Monday, March 21, 2016

Events This Week: Thomas Frank, Raymond Arroyo, Rob Rob Roberge, Stan Soocher.

Tuesday, March 22, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Thomas Frank, author of Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?, Pity the Billionaire, and The Wrecking Crew.

Much has been said of the Republican Party wooing working class voters with social issues and then governing against their interest with a focus on economic issues. This is the thesis of What's the Matter With Kansas. But Thomas Frank's Listen, Liberal notes that the Democratic Party has done much the same thing, aligning with wealthy tech companies (the creative class) at the expense of their working class constituency.

In this recent article for The Guardian, Frank discusses the appeal of Donald Trump, and while must pundits think it's racism driving voters, Frank says that Trump's continuing complaints about free trade is the issue with momentum. In a sense, Frank is saying that the Democratic Party, much like the Republican Party, has been carrying a voting bloc that it has not been catering to, and Trump is the response. Frank goes on to say: "The chance that he will actually do so, of course, is small. He appears to be a hypocrite on this issue as well as so many other things. But at least Trump is saying this stuff."

Similarly, in this New York Times column, Frank discusses why Bernie Sanders has become a force to be reckoned with in Democratic Primaries. "The real story here is the breakdown of the ideology pursued for decades by the Democratic Party’s dominant faction," he writes. Unlike in his argument with Trump, he calls Sanders "a fine politician," but nonetheless notes that much of his support is coming from a similar place. More of Frank's argument on his website.

In The Washington Post, Carlos Lozada reviews Listen, Liberal and Bill Press's Buyer's Remorse.

Tuesday, March 22, 7 pm, at St. Monica Parish, 160 E. Silver Spring Dr: Raymond Arroyo, author of Will Wilder: The Relic of Perilous Falls.

EWTN anchor and news editor Raymond Arroyo has penned his first book for kids. It's the story of a young boy who gets into trouble when he takes a relic from the town's Museum of Antiquities. And yes, it turns out to be a bone from St. Thomas the Apostle. As Mr. Arroyo noted in American Catholic magazine: "As a journalist I have always been fascinated by relics and the reaction they provoke in people. The question arose in my mind: What if these relics had supernatural powers? What i f they were collected by Will’s great grandfather from all over the world and housed in a single museum of antiquities...?"

Regarding the Catholic imagery that appears in the story: "Being from New Orleans, Catholicism is like air. You breathe it in so often you almost forget it is there—but it is. I’m certain that it had an influence on the book, though I would be hard pressed to deconstruct the Catholic elements from the secular or fantastical elements. My job is to tell an entertaining tale, situate it in a coherent moral universe and stay true to the characters I have created. Like the work of Graham Greene or Tolkien, it is Catholic in the sense that it is accessible to all audiences. I will leave the critical analysis to someone else." I would probably also add C.S. Lewis to that list, wouldn't you?

An early trade review in Booklist noted: "With shades of Indiana Jones and Percy Jackson, Will Wilder's antics are sure to appeal to middle-grade readers looking for the next great adventure." This event is at St. Monica Parish, located on the corner of Silver Spring and Santa Monica. Parking is available behind the church.

Wednesday, March 23, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Rob Roberge, author of Liar: A Memoir.

Rob Roberge is on the faculty of UCR/Palm Desert’s MFA in writing program and, he has taught at a number of other universities. He also plays guitar and sings in LA’s The Urinals. His life has been a series of challenges, addictions, and concussions. And when he finds out that he is slowly losing his memory, he decides to piece it all together.

Here's my recommendation: "When Rob Roberge’s memory starts to go from all the drugs and alcohol and psychotic episodes and five or more concussions that have led to lasting brain damage, including my favorite (can you have a favorite?) when a big can of fudge fell on his head while working at an ice cream shop, can you blame him for trying to furiously write down his memories, from the age of five onward, with the results being a little random? But no, they are not random at all! For in that jumbled order, they convey the dislocation of a man who’s been through just about everything, the poster boy for sex (all over the map) and drugs (varied, including lots of alcohol) and rock and roll (mostly punk). Liar is an edgy tale with a lot of impact!" (Daniel Goldin)

Steve Appleford writes in the Los Angeles Times: "The words are blunt and elegant as he leaps across these stages of his life. Roberge uses the example of Titanic survivors testifying with wildly divergent details at odds with the facts: who was aboard the final lifeboat launched, whether the ship broke in half as it sank, the ratio of men to women and children who escaped (versus the far less chivalrous actual number)."And I should note that there's a good amount of sex and drugs in the book, though not as much rock and roll as you would expect from a musician. But I think Roberge is saving that for another book.

Thursday, March 24, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Stan Soocher, author of Baby You're a Rich Man: Suing the Beatles for Fun and Profit.

Associate professor of music and entertainment industry studies at the University of Colorado’s Denver Campus, attorney and a journalist Stan Soocher has contributed articles on rock and the law to many magazines. He is the founding editor of Entertainment Law and Finance. So it makes perfect sense that his new book on the Beatles is about the legal travails of these music legends. Library Journal notes: "Chapters devoted to famous battles such as Paul McCartney's lawsuit to dissolve the Beatles partnership and the copyright infringement litigations over John Lennon's classic 'Come Together' and George Harrison's post-Beatles hit 'My Sweet Lord' offer a detailed rehash of stories familiar to many of the group's fans." But there are many lesser-known legal hassles chronicled in the story.

As Martin James writes in Times Higher Education, " this latest addition to the canon offers perspective on the band that is as interesting as it is infuriating. Interesting because it considers some of the major legal spats involving the band in their lifetime; infuriating because time after time in Stan Soocher’s obsessively detailed book, one is left with the feeling that as songwriters the Beatles may have had rare talent, but as businessmen they were naive to the point of stupidity."

With chapters such as "You Say You Want a Revelation" and "Here Comes the Summons," this book is fascinating reading for both Beatle fans and legal geeks, and for the intersection of those two groups, it's close to bliss.

After our Easter break, we've got these events coming up:
--Tuesday, March 29, 7 pm, at Boswell: Mary Pflum Peterson, author of White Dresses: A Memoir.
--Wednesday, March 30 7 pm, at Boswell: Andy Mozina, author of Contrary Motions, novel.
--Thursday, March 31, 7 pm, at Boswell: Lil' Rev, author of Essential Strums and Strokes for Ukulele.
--Friday, April 1, 7 pm, at Boswell: a ticketed signing with Lauren Conrad, author of Lauren Conrad Celebrate.
Details on our upcoming events page.

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