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When I was in college- I read a lot of children’s books. Why? I was a liberal studies major with a CLAD (Culture and Language Development) emphasis – meaning that I was in the grammar school teaching credential track.  I took multiple literature course including one specifically on multicultural children’s literature.  I learned how to evaluate children’s books on cultural diversity, language development and more.  It’s a skill I wouldn’t ever put into use beyond buying the occasional book for my three nephews since my actual job has nothing to do with children or literature.

When the oldest nephew of my three nephews was three (he is now 7) he had overheard me talking about a leaky tire I had on my car.  He told me he was going to build me a car. That car was going to be purple (my favorite color) and would have wood wheels so that I wouldn’t have to worry about getting a flat tire and he was going to build it for me in his garage. He has always been very mechanically inclined and minded. I remember when we had some plumbing work done on our house he sat on the front lawn putting all the pipes together in a specific order to create some sort of pipeline that made sense to him.  When he was in first grade he was in a special after school program that partnered with NASA to learn all about space. The kid is smart and when I was offered a copy of the children’s book How To Build A Car I immediately thought of him. When I got the book I couldn’t wait to share it with him.

How To Build A Car follows three friends (Eli the mouse, Hank the frog and Phoebe the sparrow) on their mission to build a car.  Eli has a huge imagination and has a great idea to make a real working race car.  He gets his friends Hank and Phoebe to help him with his grand idea.  With imagination and teamwork the trio work hard and persevere to build a real miniature race car. (more…)

I have been in love with American muscle cars for as long as I can remember. There is just something about the lines and the power of those cars that speak to me and always have. I have built a virtual fantasy garage if you will of cars that I would own. However, I would also sneak in a little sleek Italian super car into that fantasy collection of mine.

That is why I absolutely love the book Lamborghini Supercars 50 years From the Groundbreaking Miura to Today’s Hypercars. The introduction starts out with an except from an interview with Ferruccio Lamborghini that tells the story about where he got the idea to make a car.  He had purchased a Ferrari and while he loved driving it he found that when he drove the car hard he had problems with the clutch slipping.  He had to have the clutch regularly rebuilt and finally got tired of it so he went to talk to Enzo Ferrari about his car only to be told “Lamborghini, you may be able to drive a tractor but you will never be able to handle a Ferrari properly.” Which he states is when he decided embark on the endeavor to create the “perfect” car.

The rest they say is history- a visual history presented lovingly in this book. Starting with the Miura P400 known as the first mid-engine Supercar and moving on to the Countach (my personal favorite), to the last true original Lamborghini – the Diablo.  It goes into all the supercar models after Audi acquired Lamborghini including the Murcielago, the Gallardo, the Reventon of 2008, the 2011 Aventador and all the way to the sleek Huracan of today.  The book the book gives the history of each design as well as the states of the different models along with gorgeous photos of each machine in various angles and colors. Each of the most popular models has quick stats of each car. The cars are stunningly presented and I have to say – I might not like green cars (they are my least favorite color of car) but the gorgeous Murcielago photos in this book made me have second thoughts about green cars.


Steve McQueen, actor, stunt man, pilot,motorcycle and race car driver. Is there any question as to why he was called the King Of Cool?  There is a new book out detailing the life of the King of Cool, Steve McQueen called Steve McQueen: Full- Throttle Cool by Dwight Zimmerman and Greg Scott. However this book is not your average biography of the popular actor. In fact some people might not even consider it a book- as it is a graphic novel.  Yep that is right – a graphic novel. What is a graphic novel you might ask? Well a graphic novel is a basically a bound comic book.

So this is a biographical comic book of Steve McQueen’s complete life. It starts off with him as a child in Indianapolis where he lived with his mother and step-father and follows him throughout his early career in the military through his acting career to his death of mesothelioma in the seventies.

