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revealing the Ramones

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 by kate

What’s a punk rock book release without some drama and confrontation? Vera Davie, wife of the late Dee Dee Ramone, has written Poisoned Heart: I Married Dee Dee Ramone, an inside look at the ’70s punk rock band the Ramones. However, the executor of Dee Dee's estate, Ira Herzog, has gone to court to stop publication of the book, claiming Davie broke a deal with him that said he could review and change anything she wrote about the bassist.

Hopefully the book comes out – it sounds pretty candid. Poisoned Heart details Dee Dee’s first heroin overdose, chaotic recording sessions with the notorious Phil Spector, and the reason behind the band’s breakup. It also includes dozens of never-before-seen pictures.

If you’re a fan of the Ramones, you’ll definitely want to get a copy. For now the book is set to be released in June, and Vera, who is writing under the pen name Vera Ramone King, is planning a NY book signing June 8.

Previous Post: symbols and codes

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symbols and codes

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 by kate

Dan Brown’s protagonist Robert Langdon returns this fall in The Lost Symbol, the sequel to The Da Vinci Code, Knopf Doubleday announced this week.
It took Brown 6 years to write this story, which takes place in a 12 hour period. “Robert Langdon’s life clearly moves a lot faster than mine,” Brown’s longtime editor, Jason Kaufman said.

If history is any indicator, this should be a good one. The Da Vinci Code, published in 2003, spent 144 weeks on the NY Times bestseller list and has been translated into 51 languages. The film version came out in 2006, starring Tom Hanks as Langdon, and made $758 million. And Brown’s earlier novel, Angels and Demons, is due out in theaters this May.

So, if by some fluke you haven’t read The Da Vinci Code, start now. It’s a big book.

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zombies, cherries and fools

Thursday, April 16, 2009 by kate

Since the sun has finally decided to come out of hibernation, and my bike has been itching for attention, I haven’t had much time to read lately. So I’ve decided to compile a list of books I’d like to read, but haven’t. Feel free to weigh in on any of these.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, by Seth Grahame-Smith
A mix of manners and man-eating zombies. Seth Grahame-Smith, who brags that he once took a class in English literature, has decided to rework Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice to include the un-dead.

"Subconsciously, Austen was writing a horror novel and didn't know it," Grahame-Smith said. "People taking these strolls, riding their carriages to and fro. . . . There are so many opportunities there – for zombie attacks."

A Wolf at the Table, by Augusten Burroughs
I’ve read mixed reviews on this, but I liked Burroughs’ Running with Scissors, so I’m going to give this memoir of his father a shot.

Bowl of Cherries, by Millard Kaufman
91-year-old Kaufman’s first novel is appropriately a coming-of-age tale about a 14-year-old prodigy who gets kicked out of Yale and ends up in an Iraqi prison awaiting execution. Written by the co-creator of Mr. Magoo, how could this novel not be great?

Fool, by Christopher Moore
A 21st-century take on King Lear, narrated by his jester Pocket.

Voluntary Madness, by Norah Vincent
She must be crazy. Vincent voluntarily commits herself to 3 mental facilities to do research for this book. She’s also the same woman who lived like a man for a year for her last book, Self-Made Man.

What are some books you’re itching to open?

Previous post: “a giddy trip ...

“a giddy trip ...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 by kate

... through the brilliant mind of one of Britain's most valuable exports.”

British comedian Russell Brand – famous in the U.S. for his rocker role in Forgetting Sarah Marshall – has come out with a memoir detailing his life of heroin and humor.

I heard an interview with Russell on NPR last week and was surprised by how intellectual he came across. He wasn’t the air-headed Brit I had imagined him to be. He’s obviously been through a lot and has come through scathed, but incredibly reflective and self-actualized.

Here’s a borrowed excerpt from the book (lifted from Brand’s website):

“Cruise of the Gods was filmed on a ship sailing the Aegean Sea for three weeks, visiting Greek islands and the Turkish port of Istanbul. I was in no f***ing state to be going anywhere on my own, but it was a great job and an amazing opportunity.

The story concerned a TV science-fiction convention, held on a cruise ship, where obsessive fans of a Star Trek–type show would get to meet the heroes of the program they had watched in its heyday, ten to fifteen years before. The central theme was the interaction between these aged and jaded stars. I can’t remember the exact intricacies of the plot; I didn’t read the script.

But it should not be assumed that I embarked on this cruise ship with a bad attitude: quite the reverse. I put myself through a mild heroin withdrawal before going on board (falling back on whiskey and grass), as I thought it would be stupid to take hard drugs on the boat. I said to Martino, who demonstrated his limitless compassion by remaining my friend after the carnage of RE:Brand, “I don’t want to get in any trouble on this job. I want to be known as the bookish actor who just kept himself to himself.” Martino encouraged this. “That is a good ambition to have, Russell. If you can achieve it, you will have done well.” So off I went with that goal in mind. Within a week, I had been fired and sent home in disgrace.


