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Justin

I make music and I make movies, so I tend to like books about those topics. Also, I like hard-boiled crime fiction and absurd literary fiction, which are sometimes the same thing.

Book Recommendations: 
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Confess, Fletch By Gregory McDonald Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9781538541937
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Blackstone Publishing - August 21st, 2018

Fletch is back on movie screens, with Jon Hamm playing intrepid, smartass reporter Irwin Fletcher. The new flick is based on this book, the second in the series. Fletch discovers his new sublet comes with its own naked, dead body. The local police detective would love it if Fletch would just confess to the murder and close the case but Fletch would prefer not to. A perfect follow-up to the breezy intrigue of the first book.


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Elvis Presley's from Elvis in Memphis (33 1/3 #150) By Eric Wolfson Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9781501355387
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury Academic - November 12th, 2020

A great look into the late-'60s comeback, where Elvis tried to shed the patina of Hollywood phoniness and reconnect with the kind of music he loved. This small volume offers a nice blend of biographical sketch, cultural analysis, and a deep dive into Elvis's recording sessions with producer Chips Moman.


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A Third Face: My Tale of Writing, Fighting, and Filmmaking (Applause Books) By Samuel Fuller Cover Image
$22.99
ISBN: 9781557836274
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Applause Books - April 1st, 2004

My favorite filmmaking memoir, from the director of pulpy masterpieces like Fixed Bayonets!, Shock Corridor, and Pickup on South Street. This tale of combat both in the trenches and within the Hollywood studio system is as unsentimental as Fuller's films, but I still got choked up at the end. Inspiring for filmmakers and creative people in general!


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All About Me!: My Remarkable Life in Show Business By Mel Brooks Cover Image
$29.99
ISBN: 9780593159118
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - November 30th, 2021

Mel Brooks has a sharp, conversational style that makes this memoir feel like you're just at a corner deli listening to him reminisce over old times (even more so if you get the audiobook from Libro.fm -- plug plug). From a destitute Brooklyn childhood to World War II to Sid Caesar's writers room to big screen success and ultimately to Broadway, Mel serves as a charming tour guide through his 90-plus years on this planet.


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The Candy House: A Novel By Jennifer Egan Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781476716763
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - April 5th, 2022

Another mosaic of character studies presented in wildly different literary styles from Jennifer Egan. The setting is a near-future where anyone's memories and past feelings are accessible through a social media database where you can "own your unconscious" -- or spy on someone else's. It's a spin-off/sequel to A Visit to the Goon Squad, but it's not absolutely essential to read that book first -- I haven't yet and was still utterly engrossed in these overlapping vignettes.


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The Killer Inside Me (Mulholland Classic) By Stephen King (Foreword by), Jim Thompson Cover Image
By Stephen King (Foreword by), Jim Thompson
$16.99
ISBN: 9780316404068
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mulholland Books - August 5th, 2014

Talk about toxic masculinity! Hoo doggies! Pulp maestro Jim Thompson delivers a disturbing character study of a psychotic small town deputy that is arguably his dingy masterpiece.


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The Flintstones The Deluxe Edition By Mark Russell, Steve Pugh (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Mark Russell, Steve Pugh (Illustrator)
$49.99
ISBN: 9781779514974
Availability: Not in Stock. Available to Order.
Published: DC Comics - February 8th, 2022

Mark Russell transforms the classic cartoon sitcom into an existential satire that's both bitterly funny and surprisingly sweet. My favorite characters are the vacuum cleaner and the bowling ball who have serious discussions about their lot in life while shut up in the Flintstones' closet.


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Heartburn (Vintage Contemporaries) By Nora Ephron Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780679767954
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - May 28th, 1996

The only novel from the queen of romantic comedy movies. It's based on her doomed marriage to reporter Carl Bernstein, so it's less cozy than it is tart. But there are a lot of laughs in here.


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Cool for America: Stories By Andrew Martin Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781250798640
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador - July 6th, 2021

This collection of short stories is as sharply observed as a classic indie flick, with flavorful dialogue and characters whose flaws are too relatable for comfort.


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Colorization: One Hundred Years of Black Films in a White World By Wil Haygood Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780525656876
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - October 19th, 2021

An eye-opening blend of cinema history and cultural critique. Pulitzer Prize nominee Wil Haygood highlights the careers of African American filmmakers and stars who are both canonized and unsung, while also tracking the evolving images of Black characters in American films over the past century.


