Posts Tagged ‘energetic’

CBGB OMFUG

April 18, 2012

Author: Various (22 authors and illustrators collaborate for 9 vignettes)

Title: CBGB OMFUG

Genre: Graphic novel

Publication Date: 2010

Number of Pages: 112p

Geographical Setting: New York City (the Bowery)

Time Period: 1970’s, present day, the future

Series (If applicable): n/a

Plot Summary:  Through nine separate vignettes, the history and lore of the legendary, mythical, pivotal, incredibly dirty, and defunct Lower East Side punk rock club is examined and explained.  CBGB’s was ground zero for the mid-70’s NYC punk rock scene.  Artists that would emerge from CBGB’s include Ramones, Blondie, Patti Smith, and Talking Heads, as well as lesser-known, yet highly influential acts, such as Television, the Heartbreakers, the Dead Boys, and the Dictators. Varying in time period, some of the stories use the club as a main character, while others use it merely as a backdrop or meeting place.  The common theme running throughout the book is that of CBGB’s as a fertile haven for inspiration, community, discovery, expression, freedom, individuality, and lots of sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

Subject Headings: Punk rock music, New York City—nightclubs, 1970’s, Artists, Drugs and alcohol, Rebellion, Nostalgia, Nonconformity, Antisocial behavior, Self discovery, Youth, Fandom.

Appeal:  Breakneck, fast-paced, relentless, atmospheric, edgy, flamboyant, gritty, hard-edged, humorous, impassioned, magical, idealized, romanticized, nostalgic, sarcastic, sensual, artsy, bohemian, punk, vivid, inspirational, mythic, sexually explicit, strong language, urban, colorful, informal, passionate, witty, hedonistic, rebellious, reflective, street-smart, rowdy, energetic, fun, aggressive, joyous, enigmatic, self-aggrandizing, loud.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Energetic, passionate, enigmatic

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Please Kill Me: the Uncensored History of Punk edited by Legs McNeill and Gillian McCain

This is an oral history of the New York punk scene from its infancy in the early 1970’s to its slow death in the early 1980’s strung together by interviews with the people who were there and making things happen.  The people who are still alive, anyway.  Interviewees (many of whom are portrayed in CBGB) include Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, and members of the Ramones, the Stooges, New York Dolls, Television, Blondie and many more artists and other scenesters.  This is a great read for fans of ribald accounts of debauchery and degeneracy.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx is Burning: 1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle For the Soul of a City by Jonathan Mahler

In the 1970’s, large Northern cities found themselves broke, decaying, crime-ridden, and desperate.  None had it worse than New York.  The tumultuous year of 1977 is examined here; a year that included Son of Sam, the Blackout, punk rock, Studio 54 and disco, and ruthless political battles.  What is the conduit Mahler uses to examine and piece these events together?  — the World Series winning Yankees, of course.

Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Five Years in New York That Changed Music Forever by Will Hermes

Sure, New York had the punk thing happening in the mid-1970’s, but during those years the city also witnessed the birth of hip-hop, disco, and salsa as well as playing host to fertile jazz and avant-garde/minimalist music scenes.  Here is an examination of those years, where the music seemed to get better as the urban blight grew worse.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

My Brain Hurts: Vol. One by Liz Baille

This graphic novel series chronicles a group of gay,teenage New York punks making out, drinking beer, getting arrested, and flexing their gay activism muscles.  I include this as there was no mention in CBGB as to how entangled the NYC punk scene was with the seedier side of gay culture on Manhattan at the time (many a near destitute musician made rent by moonlighting as “chickens”, as in a homosexual prostitute who may not necessarily be gay but will do x for money.  Dee Dee Ramone has talked extensively about this topic [see: ‘53rd and 3rd by the Ramones], as well as others).

What We Do Is Secret by Kief Hillbery

Hollywood 13-year-old punk and gay hustler Rockets Redglare must come to terms with the suicide of his idol/guru Darby Crash, lead singer of the Germs (circa 1980).  This book is the closest equivalent to the seediness and nihilism that personified the L.A. punk scene in the late 70’s and early 80’s (as far as fiction goes.)

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

While this book is the farthest thing from the seediness that CBGB and the Lower Eastside personified, it is an excellent portrait of the feeling of freedom, possibility, and wonder that a night out in the big city can give a person as they find themselves on the cusp of adulthood and independence.  Even for rich kids from New Jersey.

Name: Bill

Sacred Stone

February 23, 2012

Author: Clive Cussler (and Craig Dirgo)

Title: Sacred Stone

Genre: Adventure

Publication Date: 2004

Number of Pages: 406

Geographical Setting: Greenland, Iceland, United States, Europe, High Seas

Time Period: Contemporary

Series (If applicable): The Oregon Files

Plot Summary:  A 50,000 year-old radioactive meteorite has just been unearthed in the remotest reaches of Greenland by a clandestine archeological team.  When the team is murdered and the meteorite goes missing, it’s time to call the Corporation.  Headed up by the enigmatic and fearless Juan Cabrillo, the Corporation is made up of two dozen or so of the most highly skilled individuals ever to have come out of the military, intelligence, and special-ops communities.  Disguised as a rusty cargo ship, the Oregon serves as the super high-tech floating command center for the group.  When governments around the globe encounter threats too advanced or sinister for their own people to handle, much less their citizenry to ever find out about, it’s the Corporation that gets the call.  In tracking down the meteorite, Cabrillo and his crew discover and must attempt to thwart not only a plot to reduce Western cities to radioactive rubble, but also a scheme to eradicate Islam from the face of the earth by way of poisoned prayer rugs.  A breakneck race against the clock ensues as the Corporation must call upon their every resource, as well as every bit of luck, in order to stop annihilation on a global scale.

