record for the fastest known time running/hiking the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail. This is far more than a physical challenge. Jurek also pushes himself (and is pushed) mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Scott and his wife Jenny tell of the trials, pain, anguish and ultimately joy they experienced as they worked as a team to complete the trip from Georgia to Maine. Truly inspiring. ~ Reviewed by Allen Boulet


Not for You: Pearl Jam and the Present Tense by Ronen Givony - Book Review

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$16.95
ISBN: 9781501360671
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Published: Bloomsbury Academic - October 21st, 2021

A backstage pass to the story of Pearl Jam, written by a fan trying to understand why this band means so much to him and how they came to be one of the most influential bands of a generation. Givony covers their journey from playing small Seattle clubs to selling out massive arenas, all while maintaining the integrity of the influential music they continue to make. There is a lot of emphasis on the live performances which have made Pearl Jam legendary, as well as their willingness to stand up for progressive causes even when doing so hurt their career. Givony doesn't shy away from the contradictions of a band that claims to not want fame while at the same time seeking to become the biggest band in the world; a goal they actually achieved. A must read for any Pearl Jam fan and anyone looking to understand the culture they influenced with their music and their activism. ~ Reviewed by Allen Boulet


Day Zero: A Novel by C. Robert Cargill - Book Review

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$27.99
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ISBN: 9780062405807
Published: Harper Voyager - May 25th, 2021

Can we program robots to feel and think for themselves? Can we give them free will and even a conscience? And if so, what are the repercussions for what it means to be a person or a machine? In this apocalyptic adventure robots have been given these very human characteristics, with many choosing to start a murderous revolution to win their freedom, while some choose to fight for the survival of the humans they were made to serve. The question remains as to who is really pulling the strings. Do these machines actually have free will? Ultimately, this book left me to ponder the nature of my own free will, and whether the emotions I feel and the choices I make are somehow programmed in much the same way we have programmed our machines. I couldn't put this book down. ~ Reviewed by Allen Boulet


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