Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

dead wake coverI’ve read several of Larson’s books, and enjoyed them all. In fact, The Devil in the White City is one of my all-time favorites. Holy crap, that book’s great!

Larson writes non-fiction historical books almost in the style of novels. Meaning, they’re fun to read and will transport you to another place and time. They’re often as suspenseful and engrossing as any thriller.

Dead Wake is his latest, and is about the sinking of the Lusitania — a British passenger ship — by those delightful Germans. Almost 1200 innocent people died, and the incident led to the United States getting involved in World War I.

Today the book is priced at $3.99 in the Kindle Store. I haven’t gotten to this title yet, but have no doubt it’s a great read. I recommend it without hesitation.

I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell by Tucker Max

Beer In Hell coverBack during simpler times, before Tucker Max went from small-time blogger to millionaire media king and I remained a small-time blogger, the two of us had a significant crossover readership.

I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell is Max’s first book: a collection of stories originally published at his blog. Which means they’re probably about getting drunk and hooking up with women. I haven’t read it, but it was a massive best seller and changed the author’s life forever.

I don’t know. It’s supposedly funny, and might very well be something I’d enjoy. But the whole hooking up with women and bragging about it part makes me a little hesitant. The Kindle version is temporarily reduced to $3.99 though, so I thought I’d mention it here. If you’ve been meaning to read this one, now’s the time. Let me know your thoughts!

I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon by Crystal Zevon

zevon coverThis oral history of Warren Zevon’s “turbulent” life was released shortly after the singer/songwriter died of lung cancer at the way-too-young age of 56.

From the Publisher’s Weekly review:

For those who know them, the brilliant, dark songs of Warren Zevon (1947-2003) inspire nothing short of adoration; for those who don’t, this stunning biography of the irrepressible rock ‘n’ roll singer/songwriter should send them sprinting to the nearest record store. By taking an unexpurgated, oral-history approach to Warren’s life, his former wife and lifelong friend Crystal has crafted a sharp, funny, jaw-dropping rock biography that’s among the best of the sub-genre. Provocative and unflinching, her account distills Warren’s journal entries and the author’s exhaustive interviews with 87 family members, business associates, band mates, fellow musicians and former lovers into a chronology ranging from Warren’s ancestry to his death.

This is a good one, my friends, and right now it’s priced at $1.99 in the Kindle Store. I love Warren, but even if you know nothing about the man… I’m confident you’ll enjoy his wild real-life story.

I Love You, Beth Cooper by Larry Doyle

Beth Cooper coverI bought the hardcover version of this book when it was a new release. Somebody I trusted suggested it, assuring me it’s my kind of thing. It’s currently upstairs on one of our shelves unread, dusty, and yellowing.

There’s no real reason for this, other than I buy ’em much faster than a read ’em. It’s still something I want to get to, eventually.

And now that I’ve bought a second copy for my Kindle, there’s a better chance of that actually happening. As I type this the novel is priced at $1.99, but who knows how long that will last? Amazon acts in mysterious ways. The Suggestaholic suggests you snag it without delay.

From the book’s description:

Denis Cooverman wanted to say something really important in his high school graduation speech. So, in front of his 512 classmates and their 3,000 relatives, he announced: “I love you, Beth Cooper.”  It would have been such a sweet, romantic moment. Except that Beth, the head cheerleader, has only the vaguest idea who Denis is. And Denis, the captain of the debate team, is so far out of her league he is barely even the same species. And then there’s Kevin, Beth’s remarkably large boyfriend, who’s in town on furlough from the United States Army. Complications ensue.

I’m Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High-Times in Stand-Up Comedy’s Golden Era by William Knoedelseder

Dying Up Here coverSince I bought my Kindle a few years ago, I’ve read almost no traditional paper-and-ink books. I have hundreds of them lying around the house, but Kindle changed the game for me. It’s just a better experience, in my estimation.

So, I find myself thinking in a pre-Kindle, post-Kindle sort of way. And during the post-Kindle era, I’m Dying Up Here has turned out to be one of my favorites. It’s a history of modern stand-up comedy, focusing mostly on the 1970s, and the folks — legends and also-rans — who worked at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles.

It’s a great story, expertly told. I’m a big comedy fan, and believed I was knowledgeable about such things. But I was wrong. Many of the comics who populate this book were unknown to me, and almost all are fascinating in some crazy way. I loved the stories of Leno and Letterman and Kaufman during the early days of struggle and hard work. But some of the lesser-known names are just as compelling.

I also wasn’t aware that the comics went on strike against the Comedy Store, demanding a small payment for sets performed at the club. This standoff led to decades-long grudges, backstabbing, political jockeying, and one spectacular suicide orchestrated for maximum impact.

If you’re a fan of comedy, I consider this one to be almost a must-read. It’s hard to put down, and wildly entertaining. The Suggestaholic suggests you check it out.