Subject Headings: Terrorism – Prevention; Relics; Mercenary troops; Ship captains; Meteorites; Greenland; Suspense fiction; Erik the Red; Elton John.

Appeal: colorful, concise, straightforward, fast-paced, dangerous, dramatic, earnest, foreboding, menacing, intense, action-oriented, layered, conclusive, violent, contemporary, provocative, confident, confrontational, clandestine, energetic, swaggering, tense, urgent, volatile.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: action-oriented,

straightforward, fast-paced.

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

 

Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know by Ranulph Fiennes.

Fiennes “recounts his exploits as an explorer-adventurer, including traveling the Nile in a Hovercraft, four thousand miles of wild river journey in Alaska and Canada, and an overland trek to the North Pole” (Novelist), and that’s just a warm-up in a remarkable life filled with a remarkable number of near death escapes.  This work would do well with the reader enamored by the self-sufficient and ever resourceful adventurer character Cussler seems fond of placing in his novels (and probably thinks himself along those lines as well).

Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA’s Spytechs from Communism to Al-Qaeda by Robert Wallace H. Keith Melton, Henry R. Schlesinger and George J. Tenet.

This title is a collection of some of the harrowing and clandestine operations embarked upon by the CIA since the beginning of the Cold War, and also of the high-tech espionage tools and weapons invented to help agents to live to spy another day.  Spycraft would have wide appeal for any Adventure fan but especially with Cussler’s legions, what with his love of Bond-ish high-tech gadgetry.

SEAL Team Six by Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin.

These are the guys who killed Bin Laden, rescued those people from the Somali pirates, and seem to be the go-to guys anytime the US government needs anyone saved, dead, or captured.  Wasdin was a Team Six sniper and gives a rare insider’s view into the grueling training and harrowing and deadly missions of this elite squad.  If Juan Cabrillo and the Corporation were real (and hopefully they aren’t) they would be rife with former Team Six people.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

By Order of the President by W.E.B. Griffin

At the behest of the President, Special Forces Major Carlos Castillo assembles a secret team of operatives to investigate a missing airliner in this terse, fast-paced action thriller.  Big appeal is here for the reader who enjoyed the more militaristic aspects and machinations of the Corporation and Sacred Stone.  Fans of the Dirty Dozen/Magnificent Seven archetype of every person in the gang having a special skill (like the Corporation) would like this as well.  This is the first book in a series.

Jaws by Peter Benchley

As Cussler’s novels all seem to be water-bourn in some manner, it would seem a natural choice to suggest the granddaddy of aquatic adventure and danger and his masterwork.

The Lion by Nelson DeMille

Former NYPD detective John Corey is now a special agent for the Anti-Terrorist Task Force and must track down a notorious Libyan terrorist hell-bent on murder and destruction.  Another natural choice for Cussler fans, this time in line more with the anti-terrorism aspects of Sacred Stone.  This is also part of a series.

Name: Bill S.

Zane’s Trace

May 26, 2010

Author: Allan Wolf

Title: Zane’s Trace

Genre: Adventure

Publication Date: 2007

Number of Pages: 177

Geographical Setting: U.S.A. (West Virginia and Ohio)

Time Period: Present day

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary:

17 year old Zane Guesswind, an epileptic who also suffers from hypergraphia (the overwhelming urge to write), finds himself driving a stolen 1969 Plymouth Barracuda to his schizophrenic mother’s gravesite in Zanesville, Ohio after believing that he has killed his grandfather by writing him out of the world with a Sharpie.  As the numbers on the mile markers dwindle, Zane also embarks on a journey through his past and starts to learn more about who he is and where he came from.

Zane picks up a mysterious hitchhiker at The Happy Days Diner, 288 miles from his destination.  Her name is Libba and although she has to have the last word in any discussion she does give Zane insights into his past that he never could have expected.  As the Barracuda eats up the miles, Zane also meets several other characters, some real and some imagined (or are they?), who also provide him with pieces to the puzzle that is his life.

Presented in verse form, this fast paced and energetic novel puts the reader in the back seat of that Plymouth Barracuda along with Zane and Libba.

Subject Headings:

Epilepsy; Orphans; Interracial persons; Family; Death; Automobile travel; Loss (Psychology); Grief; Guilt; Suicide; Mental illness; Self-discovery; Novels in verse

Appeal:

energetic, fast moving, engrossing, fierce, reckless, compelling, cynical/sarcastic, humorous, spiritual, earnest, melancholy, trippy, quirky, supernatural, cathartic

3 terms that best describe this book: tight; charismatic characters;  wild ride

Similar Authors and Works:

Fiction:

1)      Before and Again by Doris Mortman

Callie, the daughter of a schizophrenic who committed suicide, searches for answers after she begins having the same sort of disturbing dreams that destroyed her mother.

