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Stay Up with Hugo Best: A Novel by Erin Somers - Book Review

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ISBN: 9781982102357
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner - April 2nd, 2019

Stay Up With Hugo Best is an entertaining romp through the sunset of the career of just-retired late night talk show host Huge Best as told by his surprise guest for the weekend at his Greenwich, CT estate. “Surprise” because writer's assistant June has heretofore never been sure that her boss and possible comic idol even knew she existed before his impromptu invitation. The hollow but ever-coveted role of celebrity in America, the eternal insecurity of entertainers at any level of success, the destructive force of fame on family and the inescapable stain of indiscretion in the public eye are all on the menu for the weekend. This is an enjoyable, tragic-comic ride to the other side of the tracks and a chance to be a fly on the wall at the rudderless finale of a comedy semi-legend's career in the immediate aftermath of its... mercy killing. ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine

The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump by Andrew G. McCabe - Book Review

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The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250207579
Availability: Click Title for IN STOCK Location
Published: St. Martin's Press - February 19th, 2019

When former Acting FBI director Andrew McCabe was fired by then Attorney General Jeff Session, Donald Trump tweeted that McCabe "knew all about the corruption and lies going on at the highest levels of the FBI". Anyone can of course lie in print, but the reader of McCabe's memoir/FBI primer will come away with an unmistakable impression that Andrew McCabe is "on the level", a sober and dedicated public servant committed to serving his agency and his country. A detailed look at an important topic, covering not just his recent experiences with Trump but his entire career and the modern trajectory and challenges of the FBI in combating the unique threats of our day. ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine

The Wind in the Willows: The Centennial Anniversary Edition by Kenneth Grahame - Book Review

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The Wind in the Willows: The Centennial Anniversary Edition Cover Image
By Kenneth Grahame, Ernest H. Shepard (Illustrator), Margaret Hodges (Preface by)
ISBN: 9780684179575
Availability: Click Title for IN STOCK Location
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - September 1st, 1983

True story: A few months before I got around to rereading The Wind In The Willows, a coworker, nearly out of nowhere as I recall, dropped a reference to a specific chapter of this classic childrens' book as being “quite a chapter”(Piper At The Gates of Dawn). “How strange,” thought I, “to name drop the chapter of a childrens' book!” I had already been planning to reread this book which I had treasured from childhood and had recently come across a free copy. Kenneth Grahame's famous animal adventure has a bit of everything from rollicking adventure to the joys of high tea and sumptuous feasting in one's underground, furnished, lair and his cast of woodland characters carry on with the highest levels of anthropomorphic personage any animal could ever aspire to! But on full display here beyond the high adventure is a sumptuous feast of verdant prose and lush imagery (and yes, most strikingly in the above named chapter) that ranks Grahame as one of our most gifted writers, for any age. ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine

The Power of One: A Novel by Bryce Courtenay - Book Review

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The Power of One: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345410054
Availability: Click Title for IN STOCK Location
Published: Ballantine Books - September 29th, 1996

The Power of One carried with it by way of recommendation a reputation for being inspirational, for living up to its title and theme of the absolute power of the individual to impact the world and those around them. And it frequently does that through a uniquely unvarnished tale of a young boy's tortured boarding school upbringing in South Africa amidst the cruel political, ethnic and racial divisions there in the post-Boer War, early WWII era that it inhabits. The violence is immediate and disturbing, the protagonist's rise to prominence both inspiring and occasionally fantastical. The racism depicted is brutal, cruel and disturbing; the narrator's (or could it be the author's?) occasional unintended racism, in perpetuating notions of assumed intellectual inferiority and servility amongst the black South African people, can be somewhat horrifying as well. ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine

The Birth of Loud: Leo Fender, Les Paul, and the Guitar-Pioneering Rivalry That Shaped Rock 'n' Roll by Ian S. Port - Book Review

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The Birth of Loud: Leo Fender, Les Paul, and the Guitar-Pioneering Rivalry That Shaped Rock 'n' Roll Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501141652
Availability: Hard to Find - May no longer be available
Published: Scribner - January 15th, 2019

This is so much more than just another history of the birth of the electric guitar. Port's masterwork covers it all, not just the minutiae of the cultural influences, technical innovations and inventors' personal lives/travails/aspirations (on which he does do remarkable work) but even more entertainingly, his research masterpiece strikes countless rich pockets of tasty anecdotes in the fertile young soil of rock and roll's formative years and the myriad Gods who shaped it. Dick Dale, The Beach Boys, Eric Clapton, The Beatles, Hendrix and more and, of course, the unstoppable creative forces that were Leo Fender and Les Paul. An overflowing gold mine of amplified, electrified, rock and roll treasure awaits here- highest recommend! ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine

The Seas by Samantha Hunt - Book Review

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By Samantha Hunt, Maggie Nelson (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781941040959
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Tin House Books - July 10th, 2018

It would be easy to write off Samantha Hunt's nineteen year old female narrator as unreliable and delusional, drowning in her own solitude and sorrow in her soggy, salty northern coastal home. Submersing herself into the whole mermaid mythos, after all, would be a fairly logical madness given the grey-blue existence that has consumed her remote world since her father walked into the sea twelve years prior. Of course he may not have walked into the sea, per se, from the aqua-marine perspective of our heroine; he simply, unavoidably, returned to it. Which of course is fate fulfilled if that's where he came from.

From the beginnings of this love and pain-racked little gem of a novel, Hunt weaves a dual reality that leaves the reader enthralled. We do not need to know if our water-logged young guide is truly a maiden of fantasy or simply living in her own crazed mind; both realities are truth. There is no need to explain away all of her wet visions, preoccupations and fantasies; they are every bit as real as the dry “rational” explanations the world may offer. The submersive, hopelessness of her impossible love scenario with the older, war-wrecked fisherman Jude is a salt-stained watercolor portrait of the wrathful power, ridiculousness and abject suffering of unrequited love.

Bring an open mind, an open heart and... a towel. Hunt's "The Seas", a re-release from 2005, will saturate you with its imagery and its longing.


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