John D. Luerssen’s Rivers’ Edge: The Weezer Story


Rivers' Edge: The Weezer Story by John D. Luerssen | LibraryThing

Luerssen, J. D. (2004). Rivers’ edge: The Weezer story. Toronto: ECW Press. 9781550226195

Reasons for Reading: As a child, one of things my family saw to was that I listened to good music. Now, I’m not necessarily talking about classical, opera, or show tunes. No, I mean Oldies – real Rock ‘n’ Roll,¬† MoTown, Rhythm & Blues (rather than R&B), and Jazz. Country Western wasn’t considered music ūüôā . So, while I owned¬† Debbie Gibson and MC Hammer tapes, I also heard my dad’s records of Elvis Presley, The Ventures, The Beach Boys, The Animals, etc (not an exhaustive list). On road trips, we listened to one of his favorites – Buddy Holly. Let’s just say the other kids weren’t down with these old guys, especially that nerdy guy on my t-shirt.

Fast forward to 1994, my classmates and I weren’t just listening to Nirvana and Ace of Base, but to Weezer, a new group where frontman Rivers Cuomo crooned “I look just like Buddy Holly.” Like the pioneer rocker, Cuomo also wore horn rimmed glasses. Yeah, life went on but Weezer continued to resonate. Thus, growing up listening to Weezer made me want to read a book about one of my all-time favorite groups. At first, I requested John D. Luerssen’s Rivers’ Edge: The Weezer Story via Inter-Library Loan (ILL). Ultimately, I purchased the book from Amazon.

Summary: Undeterred by the group not endorsing his proposed biography, Luerssen set out to write about Weezer, a music group he enjoyed. He describes Weezer’s ascent to super stardom and chronicles the bands ups (Blue Album, Green Album, and Maladroit)¬† and downs (Pinkerton – “El Scorcho,” and “The Good Life.”)

At the center of this narrative is founder Rivers Cuomo, a brilliant musician and introvert who dons “Buddy Holly” glasses and other articles of nerdiness. Other founding members are the humorous drummer Patrick Wilson (definitely in “Keep Fishin‘”), “not second string to anyone” bassist Matt Sharp (check him out in this performance on The Late Show), and guitarist Jason Cropper. When Cropper left, he’s replaced by “Sass Master” Brian Bell (see the “The Impossible Bend“). Sharp left and was replaced by Mikey Welsh (Green Album – can be seen in “Hash Pipe” and “Island in the Sun“.) Welsh exited, his void being filled by current member Scott “Shrine Dog” Shriner (look at “Photograph” and “Dope Nose.”) Luerssen offers a “no stone unturned” account of this contemporary group.

What I Liked: It was good finding out what Cuomo’s songs meant to Cuomo and what they all felt about making videos, particularly “Undone – The Sweater Song.”

I admired Bell’s support of Cuomo during their hiatus and the loyalty of unofficial fifth member Karl Koch, fans Mykel, Carli, and the Rebel Weezer Alliance.

Lastly, I loved how I could recall where I was when most of these events took place – definitely when reading about NASA Commander William McCool.¬† In other words, we’re contemporaries.

What I Disliked: This book was published in 2004. That means the book predates the following:

Also, I didn’t care for the tangents of the band member’s other projects. Sorry, I’m not that crazy about “Friends of P.” Doesn’t the title suggest that it should focus on Rivers Cuomo, anyhow?

Then, there’s the belaboring of Cuomo’s affinity for Asian women. Of course, the book came out before Cuomo married in 2006. Cuomo address this in the general media in 2007 “Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo on Asian Women.” Luerssen paints Cuomo as a fetishist control freak, too.

Oh, and before I forget, I would’ve loved for this book to have an index!

