Scratch 'n' Sniff

For the “Shrivelled Up” & the “Stupefied” I have written a serious & proper chorale. This chorale is a sort of bitter preamble, a kind of austere & unfrivolous introduction. I have put into it all I know about Boredom. I dedicate this chorale to those who don’t like me. I withdraw. Image © Simon Miller

A Mammal’s Notebook: The Collected Writings of Erik Satie

Erik Satie

“The first collection of Satie’s writings available in English… A pivotal character in the French avant-gardes from the 1880s to the Dada movement of the 1920s. Dismissed as a bizarre eccentric by most of his contemporaries, Erik Satie is recognized as a key influence on 20th-century music.”

Publisher: Serpent's Tail
Paperback: 192 pages


For Enquiring Minds: A Cultural Study of Supermarket Tabloids

S. Elizabeth Bird

John Waters (whose wonderful essay on “Why I Love the National Enquirer” is listed here as a source) once noted that he was convinced “that typical Enquirer readers move their lips when they read, are physically unattractive, badly dressed, lonely and overweight.” Anthropology and humanities professor Bird refutes this and other beliefs in a well-researched study of weekly tabloid papers and their readers. Bird attempts to situate the tabs in “a tradition of oral, folk narrative” in which content is the result of a collaboration between reader and writer “about how the world is or should be constructed.” After sections devoted to each member of the tabloid triad (the Enquirer, the Globe, and the Star), she demonstrates her hypothesis via a case study of the tabloids’ contribution to the mythology surrounding JFK after his death. While Bird is clearly an academic familiar with postmodern theory, For Enquiring Minds is easily readable and relatively jargon-free. And the next time someone discovers your secret stash of tabs, simply quote Bird: “I believe the tabloids are to some extent an alternative way of looking at the world that may be valuable to people who feel alienated from dominant narrative forms and frames of reference.” You won’t hear another word about your reading habits. LP

Publisher: University of Tennessee
Paperback: 234 pages

Giant Book of Insults: A Rollicking Collection of Caustic Quips, Barbed Wit and Sharp Retorts

Louis A. Safian

Snappy, corny put-downs for BOOZERS, BORES, CHISELERS, CHATTERBOXES, CREAMPUFFS, DUMBBELLS, FAILERS, FLAT TIRES, GOLD DIGGERS, HYPOCHONDRIACS, LIARS, MEANIES, and even NUDISTS: “She grins and bares it… There’s a mutual attraction between her and a young man in the camp—they’re in the nude for love… The only thing she wears are beads—of perspiration… She’s a fine specimen of the nuder gender… He’s a lawyer, and ever since he joined the colony, he hasn’t had a suit… He’s the camp athlete. He runs 100 yards in nothing… He was thrown out because he asked for dressing on his salad.” GR

Publisher: Citadel
Paperback: 412 pages

Gilligan, Maynard and Me

Bob Denver

The heartbreak, the sorrow, the star trips—sorry! wrong book!—”Bob Denver takes us backstage and behind the scenes of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis and Gilligan’s Island. Writing in a remarkably friendly and affable style, Denver tells us what it was like to be plucked from complete obscurity to portray America’s most celebrated beatnik, Maynard G. Krebs, and then to become Gilligan, the world’s favorite stranded castaway.” In addition, Denver reveals his 25 favorite Dobie episodes and his 50 favorite Gilligans. Features stories prop mishaps, how TV shows are put together, and anecdotes about all the cast members. GR

Publisher: Citadel
Paperback: 184 pages

Goldmine’s Celebrity Vocals: Attempts at Musical Fame From 1500 Major Stars and Supporting Players

Ron Lofman

Sure, we’ve all gotten a chuckle out of William Shatner’s bloated “Mr. Tambourine Man,” but how about J.R.R. Tolkien singing in “Elvish”? Let’s stretch out a little and really groove… celebrity style! The chuck-wagon vocal screechings of Walter Brennan, James Dean jamming on conga drums, Jim Nabors belting out show tunes and Cole Porter, African revolutionary leader Kwame Nkrumah’s solo LP, Marilyn Chambers’ 7-inch release, Joan Collins in a duet with Bing Crosby, David Hasselhoff crooning “How Deep Is Your Love” (German-only release), Telly Savalas’ three classic LPs, Rodney Allen Rippy disks and so much more. Fifteen hundred “celebrities and other interesting folks” with recordings to their credit are listed, with Rev. Louis Farrakhan’s singing career being notable by its omission. Author Lofman also has the temerity to answer the burning question “Why do they do it?” SS

Publisher: Krause
Paperback: 448 pages

Graven Images

Ronald V. Borst

The owner of the Hollywood Movie Posters shop has put his extensive personal poster collection of classic science fiction and horror movies into a lavish show-stopper of a massive full-color tome. Borst has solicited the likes of Stephen King, Forrest J. Ackerman, Clive Barker, Robert Bloch, and Harlan Ellison to set the stage with essays on the lore and fascination of horror and SF movie posters. Wisely, the collection ends with the 1960s, since the movie-poster-as-art-object sadly seems to have become a distant memory. SS

