About three weeks ago, I attended the Vanilla Fudge 50th Anniversary show at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, MA. It’s a great venue to see a concert, with an intimate 280 seat capacity. Three of the four original members performed (bassist Tim Bogert is retired from active touring), and their psychedelic, proto-metal stylings had the joint rocking hard. Keyboard wizard Mark Stein, guitarist Vinnie Martell, new bass player Pete Bremy, and legendary drummer Carmine Appice tore the house down with their renditions of hits like “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”, “Take Me for a Little While”, and “People Get Ready”.
Much as I enjoyed all their musicianship, the main reason I went was to catch Carmine Appice, one of rock’s all-time greatest drummers. The band did a meet-and-greet after the show, and I snatched by a copy of Appice’s recent book, STICK IT! MY LIFE OF SEX…
Right now, I’m in the process of taking a look back at some of my favorite things from the previous year. Yesterday, I posted a list of my favorite non-fiction books of 2016. Today, I post my 20 favorite novels!
All of these are worth reading and in fact, I insist that you do. Let’s enjoy the written word while we can because, sadly, the future holds only illiteracy and propaganda.
My look back at the previous year continues with 10 of my favorite non-fiction books of 2016! Now, it should be noted that, because this is an entertainment-related website, I’m only listing my favorite entertainment-related books. There was a lot of good nonfiction published last year but the majority of it had nothing to do with either the movies or television so who cares?
Anyway, all of these are wonderful and well-worth the money!
The Godfather Notebook by Francis Ford Coppola
TV: The Book by Matt Zoller Seitz and Alan Sepinwall
The Only Pirate at the Party by Lindsey Stirling
Natalie Wood: Reflections on a Legendary Life by Manoah Bowman
The Purple Diaries: Mary Astor and the Most Sensational Hollywood Scandal of the 1930s by Joseph Egan
In Search of Lost Films by Phil Hall
Down from the Attic: Rare Thrillers of the Silent Era through the 1950s by John T. Soister and Henry Nicolella
Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin
The Curse of Beauty: The Scandalous & Tragic Life of Audrey Munson, America’s First Supermodel by James Bone
A Thousand Cuts: The Bizarre Underground World of Collectors and Dealers Who Saved the Movies by Dennis Bartok and Jeff Joseph
Finally, I have to give an honorable mention to two books that were published in 2015 but which I didn’t read until 2016. These two books were definitely my favorite non-fiction reads in 2016 and there’s no way that I couldn’t mention them. Troy Howarth’s So Deadly, So Perverse and So Deadly, So Perverse Volume 2 contain everything you could possibly want to know about the giallo genre!
Tomorrow, my look back at 2016 continues with my favorite novels of the year!
“He’s a walking contradiction, partly truth, partly fiction” –
Kris Kristofferson, The Pilgrim
He was a football star at USC who also starred on the debate team. A primitive that could quote Shakespeare, Keats, and Churchill with ease. A two-fisted, hard drinker who was adept at chess and bridge. A man some called racist whose three wives were all Hispanic. To his friends, he was Duke Morrison, but to the world he was known as John Wayne. This definitive, well researched biography by Scott Eyman was released in hardcover in 2014, and is now available in trade paperback form. Eyman, who also wrote the definitive book on John Ford (1999’s PRINT THE LEGEND: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JOHN FORD), spent years to make this the last word on John Wayne, separating the man from the myth, in this in-depth study of how the boy from Winterset, Iowa became…
Today, I have flown from Baltimore to Chicago and, after a three-hour layover at O’Hare, from Chicago to Atlanta. Now I have to wait two hours until I board a plane to Dallas. Luckily, I have a good book to read.
Steven Hyden’s Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me takes a look at some famous pop music rivalries and what they may or may not reveal about the meaning of life. Hyden examines 19 different rivalries, everyone from Oasis vs. Blur to Neil Young vs. Lynard Skynard to the Smashing Pumpkins vs. Pavement, Beatles vs. the Rolling Stones and, naturally, Roger Waters vs. everyone else in Pink Floyd. And, of course, he also writes about Biggie vs. Tupac because, as he puts it, that’s the only rivalry that he “was required by law to write about in this book.”
The best chapter, in my opinion, is Hyden’s look at the rivalry between Jimi Hendrix’s legacy and Eric Clapton’s continued existence. He asks a very important question: If Hendrix had lived and was currently living the life of Eric Clapton, would we still consider Jimi to be the greatest guitar God of all time? A close second to the Hendrix/Clapton chapter is Hyden’s look at the rivalry between Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Hyden makes a convincing argument that not only did Kurt Cobain never really grow to like Pearl Jam but that Bruce Springsteen really does not like Chris Christie that much either.
Steven Hyden’s an opinionated guy and, reading the book, I have disagreed with him almost as much as I’ve agreed. But he is also a very good writer and he definitely knows his music. Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me has made this day of airports and flying bearable. I highly recommend it!
Rundown: Last Man is a French comic by Bastien Vives, Michael Sanlaville, and Balak. I first encountered it back in 2015 (thumbed through it at Barnes & Nobles). It recently came into my possession as a belated birthday gift.
What I loved: The world is a wondrous amalgam of things I love such as shounen manga, medieval tales, 80’s action films. characters made the story enjoyable. Richard Aldana is the epitome of the action heroes of yesteryear. He has the charisma/confidence of a John MacLane and the combat prowess of a Bruce Lee. Adrian Velba is such a sweet and innocent kid who reminded me of a mix of Son Tony and Uzumaki Naruto. Marianne Velba is an awesome mom who reminded me of Susan Richards (formerly Storm) minus the cosmic radiation powers.
What I disliked: The volume felt too short, I was done in 15 minutes and I have been jonezing for more ever since!
Buy or Browse: If you’re a fan of mangas, a good story, etc… GET IT NOW!
THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW is one of the most beloved sitcoms in television history, still being run on cable networks fifty-five years after its debut. The show about life in small town Mayberry revolves around the friendship between mellow Sheriff Andy Taylor and his hyperactive deputy, Barney Fife. ANDY & DON not only tells us about them, but about the real life friendship between the two stars, Andy Griffith and Don Knotts.
The book shows us the very similar backgrounds of the two comic legends. Both came from poor rural towns (Knotts in West Virginia, Griffith in North Carolina), and had their share of grief and difficulty growing up. The pair met when both were cast in the Broadway hit No Time for Sergeants, and hit it off right away. When Griffith was slated to star in a new sitcom as a country sheriff, Knotts called and asked if…