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Catch-22: 50th Anniversary Edition by Joseph Heller

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By Joseph Heller, Christopher Buckley (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781451626650
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Published: Simon & Schuster - April 5th, 2011

A blackly humorous, scathing indictment of war in all its nonsensical iterations. Follow the haphazardly desperate U.S. bombardier Yossarian and a mishmash of his eccentric compatriots in their Mediterranean misadventures amidst the absurdities of the Second World War. Heller’s classic narrative jumps around in time, replaying events from different perspectives for comedic and tragic effect. Alternately hilarious, bizarre, and deathly heavy. ~ Reviewed by Joe Michon-Huneau

How the Beatles Destroyed Rock 'n' Roll: An Alternative History of American Popular Music by Elijah Wald - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780199756971
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Published: Oxford University Press, USA - October 2011

Ragtime. Rumba. Rock ‘n’ roll. While the title is a big misnomer—The Beatles aren’t even mentioned until the last chapter—this book is a fascinating history lesson in the continually evolving trends of popular music in America. As pop shifted from standards printed on sheet music to the albums of today, from big band dance halls and jukebox battles to radio payola and vinyl sales, its sounds and styles changed. The torch was passed from Goodman to Sinatra to Presley, from Ellington and Cole to Redding and Berry. But Wald’s strength here is in highlighting the historic successes of names that are lesser known today: Paul Whiteman, Jo Stafford, Guy Lombardo, Fats Waller, and the Original Dixieland Jass Band all take center stage, and that’s just a handful of what Wald investigates. ~ Reviewed by Joe Michon-Huneau

Love All the People: The Essential Bill Hicks by Bill Hicks - Book Review

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By Bill Hicks, John Lahr (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9781593762018
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Published: Soft Skull Press - September 2008

Bill Hicks was a comedic anomaly. Scathing and abrasive yet compassionate and empathetic, crass and obscene yet poetic and intellectual, Hicks’ raging philosophical humor could either ignite fires or quell them. Challenging regressive and hypocritical views in all forms, from the drug war to the Gulf War, blind nationalism to religious fanaticism, Hicks was at his purest when taking on the powerful and the ignorant. This posthumous release collects all of his stand-up comedy transcripts in order (and it’s fascinating to see how certain jokes and routines evolve over time) along with letters and song lyrics. ~ Reviewed by Joe Michon-Huneau

Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780802130303
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Published: Grove Press - February 1994

Borges’ short fiction is unlike any other. He breaks the fourth wall, blends real examples of fiction into his own, and inserts a fictional version of himself into some of his stories. Inventive and philosophical, these stories envision labyrinths, endless libraries, obscure encyclopedias, secret societies, and cryptic patterns hidden in plain view. “The Library of Babel” and “The Garden of Forking Paths” are quintessential Borges, but my favorite is the opener, “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius.” ~ Reviewed by Joe Michon-Huneau

The Complete Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino - Book Review

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By Italo Calvino, William Weaver (Translated by), Tim Parks (Translated by), Martin McLaughlin (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780544577879
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Published: Mariner Books - September 8th, 2015

Calvino had a singular mind. While most well-known for novels like Invisible Cities and the form-bending If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, it was his Cosmicomics that captivated me first. The ageless and unpronounceably-named narrator Qfwfq guides us from the beginning of time and space to an Earth almost like ours, from a time when all matter was condensed in a single point to the evolution of modern beings, inhabiting unlikely forms such as mathematical formulae and sea creatures along the way. Try “The Distance of the Moon,” for a sample of Calvino’s humorous imagination. ~ Reviewed by Joe Michon-Huneau

Spineless: Portraits of Marine Invertebrates, the Backbone of Life by Susan Middleton - Book Review

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By Susan Middleton, Sylvia A. Earle (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9781419710070
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Published: Harry N. Abrams - October 21st, 2014

Simply stunning. Spineless features large, high-quality photos of invertebrate marine life. From starfish to jellyfish, sea snails to squid, Middleton’s photography is breathtakingly vibrant, with descriptive insights into each animal’s world and behavior. Not your average coffee table book, this one will fascinate for hours at a time. ~ Reviewed by Joe Michon-Huneau


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