Book Reviews

I’m in the Band
Sean Yseult
Soft Skull Press
Street: 12.01.10
White Zombie bassist Sean Yseult takes us on a colorful and truly intimate tour of her life, recounting her early years in NYC as she found her musical muses, her bandmates and eventually her calling as “the only girl in a huge boys’ club.” Packed with priceless photos, reproductions of tour memorabilia and other little pieces of memory, Yseult’s book is written with insight and love, without ego or bitterness. As a fellow metalhead chick, I especially loved her acknowledgement that the world of metal offers a certain freedom and—as her existence in this staple act proves—is far from confined to the limits of gender. She gives us an honest look at her relationship with Rob—romantic, professional and creative—that will humble the reader. Musicians will enjoy her tour stories and feeling that rush as she describes the band’s rise to fame. Creative persons of any sort will be comforted by her strong and simple voice as she shows you that working hard at something you love will yield more fruit than chasing fame and money. For any White Zombie fan, this is a must-have, a fantastic piece of the band’s history from an incredibly unique perspective. For metal fans in general, this is a rare look into a world some of us only get to dream about. –Megan Kennedy

People of Shop & Awe
Adam Kipple, et al.
Street: 09.01.10
The transition from blog to book is a curious move. My girlfriend bought me an xkcd anthology that opens with these choice words: “Hi! This book is a collection of strips from xkcd, a free Web comic. I want to get that out of the way so you don’t feel betrayed later when you realize you paid for a book of things you could get for free on the Internet.” The thing about my xkcd book—which I love—is that it’s at least marginally better than reading off my computer. The strips are clearer, the added margin notes are generally pretty fun and the selection of strips makes for a solid greatest-hits of xkcd. The People Of Walmart book somehow (almost impressively) manages to be worse than its free, ubiquitous online counterpart. For your $13, you get roughly 200 pictures of fat, ugly, misclad, unclad, racist, filthy, stupid and all-around pitiable people. You get captions written by someone with the subtlety and wit of a third-grade class clown, not one of which adds to the humor of the photo. And you get anecdotes that’ll make you dumber if you read them. The pictures are usually camera-phone quality, and they manage to look worse on glossy paper than on my monitor. I’m not hating on the concept—teasing the dumb, fat and ugly is something I’d normally enjoy— but this book sucks and you shouldn’t buy it. –Jesse Hawlish

Sugar House Review Volume 3: Fall/Winter 2010
Sugar House Review
Street: 10.2010
Samuel Coleridge famously said, “Prose is words in their best order, but poetry is the best words in their best order.” I was reminded of this time and time again reading the second volume of The Sugar House Review. It is really encouraging to see something of a resurgence of small-run presses compiled and distributed by a community of passionate literary aficionados. The community of contributors in this semiannual publication, however, extends well beyond the Sugarhood and far into the corners of the United States and beyond. Professional, academic and recreational writers from across the country are featured with a few locals sprinkled in. Personal SLC favorites Sundin Richards and Rob Carney shine bright among the company of insanely talented writers. Poems by Diya Chaudhuri and William Neumire are exceptionally great and have encouraged me to research further into their published works. This is a fantastic Sunday afternoon read. –Ryan Hall