My mileage varies when it comes to X-Men comics. As a Marvel Unlimited subscriber, I’ve always intended to dive into them from the beginning, but I decided to do that with Spider-Man first, and it’s been a slow process, to say the least. With so much history, there’s always something to read. That makes it hard to know where to begin, too, unless you do go back to the very beginning.
Jonathan Hickman’s House of X is a new chapter for the X-Men, so if you’ve been looking for a jumping-on point, you can start here. Just go into it knowing that this first issue is a lot to take in. Charles Xavier has a plan for mutantkind, and it’s forming epically.
Now that the NBA Playoffs have begun, Elevated: The Global Rise of the NBA arrives at the perfect time. The book takes a look at the history of the league through the lens of the New York Times writers who have covered the sports over the decades, as edited and annotated by Harvey Araton. Due to the nature of the book, you won’t find one specific writing style throughout. Although, there’s a high level of quality to the writing and you get a look at how the writers have changed their approach to covering the sport as new things like social media came into play.
Since I’m someone who doesn’t have a subscription to the New York Times, I otherwise would not have been able to read many of these articles. It’s an excellent chance for NBA fans to get a look into how devoted one publication was to covering a variety of teams, not just the ones in the New York area. You’ll find articles from the 1970s, to ones as recent as 2018, and everything in between. However, don’t expect the story to unfold in chronological order.
If you were to count the number of bands who have lasted 30 years and consistently put out quality material over that period, you likely wouldn’t need both hands to do so. The Bouncing Souls thankfully fall into this category of a DIY-punk band that have made a memorable legacy for themselves over their 30-year career. Crucial Moments is an EP that stands on its merit of an accomplishment as much as it is a summary of what The Bouncing Souls have done over their eventful career. Accompanied by the 96-page coffee table book of the same name, The Bouncing Souls take some time to reflect on their legacy while still showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
I made sure that 2018 was the year I finally made my way through The Sopranos. I finished the final season just before the year ended. It was quite the trek and nicely timed given that The Sopranos Sessions was set to release this month. After finishing the show, I jumped into the book and went on the wild ride all over again.
Michael Azerrad is no stranger to writing about music. He’s the author of Our Band Could Be Your Life, and he recently released Rock Critic Law. The latter is a book that includes 101 unbreakable rules for writing badly about music, as the subtitle notes. The book is an extremely quick read as the rules are presented in tweet-length format.
The biggest difference between racial issues in the UK and the US is the attitude the people have towards the topic. In the US, there is a constant call for racial tolerance, racial awareness, and racial acceptance. Emphasized from childhood, people of color are aware of the racial differences. However, in the UK, there is an unspoken rule that race should be ignored. In Britain, racism is more subtle. It’s more insidious. Sometimes, you won’t even know you’re being discriminated against. The way the script usually goes is, “Hello. So nice to meet you.” Fake laugh, fake laugh, and more fake laughter, until you leave the room, and they say, “We are never going to employ that woman.” Many of them have mastered that script.
Meet the two successful black British women, Yomi Adegoke, and Elizabeth Uviebinené who have written Slay In Your Lane, a book with the tricks for black women to make lemonade out of the lemons given to them by racists. Yomi Adegoke is a journalist and senior writer at The Pool. While her best friend, and co-author, Elizabeth Uviebinené is a marketing manager at HSBC. They met at Warwick University years ago, and among the many things they share in common is their goal to protect black people at all cost.
Twilight of the Gods: A Journey to the End of Classic Rock by Steven Hyden is just the journey I was looking for. In the day and age of staring at screens most of the day, reading a physical book was a great way to unplug. I read this book over three days and enjoyed every bit of it. The book is formatted as a double LP. Sides A-D contain tracks that denote each chapter. It’s a clever way to present the book and it’s little things like that which just add a little extra to the reading experience.
This book covers all walks of classic rock. Hyden talks about Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, and Bruce Springsteen, among many others. He touches on crucial points, too, including the fact that the white men in classic rock pulled influence from artists of color who never received the same kind of recognition.
Chuck Klosterman is the only writer where I’ve stockpiled the complete collection of his books. With X he’s on his tenth book, which is a feat in itself for any author to have ten books. That said, I have yet to read all ten, but this one called to me as an immediate read when it arrived in my mailbox. As someone who has similar interests in general with Klosterman, his writing always intrigues me.
This book is a collection of Klosterman’s writing over the years. Some were familiar, namely his GQ interview (or lack thereof) with Tom Brady while the whole “Deflategate” situation was going on. And despite having already read it, I read it again anyway. In a way, I would like my writing to grow to be what his is, but still something that’s my own. Hopefully that makes sense to someone other than myself. Klosterman covers sports and music in a way that many writers in those areas probably wish they could. He has access that not just anyone gets. His interview with Kobe Bryant is fantastic, and the Lakers fan in me is beyond jealous.
Jesse Cannon’s latest book takes a look at the creative process and how to get results that you’re happy with. While it focuses largely on music, it can easily apply to so much more than that. Processing Creativity: The Tools, Practices And Habits Used To Make Music You’re Happy With isn’t a behemoth of a book like Get More Fans, but it’s equally as effective. The book takes you through the motions of finding who is a best fit to work with, how to make music you’re happy with, and so much more.
Scott Crawford took what he worked on with Salad Days and brought it to a nice coffee table book format. He compiled a list of influential punk bands from the 80’s DC scene. Each entry gives the perspective of the band members, concert goers, photographers, and more. It’s a thorough look at the history without being overwhelming. The format works well since it focuses a lot on the images and sometimes those can tell stories better than words can.
I wouldn’t say I’m in tune with all of the punk bands from the 80’s era, let alone all of the ones around Washington D.C., but I’d like to think I know at least a little about punk music. This book has the bigger bands you’d expect with Fugazi, Bad Brains, and Minor Threat, but it’s the others that will surprise you if you haven’t done your homework. Ian MacKaye sprinkled his talents around in more bands than I had thought, so he’s a prominent feature in this book.
Being drawn to Laura Jane Grace’s memoir, TRANNY: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout, is a natural side-effect of being hypnotized, mesmerized, and forever in awe of Against Me!’s Transgender Dysphoria Blues. I appreciated Transgender Dysphoria Blues for a myriad of reasons: It’s a hell of a rock-and-roll album, it’s intimate and personal in its storytelling, the way my favorite artists have always sung their stories, and it made me a better person. The latter point is not something that can be said for a ton of my favorite albums.