I have a lot of time to read so I figured why not pass on my reviews on novels, non fiction and travel books and apps. I hope it helps you find something to calm your day like reading does for me.
I love biographies. I love music. I love Aussie Rock and now I love Daniel Johns.
Let the bashing begin, however personally I think Frogstomp might just be the best Australian album ever released. I remember these skinny little Newie kids (and they did look like kids) that thrashed out this gnarly, spitting, truthful and gritty album that you would have lost all your money on, had you places a bet on picking the artists out of a line up. It just didn't seem real that skinny little blonde surfer dude Daniel Johns was that wailing tortured voice that made everyone turn and look.
I have always loved Silverchair so this wasn't a hard choice for me book wise, however I now realised that I hadn't ever fully grasped the progression that Silverchair showed moving through their album releases. While this book does shed a lot of light on all three men, it is a focus on John's and how he morphed from mop haired thrasher to the eclectic musical genius he has showed us he is.
The book documents his journey, warts and all and while it pulls no punches it is a biography in the purest sense of the word. You will find lots of stories but next to no judgement. It presents Johns as himself a teenager from Newcastle through his anorexia fight, his challenges with reactive arthritis, his marriage, divorce and of course through it all his musical endeavors from Silverchair right through to his solo career.
I finished this book feeling like I had some kind of comprehension of the level of pressure that surrounded these kids and finished it feeling strangely proud of how Johns has manifested his life into being supremely effective at being exactly who he is. I also won't deny that I've listened to Frogstomp, Freakshow, Neon Ballroom, Diorama, Young Modern and Johns solo effort Talk pretty much on repeat since I finished this book. Frogstomp has been the forerunner for sure!
One of my online book clubs recommended this book a little while ago and its just taken me this long to get to it.
It has been forwarded for so many awards and reviews have been routinely 5 star. Nominated for The 2018 National Book Award for Fiction and a member of Oprah's book club are but a few of its accolades so far.
It tells the story of Roy and Celestial an up and coming American couple who's inevitable rise to the top is cruelly halted when Roy is arrested, tried and imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit. The book tells the story from both of their perspectives with some added characters added in as the story unfolds. There is more than one twist and turn and I did very much enjoy this book. The characters have flaws and faults that you can align your own character to and while it is a novel it does at times feel like you are reading about a real turn of events, which sadly I guess you really are.
I enjoyed it right up until Roy gets out (no spoiler alert here - the book description tells you he gets out). I understand the change in his character after 5 years in prison, however I felt like that change was rushed. I didn't really like how all of a sudden Roy feels like a totally different person. A bully, cunning and hardened from prison sure, but I don't feel like there was any lead up. He arrives in Atlanta and boom - his character is aggressive and cruel. From my perspective, from the point that Roy arrives back in Atlanta until the end of the book fells very rushed. I felt like we never saw the change in Roy coming and then as quick as it comes, it goes and we are left wondering what in the hell that was.
I did very much enjoy it and you may have an entirely different opinion to me but it is well worth a read.
I was really due an easy to read novel and when I found that Wilbur Smith had another novel about Taita, well - I couldn't resist.
I've always loved this series of books but now that I've seen so much of Egypt and know the places he talks about, I love them even more. Taita is the most vain of characters, however his loyalty to the royal family is unwavering and yet another adventure builds on that premise. After his mad and unstable brother Utteric takes the throne, Taita helps Rameses to plan his attack on not just the royal seat but also to retake Luxor.
As with all these books it is stunningly researched and the story intertwines with real history so you feel like you can imagine the drama and characters that the story contains. Another very well written African story from the master African story teller.
A very solid 4!
Somehow, and I cannot tell you how, I didn't know this was a novel when I read it. I assumed it was a real story and I have to admit, I was unhealthily obsessed with this family. I kept reading passages of it to Brad and read the entire thing in one sitting one rainy afternoon. I just couldn't put it down.
It is a testament to how we could be, how we could solve challenges and how we sometimes can't. It is refreshing, heartbreaking, funny but most of all it just reeks of LOVE.
Love is Love. Read it yourself. I can't recommend it enough. What incredible characters that carry off an incredible story. If I could have given it 6 stars I would have.
To be honest I had never heard of Tiffany Haddish when I got this book. I read that she was a comedian and I knew it told of her struggle during the pathway to success but that's about all I knew.
The struggle is very real and she pulls no punches as to what she's said, done and how she's acted throughout her journey. She seems like she would be an amazing person to get to know and someone I would really like. What I was slightly disappointed with though was the fact that it just wasn't that funny to me. There are parts that are very sad and you don't expect them to be amusing, however I expected some "snort coffee out my nose" kind of moments and it just didn't hit me that way.
A great story and worth the read but only 3.5 stars from me.
