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Book Reviews on Bookgasm Blog

This week, we are highlighting some bloggers and podcasters who frequently review our books and interview our authors. Do check out these blogs and podcasts for all the great content they have to offer.

Bookgasm Blog
Bookgasm the site dedicated to READING MATERIAL TO GET EXCITED ABOUT. That includes all kinds of genre fiction, from horror and sci-fi to mystery and suspense. It also includes graphic novels, trashy paperbacks, cheap magazines and other things that much of America pretends to be ashamed of, for no good reason. At BOOKGASM, we celebrate these escapist efforts, through daily news, reviews, interviews and other things that don’t end in “-ews.” Think of it as a community; we encourage your posts via the comments section under each item. Visit for reviews and excerpts.

John D. Luerssen is the author of U2 FAQ.
John D. Luerssen discovered a new band called U2 in the early ‘80s just like a lot of us did: through word of mouth. And like many of us early adopters, he’s been a fan ever since. Culled from books, magazine articles, interviews and his own research, his U2 FAQis an exhaustive collection of nearly anything and everything you want to know about “the biggest band in the world.”

Predictably, it begins with the requisite biographical tidbits regarding each band member (all five of them … and how they became four). We learn about Bono’s strained relationship with his father, Adam Clayton’s penchant for being a prankster, and the group’s struggle with balancing spirituality with their desire to be rock stars. Luerssen details how Bono met Alison Stewart and the start of their 30-year, monogamous (yeah, right) relationship.

Reading about their early years is the most entertaining part of the book. It seems nothing is left out. Did you know their first paid gig was at St. Fintan’s High School in Dublin? The year was 1977 and they were billed as Feedback. This was before they switched to The Hype and ultimately settling with the name we all recognize today. Avid fans will have likely heard much of this stuff before, but not in as much detail.

For more please visit bookgasm.


These are just some of the topics U2 FAQ explores: How did Bono recover his cherished suitcase of lyrics 23 years after its 1981 disappearance? What movie dialogue is sampled in the middle of “Seconds”? What effect did bull’s blood have on Larry’s drumming? How did Bono’s visit to Central America inform The Joshua Tree? What are the details of Adam’s 1989 marijuana bust? How did Mick Jagger wind up on All That You Can’t Leave Behind?

Award-winning music journalist John D. Luerssen goes beyond the essential facts, delving into the legendary fables and unique anecdotes that make U2 FAQ an indispensable read for all U2 disciples.

Stephen Tropiano is the author of Music on Film: Cabaret.

As far as I’m concerned, the 1973 Academy Awards was the setting of what has to be the biggest upset in the event’s history. That year, the Oscar for Best Picture went to a film you might have heard of called THE GODFATHER, but instead of awarding the prize for Best Director to Francis Ford Coppola, the Academy’s voters instead gave it to Bob Fosse for his work on CABARET.

Can you friggin’ believe that? Have you heard anything so completely bug-nuts insane? There’s no way THE GODFATHER should have gotten Best Picture!

Okay, so I realize that mine is probably the minority view, but its not for nothing that despite losing out the top prize that year, CABARET totally kicked THE GODFATHER’s ass, with Fosse’s film taking home eight Oscars (including Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Cinematography) to Coppola’s measly four.

As Stephen Tropiano documents in MUSIC ON FILM: CABARET, his far-too-brief book about the making of Fosse’s first cinematic masterpiece (he would go one to make at least one more with ALL THAT JAZZ), the reason for this is simple: THE GODFATHER merely took a disreputable genre and gave it class, while CABARET took a dying genre and completely reinvented it in such a way that it was never really the same again.

For more please visit bookgasm.

Music on Film: Cabaret

In 1973, Cabaret walked away with eight Academy Awards, including gold statues for director Bob Fosse and for its stars, Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey. Based on the long-running Broadway musical, with a memorable score by John Kander and Fred Ebb, Cabaret is a landmark film that broke new cinematic ground by revolutionizing the Hollywood musical through its treatment of adult themes and art house sensibility. With an introduction by Joel Grey, the book chronicles the history of Cabaret, from Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin Stories to the stage and film versions of John van Druten’s play I Am a Camera, through the adaptation of the hit Broadway musical for the big screen. Readers will get an insider’s look into the making of the film, the creative talent in front of the camera and behind the scenes, and why this divinely decadent musical continues to captivate audiences.

Michael Molenda is the editor of Guitar Player Presents Guitar Heroes of the ’70s.

Much like the recent KEYBOARD PRESENTS SYNTH GODS, there’s another new collection of profiles and interviews torn from the pages of a niche music magazine, in GUITAR PLAYER PRESENTS GUITAR HEROES OF THE ’70S.

Culled from issues printed between 1970 and 1984, the book spotlights a solid 40, well, heroes of the guitar, just as the title promises. I’ve never so much as touched an issue of GUITAR PLAYER, but it was quite popular among the stoners who rode my school bus in junior high.

For more please visit bookgasm.

