Taking a breather from reading Tod Goldberg‘s harrowing facebook account of commie tanks rolling over America and onto his front lawn (wolverines! and *gasp!*), to talk books and tunes.
—Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott: Based on true-life trunk murders from the 1930s, a wallflower named Marion is left in Phoenix to essentially fend for herself by her opiate addict doctor hubby. Marion works as a nurse at a local clinic, becomes friends with nurses who supplement their meager pay by partying with local powerful/rich/political types, including one bad-news dude with a laid up wife. Things go bad from there as you can imagine. BMD is an impressive period-noir novel with oodles of style (I am a style-monkey after all), mood, and powerful statement on gender as well.
—Happyface by Stephen Edmond: This is a clever novel/comic combo that is a fictional diary of Happyface, a once unpopular/love-sick boy who upon arrival at a new high school, takes up a happyface persona to get friends and a girlfriend. Essentially plot-less, but in a good way, the voice is great, and there are genuine moments of surprise and emotion. While some of the melodrama skirted being overwrought, it was always authentic to teendome, me thinks.
–For the Whole World to See by Death: Thanks to Mike Marano for pointing this out to me. It’s a reissue of a lesser known 70s power trio from Detroit. Think MC5s, Stooges, proto-punk. Dig it.
—Liar by The Jesus Lizard. Another reissue, or a remaster. Either way, Big Black-esque skreetching guitars and barking lyrics you can’t quite make out and you might be better off not making them out. The opening punch of “Boilermaker” and “Gladiator” is near perfect.