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Local Book Notes: From The Pogues To Phiraq

1. Pogues Paperback.

"In his 2012 book Here Comes Everybody (Chicago Review Press, out in paperback May 6), the Pogues' frustrated novelist-accordionist James Fearnley wonderfully captured all of the band's rise and fall with suitably lyrical prose," Neil Ferguson writes for the Philadelphia Weekly.

"[Shane] MacGowan emerges as both a figure of awe and awfulness, a gin-soaked enigma whose dark self-destructive streak leads the band into frequent debates over whether he is, indeed, a genius, or, quite simply, 'a fucking idiot.' It's both a picaresque road epic and an unintentionally-cautionary tale about the perils of endless touring and the machinations of the music biz. Above all, it's as poetic, profane and profound as the band themselves. And that's no mean feat."

Click through for Ferguson's interview of Fearnley. (Hint: he earned his advance back.)

2. The Father Of Venus And Serena Williams Spent Time In Chicago As A Young Man.

"There are tales upon tales of run-ins with the police and confrontations with strangers, often ending in violence," AP reports in an article about Richard Williams, whose Black and White: The Way I See It comes out on May 6.

"I could not embrace a turn-the-other-cheek philosophy," he writes.

At another point, he writes: "I became fascinated with stealing at the age of eight. I don't know if the thrill was being able to get away with a crime, or that the crime was against the white man. Either way, it was the start of a prosperous career."

Here's an excerpt.

3. Phiraq.

"On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City, out next month, one of the most eagerly awaited urban ethnographies in years," Jennifer Schuessler writes for the New York Times.

"The book, from the University of Chicago Press, is a closely observed study of the impact of the criminal justice system on everyday life in a low-income African-American neighborhood of Philadelphia, and it is attracting interest well beyond academia."

The author is Alice Goffman, a sociologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The book "studies policing in a poor urban neighborhood."

4. From Chicago To The World.

"I grew up on the Southwest Side of Chicago in an area Saul Bellow described as rows and rows of bungalows and scrawny little parks," Kathy Kelly writes in Other Lands Have Dreams.

"As a high-school student, Kelly's 'bedroom' is the living room couch, as she makes way for her siblings," Gary Corseri notes for CounterCurrents.

"She's not 'bothered' by any inconveniences, because she's 'in high school, working a part-time job . . . and tired enough to fall asleep during The Tonight Show. She attends 'a private Catholic school for part of the day and the local public school . . . for the other."

5. "Hilariously Scathing Review Rips Into Jenny McCarthy's New Book."

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on April 30, 2014


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Cricket vs. Brexit.
POLITICS - An Odd Call From Bermuda.
SPORTS - All Is Not Forgiven, Bears.

BOOKS - Turning Points Of The Civil War.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Baxter's IV Bag Shortages.


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