Review: The Doors Examined by Jim Cherry

The Doors Examined

The Doors Examined by Jim Cherry / Bennion Kearny Limited / paperback / 978-1909125124 / 240 pagesJournalist and author Jim Cherry has a long history with rock 'n' roll journalism, and currently writes the column, "The Doors Examiner." The Doors Examined includes some of those columns, along with material seen here for the first time.A huge amount of information is … [Read more...]

How to write an excellent book review query

Skiing in Interzone - a fictitious book

So, your book is finished and you need to get the word out. You've found some book reviewers who you'd like to email. You're hoping they'll accept a copy of your book for possible review.But here's where it can get kind of tricky. Those reviewers are busy, and more likely to say "yes" if you approach them in the right way.Here's how to do that: 1. Start with the … [Read more...]

Review – Roger Waters: The Man Behind The Wall

Roger Waters: The Man Behind the Wall

Roger Waters: The Man Behind The Wall by Dave Thompson / Backbeat Books / 978-1-61713-564-4 271 pagesMusic journalist Dave Thompson's new book Roger Waters: The Man Behind The Wall is an entertaining intro to the music of the former Pink Floyd front man. Thompson takes an interesting circular route starting out with "The Wall," ostensibly another Floyd album but a vision so … [Read more...]

Review – The Beats: A Very Short Introduction by David Sterritt

The Beats: A Short Introduction by David Sterritt

The Beats: A Very Short Introduction by David Sterritt / Oxford University Press / 978-0-19-979677-9 / 126 pagesDavid Sterritt's work might be familiar to Beat or film aficionados through his previous books, which include Mad to be Saved: The Beats, the '50s, and Film, and Screening the Beats: Media Culture and the Beat Sensibility among others.In The Beats: A Very … [Read more...]

Review – How Hip Was My Alley by Kenton Crowther

How Hip Was My Alley by Kenton Crowther

[Editor's note: 5/21/2014: How Hip Was My Alley has been re-titled Dad, the Times We Had: Baby Boomers in Paradise.]Kenton Crowther's previous volume, Alleycats and Beatsters, collected the author's writings built on the Beat Generation and the essence of "hip." This time out, he casts a wider net; How Hip Was My Alley gathers over three dozen pieces on a wide variety of … [Read more...]

Review – Horse Latitudes by Chris Wilson

Horse Latitudes by Chris Wilson

Horse Latitudes by Chris Wilson / Sorika / 978-0957557307 / 92 pagesHorse Latitudes is a small gem of a book, bound in white covers illustrated with a painting. It is strikingly beautiful, with a very clean, minimalist design.But much of its author's life has been anything but clean and filled with beauty.Instead, most of the first four decades of Chris Wilson's … [Read more...]

Review – Amelita by Court Yard Hounds

Court Yard Hounds - Amelita - Review

Probably Emily Robison and Martie Maguire have been best known as two-thirds of The Dixie Chicks.But as Court Yard Hounds, the duo has created a very different sound, one which has something for their longtime country music fans, and also for listeners of other genres who enjoy beautiful harmonies, thoughtful lyrics and impressive musicianship.Though the songs on … [Read more...]

Review – An Invisible Flower by Yoko Ono

Yoko Ono - An Invisible Flower

An Invisible Flower by Yoko Ono / Chronicle Books / 52 pages / 978-1452109114An Invisible Flower was written and illustrated by nineteeen-year-old Yoko Ono, years before she met John Lennon, or became a public figure.It is the tale of a girl who sees a flower that no one else can see. Finally, she meets a man, "Smelty John," who can see the flower, too. It carries with … [Read more...]

splake’s Magic Box


splake fishing in america. Rockford: Presa Press, 2013 only in my dreams. Springfield: Gage, 2012. Beyond Campfire Ashes. Battle Creeek: Gage, 2012. Backwater Bard Loft Musings. Fort Wayne: The Moon, 2009. Le Metrop 2012. Ed Gray dir. (dvd).Poet Bryn Fortey said it best: “When splake sends, he really sends.”Once, both of us received woolly hats from the … [Read more...]

Poetry Book Review: SPRUNG by Laura Madeline Wiseman

Sprung by Laura Madeline Wiseman

SPRUNG by Laura Madeline Wiseman / San Francisco Bay Press, 259 Granby St. Suite 200, Norfolk, VA 23517 / 2012 / 100 pages / 978-0982829578There's fun in these irreverent poems, but also a serious look at gender and sexuality. What has sprung in this debut full-length collection (though Wiseman has published many chapbooks) is an imaginary penis that follows the voiced … [Read more...]

