Book Reviews Feed

Bob Tewksbury was a substitute teacher for a day at my elementary school in a small New Hampshire town in the winter of 1982-1983. The school was abuzz with the news that the sub teaching 6th grade was a minor league baseball pitcher for the New York Yankees. Yes, we were excited, even though he played for the dreaded Yankees. Our teachers, aware of our distraction, told us we had to focus for the rest of the day, and then we could ask Tewksbury for autographs after school ended. There was a long line of students standing outside the classroom,... Read more →

Hearing that an actor wrote a collection of short stories may not interest some people. The immediate reaction might be something along the lines of, "That sounds like a vanity project. Just because someone is good at following a script doesn't mean that they'll be good at writing. Why should I spend my time on that?" Seems reasonable. The only catch here is that it turns out that Tom Hanks is an entertaining writer, and his new book, Uncommon Type: Some Stories, is a collection of imaginative and engaging short stories. The stories are all linked by the appearance of... Read more →

The odds are good that Marc Maron has hung out with many more famous people in his garage than you have in yours. Maron, a stand-up comedian, actor, and author, is also the host of the WTF with Marc Maron podcast, where he interviews folks like former President Barack Obama, Will Farrell, Bruce Springsteen, Amy Schumer, Conan O'Brien, Louis C.K., and Robin Williams, just to name a few. Maron has been hosting WTF since 2009, and he's put together a collection of stories from the show in his new book, Waiting for the Punch: Words to Live by From the... Read more →

Are you convinced that the world is filled with terrible people who seem to have no other purpose than to spend each day demonstrating how annoying they are and making your day worse? Comedian Jim Florentine is with you, and he calls those idiots out in his new book, Everybody is Awful: (Except You!) Florentine, the creator of Crank Yankers, former co-host of That Metal Show, podcaster, and successful actor, among other things, lays waste to the fools that annoy him, and there are a lot of fools that annoy him. The book begins by focusing on stupid Facebook users.... Read more →

Andy Kaufman is remembered as a creative comedian who immersed himself in his various personas to the point that the audience often couldn't tell what was entertainment and what was reality. He could lip-sync to the Mighty Mouse theme song, act like a confused immigrant on Taxi, berate the crowds as Tony Clifton, or work those audiences into a frenzied lather as a pro wrestling villain with a commitment that few performers could ever dream of matching. Who was this chameleon? Graphic novelist Box Brown attempts to answer that question with his new book, Is This Guy For Real? The... Read more →

As you read this review, the odds are good that you've experienced a significant loss in your life. If it hasn't happened already, it's coming. The death of a loved one is a universal experience, but it's a devastating subject, and we often struggle to discuss it. Everyone processes grief in a different way, and we are often far too uncomfortable to know where/how to start a conversation about it. That can lead to survivors adding isolation to the list of challenges they're facing. Well, Rebecca Soffer and Gabrielle Birkner are here to help with that problem, with their amazing... Read more →

We must have been good in 2017, because Santa dropped off an unexpected present: Zen Pencils - Creative Struggle: Illustrated Advice From Masters of Creativity, by Gavin Aung Than. The New York Times bestselling author, and creator of the Zen Pencils website, presents this collection of cartoons and stories featuring inspirational figures as a helpful reminder that even some of the most creative people in history have faced obstacles in their journeys. However, they continued to push forward in the name of self-expression and discovery. The stories in the book cover a range of fields. For example, there's Vincent van... Read more →

2017 was a terrific year for the Clearing out the Clutter staff (the current erosion of democracy notwithstanding.) We continue to look for new stories to tell, and we are grateful as always for those of you who take the time to stop by and hang out with us. Clutter had visitors from all 50 states and 80 other countries this year. Some came by for the news, some were Doctor Who fans, others wanted to talk about the Boston Red Sox, mental health, or other subjects, and everyone enjoyed the coffee! As 2017 winds down, we debated whether or... Read more →

We've all heard the stories: Bill Murray was spotted joining a kickball game. Bill Murray crashed a bachelor party, gave a toast, and disappeared. Bill Murray jumped behind a bar and poured people shots for 30 minutes before vanishing into the night. There have been so many of these tales over the last four decades, one starts to wonder if they're more urban legend than fact. However, they're true, and they're well-documented in the book, The Tao of Bill Murray: Real-Life Stories of Joy, Enlightenment, and Party Crashing, by Gavin Edwards. Edwards, a Rolling Stone editor, chronicled these amusing stories... Read more →

Titan Comics is kind enough to once again entertain Doctor Who fans while we wait for this year's Christmas Special. This week, it's a trip back to the "classic" era! That's right, we revisit the world of the Third Doctor, Jo Grant, U.N.I.T., and the Master for a holiday treat. Heralds of Destruction takes place after the events of The Three Doctors. The Doctor has regained the ability to travel through time and space, but he doesn't appear to have done so yet, so we're looking at somewhere around early 1973. The story starts off with Mike Yates and Jo... Read more →