jmichon-huneau@northshire.com's blog

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco - Book Review

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$16.99
ISBN: 9780544176560
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Published: Mariner Books - April 22nd, 2014

A cryptic, highly literary murder mystery set in an Italian monastery in the early 1300s. Narrated by a Benedictine novice tailing his master, an ingenious Franciscan friar sent on a mission of papal mediation, the duo become the de facto sleuths in solving a series of murders which seem to mirror the signifying events corresponding with the apocalyptic Seven Trumpets in the Book of Revelations. Inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle and Jorge Luis Borges alike, this tale of secrets and intrigue features religious and political controversy, forbidden manuscripts, and a dangerous, labyrinthine library. ~ Reviewed by Joe Michon-Huneau


Catch-22: 50th Anniversary Edition by Joseph Heller

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By Joseph Heller, Christopher Buckley (Introduction by)
$18.00
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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$16.95
ISBN: 9780199756971
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Published: Oxford University Press, USA - October 1st, 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)
$17.95
ISBN: 9781593762018
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Published: Soft Skull Press - September 1st, 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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$16.00
ISBN: 9780802130303
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Published: Grove Press - February 1st, 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)
$15.95
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


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