pop culture

Ready Player One

By Ernest Cline
4
Rated by Dylan R
Apr 11, 2018

Functioning as both a seminal look into pop culture's past as well as a fun, technological romp, Ready Player One is a fantastic tale centered around Wade Watts, a teenager and dedicated gamer in the year 2044. Having almost no family, few friends, and seemingly even fewer avenues open to him to escape his downtrodden existence, Wade has had a difficult life, to say the least. However, what Wade does have is access to the OASIS; a cyber-reality which will change his life forever.


An astonishing facet of Ready Player One is its prescience: Cline's great, sprawling work was published in 2011

Bad Feminist

By Roxane Gay
5
Rated by Amy F.
Mar 12, 2016

Immediately after finishing the downloadable audiobook of Bad Feminist, crisply narrated by the inestimable Bahni Turpin, I placed the print book on hold. There are just too many interesting, important and often hilarious moments to absorb in one go. Turpin's reading is too good to pass up, so I wholeheartedly recommend the audiobook, but on this second time through, I'd like the luxury of reading and then rereading those paragraphs that give me the most to think about.


Roxane Gay is both a fiction writer and an essayist, as well as a social media cultural commentator. Bad Feminist was my

The Midnight Special (DVD)

By StarVista Entertainment
4
Rated by LeeAnn B.
Nov 9, 2015

If you remember (or have heard anyone talk about) LPs, 8-tracks, bell bottoms and the time when disc jockey Wolfman Jack ruled the FM radio waves; watch this to relive it or to see what it was like.  The 6-disc set compiles some of the best performances from the NBC Friday night variety show.  The program premiered in 1972 and was regularly broadcast from 1973 through 1981; it was a time before MTV and music videos brought rock music stars regularly into our homes.  Be sure to catch Episode 81 hosted by 1950s icon, Little Richard who introduces a younger but largely unchanged Steven Tyler and

May 8, 2015

20th anniversary editions of indie-pop albums stuffed with previously unheard tracks. Reunions of bands who swore they’d never again play together. Japanese retro-punk. Mass-produced faux-vintage t-shirts. Hollywood remakes. Nostalgia for a previous golden age of nostalgia.  


These are only the tip of the cultural icebergs author Simon Reynolds investigates in his eminently readable Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction to Its Own Past. It’s easy to overlook how much of today’s pop culture is based on ideas and interpretations about the (mostly recent) past. Reynolds argues that the 2000s

Pirate Cinema

By Cory Doctorow
4
Rated by Josh N.
Jul 20, 2014

In the very near future, Trent McCauley is a 16-year-old in northern England who makes videos by cutting, pasting, and editing movies starring a dead actor he's obsessed with. This isn't just a hobby of Trent's, it's his passion (much like writing Simon Snow fanfic is a passion for Cath in Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl). But it violates copyright and pirating laws, which is why the state cuts off his family's internet access for a year. Trent's mother is now unable to apply for her disability benefits, his father loses his telephone support job, and his high-achieving younger sister can't do her

Mar 16, 2010

In a ten-month time span in 1997 and 1998, Neil Peart lost his 19-year-old daughter to a single-car accident and his wife to cancer. He was devastated.

Peart is best-known as the drummer for the Canadian rock band Rush. He's also their lyricist. Yet Ghost Rider, his chronicle of healing from his terrible losses, reveals talents barely hinted at in his music career.

Peart is a wonderful prose writer and a capable stylist. In unpretentious, vivid prose, he recounts the journey that helped his wounded spirit heal: He rode his motorcycle more than 50,000 miles across the North American continent

Jan 14, 2010

A Memoir Brought to You by Pop Culture by Nathan RabinI’m generally a big fan of depressive ruminations, so you can imagine my dismay in discovering Nathan Rabin’s memoir The Big Rewind: A Memoir Brought to You by Pop Culture is funny and a fast read. Rabin’s memoir focuses on his involuntary commitment to a mental hospital after a suicide attempt, followed by getting dumped in a group home as an adolescent after his mother abandons him and his father, who is disabled, can no longer care for him. Rabin is a film critic and head writer for The Onion’s AV Club, so his memoir is organized with chapter headings that refer to movies and other pop