Speed Reads

Written by admin on . Posted in Arts & Film, Books.

A Gate at the Stairs
By Lorrie Moore, Out Sept. 1
Moore’s first novel in 15 years is a coming-of-age story set in a Midwestern college town, half a continent away from New York but still living in the shadow of 9/11.
To Sound in the Know: Known more for her short stories, Moore published her first collection at the age of 26.

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters
By Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters, Out Sept. 15
In the follow up to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Austen’s Dashwood sisters search for love on an island after their father is killed by a shark.
To Sound in the Know: Winters didn’t write P&P&Z. That was by Seth Graeme Smith, who apparently is too busy working on Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter to pen another Austen.

Velvet Underground: A Walk on the Wild Side

By Jim DeRogatis, Out Sept.15
An illustrated history of the band founded by Lou Reed and John Cale, guided by Andy Warhol and worshipped by generations of musicians and fans.
To Sound in the Know: DeRogatis’ previous work includes a biography of famed music critic Lester Bangs.

Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman

By Jon Krakauer, Out Sept.15
Like in his best-seller Into the Wild, Krakauer follows a young man on an improbable (and ill-fated) journey, this time that of NFL-star-turned Afghanistan-bound Army Ranger Pat Tillman.
To Sound in the Know: The original publication date for the book was Oct. ’08, but Krakauer withdrew it to rewrite the manuscript.

Our Noise
By John Cook with Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance, Out Sept. 15
Even at 20 years old, Merge Records is still putting out important indie rock, releasing albums from bands like Wye Oak, Conor Oberst and Spoon. In this fact-packed book, the label’s history is thoroughly explored alongside delicious extras like old photos, postcards and an awesome compilation CD.
To Sound in the Know: Both McCaughan and Ballance play in Superchunk, one of Merge’s best-known bands.

Bicycle Diaries
By David Byrne, out Sept. 17
Musings and reflections on urban life all across the world as witnessed by the musician whose main mode of transportation is his bike.
To Sound in the Know: Byrne takes a fold-up bicycle on tour with him so he can ride wherever he goes.

Generosity: An Enhancement
By Richard Powers, Out Sept. 29
In this novel, a young Algerian woman who seems unnaturally happy is fought over by a dour writing teacher and a genetic enhancement specialist who wants to create a genome for human happiness.
To Sound in the Know: Powers’ last book, The Echo Maker, won the National Book Award.

Edited by Michael Ogilvie, Sean Russell and Michael Todoran. Out late Sept.
A collection of 25 graphic artists contributed to this collection, which features 128 pages of funny, disturbing, alcohol-inspired art. Whether it’s the comic-book-style work of Ivera Pennant or Sean Russell’s “True Stories of the VFW,” your own tales of one too many won’t hold a candle to these.
To Sound in the Know: A Boy’s Guide to Arson author Jarret Keene, who wrote the book’s foreword, has edited both Las Vegas Noir and The Underground Guide to Las Vegas; dude knows his drunken debauchery.

The Wild Things
By Dave Eggers, Out Oct. 1
This novel, loosely based on Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, centers around a boy in a wolf suit who escapes his family and sails to the island of the Wild Things where Denise Richards and Neve Campbell tempt him (or something like that).
To Sound in the Know: Eggers, along with Spike Jonze, recently wrote the screenplay adaptation of Sendak’s classic children’s book.

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Speed Reads

Written by Jeff Cretan on . Posted in Books, Posts.

Good Book By David Plotz, Out now

The editor of Slate read every single word of the Bible and lived to tell (and write) about it. In his epic quest, Plotz moves from serious explorations (faith vs. works) to whimsical asides (why does God love bald men?)

To Sound in the Know:

Plotz was inspired to write the book after leafing through a Bible at a Bar Mitzvah a few years back. Rumor has it his next book focuses on the role of chocolate fountains and bad DJs in our society.

Flying By Eric Kraft, Out now

This comedic novel explores the diverging reality and myth of the adventures of a young man who builds a flying motorcycle in the 1950s and takes off cross country and how he returns home years later to tell the true story of his trip.

To Sound in the Know:

Flying is the final leg of a trilogy along with Taking Off and On the Wing.

The Kindly Ones By Jonathon Littell, Out now

This fictional memoir of a former Nazi Doctor looking back on his role in World War II and the Holocaust was first published in France in 2007 to great acclaim, including winning the country’s top lit prize, the Prix Goncourt.

To Sound in the Know: 

Though American (he was born in New York), Littell wrote the Kindly Ones in his non-native French.

Lowboy by John Wray, Out now

In his third novel, the Brooklyn-based author tells the story of a 16-year-old New Yorker who stops taking his meds and escapes from a mental hospital into the subway tunnels where he wanders in fear of the imminent apocalypse. Someone should tell the kid Obama won the election and everything is going to be peachy.

To Sound in the Know:

Granta named Wray one of the Best Young American Novelists in 2007.

