Book Reviews

Unfuck Your Brain: Using Science to Get Over Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Freak-outs, and Triggers By Dr. Faith G. Harper, 190 pgs.

Dr. Faith G. Harper’s informal writing style sums up her radical mental health philosophy when she writes, “This book is for the people who are fucking tired of hearing or thinking that they are just crazy.”… Dr. Harper begins with the most common source of mindfuckery: trauma (the brain isn’t inherently a vindictive dick, it’s simply trying to cope).

This Road Leads to Nowhere: Pierre Punk Edited by Josh Garrett-Davis, 254 pgs.

Pierre, South Dakota is nowhere near the top of the urban food chain, yet this book is a testament to the fact that, with some committed individuals in the community, a thriving punk scene was present even in the wide expanses of South Dakota… There is something to be said for seeing how areas that aren’t metropolitan hubs can also spawn cultural movements, even if only for a finite time.

Punk Avenue By Phil Marcade, 246 pgs.

Although largely unknown to most punker types, Phil Marcade was one of the many folks at ground zero of the initial N.Y. punk wave, active as a musician and as a scenester schmoozing with others a bit more well known… The book careens through his years neck deep in that formative scene.

People’s Police, The By Norman Spinrad, 284 pgs.

It’s set in an alternate—but not too alternate—New Orleans. Regular hurricanes have resulted in a swampland segregation that’s sort of like if the National Guard’s orders in New Orleans immediately following Katrina had evolved into municipal policy.

Mercy of the Tide, The By Keith Rosson, 283 pgs.

Rosson’s debut novel deals with strange occurrences in a small, oceanside town in Oregon in 1983. Mutilated animals begin appearing, as does a human skeleton. There’s a sense of mystery throughout the book, but it’s also suspenseful and dramatic. There are issues of death, family relationships, and love woven with intricacy throughout these pages.

Mercy of the Tide, The By Keith Rosson, 283pgs.

That’s what novels should do: allow us to slow down and highlight the foundational elements of our lives which go unsung, misinterpreted, or simplified. The Mercy of the Tide is intense and beautiful, epically sad yet restorative like all great novels are. Affirmation in every sense of the term.

Cats I’ve Known By Katie Haegle, 175 pgs.

This book is a series of vignettes, told semi-chronologically, through (often incidental) encounters with various felines in and around the greater Philadelphia area…. If you’re looking for a book loaded with micro-memoirs that use various cats as a motif throughout, this is one to curl up with.

Anticlimax Leviathan By Ryan Bartek, 418 pgs.

I’ll start my review by saying there’s only one big thing I can say to you about this book, which is not to read it. But you’ll want a synopsis, so here goes.

Big Bosses: A Working Girl’s Memoir of Jazz Age America By Althea McDowell Altemus, edited and annotated by Robin F. Bachin, 192 pgs.

Recommended for readers of American and women’s history, as well as for those who loved the narrator’s voice in Charles Portis’s novel True Grit.

Cursed In Cairo By Chris Clavin, 224 pgs.

Chris Clavin is probably best known for his involvement with Plan-It-X Records and a variety of folk-punk bands from central Indiana. In 2010, he convinced a few of his friends (and a few strangers) to move to Cairo, Ill. to create a punk utopia in a blighted, forgotten river town.