jfine@northshire.com's blog

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry - Book Review

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The Essex Serpent: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062666383
Availability: Click Title for IN STOCK Location
Published: Custom House - April 24th, 2018

Ms Perry is a gifted novelist with a masterful understanding of the human race and for depicting the many blessings and foibles of its participants in all of their glorious and​ sprawling ​mess​. The litany of fully etched characters in this book trip forth effortlessly as do the various British landscapes, perhaps the foggy tides and moist, marshy breath of Essex- the home of the much feared and rumored serpent- the most ​strikingly realized.

Without giving away a thing, the serpent itself is somehow both integral and non-essential to the story line. The true stars of this 19th century tale of death, unrequited love, requited love, religious devotion, disease, medical innovation, poverty, violence, death and rebirth are its cast of human characters. The widow Cora Seaborne, her faithful companion Martha, the Reverend Will Ransome​ and wife Stella, that terrible Serpent and so many more all await you on a captivating journey into another era and another land, but a world most recognizable for its timeless humanity.

Your boat to Essex is leaving soon- don't miss it. But do, of course, watch out for that fearsome winged wretch from the Blackwater who most certainly will steal your soul if you're not careful. Perhaps even if you are. ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine

Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore - Book Review

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Reincarnation Blues: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399178481
Availability: Hard to Find - May no longer be available
Published: Del Rey - August 22nd, 2017

The delightful, nearly eternal tale of Milo who is almost out of time ( 10,000 lives! ) in his soul's quest to attain perfection. If he fails: death ; success: eternal bliss. An imaginative romp through countless lives and brilliant worlds! ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine

Papi: My Story by David Ortiz - Book Review

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Papi: My Story Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544814615
Availability: Hard to Find - May no longer be available
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - May 16th, 2017

Retired Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, Big Papi, is a one of a kind champion, a big man with a big heart and the rightful owner of one of the most storied careers in modern sports. The previously unattainable World Series championships (unreachable without him?), the PED accusations, countless opponents and teammates , behind-the-scenes machinations of the Red Sox organization, and the ever-present Boston media; it's all here! Ultimately, spoiler alert, we do learn that there are still some role models and heroes left in the world. Papi! ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine

Behind the Scenes with Giants of Modern Music, Part I

Some of us develop reading habits and patterns we may not originally realize we are forming. For me, I have only recently discovered in myself, over the past few years, a fascination with music biographies. (Read more...)

Stevie Ray Vaughan: Caught in the Crossfire Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316160698
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown and Company - June 5th, 1994

Joni Mitchell: In Her Own Words Cover Image
ISBN: 9781770411326
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: ECW Press - September 9th, 2014

The Fall of Lisa Bellow by Susan Perabo - Book Review

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The Fall of Lisa Bellow: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476761466
Availability: Hard to Find - May no longer be available
Published: Simon & Schuster - March 14th, 2017

A brilliantly executed psychological portrait of Meredith, a teenager left behind on the floor at the Sandwich Shop when a robber/gunman takes Lisa, the middle school’s queen bee popular girl. She subsequently descends into a new-found surreality of post-trauma popularity and experiences an alternate reality where she was also taken and is surviving with Lisa. This is also a brilliant characterization of Meredith’s mother’s internal emotional life, pre and post trauma. ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine

Steely Dan

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Steely Dan: Reelin' in the Years Cover Image
ISBN: 9781468313147
Availability: Special Order
Published: Overlook-Omnibus - August 23rd, 2016

For anyone who ever came to appreciate the inimitable brilliance of the music of Steely Dan in the 1970's, Sweet's newly updated and rereleased review of their evolution from college friends to struggling songwriters to the toast of the music industry has all the answers to all the questions you ever had or never even got around to posing.

For years, Sweet had been the publisher of Steely Dan's fan newzine. In presenting this all-encompassing profile of the band/duo to the world, he obligatorily points out that Becker and Fagan- founders, songwriters, Steely Dan themselves- did not agree to offer input for his book. Yet “Reelin” doesn't suffer at all in this absence; firstly, Sweet dug up enough prior interviews that Becker and Fagan had given during the earlier days to make up for any lack of new interview material, but additionally, in his extensive research, the author has touched based with every other significant contributor to “The Dan's” music from day one- countless musicians, producers, engineers. There is a true treasure trove of inside and insightful information here sure to delight fans, especially given Steely Dan's previously notorious skimpiness when it came to album notes.

Which player had just finished building his instrument in the parking lot just three hours before recording one of the group's most famous guitar parts? Which musician performed the impossible feat of acing their part in one take on one of the band's all-time most intricate compositions? The evolution of Fagan the vocalist from self-loathing self-doubter to iconic interpretive master, the story behind the crafting of every song, from draft board to studio and the contribution of every “hired gun” studio musician- as well as the tales behind those famously cryptic lyrics- it's all here, comprehensively and skillfully presented by Sweet. ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine


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