Wonderful World By Javier Calvo, Out Mar. 17

This Barcelona/Brooklyn novelist pens a comic thriller about a son who inherits his father’s company and descends into Barcelona’s criminal underworld. Bonus lit points for the book being translated by Mara Faye Lethem, Calvo’s wife and Jonathan’s sister.

To Sound in the Know:

Calvo once wrote a short story titled “Ned Flanders,” a twisted take on Homer Simpson’s goodly (and Godly) neighbor.

Escape fromBellevue By Christopher John Campion, Out Mar. 19

The former lead singer of indie band The Knockout Drops recounts his personal and professional ascent (Fame! Sex!) and crash (Booze! Drugs!) through the 1980s and ’90s New York music scene.

To Sound in the Know:

This memoir is based off an off-Broadway musical Campion wrote of the same title.

The Long Fall By Walter Moseley, Out Mar. 24

The long time mystery master of such classics as Devil in a Blue Dress creates a new character (ex-boxer PI Leonid McGill) in a new city (so long L.A., hello New York!) that quickly learns just because a city looks clean that doesn’t mean the dirt has disappeared.

To Sound in the Know: 

Though Moseley is best known for his Los Angeles private dick Easy Rawlins, who has appeared in 11 novels, he’s also written science fiction, an award-winning young-adult novel and even erotica.

Speed Reads

Written by Jeffrey Cretan on . Posted in Books, Posts.



Made From Scratch: Discovering the Pleasure of a Handmade Life
By Jenna Woginrich, Out Dec. 1
A city girl documents her journey from a desk job to a life of self-reliance on a small homestead in Northern Idaho where she trades in consumer culture for raising chickens, growing vegetables and churning her own butter. There are bound to be fantastic hints in here for the budget-tightening going on these fantastic economic times—maybe even some Meghan Daum hasn’t already written. To Sound in the Know:Woginrich has been blogging about her experiences for a while now at the Huffington Post.We hear Arianna makes her churn the butter.

Hooking Up with Tila Tequila
By Tila Tequila, Out Dec. 2
The Internet sensation opens up about celebrity and how to get what you want out of life. She also includes never-before-seen photographs for all of her fans who want to see even more of her in even less clothing.To Sound in the Know:Tequila (whose real name is Tila Nguyen) claims her stage name came from middle school when she experimented with tequila and had a severe allergic reaction.

The Man Who Owns the News: Inside the Secret World of Rupert Murdoch
By Michael Wolff, Out Dec. 2
The Vanity Fair columnist uses access to Murdoch, his associates and family to explore the growth of News Corp.Wolff explores both the business battles and the family drama in this exclusive biography. To Sound in the Know: Pre-release protests about the book by Murdoch have been questioned as being a way to either drum up publicity or to firewall himself against any negative portrayals.

Wishful Drinking
By Carrie Fisher, Out Dec. 2
This child of Hollywood (and of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher) dives headlong into her past in this new memoir. Fisher comes clean about everything from becoming a Star Wars icon at 19 years old to waking up one morning and finding a friend dead next to her. To Sound in the Know: It’s based on Fisher’s one-woman show of the same name.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard
By J.K. Rowling, Out Dec. 4
This spin-off from the world of Harry Potter is a collection of five fables that young wizards have been reading for years to learn lessons about friendship, love and strength now released to educate the muggles of the world. To Sound in the Know: The stories include commentary from Professor Albus Dumbledore—though no revelation is included about the great scholar’s sexual preference.

Yes We Can: Obama’s History-Making Presidency
By Scout Tufankjian, Out Dec. 8
Photojournalist Tufankjian was the only photographer to cover the full campaign of Barack Obama as he rose from long-shot candidate to president, um, president-elect, of the United States.The book contains over 200 original photographs and excerpts from Obama’s speeches over the 26-year campaign.To Sound in the Know: Tufankjian was on assignment for only about 15-20 percent of the two years, while the rest of the time she paid for her travels out of her own pockets.Yes, she did.

Bad Traffic
By Simon Lewis, Out Dec. 9
This crime novel, already a hit in the U.K., follows Chinese inspector Ma Jian as he goes to England to search for his daughter who has disappeared while attending Leeds University. His journey takes him into a world of human traffickers and illegal immigrants. To Sound in the Know: Scotland reared Lewis wrote his first book, a frenetic, international tale of backpackers called Go, in a village in the Himalayas.

Reborn: Journal and Notebooks, 1947-1964
By Susan Sontag, Out Dec. 9
Follow the writer and intellectual, who died in 2004, through her development from the age of 14 through her years as a college and graduate student. This is the first of three volumes of journals to be released.To Sound in the Know:These journals cover the years before the literary lesbian became famous with the publication of her essays Against Interpretation in 1966.

