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Blogcritics Editors’ Picks: April 19 through April 25

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We have some killer book reviews on board this week for the literary set, while in a change of mood, the politics section becomes reflective. In between are game reviews, music reviews, and some industry insider stuff in Sci/Tech. Rather read about sports? Yeah, we’ve got that, too.

Let me remind those of you who are chosen that you are invited to submit your own pick for next week (due to space considerations, please limit it to one). Please feel free to email me your picks (including the URL) by next Tuesday.


From Music Editor Connie Phillips:

In Bootleg Nation: The Rolling Stones 02/24/73, Mat Brewster not only reviews the particular Rolling Stones concert mentioned but also looks at why bootlegged recordings are so special to the fans.

Richard Marcus delivers another insightful review with CD Review: Funky Funky New York Various Artists. He looks not only at what is on this CD but the genre as a whole.

More than just a review, John Owen gives a comprehensive look at George Jones’ career in CD Review: The Essential George Jones. It is an informative and entertaining read.


From Books Editor Natalie Bennett:

There were two excellent reviews of books addressing “The United States and war” this week, which make an irresistible pair.

Book Review: Falling Through the Earth by Danielle Trussoni, by Tim Gebhart
Tim provides a clear and reflective account of the nature of the memoir — of a daughter who grew up with a father shattered by the Vietnam experience — and an interesting reflection on the new problems that the genre is experiencing.

Book Review: When The War Came Home: The Inside Story Of Reservists and the Families They Leave Behind by Nik Dirga
Bringing the story right up-to-date, Nik reviews a memoir from a peace activist whose husband is a reservist who was sent to Iraq. Nik finds that the candour of the writer makes up for the few flaws in the book.

From Editor Gordon Hauptfleisch:

I’m always on the lookout for a good mystery or police procedural series. Howard Dratch’s review of Acqua Alta by Donna Leon introduced more fully a writer I haven’t read, and brought to vivid life an intriguing mystery story and promising series that is – and this is the clincher – character driven. Indeed, as described by Howard, it doesn’t seem that it will take much effort and just a short amount of time before I, too, can “settle into the comfort of characters already known to me, who I like and who will only become better known.” The exotic setting in Venice doesn’t hurt either. Plus we get a lesson in art forgery — I’m always looking for a new hobby, too.


No picks this week.


From Culture Editor Diana Hartman:

Dave Nalle poignantly cites the productive differences between environmentalism and conservationism, between do-gooders and those who do good in Earth Day vs. Arbor Day.


From Politics Editor Dave Nalle:

Off the Road: Train Travel Could Be a Delight by Sean Aqui
A nice personal reminder of what we have lost by letting our rail system fail our nation.

A Child’s Dreams, A Man’s Nightmares by Paul Jordan, Sr.

A heartfelt consideration of the conflicting thoughts a father faces when his son wants to join the military in a time of war.

From Asst. Politics Editor Mark Schannon:

Nine Days Observing the Sick Old Man of Europe by Tom Donelson
Interesting on-site view of some the problems plaguing Europe and Europe’s seeming inability to address them.


From Sports Editor Matthew T. Sussman:

Jerry Koosman, The Most Underrated Pitcher of His Era by Sal Marinello
A coherent statistical argument + praise of a left-handed pitcher = money in my book.


From Gaming Editor Ken Edwards:

PC Game Review: Deimos Rising by W.E. Wallo
A PC port of a Mac game? You don’t see that much. Deimos Rising is a an entertaining vertical-scrolling shooter that brings back fond memories of yesteryear.

Xbox 360 Review: College Hoops 2K6 by Matt Paprocki
Finally, after all these years, you do not have to pay thousands of VIP points for Air Hockey. Oh and this basketball sim is a nice upgrade from NBA 2K6 too.


From Sci/Tech Editor Lisa McKay:

Phillip Winn gives readers the ultimate insider’s look at how web sites can unwittingly run afoul of community-driven sites like Digg in this clear-eyed and honest account of Blogcritics’ own experience in Digg Faces New Accusations Of Censorship: An Inside Look.

I would also like to give a nod to Sal Marinello’s piece which is eloquently described by my colleague Diana Hartman below.

From Culture Editor Diana Hartman:

Certified Personal Trainer Sal Marinello takes the cake and throws it in the face of every zealot in the diet industry. Strugglers everywhere can’t help but appreciate Sal’s no-nonsense, comical swipe at everyone from the Surgeon General to Berkeley’s Center for Weight and Health in The Healthy Skeptic: I Hate The Food Police And You Should Too.

Picked by last week’s chosen authors:

From Richard Marcus:

Dave Nalle’s Earth Day Vs. Arbor Day isn’t going to make a lot of people happy, but I agree with his assesment of the whole idea of Earth Day. He and I may differ on other issues but he’s bang on here, and his arguments make a lot of sense to me. If for no other reason than to celebrate the fact that two people from opposite ends of the political spectrum (or are we — read my comment at the post) can find common ground, this post is my pick of the week.

From Glen Boyd:

My pick is Natalie Davis’ excellent anaylsis of Al Stewart’s Discography Part 1. Al stole my date at one of his concerts years ago (long story that Natalie already knows), but I still can’t deny albums like Love Chronicles and Modern Times. Thanks for reminding me, Natalie.

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  • Nik

    Thank you kindly natalie — although I need to note it’s “Dirga,” not “Durga.” (I’m used to it!) Thanks again!

  • Fixed, Nik! Sorry about that.

  • Many thanks Connies for the nod,I’ve always loved late sixties early seventies funk. So finding this little horde of lost treasures to review was a treat. Of interest to all you Bob Marley freaks out there, this disc is released by the former owner of Studio One in Kingston, who now lives somewhere in New York City and runs a record label.

  • Many thanks Connies for the nod,I’ve always loved late sixties early seventies funk. So finding this little horde of lost treasures to review was a treat. Of interest to all you Bob Marley freaks out there, this disc is released by the former owner of Studio One in Kingston, who now lives somewhere in New York City and runs a record label.

  • Thanks for the nod, Connie and congrats to everyone else.

  • John Owen

    Hey, hey! Thanks for the nod, Connie! Richard, that review of yours is outstanding work… as a dedicated funkateer (I gots my Funk Express Card and everything) I need to get that disc.