Mr. Basketball

by Michael Schumacher


Schumacher, author of a book on the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald, takes on another legend of epic proportions in his biography of former Minneapolis Lakers basketball star George Mikan. One of the most dominant big men to ever play the game, Mikan, at 6-foot-10, stood head and shoulders above his competition, suffocating opponents so completely that officials changed the rules—twice—to try and contain him. (Before Mikan, goaltending was allowed in college basketball.) Schumacher tells a fascinating, detailed history of a player who at times seemed to carry an entire team—and the NBA—on his shoulders.


Protect and Defend

by Vince Flynn

Atria, $27

When Hezbollah nabs a top U.S. official in Iraq, CIA operative/assassin Mitch Rapp checks his Geneva Convention rulebook at the door. Torture, assassinations, and full-on, Mosul-style street combat follow. Flynn’s fast-paced thriller is full of top-secret missions, Israeli saboteurs, Iranian fanatics, sectarian violence, questionable interrogations, and plenty of trigger-happy private-security contractors. One added bonus—or not, depending on your political leanings: The author uses his ultra-patriotic spy novel to comment on Islam, relations with Iran, and nearly everything controversial about the war on terror.



Vicious Vicious


This long-awaited disc finds the crowd-pleasing Twin Cities—based act settling into a groove somewhere between Michael Jackson circa “Off the Wall” and KISS post-platform-boots. It’s pop music that seriously rocks but doesn’t take rock too seriously. On Parade, frontman Erik Appelwick (also of Tapes ‘n Tapes and the Hopefuls) makes generous—and skillful­­—use of both falsetto and wah-wah pedals, two classic rock staples. The disc lacks the consistency of the earlier Don’t Look So Surprised, but the playful, clipped tunes and tongue-in-cheek lyrics make for easy listening.
* Click here to visit our Music Clips page and listen to a song by Vicious Vicious.


Sad Clown Bad Summer Number 9



The Minneapolis hip-hop supergroup’s new EP is a nostalgic, danceable tribute to summer, love, and youth. And just when Sean Daley, otherwise known as Slug, has rapped enough about a particularly bad hangover or the endowments of an old girlfriend to make a good Catholic girl squirm, he adds something so simple and earnest you can’t help but sigh. “Sunshine,” which opens, um, candidly, with a description of being “in front of the toilet, hands and knees,” quickly shifts into an appreciative embrace of a soothing summer day in the Twin Cities. A great winter respite.

TOME FOR THE HOLIDAY: Recent releases that make great gifts

A Tradition of Purple

by Jim Bruton (Sports Publishing): The ups and fourth-downs of the Vikings’ first 46 years.
The Land of Amber Waters by Doug Hoverson (U of M Press): An intoxicating history of brewing in the North Star State.
Creating Minnesota by Annette Atkins (MHS Press): Local history examined through oranges, walleye, and more.
Mike Lynch’s Minnesota Weatherwatch (Voyageur Press): A perfect pick for amateur meteorologists and weather worriers.
Twin Cities Picture Show by Dave Kenney (MHS Press): From silents to cineplexes, a look at local movie-watching.
2008 St. Paul Almanac
(Arcata Press): Important dates and even cheese-curd haikus. Pig’s Eye never seemed crazier.

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