Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Archive for the category “Books”

Book Review: Super Mario Bros. Encyclopedia

Super Mario Bros. Encyclopedia covers the first 30 years of the most well-known video game franchise ever. This book was originally released in Japan three years ago and it is now finally available in an English translation. Unfortunately, it doesn’t cover any Super Mario games beyond it’s original publication date: 2015. So, you’re not going to get any info about Super Mario Odyssey or any other recent titles in this 255-page tome. Another strange omission is there’s no essay from Shigeru Miyamoto, the visionary producer and director of the original Super Mario Bros. game and a constant creative force in the franchise. Instead, we get an introduction by Takashi Tezuka, one of the designers from the original game. Sure, his insight is interesting. But I would have preferred an introduction by Shigeru Miyamoto and an afterword by Takashi Tezuka, since Miyamoto is more important and well known. Aside from these gripes, there’s plenty to enjoy in this book. It covers all of the major games from the original Super Mario Bros to Super Mario 3D World. This beautifully bound book will let you track the evolution of the Goomba, witness the introduction of Yoshi, and relive your favorite levels. It also includes tips to help you find every coin, star, sun, and mushroom, and it even provides explanations for glitches. Overall, Super Mario Bros. Encyclopedia is an excellent book that fitingly pays tribute to my favorit video game character of all time. It’s a reminder and celebration of the magical characters and games that only Nintendo can create.

Book Review: The World Of The Rock

DK Publishing is back with another new hardback WWE book: The World of the Rock. Is it worth buying? Below is my video review of this 160-page book, which is available now.

Why Did James Patterson’s BookShots Fail?

On June 7, 2016, I reported that James Patterson, the world’s best-selling author, set out to start a revolution in the publishing industry with the launch of his BookShots line. These bite-sized books were marketed as being 150 pages or less and they were priced at $4.99. Patterson said, at the time, that he had 117 ready to go and planned on releasing 50 in 2016. As of right now, only 66 have been published over the past 16 months and there hasn’t been a new thriller in the line since December 2017’s Avalanche. With all signs pointing to this revolution not succeeding you might be wondering, why didn’t BookShots take off the way James Patterson had hoped? Let’s take a look.

Read more…

Book Review: SNES Omnibus Volume 1

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) is my all-time favorite video game console. I have fond memories of playing Ken Griffey Jr. baseball, Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario World, a variety of WWF pro wrestling games, and more. I’d play these games solo, as well as at my cousins’ house during sleepovers or down the shore in the summer. It was a fantastic system, which is why I was eager to check out The SNES Omnibus: Volume 1 by Brett Weiss. This beautifully produced hardback book is 416 pages and it’s the first in a two-part series that analyzes all of the games you love or, perhaps, hate from the SNES library. This tome alphabetically covers games A through M and its sequel will be comprised of the rest. At least a page is dedicated to each game, including box art, screenshots, a synopsis, a review excerpt, and insights. It can be read cover to cover or as a reference book where you jump from game to game however you like. I chose to jump around, looking up games I owned and reading about ones I always wanted to play or was curious about. It made for a highly enjoyable read and I plan on revisiting this book many times, as I’m sure you will too. The SNES Omnibus: Volume 1 by Brett Weiss is an excellent tribute to an iconic system and video game library, and I can’t wait to read Volume 2.

The Legend Of Zelda Encyclopedia: Deluxe Edition

Dark Horse is back with another epic tome paying tribute to The Legend of Zelda, one of the most successful and enduring video game franchises. The Legend of Zelda Encyclopedia: Deluxe Edition honors the game that started it all by recreating the original gold cartridge as faithfully as possible. The book comes with a black polypropylene sleeve, lined with velvet flocking, and a scale instruction booklet with fun, theme-appropriate material inside.

Read more…

Review: ThrillerFest XIII

ThrillerFest is the premier conference for thriller writers and readers. ThrillerFext XIII marks my fourth time at this event and it fittingly kicked off on Friday the 13th. Over two days, numerous panels took place on a wide range of topics – everything from how to best execute a fictional character to how to handle sex scenes in thrillers. These panels were comprised of new, best-selling, and seasoned authors, all offering a unique perspective on myriad issues and trends.

Read more…

Book Review: Creating The Filmation Generation

Creating The Filmation Generation is a fascinating autobiography by Lou Scheimer, one of the original founders of Filmation, an animation studio that produced He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Fat Albert, Star Trek, Mighty Mouse, Tom and Jerry, Batman, and much more. TwoMorrows Publishing is behind this book and it’s a quality read through and through. It takes the reader from 1928 up until 2010, just three years prior to Scheimer’s death. In addition to the insightful text, this book features great photos, posters, and imagery befitting an animation icon.

Read more…

Book Review: The President Is Missing

As you probably gathered from my previous post, I was excited about reading The President Is Missing. Unfortunately, after reading 10 chapters, I lost interest in the book. It failed to capture my attention because nothing compelling occurred in the first 10 chapters. Something shocking has to happen in the first chapter of a thriller so that it makes me want to keep turning the pages to see how it all comes together. Unfortunately, it seems that Bill Clinton’s influence on this book was to the story’s detriment as it moves at a snail’s pace and is bogged down by political jargon and details that get in the way of the James Patterson’s normally fast-paced writing style. I made a decision a few years ago to stop reading books that aren’t good. I realized that there is no need to waste hours of my time on a book that isn’t enjoyable. To my disappointment, The President Is Missing is one of those books.

James Patterson & Bill Clinton Discuss New Novel In Philly

Photo by David Burnett

As you may have heard, President Bill Clinton has teamed up with the world’s best-selling author, James Patterson, on a new novel: The President Is Missing. From what I’ve been told, this is the first time a former U.S. President has co-written a novel with a best-selling author. Both Clinton and Patterson are currently on a book tour to promote this new venture and last week they made a stop in Philadelphia.

Read more…

Dark Horse: He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe

With rumors rumbling about a new Masters of the Universe movie finally seeing the light of day, now is a great time to reconnect with the original pop culture phenomenon known as He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. The best way to do so – aside from watching the 1980s TV series – is by picking up the five fabulous books published by Dark Horse. From the TV shows (including She-Ra) to the minicomics and everything in between, these books cover anything and everything He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. As with all of Dark Horse’s books, these publications are filled with insightful information, compelling visuals, and behind-the-scenes information you won’t find anywhere else – and it’s all lovingly compiled in these beautiful tomes that no Masters of the Universe fan should be without. Below is a rundown of all of the books and their official synopses so you know what to expect from each one.

Read more…

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: