Book Reviews

The De-Textbook
Plume Publishing
Street: 10.29.13

For anyone who has spent an entire day on the Cracked website reading hundreds of lists about surviving the zombie apocalypse (as well as why said apocalypse could never happen), it should come as no surprise to see that the highly talented and motivated staff of writers put together a book of things they already wrote about. But this isn’t just a book of facts—this is correcting “facts” with actual facts, like how all the Greek statues you see today look the way they do from time and weathering, and how, in fact, they were painted to look real, down to the dead, emotionless eyes; or how the first battery was actually created around 200 B.C.; or how Rosa Parks was a carefully chosen spokesperson during the Civil Rights Movement. Unlike any real textbook that costs over $20 and is “required reading” to pass, it has real information that will blow your damn mind and, with any luck, make you slightly smarter while giving you a laugh at all the graphs and pictures they tossed in. If you dig any of The Daily Show’s books or the Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader series, this will be right up your alley. –Gavin Sheehan

Experiencing Nirvana: Grunge in Europe, 1989
Bruce Pavitt
Bazillion Points
Street: 10.29.13

I have read many stories of the European tours of Tad, Nirvana and Screaming Trees, detailing how they enlightened the foreign press to the growing genre, and also what a bitch it was shoveling 13 guys across nearly 20 countries in six weeks. Author Michael Azerrad’s Come As You Are only scratches the surface compared to what Sub Pop co-founder Bruce Pavitt shows in this book, documenting his eight days in Europe near the end of their musical expedition in late 1989. Pavitt’s book has some of the most rare photos of the three rising groups you’ll see anywhere, giving a human side to three of the label’s most influential acts at the time—there are photos of the music-hungry crowds in places like Rome and London. Overall, the book creates a realistic feeling of making a name for yourself as a rising band in a place you don’t know. Complete with a micro-history from Pavitt and photos shared by himself and photographer Steve Double, this is a must-read for any band that wants to tour beyond their comfort zone, any grunge fan who wants to look back at history, or music lovers who want a glimpse into the hardships that go into putting together truly awesome experiences. –Gavin Sheehan