Guitar Player Presents Guitar Heroes of the ’70S

Launched in 1967, Guitar Player was the only guitar publication in existence when the ’60s and ’70s six-string explosion ignited across the globe. As a result, Guitar Player interviewed scores of seminal guitar stars as the magic happened. Now Guitar Player has opened its archives to present a thrilling collection of articles that detail the equipment and tone explorations of transcendent guitarists such as Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Duane Allman, Steve Howe, Peter Green, and many others. Every article originally appeared in the 1970s, when these young guns were in the midst of conjuring world-changing guitar sounds, riffs, and musical concepts – all building the foundation for what has become revered as “classic rock.” Anyone wishing to study the building blocks of what drove audiences to first utter the phrase “Guitar Hero” can now get the story straight from the players who earned the title.

Alain Silver and James Ursini is the author of The Vampire Film.

When I was in high school in the late ’80s, my mom sometimes came home from the discount stores with some enormous hardcover on the history of cinema (i.e. 70 YEARS AT THE MOVIES). They were heavy in both text and photos, and comprised of essays that dropped so many names and titles, my head spun with the sudden knowledge that so much existed beyond the local video store.

I still have these books, and have pored over their pages several times; one page in particular is ingrained on my brain, likely because of a black-and-white photo of a topless Sophia Loren in her prime.

THE VAMPIRE FILM: FROM NOSFERATU TO TRUE BLOOD reminds me of those books, minus the Sophia Loren. Generously massive at nearly 500 pages, there’s simply so much content to take in, you’ll won’t be able to read it at first, because you’ll be forced to look at all the photos and poster art beforehand, which dominate each spread in vibrant color.

Skip the initial chapters on historical vampires and the creature’s roots in literature (and art and the stage and music and on and on), because after all, the key word in the title is “film.” That’s where authors Alain Silver and James Ursini get to the nitty gritty, tracking the history of the pointy-toothed monsters on the big screen, from the early days of Nosferatu, Carmilla and Dracula to the more modern outings of Vampire Bill, Lestat and, well, Dracula.

For more please visit bookgasm.

The Vampire Film

This newest edition will track the form’s evolution from such 1970s reinventions as Count Yorga Vampire and Blacula, The Hunger and Vampire’s Kiss in the Eighties, Interview with the Vampire, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and the Blade series in the Nineties, through 30 Days of Night, I Am Legend, and the Underworld series in the first decade of the 21st century. All these films plus celebrated international examples such as Thirst and Let the Right One In and the hit television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, New Amsterdam, Angel, The Vampire Diaries, and True Blood are covered in this long-awaited, completely revised, expanded, and redesigned fourth edition that follows the vampire figures, both male and female, through the millennium and beyond.

David Hogan is the author of Three Stooges FAQ.

With the Farrelly brothers bringing THE THREE STOOGES to screen next spring, the beloved slapstick troupe is primed for a resurgence of fandom. Sensing this, Applause Books has released THREE STOOGES FAQ: EVERYTHING LEFT TO KNOW ABOUT THE EYE-POKING, FACE-SLAPPING, HEAD-THUMPING GENIUSES.

David Hogan’s book is not quite that. For one thing, it ignores the movies; it’s only concerned with their comedy shorts. Of course, that’s mainly what they were and are known for, so that’s really just a quibble. Nor is it a reference work, but like one giant essay.

For more please visit bookgasm.

The Three Stooges FAQ

Detailed production and critical coverage is provided for every short, plus information about each film’s place in the Stooges’ careers, in Hollywood genre filmmaking, and in the larger fabric of American culture. From Depression-era concerns to class warfare to World War II to the cold war to rock-and-roll – the Stooges reflected them all.

Seventy-five stills, posters, and other images – many never before published in book form – bring colorful screen moments to life and help illuminate the special appeal of key shorts. Exclusive sections include a Stooges biographical and career timeline; a useful, colorful history of the structure and behind-the-camera personnel of the Columbia two-reel unit; and personality sidebars about more than 30 popular players who worked frequently with the Stooges. Also included is a filmography that covers all 190 shorts, plus a bibliography, making this the ultimate guide for all Three Stooges fans!

Check out some excerpts from bookgasm:

1. Surf Beat by Kent Crowley

2. The Vampire Film by Alain Silver and James Ursini

3. Three Stooges FAQ by David J. Hogan

4. Exit Music: The Radiohead Story by Mac Randall


Author Interviews Off the Meter

This week, we are highlighting some bloggers and podcasters who frequently review our books and interview our authors. Do check out these blogs and podcasts for all the great content they have to offer.

Off the Meter radio program
Off The Meter with Jimmy Failla  functions exactly like a taxi ride. Each day, world events  tell the show where to go and host Jimmy Failla finds a way to get there. It’s rarely pretty, but it’s extremely entertaining, oddly informative, and in true taxi fashion, there’s no way of telling who will get in next. Guests on the show range from  career criminals to Academy Award winning actors and the shows topic lineup is equally diverse. Each episode is a chance to reconnect with the halcyon days where people got their news from riding in taxis, without paying the fare, of course. Listen to Off the Meter on iTunes.

