The Last Rock Star Book, Or: Liz Phair, a Rant by Camden Joy
When Sioux City musician-narrator Camden Joy finds himself commissioned to write a “Where are they now?”-style biography of Liz Phair, he winds up revealing his own biography of failed love, obsession and institutionalization. Think Holden Caulfield pushing thirty in the 90s with a microcassette recorder.
Memorable line: “When we count one to ten … we don’t actually count but just repeat words we learned long ago.”
You Don’t Love Me Yet by Jonathan Lethem
Young, smart, and a bassist in an art rock band in 1980s Los Angeles, Lucinda Hoekke’s only problems are resisting the passion she feels for her guitarist—which would spell doom for her band—and The Complainer, a caller on the complaint line where she works who uses her vulnerability to leverage his way into her life. You Don’t Love Me Yet plays at the intersection of love, art and rock music, with Lucinda and her mates not paying enough attention to the road.
Memorable Line: “Falmouth’s first and most successful piece of art was himself, installed in the larger gallery of the world.”
A & R by Bill Flanagan
A & R tells the tale of Jim Cantone, who learned the music business during its Wild West days but finds the new 90s lot of corporate-thinkers disconcerting. This novel somehow succeeds in the all-but-impossible task of making a record label rep sympathetic.
Memorable Line: “These were people who shared nothing voluntarily, least of all their attention.”
Saguaro: The Life & Adventures of Bobby Allen Bird by Carson Mell
Saguaro is the tall-tale recounting of fatherless Arizonan Bobby Bird, who goes on to some success as a singer-songwriter but spends most of his life getting in and out of various entanglements with ladies and fringe types. Mell’s captivating, down-to-earth voice makes Saguaro completely devour-able.
Memorable Line: “This is a story I’m not too inclined to tell unless you are particularly interested in tales of full grown men turning into worthless assholes.”
Wise Young Fool by Sean Beaudoin
Wise Young Fool is about teen guitarist Ritchie Sudden, who’s found himself in a juvenile lock-up after the events from the night of his band’s first gig. Beaudoin unravels the conflicts that lead to Sudden’s detention by skillfully interspersing both front and back story, and with the verbal alacrity of a prose gymnast.
Memorable Line: “Ravenna’s caught two hundred meters below the reef, unwanted sexual pressure crushing her lungs, sharks below and the bends above, nowhere to go but farther inside herself.”
Check in Wednesday for #10-6.
Yours in laying down the law,
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