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Summer Reading List

Posted: June 23, 2004

By Kevin Forest Moreau, Chief Librarian

It's Summertime again, a time for students to blow off their reading homework for the coming year and for Wal-Mart shoppers to lug the new James Patterson to the beach for an afternoon of mindless escapism. Well, I don't want to be accused of handing out homework, and I'd certainly never, ever ask you to read James Patterson, but I thought this would be a good time to share some fun reading. Herewith, then, is a list of some publications you might find worth your while.

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Measure Magazine: A couple of folks at music site Nude as the News put together this impressive compilation of the best independent music writing and criticism of 2003, drawing from web sites, zines and other sources. Full disclosure: Shaking Through is heavily represented, including a massive number of reviews from our very own Laurence Station, as well as a top five concerts list by contributor Eric Grossman and a review of Matthew Ryan's Regret Over the Wires by yours truly -- so we here at Shaking Through World Headquarters may not be completely impartial. Still, it's an engrossing read, sure to open your mind to some new music and (perhaps even more importantly) new voices. If it's not still available in finer bookstores and newsstands, go to www.measuremag.com for more information. Support it now so that there'll be another edition next year. Highly recommended.

Comic Effect: While I'm at it, a plug for this diverting bi-monthly fanzine is long overdue. Comic Effect's mission is to emphasize "the fun in reading comics," and it admirably achieves that goal. Publisher and editor Jim Kingman takes his comics very seriously, and so do the contributors, who pitch in reviews of old favorites and overlooked gems, essays, lists and more. (Full disclosure, part two: Your esteemed editor was a contributor in the mid 1990's.) Comic Effect is written by comics fans, for comics fans. There's enough breadth of scope to appeal to obsessive collectors, casual readers and even nostalgic types looking to revisit the wonder-filled reading experiences of their youth. Subscriptions are $24 per year; most individual issues can be ordered for $3.50. Head to www.comiceffect.com for ordering information, a catalog of back issues and more.

Mathilda: This horror/action comic series is written, drawn, inked and published by one-of-a-kind Tedd Walley (also known as Shaking Through's resident advice columnist, the Vatican Assassin). Mathilda Heller isn't your average third-grader: While most kids that age merely seem like the spawn of Hell, Mathilda's the real deal: the firstborn of Lucifer, who after centuries of training his minions for final battle against Heaven has an epiphany and switches to the good side, where she lives as a young Earth girl -- but Hell doesn't seem content to let her be. Tedd's finishing up the third issue of this black-and-white, 16-page comic as I write this, so there's still time to get in on the ground floor and show your support for independent (and I mean real independent) comics. See our review of the first issue to get started, and then visit www.voodoomaverick.com for more. And tell him Shaking Through sent you.

Kill Your Idols: This entry is a little bit different: Neither myself nor anyone else here at Shaking Through is involved with or has a stake in this book -- and to be honest, I haven't even read it yet. But I'm going to give it a tentative recommendation anyway, because its premise is dear to my heart. Kill Your Idols is a collection of essays that stake out, shall we say, unpopular positions regarding supposedly "classic" rock albums, from the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band to the Stones' Exile on Main Street, Neil Young's Harvest and even (gulp!) Nirvana's Nevermind. It's edited by Carmel Carillo and noted rock journalist Jim DeRogatis, and it features a piece on Bruce Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A. by my colleague Rob O'Connor (for whom I often contribute CD reviews to the bi-monthly music magazine Harp). Anyone who's familiar with my writing here on Shaking Through knows that I try to look beyond the accepted wisdom and evaluate things on their own terms. I don't always succeed, for sure, but I try, and the one essay I've read so far gives me reason to believe the rest of the book does the same. Look for a review here on Shaking Through soon; meantime, you can glean a little more information from www.barricadebooks.com.

That's it for now. Drop us a line and let us know whether you tried any of these, and what you thought if you did. And Happy Reading.

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Archived Editorials
December 03, 2006: Happy Feet
November 22, 2006: Half Decade Anniversary
October 07, 2006: Jessica Simpson
September 30, 2006: New Orleans and SNL
June 2, 2006: Dixie Chicks
May 7, 2006: Are Yahu Serious?
February 16, 2006: Bill O'Reilly & Brokeback Mountain
February 12, 2006: Totally '80s (Grammys)
January 31, 2006: Freyed Oprah
November 27, 2005: To Be Continued... (Bringing back movie serials)
November 21, 2005: Fourth Birthday
November 05, 2005: TV Remakes
August 13, 2005: Ten Commandments of Rock
July 05, 2005: Live 8
May 05, 2005: Term Limits (for Rock Stars)
April 29, 2005: Pearl Jam Redux
January 26, 2005: Oscar Grouching
October 31, 2004: Three More Years!
September 27, 2004: Cleaning Out My Closet
August 25, 2004: Shaking Through Mailbag
June 23, 2004: Summer Reading List
June 11, 2004: World Without Heroes (Bill Murray and Garfield)
April 23, 2004: Sold Out (Bob Dylan, Victoria's Secret, & Iraq)
April 08, 2004: The Day the Music Died (Kurt Cobain)
Mar. 17, 2004: Copping Out
Feb. 27, 2004: The Passion of Howard Stern
Jan. 30, 2004: Sex and the City
Nov. 17, 2003: California Über Alles
Nov. 7, 2003: Not-So-Terrible Twos
Sept. 19, 2003: Magic & Loss (Johnny Cash and Warren Zevon)
Aug. 17, 2003: Those '70s Shows
May 27, 2003: Patriot Games (Darryl Worley)
May 24, 2003: American Idol
Mar. 23, 2003: Non-cents-ical (Dixie Chicks-50 Cent)
Feb. 8, 2003: Where's the Love? (Pearl Jam)
Jan. 1, 2003: High Resolutions
Dec. 16, 2002: All I Want for Christmas
Nov. 27, 2002: Things to be Thankful For
Nov. 8, 2002: Near Wild Heaven (Nirvana)
Oct. 21, 2002: Happy Birthday to Us
Sept. 11, 2002: The Little Things
Aug. 20, 2002: King for a Day
July 9, 2002: Bill of Rights
Apr. 18, 2002: Celebrity Skim
Apr. 15, 2002: We Will Never Lie To You
Jan. 6, 2002: Something to Believe In
Nov. 3, 2001: Who We Are