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1960s

“Queen of Kenosha:” A Guitar-Playing, Nazi-Busting Heroine

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October is Graphic Novel Writing Month, and to celebrate, why not try reading a gem from this genre? Queen of Kenosha, (Animal Media Group) written by Howard Shapiro and illustrated by Erica Chan, is a vibrant tale featuring a heroine who is passionate about the work she does, both in the music industry and as a secret operative.  Want more BookTrib? Sign up NOW for news and giveaways! It’s 1963 New York City, and Nina Overstreet is anything but your typical recruit for an undercover mission to bring Nazis down. Primarily a singer trying to make it big with a record company with the help of her close friend and agent Christina, Nina also lends a hand at a karate class to make…

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Modesty Blaise: Clever, Cunning, Daring and Kick-Ass

in Fiction by

Modesty Blaise was first introduced as a comic-strip in the middle of the 1960s by author Peter O’Donnell. Not only was she beautiful, she was clever, cunning, daring and she knew how to kick ass. For me, she was the heroine I wanted to be. For those who don’t know who Modesty Blaise is, please allow me to introduce you: Modesty Blaise is the anti-James Bond James Bond. That is, yes, she occasionally went on missions for the British Secret Intelligence Service, but that was only after she retired from being the head of The Network, her own international criminal organization. Along with her sidekick, second-in-command and trusted friend Garvin (they debuted in 1963 and still never really got together, by…

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‘Yonkers Yonkers!’: Patricia Vaccarino’s New Book Explores Racial Tensions and Friendship during Woodstock

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Author and PR specialist Patricia Vaccarino’s new book, YONKERS Yonkers! A Story of Race and Redemption, is an enriching and beautiful narrative of friendship, breaking social boundaries, and music. In the time of Woodstock, the Vietnam War, the Rolling Stones and more, YONKERS Yonkers! looks at social and racial conventions of a tumultuous and changing time period. Concetta Mary Bernadette Colangelo, aka Cookie, is not your typical protagonist. Small-time drug dealer, and big-time trouble, she may be a self-described gangster, but there’s nothing she wants more than to go to Woodstock and meet Alan ‘Blind Owl’ Wilson from the band Canned Heat, whom she thinks she looks like, and believes will understand her in a way no one else can. With a mentally ill mother,…

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Gloria Steinem Biopic Will Bring the Icon’s Memoir to Life

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Julianne Moore is set to star as Steinem, with director Julie Taymor at the helm. As acclaimed masters in their fields, both women bring as much to the table as the feminist icon herself. Moore had an Oscar-winning turn in Still Alice, the film of Lisa Genova’s novel about early-onset Alzheimer’s. Likewise, Taylor is the brains behind a Tony Award-winning production of The Lion King—though biopics are also familiar territory. In 2002 she directed Frida, in which Salma Hayek played the artist Frida Kahlo. “When I read the book, it demanded that it be a film,” Taymor said of Steinem’s memoir. “It’s so vividly cinematic.” My Life on the Road, Gloria Steinem My Life on the Road is Steinem’s coming-of-age…

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Steven Gaines is Insightful and Hilarious in ‘One of These Things First’

in Non-Fiction by

In the memoir One of These Things First, Steven Gaines, a gay 15-year-old boy from a conservative Jewish family in the 1960s, humorously shares a bizarre account of his teenage years in Brooklyn and a stint at Payne Whitney, a private mental institution in NYC. Steven recalls a multitude of childhood memories, some disturbing, many sexually charged (think Augusten Burroughs and Running With Scissors). Gaines’ memories include his fantasies about the lawnmower guy, agonizing time spent in his grandfather’s bra and girdle store where he spies on shoppers while hidden from view, befriending an aspiring actress at the empty theater in town, dealings with a claustrophobic cooped up in a small apartment with his parents, and the mean boys in the neighborhood who…

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Tessa Hadley’s clever girl is just like us

in Fiction by

What happened to her? Where is she, we want to know.We wonder this as we read the latest from British novelist Tessa Hadley, whose Clever Girl (Harper, March) is narrated by Stella, who details the events of her life, from early childhood on. A first person narrator is of course not uncommon, but Hadley’s approach is a bit unusual as the narration occasionally shifts into the present tense, reminding us that somewhere Stella sits, an older woman looking back on her life and telling her story, from her girlhood in Bristol in the 1950s and 60s to the present. This literary device is part of what creates the tension in the book. The novel is somewhat episodic, true to real life…

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