I am going to admit that I while I have never been a big fan of comic books- I can honestly say this one held my attention- likely because it was factual.  The artist renderings in the graphic novel are captivating in a nearly film-like way and illustrate the McQueen and his  anti-hero archetype. The only downfall I can see about this graphic novel is I feel the novel, only 90 pages, glosses over some of McQueen’s grittier personality characteristics.  That said I really think this graphic novel by Dwight Zimmerman and Greg Scott would be a good choice for any motor sports or Steve McQueen fan’s or  bibliophile’s collection for the novelty of it (pun totally intended).

Author Dwight Zimmerman has authored the text for several graphic novels, including the acclaimed The Hammer and the Anvil, a dual biography of abolitionist Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln. He is an author, radio show host, and producer and the president of the Military Writers Society of America.

Artist Greg Scott is a comic-book artist who has done stints at both Marvel and DC Comics, working on such series as Gotham Central and Case Files: Sam and Twitch.

For Full-Disclosure purposes (I am looking at you FTC): I received a copy of this graphic novel for the purpose of review on this blog. The words and opinions herein are my own.


Read more Amy’s NASCAR Reading List posts here.

I have the privilege of reviewing yet another beautiful book of historic race photography for you my readers- this book is Riverside International Raceway by Pete Lyons. Riverside International Raceway documents the history of a track now gone (it is now a subdivision) in beautiful pictures and words.

Right from the back dust jacket of the book we are told that even diehard Riverside raceway fans “will admit the environment was usually too hot, sometimes too cold, extremely dry or depressingly wet, often windy and never ever a garden spot” however they still came in droves.

The book details the three decades or so of Riverside Raceway’s life and subsequent death. The desert, the races, the speed. It’s laid out in chapters that detail specifics of the track and the series that ran it including: FIA Formula 1, SCCA Pro Racing, NASCAR, TransAm, Can-AM, USAC, CART Indy Cars, IROC, Off Road (and the list goes on). A sampling of names in the book: Fred Lorenzen, Rick Mears, Geoff Bodine, Emerson Fittipaldi, Terry Labonte, Bobby Rahal, Tom Sneva, AJ Foyt, and native son Dan Gurney (who also wrote the book’s forward) to name a few grabbed while flipping through the book to remind myself of it’s contents  for review purposes. My favorite part of the book- beyond the photography, is  just a little sidebar on page 43 detailing the track’s history in film- being so close yet so far away from Hollywood. The book is chucked full of interesting sidebars- including one on how the track was used for teaching driving (page 74), the Olympic Relay (Page 83). There are so many photos that it’s impossible to pick just one…but perhaps the most poignant picture is the one on page 191- a photo of piece of the speedway and a Riverside Raceway patch.  Gone but obviously not forgotten by this book.

They physical book itself is a heavy duty book, with a gorgeous dust jacket. The book is 204 pages inclusive of the indexes.

Written by Pete Lyons, Riverside International Raceway clearly demonstrates Lyon’s obvious love of motorsports and the time period of Riverside.  Pete Lyon’s father, Ozzie Lyons was the U.S. correspondent to Britain’s Autosport magazine, and often took Pete with him during vacations.  It’s that kind of of exposure- from childhood through adulthood that allows someone like Pete Lyon’s to cultivate such a gorgeous book.

This book will satisfy the history buffs, the auto racing buffs and the photography buffs. If your father is any one of these? He will love this book for father’s day- or any day.

Read other Amy’s #NASCAR Reading List reviews.


For “full disclosure purposes” (FTC I’m looking at you): A copy of Riverside International Raceway was provided to me by the publisher for review purposes. The words and ideas in the review are my own.

I have professed my love of books- not just reading but the physicality of the actual bound paper structure called books before and I have to tell you that I have just found another one that is as much a work of art as it is an actual book.  Shelby Cobra: The Snake That Conquered The World by Colin Comer is absolutely stunning as far as book’s go- much like Shelby’s Cobras are when compared to other cars. This book is actually a special collector’s edition of the author’s book Shelby Cobra Fifty Years that includes new and updated material, including tributes to the late Carroll Shelby, poster-sized gatefolds with artwork by Hector Cadametori, and frameable garage art.