Soldiers and Citizens: An Oral History of Operation Iraqi Freedom from Battlefield to Pentagon
By Carl Mirra, Out Dec. 9
Mirra presents differing views of the war in Iraq by letting soldiers, policy makers and family members tell their stories about why they either support or don’t support the actions of the United States starting in 2003. To Sound in the Know: Mirra fought in the first Gulf War as a Marine and now teaches at Adelphi

Speed Reads

Written by Jeffrey Cretan on . Posted in Books, Posts.

Crime: A Novel

By Irvine Welsh, out Sept. 2

An Edinburgh cop goes to Miami to plan his wedding and ends up battling a small ring of pedophiles—don’t you hate it when that happens?—in what Welsh himself has called “an existential thriller.”

To Sound Like You’ve Read It:
Mention that you’re glad that Crime’s protagonist and anti-hero Ray Lennox made the leap from supporting character in Welsh’s Filth. 

The War Within: A Super Secret White House History 2006–2008

By Bob Woodward, out Sept. 8

In his fourth book chronicling the Bush years, wunderkind-cum-windbag Woodward shines a light on the internal debates during two controversial years of the Iraq War. 

To Sound Like You’ve Read It: Acknowledge that Woodward has progressively sharpened his views toward Bush since Bush at War, his first book about the administration.

Hot, Flat and Crowded

By Thomas L. Friedman, out Sept. 8

Anyone who has kept up with Friedman’s columns in the New York Times knows the man is obsessed with climate change and energy revolution.  He synthesizes these two into an argument for a "Geo-Greenism" national strategy that will revolutionize America and the world.  

To Sound Like You’ve Read It: Blather about how this book will do for the environment what The World is Flat did for globalization. Segue into a conversation about those useless brown paper towels.


By Philip Roth, out Sept. 15

In his 29th (!) book, Roth tells the Cold War–era tale of the son of a Newark butcher who flees west to college in Winesburg, Ohio, where he hits the ferociously to avoid the fate of

a soldier.

To Sound Like You’ve Read It:
Remark that the Winesburg of Roth’s story is not the same town as in Sherwood Anderson’s 1919 classic Winesburg, Ohio. Anderson’s hometown of Clyde, Ohio, was the basis for that book. 

Downtown Owl: A Novel

By Chuck Klosterman, out Sept. 15

The pop culture commentator and essayist makes his first foray into novels with this multi-character story about the community of Owl, a small town in North Dakota.

To Sound Like You’ve Read It: Casually drop that this technically isn’t Klosterman’s fiction debut. In his recent collection Chuck Klosterman: IV, he included a novella he’d written while working in Akron, Ohio, titled You Tell Me.

The Given Day

By Denis Lehane, out Sept. 22

Lehane returns to Boston, where his bestselling Mystic River took place, but jumps back in time to 1918 for this sprawling epic that tumbles from labor clashes in the streets to baseball battles on the diamond. 

To Sound Like You’ve Read It:  Note that this wide-ranging story is a departure from the smaller, tightly focused scope of Lehane’s successful thrillers like Mystic River and Shutter Island. 

The Other Queen

By Philippa Gregory, out Sept. 16

The author of The Other Boleyn Girl brings out a new Other, this time with the story of the imprisonment of Mary, Queen of Scots.  The action focuses on Mary’s captivity in the home of the Earl of Shrewsbury and his wife, Bess, where treachery and treason boil over into suspense.

To Sound Like You’ve Read It: Remark how the true strength in the novel is the voice Gregory gives to Bess, who climbed up from the lower ranks to marry nobility. Extra points will be awarded if you compare her to someone you know.

Eat Me: The Food Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin

By Kenny Shopsin, out Sept. 23

The famously cantankerous restaurateur brings his 900-item menu and acerbic philosophizing to this tome, which is part cookbook, part culinary manifesto and

part memoir.

To Sound Like You’ve Read It: Declare your love for all things Shopsin, especially his famous “Saxelby” egg-and-cheese sandwich, now available only at the Essex Street Market.

Caligula For President

By Cintra Wilson, out Sept. 30

This satire, subtitled Better American Living Through Tyranny, turns Manifest Destiny on its head by imagining what the ancient Roman ruler Caligula would have been like as head of the United States. Wilson, known for her celebrity skewering and strangely acerbic shopping column, is cashing in on the election hype with tongue firmly in cheek.

To Sound Like You’ve Read It: Discuss the merits of our favorite line, “Let’s face it: one of the primary reasons anyone has ever joined the military, since the dawn of civilization, is to get laid by wearing a smart-looking uniform.”

The Alcoholic

By Jonathan Ames,

Illustrated by Dean Haspiel, out Sept. 30

In former Press contributor Ames’ first foray into the graphic novel, he tells the story of his battles with alcoholism. The noted boxer and rumored Fiona-Apple-dater hasn’t released a book since 2005—and he’s back with a bang, one-upping the Brooklyn literati by returning to the scene with a comic.

To Sound Like You’ve Read It: Point out that the scene where Ames meets Monica Lewinsky for dinner is actually based on a real life meal Ames had with the world’s most famous intern.