Three Out of Five Pearls

Setting: United States

Song: Weezer – Say It Ain’t So – YouTube

You Might Also Like:

  • Rachel Cohn and David Levithan’s Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
  • Sidney Bechet’s Treat It Gentle
  • Jack Kerouc’s On the Road

For more on John D. Luerssen’s Rivers’ edge: The Weezer story, please check out the following links :

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DK and Roger Williams’ Top 10 London


Top 10 London by Roger Williams | LibraryThing

Williams, R. (2011). Top 10 London. New York: DK Pub. 9780756669423

One cool thing about not being in school is all the vacation time I can actually use for . . . vacation. Imagine that! My first big trip after Library School was to Washington, D.C. My friend there had the DK Top 10 Washington D.C. guide which was really cool. When I went to Hawaii, I bought DK’s guide pertaining to Honolulu and Oahu. Shortly after deciding to serve on a mission trip to England, I order the Top 10 London guide from Amazon.¬†This is also an entry for the¬†¬†2011 Non-Fiction Challenge,

DK Eyewitness Top 10 London offers the tourist several lists of the ten best restaurants, hotels, museums, parks, etc. Additionally, it talks of the top London literati and songs of the merry, old town. This guide also has a foldout map pocketed in the back cover. Of course, all of this information in packaged into a slim volume which travels well.
When my copy arrived, I was impressed by its thickness. The guide to London was bigger than the Hawaiian edition I’d previously gotten. I recommend any of these DK Top 10 books to any traveler. I’m certainly a repeat customer.
Five Out of Five Pearls

Places: London

Song:  The Kinks РWaterloo Sunset РYouTube

For more on check out the following:

Stacy Schiff’s Cleopatra: A Life


Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff | LibraryThing

Schiff, S. (2010). Cleopatra: A life. New York: Little, Brown and Co. 9780316001922

When selecting books, I usually choose fiction. Of course, I’m still participating in the Non-Fiction Challenge. My favorite Non-Fiction genre would be Biography. Within Biography, Cleopatra has been a top pick for me. She was powerful and charming and rather pecular in a world dominated by men. Seeing Stacy Schiff’s recent book on Cleopatra, I naturally added my name to HCPL’s waiting list for this book.

After much research, Schiff endeavors to render a true, living color portrait of the enigmatic Cleopatra. She richly recreates the everyday life of Cleopatra and her contemporaries as she relates the great rise and fall of this unforgettable figure.

This biography filled my plate with much food for thought. I’m unaware of any¬†other Cleopatra biography¬†that offers this much to ponder. As I don’t care for spoilers, I’ll leave it to future readers to discover those various gems. One side note which I doubt reveals much is about Cicero rather than Cleopatra; this pompous man was an excellent writer and Schiff conveyed that well.

My biggest gripe about the book would be the huge words which had me reaching for the dictionary countless times. I felt as though I were in my first year of college again.

Four Out of Five Pearls

Places: Egypt, Rome, and most of the Ancient Near East  

Song:¬† Tal Bachman – She’s So High – YouTube

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For more on Stacy Schiff’s Cleopatra: A Life , check out the following:

Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed. . .


Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert | LibraryThing

Gilbert, E., & Penguin Audiobooks. (2010). Committed: [a skeptic makes peace with marriage]. New York, N.Y: Penguin Audio. 9780143145752

Soon after I finished Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, I¬†wanted to know¬†what happened with¬†Liz¬†since her previous memoir.¬†Luckily, I found what Gilbert calls Eat, Pray, Love’s companion memoir in audiobook format¬†at HCPL.

Spoiler Alert (If you anticipate reading Eat, Pray, Love, then do not read this review)

Towards the end of her previous memoir, Liz met Felipe. Felipe, a Brazilian man with Australian citizenship living in Bali, survived his own bitter divorce. So, when he and Liz began their romance, they agreed to remain monogamous without legally marrying.

Their arrangement suited both of them pretty well; Felipe would stay with Liz in various United States locales for the weeks alloted him. Then, Felipe would leave and return on the next visa. This all ended when the U.S. government denied him entry.

Confronted with the reality of legal marriage so Felipe could dwell again in U.S., Liz and Felipe find themselves on the move in Southeast Asia, awaiting Felipe’s permission. During this time, Liz delved into¬†researching the¬†institution of marriage. Her discovery led to this memoir.

Liz’s work is impressively thorough and¬†exhaustive in Committed. At some points, her doubt pervaded her writing, lending to its authenticity. While I don’t agree with her on numerous points and am virtually clueless on other issues she raises, I considered this a good read.

