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Local Book Notes: Kickstarting A Skinhead Memoir

"In his memoir Romantic Violence: Memoirs of an American Skinhead, Chicago author and former right-wing extremist Christian Picciolini shows readers how a well-loved 14-year-old kid from an immigrant Italian family became a leader of the early American racist skinhead movement," according to a press release from Picciolini's Goldmill Group.

"He was the lead singer in the first white power band from the United States to perform in Europe. He attended KKK rallies and cross burnings, was kicked out of four different high schools - some twice - and stockpiled weapons so, if necessary, he'd be ready to fight the United States government to protect the white race from annihilation.

"In his book, Romantic Violence: Memoirs of an American Skinhead, Christian Picciolini, now a music industry veteran and peace advocate, faces his past with brutal honesty in the hope that by exposing his own crimes, others may live in peace.

"Picciolini has also committed to providing free copies of his book for all 16,000 United States public libraries if the 30-day Kickstarter campaign for Romantic Violence garners over $100,000 in pledges. Currently, the initial goal of $7,500 was exceeded within 48 hours of the campaign's launch.

"Picciolini left the American racist movement in 1995 before earning a joint degree in international business/international relations from DePaul University in Chicago and co-founding the peace consultancy Life After Hate."

The pitch:


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Bookman Down
"Stephen Cogil Casari, founder of Denver's fabled Tattered Cover Book Store and the agent who shepherded Norman Maclean's A River Runs Through It to publication, died Sept. 15 in Grand Rapids, Mich., due to complications from cancer," the Denver Post reports. "He was 66."

Casari was a Chicagoan after he was a Denverite.

"After the sale [of the Tattered Cover], Cogil Casari moved to Chicago, where he was an owner of the 22-store Book Market chain that sold to Walden Books in the 1980s. He then became a retail consultant, helping coach bookstore owners."

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The People Of Paper
"Salvador Plascencia, author of the acclaimed novel The People of Paper, will kick off Roosevelt University's Creative Writing Fall Reading Series with a reading and discussion at 5 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 29 in the University's Gage Gallery, 18 S. Michigan Ave.," the university says.

"In addition to his novel, Plascencia has published fiction in a variety of journals, including McSweeney's and Tin House. In 2008, he was awarded the Bard Fiction Prize.

"Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Plascencia was raised in El Monte, California and later studied at Whittier College and Syracuse University. T.C. Boyle called Plascencia's debut 'firmly grounded and soaring at the same time,' and Bookslut's Angela Stubbs likens his work to 'a mental carnival ride.'"

Here's an oral history Plascencia gave to the Notre Dame's Institute for Latino Studies:

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on September 23, 2014


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Cricket vs. Brexit.
POLITICS - Charter Schools Complicit With Segregation.
SPORTS - USA Gymnastics Bans Illinois Coach.

BOOKS - The Randomness Of Harvard Admissions.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Public Lands Matter.


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