Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Archive for the category “Books”

Book Review: Wrestling With Pixels

We are one week away from WrestleMania, and everyone is cooped up in their houses; so, now is a great time to revisit some epic professional wrestling video games. Not sure which ones to fire up? Wrestling With Pixels, a new 242-page book all about the history of pro wrestling video games, is your guide.

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Audible Review: Kayfabe by Sean Oliver

Are you a wrestling fan holed up in your house because of the Coronavirus? If so, then you’ve got plenty of time to catch up on great wrestling books. Kayfabe by Sean Oliver is one of those books. Narrated by the author, Kayfabe is a collection of personal stories from the founder of Kayfabe Commentaries, a professional wrestling shoot interview company. The only complaint I have is that the editing of this audiobook is a little sloppy. For example, there were at least a couple times when the author did a second take of a line and both were included in the final version of this Audible Original. I’ve encountered this before with other audiobooks; however, it’s something that should have been caught and corrected in the editing process.

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Book Review: WWE Beyond Extreme

DK Publishing is back with another action-packed WWE book. In WWE Beyond Extreme you get 127 pages of high-flying, over-the-top WWE goodness from past and present to satiate even the most voracious of fans. Check out my video review below to learn more and get a preview of what’s inside.

Book Review: Suze Orman’s The Ultimate Retirement Guide for 50+

Suze Orman is my favorite personal finance expert. Unlike most people my age, I used to watch The Suze Orman Show every Saturday night during most of its 13-year run on CNBC. I even met Suze at a book signing in New York when The Money Class came out in 2011, which was her last book. When Suze turned 65, she decided to stop her CNBC show and retire from the public spotlight. Suze and her wife sold their homes, moved to a small island, and they went fishing. That’s not a joke. Suze and her wife, KT, go fishing all the time. Suze even won several fishing trophies because she’s so good at it. So, why did Suze turn away from all this fame? She decided to find out who Suze Orman is when she’s not busy being Suze Orman. It’s an important lesson for all of us to consider. When we retire and step away from whatever it is we’re known for, are we happy? I’m glad to report that Suze is happy. However, she saw this revelation as an opportunity to write a book solely focused on retirement for those that are 50 and older. After all, when she was a financial advisor retirement was her speciality. Having read this book, I can confidently say that it’s Suze greatest book to date and her passion and knowledge radiate off of every page. It’s absolutely the best book I’ve ever read on personal finance.

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Book Review: The Art of Fire Emblem Awakening

Fire Emblem is a series of fantasy tactical role-playing games, starting with the first entry in 1990 released on the Famicom in Japan. Since then, the series has grown in popularity and it is approaching nearly 20 games in total. One of those games is Fire Emblem Awakening, which came out for the Nintendo 3DS in 2012. The game was met with universal praise from critics, and it has since sold more than two million copies worldwide. This game is the first time I ever heard of the Fire Emblem series, and it’s an entry that people continue to recommend and revisit. The beloved nature of Fire Emblem Awakening is one of the reasons why Dark Horse decided to create The Art of Fire Emblem Awakening book. I spotted this book at Nintendo New York the last time I was there, so I decided to check it out.

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Book Review: The Art Of Splatoon 2

Splatoon 2 is one of the most wildly popular games for Nintendo Switch. And at Nintendo Philly Meetup, a group I founded and run, we play Splatoon 2 all the time at our monthly meetups at TAP Esports in Philadelphia’s Chinatown. Why? Because the multiplayer modes in Splatoon 2 are highly addictive. There’s something about the crazy art style, whacky music, and frenetic action of this game that keeps us, and millions of Nintendo fans worldwide, coming back for more. With this in mind, Dark Horse published a book, The Art of Splatoon 2, that is dedicated to providing fans with a deep dive into the art and design of this instant classic.

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Book Review: The Art of Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey is my favorite game on Nintendo Switch. Why? It’s quite simple. I was born in 1985, which is the same year the Nintendo Entertainment System was released in the U.S., and I have fond memories of playing every entry in the Super Mario Bros. series. Some of my favorites include the original Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, and, my all-time favorite, Super Mario World. Super Mario Odyssey continues the innovative evolution of Nintendo’s signature character, while simultaneously paying tribute to the entries that preceded it. It’s a fantastical journey that can be enjoyed by those young and old, and The Art of Super Mario Odyssey by Dark Horse takes a deep dive into how this masterpiece was made.

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My Favorite Books Of 2019

I read 53 books in 2019, which is more than the previous year. I enjoy consuming stories as audiobooks on Audible, eBooks on my Kindle, or as old-fashioned physical books. Thrillers, autobiographies, self-help books—I love them all! Below are five my favorite books that I read in 2019 and my thoughts on them.

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Audible Review: The 64th Man

Audible has consistently raised the bar when it comes to audiobooks. With The 64th Man, the bar has been raised yet again. Starring professional wrestler and actor John Cena, this Audible Original is an excellent, slickly produced, humorous tale about an athlete trying to find himself and his place in the world. Despite being a casual sports fan, I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook.

I was impressed by John Cena’s excellent voice over work, and the supporting cast is wonderful too—especially Jane Curtin as Mildred. At a little over five hours in length, this story blows by and it has a satisfying conclusion. While some audiobooks have incorporated sound effects in their production, The 64th Man takes everything to another level. It felt like listening to a movie or TV show, which made for a highly enjoyable and immersive experience. If this is the future of audiobooks, then the future is bright.

 

Audible Review: The Thief of Always by Clive Barker

Prior to reading The Thief of Always, I had heard great things about this book. What I didn’t expect was how much I’d wind up enjoying it. The Thief of Always is now not only one of my favorite Clive Barker books, it’s one of my all-time favorite books in general, regardless of the author. Why? Because it is a tightly-woven fable with vivid imagery, whimsy, and grandeur. What impressed me most was the writing style. I’m used to Clive Barker’s dark, macabre writing style. You won’t get any of that here. It’s so dramatically different that I thought I was reading another author’s book. The Thief of Always has a charming and lovingly presented style that goes down as smoothly as an ice-cold orange cream soda on a sweltering summer day. The characters are splendid, and the story is epic and succinct all at once. While reading this book, I experienced the same joy that I did from watching The Neverending Story as a child. I was filled with awe and happiness because I was fully immersed in a world I didn’t want to leave. Even better, the narrator for this Audible Original is perfect. His warm, emotive voice perfectly captures the mood and tone of the book and enhances it tenfold. Everyone should experience The Thief of Always—it’s a timeless tale for young and old about the wonders of the world . . . and beyond.

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