Official Book of Punk Rock Lists, The: By Amy Wallace and Handsome Dick Manitoba, 316 pgs. By Jimmy

Slagging down this book would be like shooting at ducks in a teacup. Some of the info is of dubious accuracy (I wish I had a dollar for every misnamed song title, information repeated from one list to the next, and the variations of said information provided) and questionable judgment (okay, I can understand the inclusion of Nirvana, but can someone please explain when Pearl Jam became a punk band? Yeah, I know all about the Deranged Diction ties, but there is a veritable gulf between screaming “Don’t eat aspirin” and singing duets with Neil Young. And while we’re at it, how about replacing Peter “Midnight Oil” Garret with 4-Way from Bad Posture/Suicide Kings on the list of “Very Tall Punks”?). Still, it’s not without its charms: despite its bulky 300+ pages, it’s an easy read, and much of it is filled with the kind of low-brow silliness and faux-stupidity that made the Ramones and Punk Magazine such a hoot. More importantly, parts of it are really fuckin’ funny, like “Steve Soto’s Ten Things I Learned Playing in the Adolescents that I Never Would Have Learned in High School,” and “Tony Cocaine’s Top 5 Tips for Punk Parenting,” the latter of which includes “Wear tie dye when you yell at them so they learn to hate hippies.” In addition to these, you’ll find lists of who has died and how, top songs about pills, who served as altar boys, disgusting burgers one can eat while on tour, ridiculous punk names, people Debbie Harry would like to fuck, punk’s literary geniuses, and much more. Is it essential reading? Hardly, but it is a fun enough read to warrant a hallowed, quick access spot on top of the john when Dostoevsky is just too fuckin’ heady for the task at hand. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.backbeatbooks.com)