Something most of my readers know about me if they have been reading for any length of time is that I love American muscle cars- with Chevrolet’s  Nomad and Corvette being my all-time favorites. But the photos in this book are swaying me towards adding a Cobra to my “fantasy car garage” that I have built in my mind. The book starts off by detailing the how and why of Carroll Shelby, chicken farmer turned champion race driver, deciding he is going to manufacture cars and not just any kind car mind you but an ultra high performance car. It continues on through the production span of the Cobra. The book has several “pit stops” along the way – sidebars within the regular book that talk about or are interviews with people who knew Carroll Shelby or worked directly for him- my favorite of those is the interview with Phil Remington, Shelby’s lead engineer, on page 26-27.

And have I mentioned the photos? The photos in this book are just as stunning as the cars themselves- making it easy to appreciate their beautiful lines and structure- at least as far a piece of paper can possibly do a machine justice.  There aren’t just photos of the cars however in the book- there are graphics from magazines in the day like Road and Track (page 71), the promotional postcards (page 118), and the elusive 1963 dealer “snake skin” kit (210-211). There are also two “garage art” pull-outs featuring artwork but if you pull those out of the book to hang in the garage you are crazy- or ordered two books!  Oh and I mentioned the gorgeous photos right?

This book is by author Colin Comer. Comer has built a successful restoration business and collector car dealership and developed a passion for writing about cars.  He has written for many sports car and American car collector magazines, as well as publishing several books including this one.  In the book’s preface Comer shares many pictures of his own Cobras!

The book is a definite show piece and something I have already cleared space for on my cluttered motorsports shelf on my bookcase. If your father (or anyone really) is a Shelby Cobra lover, just a lover of automotive history, racing history, or motorsports photography this book would be the perfect gift!

Read other Amy’s #NASCAR Reading List reviews.


For “full disclosure purposes” (FTC I’m Looking At You): A copy of Shelby Cobra: The Snake That Conquered The World was provided to me by the publisher for review purposes. The words and ideas in the review are my own.

Master Motorsports Photographer Klemantaski

Master Motorsports Photographer Klemantaski by Paul Parker

I obviously love to read- or I wouldn’t have created the #NASCAR Reading List feature here on BadGroove. But what you might not know is that I love books themselves. Yes, I am talking about those bound collections of paper with writings in them. I can’t tell you how much I miss bricks and mortar bookstores (the nearest one to me is in the next county- 27 miles away or so) because I would often just go to wander around and look at the books on those occasions that I didn’t have anything else to do.  If I had a huge house- I would devote a whole room to being a library, but alas I don’t have a house like that so I have a book case. A very crammed full book case at that, which is one of the reasons I invested in an e-reader. I now only keep physical copies of books I absolutely love as it’s all I have room for now.  Most of those books are works of fiction with a small  motorsports section that is crammed so tight I have had to weed through it multiple times. I  think I might fudge this one and put it in my photography section so I don’t have to weed out any more of my beloved motorsports books.

Klemantaski: Master Motorsports Photographer by Paul Parker has got to be one of the most gorgeous books I have seen in a long time. It’s a book of motorsports photographs detailing what is often called racing’s “golden era” – pre-WWII through the early 1970s.  But first let me give you a little background on who Louis Klemantaski is before we get into this beautiful book. (more…)

Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway, Laguna Seca

A car in the pre-war section of the paddock at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, August 16ht, 2014 (Photo Credit: Amy K Marbach)

As much as I love to read- I am not a huge fan of historical fiction.  To me the genre is a contradiction to itself- is it history or is it fiction? In my mind- you can’t really be both since history deals with real people, places, and times. Conversely, by it’s very definition, fiction is fabrication, and of the imagination.  Plus I tend to enjoy my books to be set in the here and now or that at the very least could be set in the now despite when it was written. That’s just my personal preference- what makes me me I guess. Does that mean that is ONLY what I will read? No- of course not.