Four Out of Five Pearls

Setting: United States, Indonesia, Southeast Asia

Song:¬†¬†Modern Love – David Bowie (1983)‚Ĩ‚ÄŹ – YouTube

You might also like:

  • Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • The Namesake by Jhumpa¬†Lahiri
  • The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  • The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
  • It Takes A Nation by Rebecca Blank
  • A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen
  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

¬†For more on Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed. . ., check out the following:

Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love


  • Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert | LibraryThing

    Gilbert, E. (2006). Eat, pray, love: [one woman’s search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia]. New York: Penguin Audio. 9780143058526

As I sought more material for the 2011 Non-Fiction Challenge, I requested Eat, Pray, Love through HCPL.  While I hardly recommend watching the movie before reading the book, I saw the film just a month or so before requesting the audio.

Thirty-something Elizabeth¬†“Liz”¬†Gilbert seems to have everything. She’s a successful writer and she’s married. Yet, she is completely miserable. So, after a bitter divorce and a tempestuous relationship with a younger guy, Liz¬†seeks out pleasure and spiritual devotion. She treks through Italy, India, and¬†Indonesia¬†(Bali) during one year and journals her self-discovery.

There were some points I didn’t care for in the book but I’m really pleased that¬†I checked out this audiobook.¬†The book seemed natural and authentic, especially since Liz also narrated. It even led me to¬†check out¬†what is¬†considered a sequel to Eat, Pray, Love. While I don’t agree with her on some spiritual aspects, I appreciated Liz relating her views.

Four Out of Five Pearls

Places: United States, Italy, India, Indonesia, Southeast Asia

Song:¬†¬†YouTube – ‚Ä™Florence + The Machine – Dog Days Are Over (2010 Version)‚ÄŹ

You might also like:

    • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
    • Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert
    • Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

¬†For more on Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, check out the following:

 

 

Tony Hsieh’s Delivering Happiness . . .


Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh | LibraryThing

Hsieh, T., & Hachette Audio (Firm). (2010). Delivering happiness: A path to profits, passion, and purpose. New York: Hachette Audio. 9781607882305

One of my coworkers recommended Delivering Happiness last year. However, this book resided on my TBR (to be read) list for nearly six months. After I entered the  2011 Non-Fiction Challenge, I requested the audiobook via HCPL.

CEO Tony Hsieh tells how lifelong pursuit of happiness lead to a career he enjoys. Nowadays, Hsieh works at the sensational Zappos.com – the online shoe store.¬†Growing up, Tony’s¬†Taiwanese parents pushed him to excel at academics and music. This push landed him at Harvard and¬†then, sound employment. Still,¬†Tony¬†felt little to no joy. ¬†

His pursuit brought him to create Link Exchange. Then, Tony and others collaborated to create Zappos.com. While they hit some serious bumps along the way, Zappos.com developed into a success. The company aims to provide their customers with the best experience possible. Also, the staff remains happy.

This is a great book in which¬†the subject/author is completely identifiable and relatable. Tony presents his life’s journey with a sunny outlook but isn’t delusional. I could mention several moments within the book but I refuse to spoil.

Four Out of Five Pearls

Places: Illinois, California, Cambridge Massachusetts, Las Vegas, Mt. Kilamanjaro,

Song:¬†¬†YouTube – Bobby McFerrin – Don’t worry Be happy

For more on Tony Hsieh’s Delivering Happiness…, check out the following:

Stephen Greenblatt’s Will in the World . . .


Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare by Stephen Greenblatt | LibraryThing

Greenblatt, S., & Fernandez, P. J. (2004). Will in the world: How Shakespeare became Shakespeare. Prince Frederick, Md: Recorded Books. 9781419307607

I needed another audiobook. I also wanted non-fiction as I’m participating in the

2011 Non-Fiction Challenge

. When I saw a biography of Shakespeare, I was pleased. My love of the Bard has led me to take an elective on some of his plays and to the Folger Shakespeare Library.
Harvard professor Stephen Greenblatt discovers and fleshes out William Shakespeare by delving into Shakespeare’s works. Through his plays, Greenblatt sees a precocious son of a glover and a gifted wordsmith. By this method, the author argues that Shakespeare really wrote his own stuff.

My only complaint here is that since I’ve not read all of Shakespeare’s works, I didn’t recognize all the references or¬†each nuance which supported Greenblatt’s argument. Nevertheless, I could see Shakespeare’s love for his daughter Susanna in plays such as¬†King Lear and The Tempest. Also, I still marvel at the Bard’s genius in Hamlet and Othello.

Four Out of Five Pearls

Places: Merry Old England

 
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¬†For more on Stephen Greenblatt’s Will in the World…, check out the following: