True Believer : The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee has been described as “the definitive, revelatory biography” of Stan Lee. Who exactly was Stan Lee? That depends on who you ask. Most movie-goers will recognise him from the numerous cameos Lee has made in popular MCU movies – the man who created those various superheroes featured in those films. Comic book geeks might also know Lee as the man who either created (or co-created) the Marvel Universe in the 1960s.(more…)
Books related to pop culture
BOOK REVIEW | CHAPTER AND VERSE: NEW ORDER, JOY DIVISION AND ME BY BERNARD SUMNER [GOODREADS]BOOK REVIEW | CHAPTER AND VERSE: NEW ORDER, JOY DIVISION AND ME BY BERNARD SUMNER [GOODREADS]
A frank memoir from the musician who was an integral part of two of the most influential bands ever viz. Joy Division and New Order. Sumner comes across as down-to-earth and amiable and tries to be as candid as possible about difficult issues – like the suicide of Ian Curtis and the break up with Peter Hook. Easy to read and an essential book for fans of these legendary bands.
… still there’s more …
BOOK REVIEW | FIRE AND FURY : INSIDE THE TRUMP WHITE HOUSE [GOODREADS]BOOK REVIEW | FIRE AND FURY : INSIDE THE TRUMP WHITE HOUSE [GOODREADS]
“Fire and Fury” so named as a reference to Trump’s rant against North Korea, is a White House tell-all that is somewhat spoiled by the fact that most nobody reading it would be surprised by its revelations. Though it does confirm the fact that White House is a mess, populated by predatory ego-maniacs out to outdo each other in manner recalling Game of Thrones-like scenarios. Strangely enough, the main character of “Fire and Fury” does not seem to be Trump but Steve Bannon – with the book ending with an ominous characterisation of Bannon’s own Presidential ambitions.
But considering how events seem to have overtaken Bannon with his quick decline in fortunes since the book was written, Wolff seems less prescient and relevant. Still, a rollicking read that does nothing to dispel the common negative connotations about politics.
… still there’s more …
BOOK REVIEW | PoP LEGENDS : BILLY JOEL BY FRED SCHRUERS [GOODREADS]BOOK REVIEW | PoP LEGENDS : BILLY JOEL BY FRED SCHRUERS [GOODREADS]
The biggest question when thinking of Billy Joel is – why hasn’t he released a new album in 20 over years? This biography does not seem to answer that question satisfactorily. This makes the final third rather difficult to get through as it covers the period where Joel becomes an oldies act basically – living off the glories of his past. But before that the book is riveting – providing details during Joel’s successful time as a singer-songwriter/recording artist. For fans only, though.
… still there’s more …
PoP20 | PoP LEGENDS : BOWIE – A BIOGRAPHY BY MARC SPITZ [REVIEW]PoP20 | PoP LEGENDS : BOWIE – A BIOGRAPHY BY MARC SPITZ [REVIEW]
BOWIE: A BIOGRAPHY by Marc Spitz
An assertion that David Bowie (nee Jones) has been the biggest influence on new bands and new music of the last four decades, would not draw much objections from rock scholars. But is that enough to fill a voluminous biography of the great man? The simple answer is “yes”, but writer Marc Spitz goes a little more deeper, inserting the impact that Bowie has had on his personal life as well.
BOOK REVIEW : TIFFANY HADDISH – THE LAST BLACK UNICORN [GOODREADS]BOOK REVIEW : TIFFANY HADDISH – THE LAST BLACK UNICORN [GOODREADS]
Quite an easy read. Tiffany’s personality shines through crystal clear, she never shies away from darker side of her life. So she presents herself warts and all. Her positive attitude of making the best of every situation is inspiring, to say the least. That said, she rather paints Jada Pinkett-Smith in an unfavourable light, even with the best intentions. Loads of crazy scenarios and plenty of laughs along the way. Recommended.
… still there’s more …
ROCK HISTORY | 1971 – NEVER A DULL MOMENT BY DAVID HEPWORTHROCK HISTORY | 1971 – NEVER A DULL MOMENT BY DAVID HEPWORTH
The story of the ascent of rock music is lovingly told by the author, who turned 21 that year. The context behind many of the classic rock artists and albums is vividly described. Well researched with detailed accounts, the reading enjoyment is enhanced by a Spotify playlist of course!
… still there’s more …
GEEK OUT!!! | COMIC BOOKS : MOVING TARGET – THE HISTORY AND EVOLUTION OF GREEN ARROWGEEK OUT!!! | COMIC BOOKS : MOVING TARGET – THE HISTORY AND EVOLUTION OF GREEN ARROW
300+ paged book on Green Arrow? You have got to hand it to writer Richard Gray and publisher Sequart Organization for investing the time and effort into this unlikely character study.
Not quite sure what to make of this. Basically with Norse Mythology, Neil Gaiman “reaches back through time to the original source stories in a thrilling and vivid rendition of the great Norse tales” – as the press release informs us. So is it something like an album of covers? And why is it so short (304 pages)?
ROCK HISTORY : ELVIS COSTELLO – UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INKROCK HISTORY : ELVIS COSTELLO – UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK
Like most artists that emerged during the post-punk/new wave era, Elvis Costello suffers from the same dilemma, that is, of being perpetually branded as a product of the 80s music scene.
Considering that rock legend Bruce Springsteen is famous for his lyrical genius, the very idea of a Springsteen memoir is exciting and intriguing. Would an autobiography match up to the cinematic lyrics found in classics like “Born in the USA”, “The Promised Land” and of course, “Born to Run”?
As the title of his autobiography Not Dead Yet suggests, singer/drummer/producer/actor/film composer Phil Collins is a bit of a joker. This 400-page book is written in a breezy style and it would not be too difficult to finish it all off in a couple of days.