Publisher: Grove
Hardback: 256 pages

The Great Pulp Heroes

Don Hutchison

Profiles the dime-magazine godfathers who influenced today’s popular superheroes, and traces the story histories of the costumed crimefighters as well as the “gaudy and glorious magazines that spawned them.” Interviews with “the amazing wordsmiths who churned out their monthly adventures” fill in the gaps. Top heroes who had their own mags include: Superscientist and Bronze Bombshell Doc Savage (the inspiration for Superman), who, along with his quirky sidekicks, stopped an Ice Age cold, and battled dinosaurs, ancient mummies, and even Adolf Hitler. Then there’s Master Aero-spy G-8 and his Battle Aces (sort of flying James Bonds), who took wing to fight Sky Monsters, Corpse Squadrons and Flying Dragons. And colorful Secret Service Operator #5 (a Nayland Smith type, always battling another Fu Manchu), who fought off the Yellow Vulture and the Purple Invasion. Plus a successful clone of the Shadow, “humanity’s paladin,” the Spider (playing a Bruce Wayne/Batman identity game), who was billed as a juggernaut of action and emotion. Says one writer: “The best Spider stories carry an emotional field strong enough to attract nails. They sweep you along, the paragraphs radiating emotion with almost physical intensity, numbing the critical sense. It is basic, simple stuff, overpowering in context. It works wonderfully well. You care for people.” Also features lesser-knowns like Green Ghost, Phantom Detective, Ka-Zar and Captain Future. “An affectionate look back at the outsized heroes who once occupied the imagination of loyal readers.” GR

Publisher: Mosaic
Paperback: 276 pages

Growing Up Brady: I Was a Teenage Greg

Barry Williams

It is probably a sad testament to the X Generation that a book about being a Brady Bunch cast member is so damn wanted—as if they were The Generation That Aspired To Be White People.
Well, cocktail party irony aside, Williams has put together an entertaining, informative, and intelligent book about the experience. Rather than revising the role of the Brady kids so that they are archetypes of a generation, he lovingly deflates the balloon of mythology, concentrating instead on the experience of growing up on a Paramount backlot and in public. While a little too human to be a serious piece of reference, this book will probably prove to be meaningful to a whole lot of people who came of age with these six little bastards being irrepressible on the small screen. SH

Publisher: Harper Perennial
Paperback: 349 pages

Harlem on My Mind: Cultural Capital of Black America, 1900-1968

Edited by Allon Schoener

The Harlem Renaissance is one of the best things about cultural America in the 20th century, and there has been a crying need for a volume of this sort. The text is largely reprints of newspaper reportage of the time, and is profusely illustrated with photos of events, key figures and landmarks. Not only is this volume a great bit of reference, it is also a fascinating and entertaining book that is at once charmed, a little angry and truly rich. SH

Publisher: New Press
Paperback: 272 pages

Here on Gilligan’s Isle

Russell Johnson and Steve Cox

Who could resist the tale of this fateful trip? And it ain’t no three-hour tour! Written by Russell Johnson (the Professor), Here on Gilligan’s Isle is a 235-page treasure trove full of everything anyone’s ever wanted to know about Gilligan’s Island and lots more: original interviews with the cast, behind-the-scenes gossip and trivia, original prototype sketches of the Professor’s wacky inventions (attention, alternative-science fans!), candid backstage photos and a complete episode guide. Now you too can know why and when the lyrics to the theme song were changed from “and the rest” to “the Professor an’ Mary Ann.” And why the later version was performed by a different group than the first! DB

Publisher: Harper Perennial
Paperback: 320 pages

Heroes and Villains: The True Story of the Beach Boys

Steven Gaines

Although the Beach Boys were the most important and influential American band of the 1960s, they remain the most misunderstood. While they were musically as innovative as any band ever, their squeaky-clean image and overt whiteness have kept them pigeonholed as “a bunch of surfing Doris Days,” as one band member complained.
Not only was group leader Brian Wilson a true pop avant-gardist, but the Beach Boys have been—from Day One—the most dysfunctional musical family ever. Drugs, Eastern spirituality gone awry, a Svengalian psychiatrist (the nefarious Dr. Landy) and even Charles Manson as a roomie are part of the Beach Boys saga. Gaines does a fine job of delving into the whole band and not just Brian Wilson, whose high-profile problems tend to obscure that he’s not the only guy with troubles in this band. Gaines also does a service to the uninitiated by making such a strong case for the music. For scholars of pop music, this must be considered an indispensable volume. SH

Publisher: Da Capo
Paperback: 376 pages