Hal Leonard Highlights
Click on the author’s name to listen to the episode.
All books are available at Amazon, B&N, independent bookstores, and

Son of Harpo Speaks! by Bill Marx
Interview starts 11 minutes in


Trust Me by George Kennedy
Interview starts 12 minutes in


If You Like Monty Python…  by Zack Handlen
Interview starts 18 minutes in


Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas by Alonso Duralde
Interview starts 13 minutes in


We Never Learn by Eric Davidson
Interview starts 26:30 minutes in

Author Interviews on The Rock Book Show

This week, we are highlighting some bloggers and podcasters who frequently review our books and interview our authors. Do check out these blogs and podcasts for all the great content they have to offer.

The Rock Book Show
The Rock Book Show brings you news of books that rock and video interviews with authors who rock. Visit the Rock Book Show’s website and YouTube channel.

Hal Leonard Highlights
All books are available from Amazon, B&N, independent bookstores, and

We Never Learn, interview with Eric Davidson of the New Bomb Turks

December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died, interview with Keith Elliot Greenberg

Surf Beat, interview with Kent Crowley

Black Sabbath FAQ, interview with Martin Popoff

No Direction Home, interview with Liz Thomson

Family Tradition, interview with Susan Masino

Pop Culture Guy

This week, we are highlighting some bloggers and podcasters who frequently review our books and interview our authors. Do check out these blogs and podcasts for all the great content they have to offer.

From Pop Culture Guy: 
PopCultureGuy strives to cover all aspects of the entertainment industry by featuring a mix of movie reviews, book reviews, DVD recommendations, television critiques and CD reviews of both new and veteran artists.  I also occasionally feature posts on comic strips, comic books and magazines. I offer analysis and opinion on a wide variety of topics and try to provide the best possible information to my readers. I have had the pleasure to work with various publishing, media and marketing companies throughout the country, including Hal Leonard Books, Warner Bros., Miles High Productions and Acorn Media. I have also worked with MTV, Spike TV, NBC, USA Network and Syfy, among many others. Please visit my blog at

Hal Leonard Highlights
Click on the book title to read the whole review
All books are available at Amazon, B&N, your local book shop, and

Amadeus: Music on Film
by Ray Morton
Having never seen the play or film, this book encouraged me to recently add “Amadeus” to my Netflix queue and move it into the number one position.

Cabaret: Music on Film by Stephen Tropiano
I recommend “Cabaret: Music on Film” by Stephen Tropiano to fans of the original film and to those who may be interested in learning about this pop culture phenomenon that continues to spark interest decades later.

I Know Where I’m Going by Charlotte Chandler
“I Know Where I’m Going is an exceptional read that expertly details the personal and professional life of one of the greatest film actors in history (Katharine Hepburn).

Surf Beat by Kent Crowley
I learned a great deal about the history of rock and surf music while reading “Surf Beat: Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Forgotten Revolution” by Kent Crowley, and I suspect fans of classic rock ‘n’ roll will enjoy reading this comprehensive history of surf music and should learn something in the process.

Black Sabbath FAQ by Martin Popoff
The book is a veritable feast for fans of the legendary heavy metal band, as well as those interested in the music of the 1960’s and beyond.

Something’s Coming, Something Good by Misha Berson
There is a plethora of interesting information provided in “Something’s Coming, Something Good” that will appeal to fans and non fans alike.

Lucille Ball FAQ by James Sheridan and Barry Monush
“Lucille Ball FAQ” by James Sheridan and Barry Monush is an extremely well written and informative take on various aspects of Lucille Ball’s long career.

It’s Only a Movie by Charlotte Chandler
Author Charlotte Chandler has a way of crafting interesting and insightful biographies.

The Beach Boys FAQ by Jon Stebbins
I learned more than I ever thought I would while reading “The Beach Boys FAQ.”

The Vampire Film by James Ursini and Alain Silver
Fans of the genre will almost certainly enjoy the fourth edition of the updated and revised “The Vampire Film.” The research, commentary, and analysis by Alain Silver and James Ursini is informative, thought provoking, and accessible.

Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas by Alonso Duralde
Do not forget to set aside time to watch your favorite holiday themed films. Making a list of those films is easy with “Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas,” which is the ultimate holiday film resource.

Screen World 62 edited by Barry Monush
It may not be possible to put it down until you have read all 400 plus pages.

Three Stooges FAQ by David J. Hogan
A must read for fans of the comic geniuses…A fitting tribute, indeed.

George Clooney by Kimberly Potts
“George Clooney: The Last Great Movie Star (Revised and Updated)” will likely appeal to fans of the talented actor, director, and humanitarian.

Groucho Marx and Other Short Stories and Tall Tales edited by Robert S. Bader
Readers will find themselves laughing out loud on occasion, as Groucho’s deadpan humor comes to life.

Son of Harpo Speaks! by Bill Marx
I gained a new appreciation for Harpo Marx while reading “Son of Harpo Speaks!”…Fate does play a role in our lives and Bill Marx is loving proof of that.