Robbie Robertson (real name: Jaime Royal Robertson) is perhaps best known for being the guitarist/principal songwriter of The Band, a highly influential group that were active mainly from 1968 to 1977. Robertson has also a solid reputation as a solo artist, film composer and producer.
2016 is almost done with. And what have we learnt from modern pop culture? That rock ’n’ roll is dead? That nostalgia & fan service in movies trumps originality? That real life is slowly but surely upstaging science fiction for sheer bizarreness?
ROCK HISTORY – RAY DAVIES: A COMPLICATED LIFE BY JOHNNY ROGANROCK HISTORY – RAY DAVIES: A COMPLICATED LIFE BY JOHNNY ROGAN
The Kinks is a band that deserve more recognition than they have received. Although never quite valued in the same manner as many of their 60s peers, in many ways, The Kinks contributed as much to the development of rock music as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who & Pink Floyd.
BOOK REVIEW: GRAFT BY MATT HILL (ANGRY ROBOT BOOKS)BOOK REVIEW: GRAFT BY MATT HILL (ANGRY ROBOT BOOKS)
Manchester, 2025. Local mechanic Sol steals old vehicles to meet the demand for spares. But when Sol’s partner impulsively jacks a luxury model, Sol finds himself caught up in a nightmarish trans-dimensional human trafficking conspiracy.
I have been a fan of the Canadian singer-songwriter since the early 80s when a friend of mine (who was then studying in Canada) gave me a mixtape of his music and that was that, I was sold!
BOOK REVIEW: TROUBLE BOYS – THE TRUE STORY OF THE REPLACEMENTS (BY BOB MEHR)BOOK REVIEW: TROUBLE BOYS – THE TRUE STORY OF THE REPLACEMENTS (BY BOB MEHR)
Based on all-new interviews and including 72 rare photos, Trouble Boys: The True Story of The Replacements is the definitive biography of one of the last great rock ‘n’ roll bands of the twentieth century.
BOOK REVIEW: UNITED STATES OF JAPAN (BY PETER TIERYAS)BOOK REVIEW: UNITED STATES OF JAPAN (BY PETER TIERYAS)
Decades ago, Japan won the Second World War. Americans worship their infallible Emperor, and nobody believes that Japan’s conduct in the war was anything but exemplary. Nobody, that is, except the George Washingtons – a shadowy group of rebels fighting for freedom. Their latest subversive tactic is to distribute an illegal video game that asks players to imagine what the world might be like if the United States had won the war instead.
To be absolutely honest, Chrissie Hynde was one of the first female rock ’n’ rollers I seriously got into at the very beginning of the 1980s. Considering the times, she represented something very different in rock ’n’ roll for a female performer and fronted an amazing band in Pretenders.
Superficially, If Then, English author Matthew De Abaitua’s 2nd novel, appears to be about the singularity. In scifi lore, that subject revolves around the hypothetical future creation of superintelligent machines. Examples of which have been found in stories like Harlan Ellison’s I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream and movies like Terminator and Matrix.
Published in 2011, Ernest Cline’s story about a teen’s quest to win the ultimate prize in a virtual reality universe has caught the imagination of geeks worldwide, winning an Alex Award from the Young Adult Library Services Association division of the American Library Association and the 2012 Prometheus Award.
GEEK OUT! PHILIP K DICK’S THE THREE STIGMATA OF PALMER ELDRITCH REMAINS RELEVANT 50 YEARS AFTER PUBLICATIONGEEK OUT! PHILIP K DICK’S THE THREE STIGMATA OF PALMER ELDRITCH REMAINS RELEVANT 50 YEARS AFTER PUBLICATION
2015 is the 50th anniversary of many critical events – as we are often reminded. However, as a fan of mind-bending science fiction, I would also like to point out that 1965 was the year Philip K Dick’s novel, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch was published. Along with other Dick classics like Ubik & Time Out of Joint, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch questions the very nature of reality itself with the story revolving around the use & experience of simulated reality by its key characters.
THE WORD: MINISTRY OF MORAL PANIC – SINGAPORE STORIES FOR THE MILLENIALSTHE WORD: MINISTRY OF MORAL PANIC – SINGAPORE STORIES FOR THE MILLENIALS
I must confess that the only prose I read nowadays are rock bios. Even back when I did read fiction, it was science-fiction that I preferred (and still do). What to do? I am a serial escapist after all (as this webzine aptly proves).
Of late, I have been lecturing on the Art of Story – breaking down the elements of story-telling to 17 and 18 year olds who mostly do not read books, and whose main exposure to stories is via computer games, film/TV and even comic books.
Well, in the course of this module, I’ve had had to read short stories by several Singaporean writers (like Alfian Sa’at and Daren Shiau) and whilst the writing is good, I found sometimes the focus and range to be too narrow (although that is probably the intent) and the emphasis on nostalgia at times claustrophobic.
Writer Ken Sharp’s new book Play On!: Power Pop Heroes Volume One is available for pre-orders for 1 month with a cut off sale date of October 28th.
In the first installment of a three-volume series, Ken Sharp honors the musical innovators who built the genre’s foundation. Featuring a foreword by Eric Carmen of Raspberries, the 480-page book culls exclusive extended interviews with 20 artists that defined the genre, including members of the Beatles, the Who, the Kinks, the Beach Boys, the Byrds, the Hollies, the Dave Clark Five, the Zombies, Bee Gees, the Turtles, the Left Banke, Small Faces, the Move, Jeff Lynne and others. Also covered in this volume are representatives of the first generation of dedicated acolytes who followed the progenitors’ trail: Badfinger, Raspberries, Big Star and Emitt Rhodes.
Available exclusively from http://www.ken-sharp.com/power_pop/index.html