The Via Fancigena has been on my wish list pretty much since I finished the Santiago De Camino. The Francigena starts in Canterbury in the UK and ends in Rome through France, Switzerland and finally Italy. This young man took it a step further and walked all the way to Jerusalem.
His journey is incredible and the stories are heartfelt and often amusing, but I did wonder if he noticed or attracted some very left of field people because he has had his own mental illness challenges, or if they were just the people he ran into?
I often find that I'm disappointed with the ending in these "pilgrimage" books sometimes but I wasn't here. His journey is not only remarkable because he walked it, but for its timing. He managed to have so many one off unique experiences along the way that you can't help but believe that he was meant to do it at that exact moment in time.
It's not for everyone and it does delve and get a bit gray at times but I thought it was a fantastic read and I loved the risks he took in putting it on paper.
I can't honestly tell you why I decided to read this book. It's not my usual go to for an interesting read, but man am I glad I did.
Denise Bulger has stayed remarkably quiet since her son was abducted and killed by two ten year old boys 25 years ago. With the 25th aniversary of James death looming she decided to finally put pen to paper and write her story.
Her strength is remarkable, her thoughts on both killers are tempered and calm, although it is the refusal to comment on either boys family that struck me as the most uplifting. Apart from one single comment (that after reading you know can't be left out) she never tries to take apart either boys families or even the boys themselves.
While she tirelessly campaigned for stronger sentences for both boys her dedication was based on the fact that they shouldn't be treated differently because they were only 10 at the time, however hearing the story, they were VERY different to almost all 10 year olds you will ever meet. The chances of two boys who shared the same extreme physiological makeup even meeting is so remote, but they did, and they killed a toddler like it was going for an ice cream.
I read this book in one sitting. Admittedly I do read fast, but we were on a camping trip with no technology so I just sat for about 3 hours and read it cover to cover.
It won't be everyone's cup of tea, but I did enjoy it (if enjoy can be put together with such tragedy) and I would recommend it.
I so wanted this to be one of the books that I will recommend for years to come, however, unfortunately it wasn't. I have been so impressed by Maya Angelou's achievements over the years that I had actually put off reading this until I had the time to dedicate to what must be her amazing story.
I stuck it out until the end but I found myself decidedly non-plused. I didn't love it, I wasn't impressed by the prose and to be brutally honest I barely liked it.
Her story is incredible but I don't feel that she imparted it with anything bordering the impressive writing technique I was expecting. I was bored in a good chunk of it if I'm telling the whole truth.
Time magazine called this one of the top 100 books of all time, but I couldn't even bring myself to tell someone to read it. It just didn't move me at all and I put it down feeling sad that it hadn't. I've heard and seen interviews with her over the years and come away highly impressed but I'm sorry - the caged bird stayed eerily quiet for me.
I read to relax.
I'm not someone who tries to impress other people with what I've read. I read to get lost in the story and to enjoy the experience, While I love to try and keep up with world events, as I get older I find I'm not as good as reading non fiction as I used to be. It upsets me and stays with me for days so I really have to force myself to move into the non-fiction realm with my reading. I tend to read three fiction and then make myself read a non fiction.
This book has been in my library for about a year (maybe more) and I finally read it this month. OMG - one of the best books I've ever read. Poverty the world over is an ongoing challenge however not many of us realise the extent to which this occurs within western society. This book follows both families and land lords in big city America and while you do sometimes feel yourself screaming with frustration, you also come away seeing how indoctrinated this part of society becomes with their lot in life. It's told as stories which gives so much power to the messages, and because of this you can't take sides. It's what people feel, its what they believe and by the end of the book you may not agree but you understand their position.
NB: About 2/3 of the way through, it feels like its finished and that he is going to go into references and statistics in the next section. DO NOT STOP READING! He then tells you his story of living in this poverty cycle for a year to get the stories for the book. Keep reading - you won't regret it.
I have just red A Man Called Ove - OMG so so SO funny. I kept laughing out loud constantly and then cried like a little girl at the end. One of the BEST books I've read in years. Don't miss it. It's stunningly great.
It's a unique blend of normality and outstandingly inappropriate comments. Its everything you have ever wanted to say out loud but society bullied out of you.
Ove is a grumpy old man who is trying to commit suicide after his wife dies. Unfortunately (or fortunately) for Ove he keeps getting interrupted. The current story is paralleled in the background by the life story of Ove and his wife. It is brutal in its truths and PLEASE don't let the premise of Ove trying to commit suicide put you off. It is without a doubt one of the best stories I've ever read. Love the cat!
I have just downloaded his second book and am forcing myself to finish what I've started first before I start on that but its tortuous. I know its on my reader calling me....
I really love reading, however I read to escape mostly & while I did read Che Guevera's diaries (I was in Cuba at the time) most of my reading is lightweight and fast paced.