Friday, February 29, 2008

Hide & Seek

Released in the mid-1990's this book is easily my favorite of the more than 20 books I've read thus far by James Patterson. With brilliant character development and a cleverly crafted story, this book will take you in, have you feeling genuine emotion for Maggie Bradford, the main character, and completely absorb you in its twists and turns.

It has been quite a while where I got so lost, so completely in a work of fiction. This book was probably where Patterson's now formulaic reader friendly writing style really began to come into its own. I just can't say enough how much I enjoyed this and I don't want to give any of it away so I am going to leave it to you to give it a whirl. Like most of his books, this is a quick read and well worth every exhilarating moment.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Everything Book of Home Recording

I got this book from the library because I wanted to try to get a bit more sophisticated and polished with my podcasts and wanted to explore ways of using recording equipment to do so.

This book is geared specifically to the musician looking to build a basic recording setup at home and it does a very good job at touching on all of the levels of equipment and how they fit into such a plan.

The text was written very similarly to that of the famous "Dummies" books so it was easy to read and had plenty of illustrations. Where I got lost is on the parts geared specifically toward musicians that used musician lingo that I am not all that up on. However, I did find it useful to learn about microphones, mixers, and the smaller scale multi-track machines out there and felt it was a good primer for jumping into the mix.

If you are a musician who has been itching to record on the cheap and/or learn about how to get started in recording, I definitely would recommend this book. While it did serve my purpose, it was a bit overkill for me but being a geek and someone utterly frustrated at having no real musical ability, I didn't mind so much.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Preacher Vol.1-Gone to Texas

This was the first graphic novel I ever read and I would like to say the last, but I enjoyed the story enough to give volume 2 a go at some point.

Here's what convinced me to give this book a shot in the first place, "Do me a favor, get a hold of the first book of Preacher. Yeah, it's a graphic novel, and yeah it is basically blasphemous, but I still think you'd 'get' it." That was my blogger bud Mike's recommendation and I am glad that I took him up on it.

This is not a story for the faint of heart or for the ultra right-wing closed minded conservative bible belter. The three main characters are a Preacher, an Irish vampire, and a hot chick with an itchy trigger finger and a "past' with the preacher. If you don't have a weak stomach, because this really does put the graphic in graphic novel, and you are open minded enough to let fiction be fiction without limits, you might enjoy this very well written story.

Regarding the graphic novel concept, well, it's just like reading a comic book. Ididn't enjoy it at all and would rather the story be just words and the pictures be controlled by my own imagination. That being said, Steve Dillon's artwork is quite brilliant and quite complementary to Garth Ennis' story.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

Dexter Morgan is a blood splatter analyst for the Miami police department with a secret, he's a serial killer. The twist is that he only kills that bad people that slip through the cracks of the system. With an uncanny sense to anticipate the killer's moves, his job puts him in the perfect position to track them down. In this first book in a series by Lindsay, there is a killer on the loose that Dexter feels strangely connected to as the killings are much like his own. Both intrigued and frightened, the killer lures Dexter into a game he can't refuse.

Showtime is running a show based on Lindsay's novels and I recently finished Season 1. Being a fan of Michael C. Hall (he plays Dexter) since he was on Six Feet Under and hearing about the premise of the show, I knew I had to check it out. It wasn't until later that I discovered that there were "Dexter" books. So how does the book compare to the show? It's similar but the book focuses more on the main killer rather than little side stories of Dexter tracking down a bad person like on the show. The book version helped me see inside Dexter's head a bit more but the show actually lays down more of a storyline about his past. There are also some plot differences but I won't go into them here since some of you might want to read the book or check out the show. In fact, CBS will begin airing Season 1 this Sunday night. I'm rather shocked that they are choosing to do this honestly because it's pretty gruesome. I'd imagine that the network would have to cut quite a bit out.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Read My Book You Hockey Puck!

The first important thing to know before deciding to read this book is being familiar enough with it's subject. My own guess is that you probably would need to have been born before 1973 at the latest to really know Don Rickles. That is, unless you have an older relative who has exposed you to this rather unique entertainer.

Take a moment to study the cover photo and I mean study, don't just gander or look. If you know who Don Rickles is then you know that Peggy Sirota, the photographer, is clearly one of the best photographers in the business because this photo really captures the essence of Rickles - a genuinely funny guy with a clear "devilish" side and a heaping helping of warmth and friendliness.

Considering that he has been in show business for more than 50 years and recently celebrated his 80th birthday, you might expect and autobiographical work to clock in at more than the 239 pages (including pictures). Written as a collection of very brief stories presented chronologically, it reads more like an anthology of talk show appearances over a very long time than a book. There was always a part of me that felt like there was not just something, but a whole lot left out in between the stories (leave it to me to make a comment like that). That being said, the stories presented were very entertaining and the whole book only takes a couple of hours to read and I felt it well worth the time invested.

If you know who Don Rickles is and have been entertained by him at some point, the book is a fun glimpse. At $24.00 list, you may want to head to the library unless you are looking to build a library of your own. In hindsight, studying that cover photograph was almost worth the price of the book itself (especially since I got mine from the library).