Review – Bee Thousand by Guided By Voices

Bee Thousand - Guided by Voices

"I love the sound of background noise I wanna hear the crack in the singer's voice Fingers moving on the fret board Every time he plays a new chord"(Art Brut, "Slap Dash For No Cash")When most people think about the best records of the 90’s they recall classics such as Radiohead’s OK Computer, Nirvana’s Nevermind or maybe REM’s Automatic for People. The name Guided … [Read more...]

Music Review – Rod Stewart’s “Time”

Rod Stewart - Time / collage by

Rod Stewart / Time / Columbia Records / May 7, 2013Way back when I was a teenager, I discovered Rod Stewart's 1960s-1970s rock 'n roll albums and got darn near obsessed with them for a while. Mom wasn't too thrilled, thinking that his edgy, sexy music wasn't real appropriate for her sweet young daughter.I was a fan then, but over the years, as he delved into disco and … [Read more...]

Love That Loves Us: The Two Loves of To the Wonder

To the Wonder

note: Here there be spoilersBy now it is cliche to label a Terrence Malick film a "visual poem," but in the case of To The Wonder, that is what it is. Malick's cinematic eye defers to poetry more strongly than that of cinema and though I'm certain that he doesn't regard himself as a poet, he has taken the raw matter of his sensorium and fashioned it into something that … [Read more...]

Review – Searching for Sugar Man

Searching for Sugar Man review

Searching For Sugarman (2012) 4 starsA documentary about the mysterious Rodriguez, the singer/songwriter who released the album Cold Fact in 1970. Directed by Swedish-British filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul, this is a well told underdog story that left me in happy tears, despite some factual omissions and mysteries left unsolved.Growing up in Australia in the 1980s, I was … [Read more...]

The one thing an author should never, ever do.


I'm a reviewer. I hang out on message boards frequented by other reviewers. One popular topic on these message boards is that of authors who comment on reviews of their books.Almost all reviewers agree that authors shouldn't ever do it, and when it happens, someone often links to the site where it's going down, so we can all go over and see how badly everyone behaved. … [Read more...]

Review – The Treasures of Bruce Lee

The Treasures of Bruce Lee

I confess, I'm kind of new to Bruce Lee. That's not to say I haven't heard of him, it's just that I don't know a whole lot about him. I've seen a couple of his movies, which I liked. And, I grew up in Seattle where he also lived, and there was always buzz.So when I was offered a copy of The Treasures of Bruce Lee for possible review, I indulged my curiosity and accepted. … [Read more...]

Review – Beatitude: A Novel by Larry Closs

Beatitude by Larry Closs

Beatitude by Larry Closs / Rebel Satori Press / 2011 / 978-1608640294 / 272 pagesLarry Closs' debut novel focuses on Harry Charity, who is gay, and his relationship with straight poet & Marine Jay Bishop. The Beat Generation fills the pages: there's the pair's shared affinity for the Beat Generation writers, the books, bookshops, the jazz, the New York setting, and even an … [Read more...]

An Essay on the Arcana Series

arcana - john zorn

I sat down to write this as a commentary on the series of books edited by John Zorn, all of which are entitled Arcana. The series comes in six parts, including hundreds of essays written by musicians, artists, on their creative process, technique, philosophy, social commentary, and more. Some artists address alternate technique discussion, others essays on a unique approach to … [Read more...]

Review – The Beauty of being Hated by Jack Leaf Willetts


Many of the poems in Jack Willetts' debut poetry collection, The Beauty of being Hated, explore the way we label and think about feelings. Here are the pain and hope that spring, intertwined, from the aftermath of failed relationships and beginnings of new ones, and what lies between. Not all emotions are pure: lines blur, converge, and tangle in relationships with loved ones, … [Read more...]

Review – The Abbey Road Sessions by Kylie Minogue

Kylie Minogue Abbey Road Sessions

I was in college back in 1987 when Kylie Minogue had her first hit with "Locomotion," which I remember dancing to on nights out. But after that, though I occasionally heard songs on the radio, I confess her music mostly fell of my radar. (I mostly listen to indie and singer-songwriter type music, with some classic rock, world music, classical, folk, jazz & blues in the … [Read more...]