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Jukebox Loser: An Owner's Manual for Idiot Desires [Kindle Edition]

Todd Heldt
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Mark Miller can’t seem to find anything worth believing in. Armed with impossible standards for art, he searches for meaning in the world of pop-culture. Unfortunately, the entanglements of his life and the independent rock scene derail his quest again and again. Every time he thinks he’s found something deeper than materialism and more artistic than MTV, he is dogged by failure. One percent of the people who want to be rock stars make it. This is the story of the other 99%.

As an overconfident undergrad in Denton, Texas, Mark finds his late-night studying knocked aside by the bass drum of Sound Decision, a college band that sounds like a mid-80s nightmare. Mark tries to get them evicted, but the band members lure him into the local music scene.

Mark moves on to graduate school in Memphis, where he lives in a cheap apartment with two musicians in a struggling band called The Raspers. When they are not busy playing un-paying gigs for empty rooms, they search for the ever-elusive dependable drummer, and work on their rock opera about the Rock N’ Roll Messiah.

In Chicago, Illinois, Mark falls face first in love with Lizzie Milton, a folk singer who happens to be a lesbian. Despite hopeless odds, he convinces her to date him and tries to help her launch a successful music career. Mark begins to view himself as the Yoko to Lizzie’s Lennon. But the ballad of Lizzie and Yoko is often drowned out by life's distractions.

This gender-bending, no-holds-barred novel grasps at understanding the narcotic of artistic failure. What is it that drives people to perform again and again for empty rooms? And what of our narrator, whose obsession with “protecting himself” from the onslaught of mass culture ends up destroying him?

Praise for Todd Heldt's writing

Todd Heldt's Card Tricks for the Starving exists somewhere between the ineffable and a long country highway that marks the soul's quest for natural place markers. Heldt embraces the mysteries of existence while expatiating on bus stations, the curves of a spoon, or blue jays and scuppernongs. In the end it is the graceful and physical language that will bring you back and back again to these beguiling poems. This is a poignant and highly readable collection. -Corey Mesler, author of Some Identity Problems

With remarkable, accomplished sleight-of-hand and with a sure, compelling voice, these documents of past moments attain powerful presence. -Scott Cairns, author of Compass of Affection: Poems New & Selected

Heldt locks his poetry with a unique, disarming language; seemingly easy-going and conversational, while always tense and powerful. -Simon Perchik, author of The Autochthon Poems

If writing itself is an issue in these poems, it stems not from that tired, narcissistic chic of self-reflexiveness, but from the urgency of the endeavor-the real struggle that honest communication requires. The honesty is this: if there is a divine perfection, we can only approach it from human imperfection. -William Wenthe, author of Not Till We Are Lost

Product Details

  • File Size: 797 KB
  • Print Length: 177 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,504,282 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laughed February 24, 2012
By Emily
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I laughed from the beginning to the end. For every musician out there that made it big and for most that didn't. For the cynic's of life. Read this book!!! It makes you laugh it makes you makes you want to read it again.I love the fact that it tells truths about life. If you see yourself described here,don't get mad, laugh. That's the point. Wonderful reading cant wait to read more..
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5.0 out of 5 stars But it's not just funny; it's insightful September 20, 2014
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I am an impoverished journalist, but I spent $4 of my hard-earned money on this book. No regrets. Read it in bed, mostly, and more than once had to bite the inside of my cheek or bury my face in my pillow to keep from awakening my slumbering husband with my laughter.

But it's not just funny; it's insightful, wistful - gritty even, in a fine way. Plus, it has footnotes - one of which becomes a running gag - and one of the best 72-hour bender scenes I've ever read (OK, I haven't read many others, but even if I had, I'm sure this'd still be at the top). Also, he does some skewering of academia that rings infuriatingly true. And through it all, a goofily unlikely love story with a poignant ending.

What sucks is that were Todd not the friend of a friend who'd given me the draft of Todd's latest (and oh, man, just you wait until THAT one is out…) I'd have never come across this book. Ever. I know about the vagaries of the publishing world, but that's a shame, because "Jukebox Loser" is an entirely worthwhile way to spend a few dollars and hours. Todd deserves to be read. Do it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and Engaging March 23, 2014
Jukebox Loser is very engaging with enough shock value to keep you turning pages. The author was able to keep me laughing while painting a realistic view of life that most can appreciate, and relate to. I enjoyed how vulnerable and honest the author made the book, and you’ll be surprised how much you have in common with Mark. Now go read it!!
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