Stephen enjoys history, serious fiction, dark mysteries and biographies of mad geniuses. Basically, he likes anything where human weakness is the catalyst for misguided and often violent actions. He does not, however, appreciate funny cat books.
Imagine hanging with a group of brutally honest struggling artists in Greenwich Village in the early 1940s. Then envision two of this hedonistic bunch as the young, pre-fame Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs. Then -- add a murder!... This early collaboration of two master stylists is surprisingly terse, which is wholly appropriate given the subject matter. Basically, it's a brief but meaty great read; a trip well worth taking to the darkest corner of the home front during World War II.
The Greatest Generation had plenty of losers, abusers, and thugs too. Doubt me? Read this harrowing American classic, a true pulp masterpiece from a writer who never fulfilled this initial promise. If you're a fan of Bukowski, Burroughs, David Lynch, Cronenberg, even the old show "Carnivale," you'll find much to admire and thrill you here. Note: Guillermo del Toro just announced his next film as being an adaptation of this novel. So take a walk on the wild side. I dare you.
Remember when movies had characters and stories you could actually relate to? Remember when films conveyed dark truths about ourselves and society? Remember a time when adults could walk out of a theater feeling stimulated, even challenged, by what we'd just seen?... Welcome back to the 1970s! This enthralling book analyzes some of the less heralded works of that era, proving that there was plenty of residual brilliance to go around. Get ready to peruse Netflix. You'll want to watch them all ASAP.
Remember when you stayed up until 3:00am watching a surprisingly great B-movie you never heard of because you just had to see how it ended?... This white hot little thriller by a legendary Australian writer will rekindle memories of that terrific B-movie. A man and a woman are pursued across a parched Dali landscape by an evil force who wants to harm them for reasons they don't understand. It's a classic nightmare, riddled with Jungian symbols, and a great way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon.
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How could educated people put so much stock in an obvious tyrant? Why kind of person would endure years of hardship because he so much believed in a philosophy that was insanely cruel? Meet Alfred Rosenberg, one of the original and most loyal members of Hitler's inner circle. If you're unfamiliar with him, it wasn't due to his lack of trying. He was the "brains" of the outfit, author of books and articles and speeches designed to sway Germany in Hitler's direction. He also kept a diary, the center piece of this compelling historical mystery. Men like Rosenberg still haunt the internet, misdirecting the lonely and the angry, urging discontent and violent action. This book is not just gripping entertainment. It's an eternal warning.
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For years I've heard stories from people who were involved in this mad enterprise when it filmed in Arizona in the seventies. Tales not only of Welles, but also John Huston, Dennis Hopper, and even Pat McMahon from "The Wallace and Ladmo Show." What an insane lineup of talent! The movie is still unfinished and tied in legal limbo, so this thoroughly enjoyable book may be the closest we'll ever come to viewing the fat maestro's final masterpiece.
I knew that our country harbored Nazi scientists after the war. I was aware that war criminals were found residing here long after the conflict. I did NOT know that the CIA and FBI knowingly protected people guilty of the most vicious crimes imaginable, all in the name of combating Communism. The information here is disturbing, but a double shock is how compelling and entertaining a read this makes. It's like losing oneself in a great old thriller like "The Boys from Brazil" or "The Odessa File," except the story here is chillingly true.
Recently discussed as a candidate for Great Arizona Novel, it has my vote as a Great (and sadly neglected) American Novel. With Warlock standing in as his fictional Tombstone, Hall's masterpiece is a beautifully rendered depiction of western expansion, corporate greed, flawed characters, and gunslinger violence. But don't listen to me. Pick up the book and check out the blurbs by Thomas Pynchon and Robert Stone. And once you've read it, you won't believe how little Arizona has changed.
What happens when America's most self-righteous journalist goes to war with our most corrupt and secretive president? Scandals. Melodrama. Murder plots. Accusations of perversion. History that should not be forgotten... Part paranoid thriller/part black comedy, Feldstein provides riveting character studies of two relentless egomaniacs and the way their private battles for recognition turned into a public battle for truth during our nation's darkest days... Both timely and surprisingly funny.
Perhaps the scariest book in the store, but also one of the most moving. Scheeres reexamines the infamous story of Jonestown, drawing from previously unreleased documents and focusing on four of the tragedy's survivors. What she delivers is an epic study about how what's best in human beings -- empathy, love, sharing, a desire to do good works -- can be twisted and deformed under the control of a malignant leader. Why do people join cults? Why do they become terrorists? How can they believe ridiculous doctrines? Read this book and you'll come closer to an understanding. And the story's supreme monster, the Reverend Jim Jones, may very well haunt your nightmares.
This fourth volume in Caro's epic biography of Lyndon Johnson could easily be read as a stand-alone. Here we follow LBJ through the crucial years 1958-1964. The master of the Senate makes a disastrous run for the presidency. His surprise selection as JFK's running mate leads to a miserable three years as Vice-President, where he finds himself powerless, forgotten and the butt of cruel jokes by Kennedy aides and journalists. Then an assassin's bullet catapults him into the highest office and this Texan, considered graceless and corrupt by many, must prove himself instantly worthy of the most powerful job on earth. What I especially like here is the way Caro allows us to see LBJ as a mirror image of our inner selves: insecure, haunted by past mistakes, fearing the best years are over, yet hopeful that whatever is best in him will someday find the opportunity to shine. All of us are guilty of dehumanizing our politicians. Works like this remind us that those posturing figures on our television screens are simply people of flesh and blood, all working very hard, each hoping that what they do is correct.
This is simply the most exciting work of historical nonfiction I have ever read. A familiar tale in Australia, it has remained sadly unknown to American readers. The villain is like some unholy combination of Captain Bligh, Jim Jones, and Dracula. He meets his match in a scrappy underdog hero who could have emerged from classic Hollywood. A bloody good adventure yarn, something of a "Lord of the Flies" for adults with strong stomachs, I promise you won't have more fun with a true adventure book, perhaps ever.