I got back home, and almost as soon as I arrived, Conor called me up from ICM. “Russell,” he asked, in an ominously somber tone, “what did you do on that boat?” “Oh, nothing,” I muttered, “just the usual . . . I can’t really remember.” “Well,” he said, “they’ve sacked you. I’ve never had a client sacked before, and the people down there, the producer and the casting director, say they’ve never in all their careers experienced anything like it: they just think you’re an animal.”
Before I could blurt out, “But I just tried my hardest to fit in – I thought I was this bookish sort of feller,” Conor said, “I’m going to have to talk to you face to face.”
I realized this was bad, so I went out and bought a load of heroin. I knew I’d really ballsed things up. It should have been a f***ing amazing job, that Cruise of the Gods. There we were, stopping off at all these gorgeous islands – going to Athens and Istanbul – and look how I, as usual, converted these beautiful experiences into a grimly picaresque ordeal.

I’ve always been drawn to the seamier side of life. Those are the kind of characters I’m attracted to, there’s an energy I get from them that drives a lot of the work I do. At this stage, though, my predilection for de cadence and abuse of drink and drugs was threatening to bring my career to an end before it had even properly started.

I finally met Conor in a café in Soho Square. It was raining. He said, “I’m sorry Russell, but I’ve got to let you go.”

I was all too familiar with the feeling that overtook me at this juncture (“I’ve had a lot of sobering thoughts in my life” – as Lennard Pearce said to Del Boy – “it was them that started me drinking”). I’d felt it when I couldn’t go back for a second year at Italia Conti, when I was thrown out of Drama Centre, when I was sacked from MTV and XFM and on numerous other occasions when I’d been sacked from jobs.

Up until those particular instants of helplessness and despair, I felt myself to be an invincible blur, impervious to any kind of judgment – “Your bullets can’t harm me, my wings are like shields of steel!” – but then suddenly, like Icarus, I’d clatter back to earth. The difference was, on this occasion, I had no idea how I was ever going to get back up in the sky again.”

Previous Post: a mother's sojourn

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a mother's sojourn

Thursday, April 9, 2009 by kate

This week, Book Break has a guest blogger. Fellow Captivate editor Jacqui Pini – blogger of Indulge and Captivate Cooking – reviews Anne Tyler's Ladder of Years. Enjoy!

By guest blogger Jacqui Pini

Delia Grinstead, the main character in Anne Tyler’s Ladder of Years takes the term “alone time” to a new level.

In dealing with the recent loss of her father and the indifferent attitudes her husbands and three children (actually – young adults), has toward her, Delia walks out on them in the middle of a family vacation. She hitches a ride out of town and lands in Bay Borough, a town about 2 hours from her home in Baltimore. There is no premeditation involved in her journey at all. She is found by her family, but chooses to stay where she is with little explanation to anyone, including herself.

Tyler has a way of slowly unfolding the realities of life in a small town and the characters involved. Some are funny, some sad but they all hold an important role in shaping Delia in her new life away from her family. Delia gets a job, rents a room, eats alone, vacations alone and makes a circle of new friends. As she grows in a way that she was never able to before, she is still haunted by the fact her family has really not pursued her.

Eventually she is called back home to Baltimore to attend her daughter’s wedding, which leads the book down a few interesting final turns. Some of the issues she faces include whether or not her family will forgive her and if she’ll decide to come back.

Tyler’s smooth style of writing builds up characters and plots to the point where you are hooked, but never feel saturated in details. This book clearly defines the importance of figuring out your personal strengths before being a rock for everyone else. Ladder of Years is an easy book to pick up and read during your next relaxing vacation. Bonus – it’s in paperback now too!

Previous Post: Fox focuses on optimism

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Fox focuses on optimism

Tuesday, April 7, 2009 by kate

For those Alex P. Keaton fans who can’t get enough, Michael J. Fox has written a second memoir, Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist. It covers the last 10 years of Fox’s life, when his positive outlook helped him navigate his struggle with Parkinson's disease.
“The last ten years, which is really the stuff of this book, began with such a loss: my retirement from Spin City. I found myself struggling with a strange new dynamic: the shifting of public and private personas. I had been Mike the actor, then Mike the actor with PD. Now was I just Mike with PD? Parkinson's had consumed my career and, in a sense, had become my career. But where did all of this leave Me? I had to build a new life when I was already pretty happy with the old one.”

If you want to catch Fox, check out Rescue Me tonight at 10 pm. He plays a character who is paralyzed from the waist down. He’ll also be on Larry King Live tomorrow night.

If you want to start from the beginning, check out his first book, Lucky Man, which came out in 2002.

Previous Post: sex symbol shares her stretch marks

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