What you think your job is at Left Bank Books: To startle people who walk by the window to my office at the back of the store.
If you had a super power, what would it be? Teleportation.
Favorite smell: Old comic books.
Favorite memory: A particularly snowy winter when I was a kid living in the foothills of the Shenandoah Mountains in Virginia. School was canceled for a solid week, and when I wasn’t running around with the other kids in my neighborhood, I’d go explore the woods near my house and marvel at how beautifully quiet and still the world was as the snow came down.
Wonderful re-telling and conceptualization of the moon landing as part history, part cultural myth and legend.
Ah, my original home state! Texas is a place that invokes in many people's minds a kind of mythology, lore, and cultural sensibility that's as outsized as the state itself. God Save Texas is a look at the people, regions, and cultures of Texas that illustrate a place that's not as monolithic as we think, and how the idea of Texas is as much a truthful exaggeration as it is a microcosm of the rest of the country.
From the genesis of SWAT teams, through the "war on drugs", and "tough on crime" stances of elected officials that created the warrior-cop mentality that has underscored abuses of authority, and civilian shooting deaths by police, particularly in communities of color, Rise Of The Warrior Cop is an absolutely essential read that traces how we arrived to the current disturbing trend of militarized police forces that often more resemble an occupying armed force than protectors of the public across the country.
St. Louis has a rich architectural legacy that unfortunately has a tendency to get cannibalized. This book is a remarkable time capsule of the city's riverfront before construction of the Gateway Arch forever altered it.
Part biography, part history of television as a medium, the story of Rod Serling and his drive to tell a story in the emerging medium prove just as intriguing and surprising as an episode of the Twilight Zone.
A book with a title that spoke to me and then humorously illustrates just how funny having this kind of thought process is.
A poignant memoir that illustrates and analyzes the damaging effects of our mass culture's expectations of masculinity.
I'm a fan of history books that can dispense with the comforting myths of American history, and How To Hide An Empire manages to do just that with a balance of quirky, and sobering number of lesser known chapters of our history that uncover the United States' soft imperialism that persists to this day.
Deftly weaves post-WWII media studies, history, and biography to produce a sobering analysis of how a person, who is just as much a character as he is a real human being, ascended to the highest office in the land, and how the conditions of our evolving media environment, and that shape our minds enabled it.
A fascinating look at modern Russia focusing on the use of popular television programming to advance the political and social agenda of the state by the Russian president, and the network of Oligarchs whose influence shape the culture and economy. The author draws on his own experience working in Russian television, interviews with a former gangster turned Oligarch/action movie producer, a fashion model/aspiring trophy wife, and a fabricated "opposition party" that is used to provide the veneer of fair elections, but in reality serves to reinforce the image of stability and power of the ruling party. The book illustrates a nation where post-Soviet new-money elites revel in gilded opulence, while everyone else is afforded cold, often brutal institutional nihilism.
Although this cookbook satisfies my particular niche dietary needs and is very helpful for my athletic aspirations, I think most people will find that you don't have to be athletically inclined, or even strictly vegetarian to benefit from the recipes in No Meat Athlete. The recipes are largely uncomplicated, and designed to help simplify meal planning with a focus on fresh ingredients, meatless protein alternatives, and a wide range of flavor profiles that make for filling, healthy, and flavorful eating.
Sworn to protect a world that fears and hates them.” The X-Men have long been a stand out of the super-hero genre with mutants as something of a metaphor for the struggles of socially marginalized communities, but at its heart, the X-Men universe is sci-fi soap opera with complicated continuity, a large cast of misfit characters, retcons, and multiple alternate timelines that converge on each other which make for a world that can be intimidating to jump into for new readers but is a large part of the appeal for fans of the franchise such as myself. Ed Piskor’s Grand Design looks to streamline that unwieldy continuity, and make accessible almost 60 years of serialized stories into a concise narrative without shying away from the campiness of the era that spawned the original stories, and the anachronistic nature of Marvel continuity illustrated in his unique, funky, retro Silver Age style.
1968 was a consequential year in American history to say the least, and the presidential election of that year can be considered something of a flashpoint in modern American politics where party platforms and affiliations were cemented for the next several decades. Playing With Fire is written in such a compelling manner that despite the fact that the events of the book are documented history, you actually find yourself considering "what happens next?" as the story unfolds.
Unflinching in it's honesty, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz has written one of the most essential chronicles of American history. An Indigenous Peoples' History Of The United States dispenses with the convenient and comforting mythologies of our national origins to pierce to the heart of the matter; the United States was formed through the plunder, slaughter, and displacement of the indigenous nations of the continent by Anglo-European imperial colonialism, and that bloody, shameful legacy is woven into the very fabric of America's national identity.
How did an oddball stand-up comedian and television actor become a reviled pro wrestling heel? For Andy Kaufman, his own... quirky form of character-driven performance art and life-long fascination with professional wresting were destined to converge.