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Sumner Redstone has been a media titan for decades. The son of a movie chain owner from Boston, Redstone expanded the reach of that business until it was an empire that included CBS and Viacom (which also meant companies like Paramount Studios and MTV, among others.) He made a lot of aggressive decisions and angered many people along the way (including numerous relatives who ended up suing him.) His seemingly biggest ally/foe is none other than his daughter Shari Redstone, who has now replaced him at the top of the mountain, although her father's presence is still felt. The Redstone... Read more →

There are millions across the country who long for a return to the days when Barack Obama and Joe Biden were in the White House. The bad news is that they won't be returning to fix our immigration policy. The good news is that the two men reunite in the new action-packed crime thriller/bromance parody, Hope Never Dies, by Andrew Shaffer. (release date: July 10) The book is set a few months after the 2016 election, and Joe Biden is still figuring out what to next with his life. His former best friend Barack Obama doesn't seem to be having... Read more →

I realized after his recent death that I've never read any of Anthony Bourdain's books. The late chef/TV host was a captivating presence any time I'd seen him on television, but not being a "foodee" per se, I'd assumed these books would not be for me. However, it's always good to challenge assumptions, so I went to the local library and checked out Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook. Published in 2010, Medium Raw is the follow-up to Kitchen Confidential, the book which launched Bourdain into super-stardom. It's a collection of... Read more →

Robin Williams fans will be interested to learn that HBO has a new documentary coming out about the late comedian. Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind, will debut on July 16, and the first trailer just came out. Take a look: At first glance, the documentary has the same feel as Dave Itzkoff's new biography of the man. Robin Williams was a creative genius. However, it seems like he was also always the shy kid looking to connect with others, but never able to quite find what he was looking for. This may be a sad program, but we won't... Read more →

It was purely by chance that I picked up the paperback copy of Chuck Klosterman's X* A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the 21st Century, when I walked into the bookstore. Or was it? The first page I flipped to mentioned Van Halen. The second page was a discussion about KISS, and the third had something to do with Creed. Those three names alone made it clear this was a book that needed reading immediately. X is a collection of culture writer Klosterman's essays on a variety of topics over the last ten years. They're mostly split between music... Read more →

There will always be a special place in my heart for Robin Williams. I was in awe of the comedian when I was a kid. The way his mind seemed to be working at 100 mph as the quips flew out of his mouth during his stand-up routines was spell-binding. His movies could be hit-or-miss, but Good Morning Vietnam, The Fisher King, Dead Poets Society, and Good Will Hunting are some of my all-time favorites. His suicide in 2014 was personally devastating, and the world hasn't seemed as funny ever since. With that in mind, I couldn't wait to read... Read more →

Our country seems to be getting crazier by the hour, and it is clear that things are in need of a major adjustment. It just so happens that Adjustment Day is the title of Chuck Palahniuk's new book (out on May 1.) However, rather than calm things down, Palahniuk takes the reader on a disturbing ride where everything is even more insane, and the comedy is as dark as a black hole. The Fight Club author's first novel in four years tells the story of the disintegration of the United States under the guise of freedom from the oppression of... Read more →

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 →