The Martian by Andy Weir

Martian coverIt’s funny how I keep saying “this is not my usual kind of book,” over and over again. Perhaps it’s time to reexamine the definition of my “kind of book?”

In any case, I read this one a few months ago and got all caught-up in it ‘n’ shit. It’s a story about an astronaut mistakenly left alone on Mars. His fellow crew members believed he’d been killed, and were forced to evacuate quickly during a storm. So, when he regained consciousness he realized he was now on his own. On Mars.

It’s a really fun book. The astronaut is the narrator, and is a regular guy with an enormous amount of training. He goes full-Macgyver with whatever equipment he has at his disposal, and is also really sarcastic and funny. This thing is suspenseful and exciting, and also full of laughs.

Another cool thing about it? It was originally self-published. The author was unknown, traditional publishers wouldn’t give him the time of day, and his book is now an international phenomenon. There’s also a movie version coming, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon. So suck on that, traditional publishers!

As I type this The Martian is $5.99 for Kindle. You’ll have a blast with it. Here’s the trailer for the film:

Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes

Liars Inc coverThis is the latest addition to my Kindle. I love the cover — it’s about as close to perfect as it gets.

It’s what drew my initial interest, to be truthful. But this review sealed the deal: Max is so well-drawn it’s hard not to be completely sympathetic to his predicament…the author twists and turns at all the right moments. Even the keenest mystery buffs will be hard-pressed to predict the book’s finale, which packs quite the emotional and physical punch. Captivating to the very end.

This is a “dark and twisted psychological tale that will keep readers guessing, ” according to the official description. It’s published by HarperCollins, and is ostensibly for young adults. But, at this point, that only means its main character is a teenager. Age of the reader means little. Modern YA novels should never be dismissed by adults.

And look at that cover! Is that not great? Somebody deserves a raise. Today’s price doesn’t hurt, either: $1.99 for Kindle. I’m looking forward to this one.

The Long And Faraway Gone by Lou Berney

faraway gone coverThis is the latest addition to my Kindle. I chose it for several reasons.

First, the description:  In the summer of 1986, two tragedies rocked Oklahoma City. Six movie-theater employees were killed in an armed robbery, while one inexplicably survived. Then, a teenage girl vanished from the annual State Fair. Neither crime was ever solved.

Twenty-five years later, the reverberations of those unsolved cases quietly echo through survivors’ lives. A private investigator in Vegas, Wyatt’s latest inquiry takes him back to a past he’s tried to escape—and drags him deeper into the harrowing mystery of the movie house robbery that left six of his friends dead.

Also, the testimonials: “The Long and Faraway Gone is that rare literary gem — a dark, quintessentially cool noir novel that is both deeply poignant, and very funny . . . as hip, hilarious, and entertaining as it is wrenching, beautiful, and ultimately redemptive.” (Huffington Post)

Then, there’s the big-time publisher (HarperCollins), and the crazy low price: $1.99.

All those things add up to a pretty safe bet, I think. I’m happy to have this one stored away and ready to go, for some future “I get to choose a new book to read!” day. Check it out, if you’re so inclined.

Behold: The Birth Of A New Shopping Holiday!

prime day

They’re calling it Prime Day, and it’s created by our Amazon overlords. I’m unclear why they chose today — July 15 — as the date for this new day o’ deals. But I suspect it’s because there’s a long dry spell during the summer months, when there are no big shopping holidays. Dunno. In any case, it looks like there are some crazy deals going on, and new ones being added all the time. When I logged on a few minutes ago the site was bogging down and acting a little 1998. So, apparently they’re getting the traffic they wanted. Check it out, if you’re so inclined. I have my eye on this Kindle Fire tablet for $60 off. Please note: to get the deals you have to be a member of Amazon Prime. We’re members here at Suggestaholic World Headquarters, and love it. The free shipping is a great benefit, and their Netflix-like streaming service is pretty good, too. We consider it money well-spent.

UPDATE: Apparently this little experiment didn’t go over very well. Check this out.

My Seinfeld Year by Fred Stoller

seinfeld coverThis is a Kindle Single, which means it’s short. About 60 pages, to be exact. But it’s a good one, and has a nice price to go along with it: $1.99 as I’m typing.

Fred Stoller is a comedian, actor, and writer — you might recognize him from Everybody Loves Raymond, and a bunch of other TV shows. Back in 1994 he ran into an old acquaintance at a party, someone he knew from his early standup days in NYC: Larry David.

David invited Stoller to submit a spec script to Seinfeld, the show he co-created. That led to a one-year stint as a staff writer on the program — one of the most popular in the country at the time.

This book gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the show, and the personalities involved. I read it several years ago, and really enjoyed it. In fact, I’ve been meaning to re-read it. I’m a huge Seinfeld fan, and this kind of thing fascinates me. Stoller is a good writer, self-deprecating and honest. Grab it, if you’re interested in the inner-workings of sitcoms, the life of a TV writer, or just the great program itself.