Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Archive for the category “Books”

Audible Review: The Deep Blue Good-By

For 20 years ⁠— from 1964 through 1984 ⁠— the Travis McGee novels by John D. MacDonald were a mainstay in the mystery genre. With each of the 21 titles including a color in their name, this was one of the first examples of books in a series having a theme. Living on a houseboat called The Busted Flush, which he won in a card game, the protagonist, McGee ⁠— who is neither a cop nor an investigator ⁠— is a “salvage consultant” for hire, regularly finding himself in a variety of mysterious predicaments. The first novel in the series, which had a major influence on Lee Child — the author of the best-selling Jack Reacher series — explains how McGee only works when his cash runs out, and his rule is simple: he’ll help you find whatever was taken from you, as long as he can keep half.

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The 100 Greatest Console Video Games: 1977-1987

Gamers like myself love to debate what should be included on lists of the greatest video games of all time. Various media publications capitalize on this by creating lists, mainly to get people to click through and engage. But sometimes a slideshow on a website or a YouTube video isn’t sufficient. Sometimes you want to take a deep dive into a top-100 video game list, immersing yourself in the experience in a more satisfying way. Moreover, many of these lists completely ignore anything from before 1985, which is when the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) rocked the world with its accessibility and plethora of great games. For these reasons and more Brett Weiss’ The 100 Greatest Console Video Games: 1977-1987 is a book you should read.

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Audible Review: Dusty by Dusty Rhodes

Dusty Rhodes is one of the most influential and successful professional wrestlers of all time. He was a force to be reckoned with in the NWA, WWF, and WCW, among the other wrestling promotions he’s been affiliated with. This book, Dusty, came out in 2005. Today, 15 years later, Dusty is no longer with us. In the book he talks about how his son Cody is out in Hollywood trying to be an actor. These parts made me laugh because Cody now runs and wrestles in one of the top professional wrestling promotions in the world. Considering Dusty died just 10 years after this book came out, I’m glad he took the time to write it as it would have been a shame if he hadn’t done so.

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The Infernal City & Lord of Souls

For more than 25 years, the Elder Scrolls has been one of the most popular and influential video game series in existence. Its success has resulted in its lore permeating numerous mediums, including books. In 2012, one year after the release of the incredibly popular video game Skyrim, two novels were published: The Infernal City and Lord of Souls, both by Greg Keyes. These books are a singular narrative split across two books, making for an intricate and compelling tale steeped in Elder Scrolls lore.

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24: Behind The Scenes

Over the past couple years, I took the time to start watching the wildly popular TV show 24. I also had the opportunity to interview the star of the show, Kiefer Sutherland, which was a honor. I also had the pleasure of seeing him perform his music live, and I got to hang out with him afterward at a nearby bar. You could say it was a memorable 24 hours. If you’re into all things 24 and looking to learn more, 24: Behind The Scenes is 168 pages covering the first fives seasons of the show. Replete with insights from those involved, a foreword by Kiefer Sutherland, and more than 200 photos, this book is another winner from Insight Editions. Check out the full description below, and make sure to pick up a copy of this photo book celebrating all things 24!

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Ultimate Warrior: A Life Lived Forever

The Ultimate Warrior was my favorite wrestler as a child. His colorful, high-energy, over-the-top persona grabbed my attention and captivated my imagination. There were mat tacticians, high-flyers, brawlers, and then there was the Ultimate Warrior. He was an amalgamation of styles, which made him unique. He had a more impressive physique than Hulk Hogan, colorful attire that rivaled Macho Man Randy Savage’s iconic outfits, and he could fly around the ring like in a way unlike anyone his size was doing. Unfortunately, Warrior’s life was cut short at the age of 54. He died on April 8, 2014. I saw him the day before. Thankfully, there are several ways to reflect on the man and his career, including Ultimate Warrior: A Life Lived Forever, a beautiful hardback book from Insight Editions.

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Audible Review: More Than Just Hardcore by Terry Funk

Terry Funk is one of the most influential wrestlers of all time. With a career spanning decades, you’d think that his autobiography, More Than Just Hardcore, would be fascinating. While this Audible Original was an easy and entertaining listen, it didn’t blow my mind. There weren’t any shocking revelations, dirt on other wrestlers, or anything of that nature. What you get here is the story of a man who is content with the life he’s lived. To me, that makes for an inspiring audiobook replete with life lessons.

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Audible Review: Best Seat In The House

From 2002 through most of 2014 Justin Roberts served as one of WWE’s ring announcers. Fans who watched WWE during that time period, no doubt, recognize his signature sound, including the way he’d elongate “Johnnnnnnn Ceeeeeena!” Roberts is now the man behind the mic at All Elite Wrestling, the hot upstart in the pro wrestling industry. However, if you’re interested in reading (or listening to) his journey through the world of WWE, Best Seat In The House is your opportunity to do so.

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The Unofficial Wrestling Figure Retrospective 1990-1994

I am a big pro wrestling fan. Growing up in the 1990s means I have fond memories of the wildly popular WWF Hasbro action figures that came out during the first few years of that decade. Crazy, over-the-top commercials promoting the wild and wacky toys, including a miniature WWF ring where my tiny titans could battle it out to become the World Wrestling Federation Champion! It was a glorious time to be a fan, and I still own my WWF Hasbro figures. When I heard that a book came out celebrating these cherished WWF Hasbro figures, I knew I had to check it out. So, is this 388-page tome of pro wrestling action figures’ glory days worth buying? Read on for my thoughts on The Unofficial Wrestling Figure Retrospective 1990-1994.

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Audible Review: The Death of WCW

I grew up watching professional wrestling in the 1990s, during the famous Monday Night War between Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation (now WWE) and Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling (WCW). It was an exciting time to be a fan, as I’d switch back and forth on Monday nights between WWF Monday Night Raw and WCW Monday Nitro to see what both promotions were serving up that week. Both WWF and WCW eventually created secondary prime-time shows, over-saturating the market with their content. And WCW suffered so greatly that it was bought up by Vince McMahon for far less than it was worth just a few years prior.

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