The Jesus Lizard Book – The story of the ’90s influential and iconic indie-rock band

You don’t need to be a fan of The Jesus Lizard or even the indie-rock genre to appreciate what this iconic band accomplished. They recorded seven albums in eight years, created dynamic and inimitable music, and played 1000+ legendary live shows. Their superhuman touring schedule is captured perfectly on the first page in a photo of the band’s tour van odometer, turning over from 99,999 to 00000. The story of this influential '90s band transcends rock memorabilia or memoir, and unfolds an instructive tale of artistic triumph in the delicate balance between commerce and art.

It’s the victory of the underdog, it’s David vs. the Goliath of the major label record industry. It’s an inside look at the creative and business choices artists in any field must face as they work toward that elusive stage that defines success.

Steve Albini, famous for his work recording Nirvana’s last album, In Utero, said this of the band: “When I think of The Jesus Lizard, I think of them as the greatest band I’ve ever seen, as the best musicians I’ve ever worked with, and as the purest melding of the sublime and the profane.”

The Jesus Lizard Book was designed by vocalist and artist David Yow, with most of the content painstakingly recorded by the band’s exacting bassist, David Wm. Sims. All four band members contribute their perspective and experiences, in a loose structure starting with the band members’ backgrounds, how the band formed, each studio recording, and their astounding performance chronology. This template is peppered colorfully and playfully throughout with concert posters by the iconic Frank Kozik, recipes by singer David Yow (his Chocolate Bourbon Bread Pudding sounds delicious!) and photographs ranging from backstage polaroids to professionally shot panoramas.

The epic shot from the band’s perspective onstage at Reading Festival – one of the largest rock festivals in the world – speaks volumes of what this band built up with sheer tenacity, inventive musicianship – and a sense of humor which draws the reader playfully into their world.

Anchoring the book throughout are well-written, vivid and poignant anecdotes and tributes from those whose lives they touched, and who touched theirs. Characters like Steve Albini, Mike Watt, JG Thirlwell, Hank Williams III, Frank Kozik, and Gang of Four’s Andy Gill all provide a full spectrum take on the band’s history.

The range of different perspectives from all four band members on the same record is telling of the creative process and compromises that abound in collaborative art. For example, bassist David Wm. Sims strongly touts Shot as the best album he’s ever played on, but the Steve Albini-engineered Goat is ubiquitously considered their masterpiece. But as a reader, you don’t need to hear the songs to appreciate the story – and Book delivers the band right to your coffee table loud and clear.

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The Jesus Lizard Book
by The Jesus Lizard
Akashic Books
2014, 176 pages, 13.4 x 8.4 x 1.2 inches

Caitlan Moran's "How to Build a Girl" [review]


Caitlin Moran's How to Build a Girl is the story of Johanna Morrigan, poor, fat teenager from the economic backwater of 1990s Wolverhampton, and her transformation into legendary music critic and Lady Sex Adventurer, Dolly Wilde.

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Scott Westerfeld's Afterworlds

Scott Westerfeld’s latest novel, Afterworlds is a book about a teenager who’s just sold her first book. It’s a story-within-a-story, and it works brilliantly. Cory Doctorow unpacks the nesting tales of Darcy Patel and Elizabeth Scofield.

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Lauren Beukes's Broken Monsters

Lauren Beukes’s latest crime/horror novel Broken Monsters marries the snappy, hard-boiled cleverness of her 2010 novel Zoo City with the visceral horror of 2013’s The Shining Girls and yields up a tale that’s as terrifying as it is contemporary — Cory Doctorow reviews Broken Monsters.

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Ten untranslatable words

Ella Frances Sanders illustrates words held to be untranslatable, to English equivalents, from their native languages.

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Another school year just started: welcome back to the book censorship wars.

It happens whenever kids come home from school with new reading assignments: some parents look at what their kids are reading and don’t like what they see. Joan E Bertin from the National Coalition Against Censorship knows why we observe Banned Books Week.

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Homeland wins Copper Cylinder award for best Canadian YA sf novel


The Copper Cylinder Prize, voted on by members of the Sunburst Award Society awarded best YA novel to Homeland; best adult novel went to Guy Gavriel Kay's River of Stars.

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3D printed book of bas relief from Art Institute of Chicago


Tom Burtonwood sez, "I have just published Folium, a 3D printed book of bas relief from the Art Institute of Chicago; it's posted to thingiverse for download: 12 pages, 9 scans featuring works of art spanning over 2000 years, from the Ancient Egyptians to Louis Sullivan department store decorations."

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Excerpt from In Real Life, YA graphic novel about gold farmers


In Real Life is the book-length graphic novel adapted by Jen Wang from my short story Anda's Game, about a girl who encounters a union organizer working to sign up Chinese gold-farmers in a multiplayer game.

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Oxytocin: "the biological basis for the golden rule"

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Here's the transcript at Medium of a deeply fascinating Aspen Ideas lecture by neuroeconomist Paul Zak, author of The Moral Molecule, about the chemical reason why the vast majority of us feel good helping others. Those who don't? Psychopaths, mostly.

Bruce Sterling's "The Epic Struggle of the Internet of Things"

It's a new long-form essay in the tradition of Sterling's must-read, groundbreaking 2005 book Shaping Things, a critical perspective on what it means to have a house full of "smart" stuff that answers to giant corporations and the states that exert leverage over them.

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Edgar Allan Poe sweater

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Archie McPhee & Co. offers this Edgar Allan Poe intarsia sweater for $42.50, "one size fits most." (via Dangerous Minds)

Light Bulb Baking – The 50-year history of The Easy Bake Oven

The 1960s were a magical decade in the world of toys. Toy companies like Wham-O, Hasbro, Mattel and Kenner were churning out captivating toys faster than toy stores could keep them in stock. Toys like Lite-Brite, Etch A Sketch, Twister, Creepy Crawlers, Operation, Hippity Hop, Spirograph… and of course Kenner’s Easy Bake Oven (launched in 1963) were all the rage.

With an entertaining narrative, Light Bulb Baking explains how the miniature working oven got its start, dissects the oven, explains how a simple light bulb can bake a cake, and tells us loads of fun anecdotes and trivia about Easy Bake (such as the shelf life of Easy Bake mixes, the horrible burns caused by the 2006-2007 models, and the story of a 9-year-old Easy Bake Baker of the Year who won $5,000 for her Toffee Trifle Cake). The book, which is smartly designed with photos, diagrams and sidebars, ends with a bunch of award-winning recipes that make me want to dig out the old Easy Bake Oven I have somewhere in my garage.

Light Bulb Baking
by Todd Coopee
Sonderho Press
2013, 178 pages, 8.7 x 8.7 x 0.4 inches (paperback)

Take a look at other beautiful paper books at Wink. And sign up for the Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.

Unusual childrens' books

darkmaster

Can't remember much after about 8pm last night, but just found these on my desktop, so it must have been a good evening.

Death-cults

cisrabbit

episcopalians

mother

WEAK

What's right with Hermione

14-year-old Naomi Horn says the heroine of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series remains a depressingly rare example of a fictional female respected for her education and intelligence. In Hermione’s world, being smart is what makes her important.

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