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Posts Tagged ‘Tracy Ross

Good Read – A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

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A Game of Thrones
by George R.R. Martin

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Product Description:

Here is the first volume in George R. R. Martin’s magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords. As a whole, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Magic, mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill these pages and transport us to a world unlike any we have ever experienced. Already hailed as a classic, George R. R. Martin’s stunning series is destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.


Tracy Ross says:

In 2005 Time magazine famously called George R.R. Martin “the American Tolkien” based on his A Song of Ice and Fire series.  After one reads A Game of Thrones, it’s clear that Martin deserves at least that much praise.  Tolkien’s chief talent as a writer was his ability to build worlds.  Martin shares Tolkien’s talent for creating an expansive world that his readers can and will get lost in.  However, whereas Tolkien’s characters were quite clearly good or evil, Martin’s occupy the rather large grey area that exists between the two extremes.  As you read this book, you’ll be transported to the world of Westeros, where the seasons last years rather than months, and powerful families wrestle for control of a great iron throne made from the melted swords of the conquered enemies of a long-dead king.  Martin does not treat his characters well.  There’s plenty of incest, rape, betrayal and murder to be found in Westeros, but also a surprising amount of honor, courage and duty.  In short, the characters in A Game of Thrones talk and act like real human beings.  Characters commit horrible acts out of self-interest and self-preservation rather than to fulfill some grand evil plot.  Finally, don’t assume that your favorite characters will be around at the end of this series.  Martin has consistently shown the willingness to kill any character at any time if it advances the greater story.  And what a story it is; once you start reading A Game of Thrones, your biggest challenge will be putting it down long enough to work and sleep.

Check out our Good Reads page for more recommended books.

Written by Matt Markgraf

August 3, 2011 at 11:45 am

Halfway Home: The Top 10 Albums of the Half-Year

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2010 probably won’t go down as one of the greatest years for music.  Usually reliable artists like The Hold Steady, Band of Horses, Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, and Josh Ritter seem to have taken a step back with their newest releases.  Furthermore, there have been very few notable debut albums released in 2010.  The result is a year that is without a truly great album at the halfway point.  However, there have been several very good records released this year.  Here are my 10 favorite albums of the past six months.

10. Product Details The Tallest Man On Earth – The Wild Hunt The Swedish Bob Dylan tops his fine 2008 debut Shallow Grave.  Best song: “King of Spain.”

9. Product Details Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me The only triple-album of harp-driven indie-folk you’ll ever need.  Best song: “Good Intentions Paving Co.”

8. Product Details Vampire Weekend – Contra Buzz band lives up to the hype with their second album of intelligent, bouncy pop.  Best song: “Taxi Cab.”

7. Product Details Deer Tick – The Black Dirt Sessions  Stark, somber third album from Rhode Island singer/songwriter John McCauley.  Best song: “Mange.”

6.  Product Details Dr. Dog – Shame, Shame Philadelphia band adds The Flaming Lips to their potent mix of The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and The Band.  Best song: “Shame, Shame.”

5.  Product Details Surfer Blood – Astro Coast  Easily the best debut album of the year to this point.This Florida band has released the second best Weezer album ever.  Best song: “Swim.”

4. Product Details The Morning Benders – Big Echo Guitar-driven pop backed by a “wall of sound” that would make Phil Spector proud.  Best song: “Stitches.”

3. Product Details Spoon – Transference This isn’t their best album, but it’s still better than almost anything else released this year.  Best song: “The Mystery Zone.”

2. Product Details The National – High Violet If you like your rock moody and literate, I’d like to introduce you to your new favorite band.  Best song: “Bloodbuzz Ohio.”

1.   Product Details The Black Keys – Brothers Career highlight for the Ohio-based blues/rock duo.  The most complete and enjoyable album released this year.  Best song: “Everlasting Light.”

The Black Keys “Brothers” album review

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I don’t expect nearly as much out of music as I used to. Let’s face it; at this juncture in popular music’s history, everything is derivative. The so-called “music snobs” who scour the internet in search of something truly unique usually end up settling for tepid and mediocre bands like Animal Collective, when their time would probably be better spent listening to old Howlin’ Wolf, Bob Dylan, and The Clash records. Akron Ohio’s The Black Keys have never claimed to be musical visionaries. Singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney have been making fuzzed-out, pummeling blues-rock since 2002’s The Big Come Up, on which they covered The Beatle’s, “She Said, She Said”, andDo The Rump, by Junior Kimbrough.

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Written by Tracy Ross

June 12, 2010 at 4:03 pm