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I Wanna be Literated #149
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The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee As a scientist, it’s hard for me to back up and realize that the general public’s understanding of DNA and genes in general is incomplete and vague. Lucky for us we have people like Siddhartha Mukherjee and his book The Gene which is truly one of the great science books aimed at the general public. An old mentor of mine once said that even as we advance in our career as scientists...

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Tuesday, 28 March 2017
I Wanna Be Literated #143
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Cheap Novelties: The Pleasures of Urban Decay by Ben Katchor This book is nice and simple, and maybe our review of it should be the same. Comics get a bad rap for being only about superheroes so their potential for telling common everyday stories is often ignored or overlooked. As a medium they can tell stories as subtle and personal as any other art form, and Cheap Novelties is as good of an example as any. Knowing nothing about Ben...

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95
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Tuesday, 14 February 2017
I Wanna Be Literated! #136
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Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil, Gillian McCain Having done my fair share of biography readings I have come to appreciate the oral history format more and more as the years go by. It just took a book like Please Kill Me to make me realize what a fun and thorough and effective experience it can be. I like to think of myself as a punk, but since it’s a badge of honor in...

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Wednesday, 30 November 2016
From the GC Archives: I Wanna Be Literated! #001
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Hollywood Said No! Orphaned Film Scripts, Bastard Scenes, and Abandoned Darlings from the Creators of Mr. Show By Bob Odenkirk, David Cross, and Brian Posehn. Welcome to our new book review column here on Ground Control called “I Wanna be Literated”! We are going to try and keep this column up with not-just music related and not just brand new books. Some will be topical, old, some new, some borrowed, and almost all of them blue. We are proud to...

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Monday, 31 October 2016
I Wanna Be Literated! 122
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Socialism . . . Seriously: A Brief Guide to Human Liberation by Danny Katch “Socialism… Seriously” might be a small book, but boy is it powerful. Unfortunately , ever since I decided to bone up on my Socialist/Communist/Anarchist literature I’ve had to piece together the basic idea of each movement from various other books by various other authors. I’m still looking for that perfect Anarchism and Communism book that lays it all out and I can recommend to friends, but...

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250
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Friday, 26 August 2016
I Wanna Be Literated! #121
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On Power and Ideology: The Managua Lectures by Noam Chomsky   I have been fascinated with the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua ever since learning about it from the Clash and reading Stephen Kinzer’s book Blood of Brothers. Can I admit that I really enjoyed the book and saw the Sandinista revolution with mixed feelings? Sure I can. Then, I happened to Google the author and Noam Chomsky (because I couldn’t calm the doubting beast) and found out that Chomsky has...

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230
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Friday, 26 August 2016
I Wanna Be Literated! 119
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A critical evaluation of Trouble Boys – The True Story of The Replacements by Bob Mehr. Maybe it has something to do with the sort of “Little Rascals” image that The Replacements have always given off as a lateral by-product of the band’s popular “loveable loser” image and mythos, but even just reading the words “The True Story of The Replacements” – specifically that nagging word “True” included up front – can get a mind percolating. This is a band...

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Monday, 01 August 2016
I Wanna Be Literated! 117
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A critical evaluation of Noise Uprising: The Audiopolitics of a World Musical Revolution by Michael Denning. A blurb on the back of Noise Uprising states “Any future attempt to analyze the sounds and politics of international music industry will need to reckon with this powerful book.” I think that such a claim might be a fantastic over-estimation. There is no doubt that Noise Uprising deals with some interesting and important aspects regarding the birth of recorded music, but it’s almost...

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318
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Monday, 04 July 2016
I Wanna Be Literated! 116
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A critical evaluation of ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria for the End Times by Andrew MacLean. I know ApocalyptiGirl has gotten some very positive feedback, and I love Dark Horse comics (maybe the biggest comics publisher right now still putting out good titles), but is it OK to say that I was simply unimpressed by this comic? It certainly has lots going for it: cool setting (post-apocalypse survival), cool art (crude-like character designs, and dim colors make for a perfect way to...

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324
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Monday, 04 July 2016
I Wanna Be Literated! 115
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A critical evaluation of The Recording Angel: Music, Records and Culture from Aristotle to Zappa by Evan Eisenberg. See if you can process this statement: the Recording Angel reads like I wished I would sound when I talk about music. In other words, this book is a complete nerd-out on music but at an in-depth academic level. We never find out just what Eisenberg’s background is in music (is he just a fan?), but he sure knows how to put...

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Monday, 04 July 2016