2)      Night of the Radishes by Sandra Benitez

Annie Rush has dealt with various family tragedies which prompts her to try and find her long lost brother.  Along the way she must decide who she really is.

3)      The Rhythm of the Road: A Novel by Albyn Leah Hall

Another novel involving road trips and hitchhikers, this one centers on Jo Pickering, who travels everywhere with her truck driving father.  When they pick up a female country singer, Jo’s life is forever changed.

Non-Fiction:

1)      Flight of Passage: A Memoir by Rinker Buck

Two teenage brothers fly a plane over the U.S.  This adventure eventually brings them closer to their father and to each other.

2)      The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer’s Block, and the Creative Brain by Alice Flaherty

Flaherty talks about how hypergraphia affected her as a writer and as a person.

3)      The Mourner’s Dance: What We Do When People Die by Katherine Ashenburg

Rituals of death are explored in this book and how different cultures deal with death is also examined.

Name: Valerie Kyriakopoulos

The Dick Cheney Code: A Parody

April 8, 2009

Author: Henry Beard

Title: The Dick Cheney Code: A Parody

Genre: Humor, Parody

Publication Date: 2004

Number of Pages: 208

Geographical Setting: Washington DC

Time Period: around the 2004 United States presidential election

Plot Summary: This book is a parody of the Da Vinci Code satirizing the 2004 Bush re-election campaign and Bush-era conspiracy theories. Borrowing plot twists and formulas from The Da Vinci Code, the book opens with a murder. The two main characters, Sandra H. Damsel and William Franklin are working to solve the murder of Hemmings Dumont, a descendant of Thomas Jefferson and slave Sally Hemmings, who was murdered with a poisoned dart in the Smithsonian Museum where he was a curator. Dumont was a guarding a document passed from Benjamin Franklin through generations of Franklins. Among other things, the document shows that the title to the Louisiana Purchase was to pass to the descendants of all American slaves in October 2003. Realizing this would likely turn red states into blue states costing George Bush re-election, Dick Cheney and the Republican Party set the force of the government to protecting the secret. Meanwhile, our two main characters are on a wild goose chase, following a trail of simpleminded and outrageously silly clues, riddles, and puzzles left by the deceased in a plan to reveal the documents secrets in the event of his murder. The wicked humor and wordplay in this political parody and Da Vinci Code spoof and will engage readers and have them laughing out-loud at the absurdity of it all.

Subject Headings: Alternate history – Parody; American political parody; Cheney, Richard; Codes and Riddles; Da Vinci code – Parodies; Elections – United States – 2004 – Parodies; Murder investigation; Political crimes and offenses; Political corruption; Political culture – United States – 21st century; Political leadership – United States – 21st century; Popular culture; Republicans; Secrets; Secret societies; Skull and Crossbones Society; Suspense stories – Parodies.

Appeal: a romp, absurdist humor, accessible, enjoyable read for everyone, breakneck speed, captivating, civilized jest, clever, sarcasm and wry wit, compelling, contemporary, conversational, detailed, edgy, energetic, fast-paced, good-humored, humorous, laugh-out-loud funny, light amusing satire, plot twists, political, quirky, satirical writing, silly, wickedly funny, wicked sense of satire—but never mean or angry—it is silly and gentle humor, wordplay and puzzle-solving.

Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors: Authors: Jon Stewart, Al Frankin, Maureen Dowd, Molly Ivins, and publications from The Onion (all: for details of the current American political scene, humorous commentary, center to left political slant, and political satire). Works: Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency by Barton Gellman (details of Dick Cheney’s Vice Presidency, details of Cheney’s redefinition of the VP responsibilities, details of Cheney’s history-making/changing power and influence as VP, popular treatment – reads like fiction); and Secrets of the Tomb: Skull and Bones, the Ivy League, and the Hidden Paths of Power by Alexandra Robbins (details of the Skull & Bones Society, details of secret societies, details of the Bonesmen’s theft of Geronimo’s bones, details of Skull & Bones members, vivid & witty descriptions).

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors: The Da Vinci Mole: A Philosophical Parody by Ian Browne (Da Vinci Code parody; “wordplay-laden dialogue”; plot twists involving conspiracy, puzzles, and cryptic messages; humorous; pokes fun at The Da Vinci Code; fast-paced suspenseful story with pop culture references). Hotline Healers: An Almost Browne Novel by Gerald Vizenor (comedic plot twists involving government corruption & conspiracy, series of adventures, parody of American historical & cultural perceptions, satiric style, humorous pop culture references). Goodnight Bush: A Parody by Erich Origen (political parody; parody of iconic book–Goodnight Moon; recreates the feel of the classic book; satirical commentary on the Bush administration; quick read; fast paced; picture book; layers of satire with political details in both the illustrations and the prose).

Name: Amy