When I was offered a reader’s copy of Tracks: Racing The Sun by Sandro Martini, I went into it knowing that I was going to be reading historical fiction. I figured since it was about racing I would at the very least give it a try. This is another case where I am so glad I did.

I don’t know if it was made more realistic to me because of attending the Historic Car Races out at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this year where I fell in love with the pre-war section of the paddock area.  Or maybe it had to do with reading and reviewing the Eddie Rickenbacker biography earlier this year…but Tracks: Racing the Sun was a lovely surprise I might have normally dismissed casually because of the genre.

The oval at Indy,’ I told him, is like nothing you’ve ever seen before, Rudi. It’s a daunting place. An American place: it sucks you in and makes a friend of you-

And then it kills you with a smile,‘ completed Varzi.”- pages 307-308 Tracks: Racing the Sun by Sandro Martini.


Raced by K. Bromberg


As I mentioned a couple weeks ago right here in my last Amy’s #NASCAR Reading List, I adored all three books in K. Bromberg’s Driven Series. Those books (Driven, Fueled and Crashed) follow Rylee Thomas, a woman who has buried her past to the point of walking through life numb until she quite literally falls into the arms of smokin’ hot Indy Car driver Colton Donovan.  Colton on the other hand is the exact opposite of Rylee. Colton purposely lives a life in sensory overload to outrun the demons from a past he is afraid will not just catch up with him- but completely ruin life as he knows it.  The series is told primarily in Rylee’s point of view- with a couple of chapters in Colton’s point of view scattered into Fueled (Book 2), and more than a couple scattered into the final book, Crashed (Book 3).

“She thought I was done with her.” – Colton Donovan, Raced by K. Bromberg

Raced is NOT a novel in the trilogy (obviously since if it were then it technically wouldn’t be a trilogy). Raced is the much anticipated companion to the trilogy that is entirely in Colton’s point of view. It’s chapters revolves around several key scenes/chapters in all three books. Her fans begged for it and Bromberg delivered.

Personally, I had been anticipating Raced greatly after devouring the entire trilogy in a little over a weekend. Was Raced what I expected? Yes and no.  Yes in that Colton’s POV’s were exactly what I had hoped they would be: raw, honest and full of the conflict and emotion behind the race-face Colton wears through life. It was exactly what I wanted and what I got in aces (ha- pun totally intended).

What was unexpected? Two things. The first being a sob inducing scene between Colton and his father towards the end of Raced (that is all I will say- spoiler hounds).  The second second thing- I didn’t expect but totally loved was the author’s description that was before each of the chapters of Raced. These chapters let readers know what she was thinking, or why she picked a particular part of the saga to share in Colton’s voice.

“How do I explain that the way she made me feel caused the demons I’d buried deep down to start to whisper that I don’t deserve anything from her.” Colton Donovan, Raced by K. Bromberg

Remember Raced is NOT a stand alone novel- nor does it claim to be one. Think of it as the extra deleted scenes from your favorite movie that you get when you buy the director’s cut. Raced adds a certain richness and emotion to the story told throughout Driven, Fueled, and Crashed.

If this companion leaves you wanting more of Colton & Rylee- fear not! K. Bromberg plans on releasing a yet-to-be-named novella that covers key points in the ten year gap that takes place at the end of Crashed and it’s epilogues some time in early 2015. Also fans of the trilogy can anticipate Slow Burn, a novel focusing on Haddie Montgomery (Rylee’s bestie and roommate) and Beckett Daniels (Colton’s crew chief and best friend) from the original trilogy. Slow Burn is currently available as a pre-order for it’s February 24th, 2015 release.


For “Full Disclosure” I bought the original trilogy at the urging of a friend and enjoyed it so thoroughly so I ordered the reading companion as well. I was not asked to review it by anyone- I did so because I loved what I read and thought you might too.