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Alright, Alright, Alright: The Oral History of Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused By Melissa Maerz Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062908490
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Paperbacks - November 16th, 2021

A fascinating and funny retelling of how one of the best ’90s movies about the ’70s got made. (I think Matthew McConaughey was in it.) Alright, alright, alright!


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No More Lies: The Myth and Reality of American History By Dick Gregory Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062981288
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Amistad - February 16th, 2021

A newly reprinted ’70s classic from comedian and activist Dick Gregory. Gregory looks at many of the long-held myths that (white and rich) historians have used to prop up the narrative of America and then sets them straight. It’s more factual than funny, but Gregory has a rhetorical style steeped in the skeptical, satirical voice he honed on stage.


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Various Artists' I'm Your Fan: The Songs of Leonard Cohen (33 1/3 #147) By Ray Padgett Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9781501355066
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury Academic - September 3rd, 2020

One of the best recent entries in the long-running 33 1/3 music series. The book touches on the early days of the tribute album boom and how it dovetailed with Leonard Cohen’s waning career in the ’80s. The trailblazing I’m Your Fan album inspired Jeff Buckley and inadvertently led to the cultural supersaturation of the song “Hallelujah.”


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Night Shift By Stephen King Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780307947291
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - August 7th, 2012

Stephen King might be best known for his epic-length novels, but he's always been good at delivering strange, moody, and haunting little stories. This first collection is still his best batch of the short stuff.


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Cotton Comes to Harlem (Harlem Detectives Series #7) By Chester Himes Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780394759999
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard - November 28th, 1988

Chester Himes's novel is best known as source material for one of the first '70s blaxploitation films. It's also as twistedly funny as it is tough and thrilling. The mysterious arrival of a giant bale of cotton on the streets of Harlem is far from the strangest thing detectives Grave Digger and Coffin Ed will encounter as they investigate a daring daytime heist.


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Varieties of Disturbance: Stories By Lydia Davis Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780374281731
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador - May 15th, 2007

Lydia Davis's often very short stories are not like anything else. Straightforward but elusive. Otherworldly but everyday. Poetic but journalistic. The included story "What You Learn About the Baby," with its deadpan catalog of advice for new mothers, is strangely sweet and one of my all-time favorite pieces of writing.


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I Served the King of England (New Directions Classic) By Bohumil Hrabal, Paul Wilson (Translated by) Cover Image
By Bohumil Hrabal, Paul Wilson (Translated by)
$15.95
ISBN: 9780811216876
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions - May 31st, 2007

From the author of CLOSELY WATCHED TRAINS comes another tragicomic tale of Czechoslovakia during World War II. The rise and fall of a hotel waiter who never lets any sort of conscience interfere with his ambition.


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The Late Monsieur Gallet (Inspector Maigret #2) By Georges Simenon, Anthea Bell (Translated by) Cover Image
By Georges Simenon, Anthea Bell (Translated by)
$11.00
ISBN: 9780141393377
Availability: Backordered
Published: Penguin Books - January 28th, 2014

Georges Simenon's gift for writing economical crime stories that somehow ride the line between hardboiled terseness and deadpan whimsy is really on display in this short novel. Inspector Maigret is assigned to a superficially banal murder investigation that gets twistier and harder to solve with each new discovery.


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The Hunter By Jan Wahl, Tim Jessell (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Jan Wahl, Tim Jessell (Illustrator)
$18.99
Possibly out of print. Email or call to check availability and price.
ISBN: 9781568462974
Published: Creative Editions - August 21st, 2018

Jan Wahl was a good personal friend, in addition to being a great author of children's stories. This story, one of his last, concerns a hunter who discovers a new respect and reverence for nature that causes him to make a change. The book is beautifully illustrated too.


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The Collected Stories of Chester Himes By Chester Himes Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781560252689
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Da Capo Press - March 22nd, 2000

Although best known for his crime novels set in Harlem, this collection focuses on the broader literary side of Chester Himes. Included are slice-of-life stories, portraying a bygone era of Black Los Angeles, vignettes of prison life, as well as later, more experimental fiction that Himes wrote after he gave up the U.S. for France.


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Hedy and her Amazing Invention (Amazing Women) By Jan Wahl, Morgana Wallace (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Jan Wahl, Morgana Wallace (Illustrator)
$16.95
Possibly out of print. Email or call to check availability and price.
ISBN: 9780998799995
Published: Penny Candy Books - February 5th, 2019

A great non-fiction book for children about film star and renowned inventor (!!) Hedy Lamarr. Beautifully illustrated, this is a delightfully offbeat choice for little burgeoning scientists and future film fanatics.