Genre: Autobiography

Gist: An autobiography of the prolific punk poet John Cooper Clarke

Small Review: John Cooper Clarke takes you on a guided tour of his life and the things, people and places that shaped him into one of the best loved poets of the punk generation.

Long Review: Poetry and I have a difficult relationship. I like learning about poetry, the nuances and the cleverly picked phrases. I love playing Where’s Wally with poems – find the metaphor, spot the simile detour relationship never really went beyond that which is strange because I love music and essentially lyrics are just poems to music. I digress. 

However, every so often I find a poem that I just love. For me, one of those poems was I Wanna Be Yours by John Cooper Clarke. It made me curious, I started reading other poems by him and I kind of fell for his clever use of rhyme and unusual emphasis on syllables. Yep. I really liked it.

I was really excited when I found out that he was going to be releasing an autobiography. His crazy and random tales from his crazy and random life. I couldn’t wait. I listened to I Wanna Be Yours on Audiobook. I wanted to hear how John Cooper Clarke told his stories. Would they be like his poems? Would I be totally mesmerised and engaged. The answer to both of those questions is yes. His lyric style does not end at his poetic outputs. I genuinely feel that his lyricism and enunciation would be like having an every day conversation with John Cooper Clarke.

Some of the stories John Cooper Clarke tells are enough to make any punk fan toe-curlingly envious. I know I was as I read it. I wanted to have the experiences that he had. I wanted to be living that roguish lifestyle and see the things that he had seen, the performers that he got to see. I didn’t live through that time period but I did get to experience it somewhat vicariously through I Wanna Be Yours. This is definitely a book that needs a reread.

I Wanna Be Yours by John Cooper Clarke.

For more information regarding John Cooper Clarke (@official_jcc) please visit www.johncooperclarke.com.

For more information regarding Picador (@picadorbooks) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.

Title: Lolita

Author: Vladimir Nabokov

Pages: 331 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

Humbert Humbert – scholar, aesthete and romantic – has fallen completely and utterly in love with Lolita Haze, his landlady’s gum-snapping, silky skinned twelve-year-old daughter. Reluctantly agreeing to marry Mrs Haze just to be close to Lolita, Humbert suffers greatly in the pursuit of romance; but when Lo herself starts looking for attention elsewhere, he will carry her off on a desperate cross-country misadventure, all in the name of Love. Hilarious, flamboyant, heart-breaking and full of ingenious word play, Lolita is an immaculate, unforgettable masterpiece of obsession, delusion and lust.

(GOODREADS BLURB)

The Review

Lolita is a story that is widely considered a classic. For me it was just really boring. We had a sycophantic peadophile in protagonist Humbert Humbert and this platform of a story was used in a way to normalise what he was doing whilst knowing it was wrong. 

I felt that the character of Lo was used as a cautionary tale and her ending wasn’t befitting her character.

I don’t know. I just really didn’t like this book.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov is available now.

For more information regarding Penguin (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.

Genre: Crime Thriller/Murder Mystery

The Gist: Following the death of a well known supermodel and 60s “It” girl the London Police force soon realise that they have a serial killer on their hands. It is a race against time to figure out who the murderer is. All they have to go one are the words left as clues in blue chalk.

Short Review: A run-of-the-mill whodunnit with a quirky main character and a villain whose motives seem insufficient. Easter delves into the criminal world with an 80s London backdrop using the era as an additional character.

Long Review: When Detective Inspector Anne Leeding turns up at crime scene she expects it to be a run-of-the-mill suicide. Yet clues begin to lead the inspector to consider different options. Could she have a serial killer on here hands?

Okay, as far as crime thrillers go Don’t You Want Me? is pretty good. The clues are dished out incrementally and you are generally playing guess who with who the killer could be. If I have to be honest, I did find the whole story a bit too long. I felt that certain parts could have been left out and the story would have flowed better. Furthermore, I did think that Easter really wanted the reader to know that the book was set in 1981. He overused references to the point of exhaustion. 

However, his smaller plot lines made the story much more full. The secrets waiting to be revealed allowed the characters to feel fully developed and much more interesting beside their lives within the police force. 

Overall, Don’t You Want Me? isn’t amazing but it is an interesting read that will keep you entertained for a few hundred pages. 

Don’t You Want Me? by Richard Easter is available now.

Genre: Literary Fiction

The Gist: When an eighties one hit wonder pop star commits suicide the people in her life reflect on their time with her and try to figure out what part they may have played in her demise.

Short Review: A piece of political literary fiction that is balanced with a story of music, relationships and trying to make the world a better place.

Long Review: Scabby Queen is a really hard, gritty story set in London and Scotland over a period of 40 years. It is told from multi-perspective from the people who knew Clio Campbell – the one hit wonder and political activist. Clio Campbell has committed suicide and those that saw her at her best and at her worst reminisce about the times she influenced their own lives. 

Kirstin Innes has created a wonderfully unlikable character in Clio Campbell. She really is awful. Yet you cannot feel sorry for her. She is a product of her environment and the situations that she has been involved in, the relationships she has had – especially the ones she had in her formative years with her parents. 

I won’t lie to you, Scabby Queen is not an easy read. You want to love Clio but she makes it really difficult and you will spend a lot of your time yelling at the other characters to realise how toxic she is but it really is a good read.

Scabby Queen by Kirstin Innes is available now.

For more information regarding 4th Estate (@4thEstateBooks) please visit www.4thestate.co.uk.

Genre: Autobiography

Gist: An autobiography centred around Sofie Hagen’s battle with other people’s opinions about her weight.

Small Review: Sofia Hagen’s memoir is a funny memoir that gets people thinking about how the world is created for ‘skinny’ people and how those of a certain size are not catered for and how the assumption that if you are bigger you are unhappy rather than thinking that their is just more to love.

Long Review: I won’t lie to you. Before reading Happy Fat I had never heard of Sofie Hagen (sorry). I saw the title of her book and I was intrigued. I have struggled and battled with my weight for years. Strangely, I know I am not big and I know that there are others who would like to be my size but the grass is always greener, isn’t it?

What Sofie Hagen proposes in her memoir is that you should love who you are and not get bogged down in what other people think of you. That you should have the courage of conviction to know who you are, what you want and what you like. 

Sofie Hagen does pose the theory that the world is not created for bigger people: small seats on aeroplanes, extended seatbelts for the bigger person, small seats in theatres. She shows how the world isn’t inclusive for a certain strand of people. It is actually quite sad. 

There are moments of comedy genius in this book but there are also moments of real sadness. You do go on a bit of a journey in this memoir. It is most definitely worth a read.

Happy Fat – Taking Up Space in a World That Wants to Shrink You by Sofia Hagen is available now.

For more information regarding 4th Estate (@4thEstateBooks) please visit www.4thestate.co.uk.