Review

I am a huge fan of music books. In particular those discussing the links between music and the epochs in which they were released. I love how the connection between social and political upheaval can be seen mirrored in the style of music that is popular during that time. It is with great disappointment that I have to write that I did not like The History of Rock ‘N’ Roll in Ten Songs.

I cannot argue that Greil Marcus knows his stuff. This guys mind is like a bottomless pit of information about music. The nuances, the techniques, the hidden stories – he truly knows some fascinating things. And I will admit that during the pages of this book certain stories did betwixt me and hold my attention but they were few and far between.

I just didn’t feel the connection. I don’t feel like Marcus’s narrative hooked me in. It felt like he was trying to regurgitate all the information he knows just to get it on page so as not to forget it rather than bringing the reader along for the ride. It made reading the book feel like a chore.

I cannot say that I recommend this book to music fans because I feel like too much was given without trying to include, and indeed inspire, the reader.

The History of Rock ‘N’ Roll in Ten Songs by Greil Marcus is available now.

The History of Rock N Roll in Ten Songs

As expected, this week did not go as well as I had planned reading wise. Sure I read some, but life somehow took over; what with starting back at work and the Grandrentals visit I didn’t make it through as many books as I would have liked.

This week I read/reviewed:

Boy21 by Matthew Quick

Chelsea Bird by Virginia Ironside

The History of Rock ‘N’ Roll in Ten Songs by Greil Marcus (Review to be posted 09.09.14)

These Days Are Ours by Michelle Haimoff (Review to be posted 11.09.14)

What also didn’t help is that this week I read two books that I just didn’t like. I hate writing bad reviews and I will never openly attack a writer but I will be honest as to why I didn’t like it. Clare over at A Book and Tea and I had this conversation this weekend. How do you write a review about a book that you really don’t connect with? Is it worse when it is a self published book which shows some very fundamental flaws or is it worse when it has been published in the traditional sense? When you can’t help but feel that some of the things that have bothered you should have been picked up, filtered through and sorted before publication? It is definitely a thinker.

Ultimately, all reviews of books are subjective though so one person’s literary classic is another person’s book for the bin. It is all just personal taste and opinion.

Anywho, this week’s book list is as follows.

Who is Tom Ditto? by Danny Wallace – 372 pages (NetGalley)

Joni Mitchell by Malka Marom – 304 pages (NetGalley)

Playing with Matches by Suri Rosen – 248 pages (NetGalley)

Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel – 353 pages (NetGalley)

Love Me or Leave Me by Claudia Carrol – 400 pages (NetGalley)

Delicious! by Ruth Reichl – 401 pages (NetGalley)

The Dead Wife’s Handbook by Hannah Beckerman (From my 100 Books to read list)

I also really want to read Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer – I was a bit naughty and bought a review copy off eBay. I just couldn’t wait until next year.

It does seem like a lot of books but I am going to give it a whirl. I am determined to get by NetGalley percentage rate up.

Anyway, I hope you all have a good reading week and please keep an eye out for some book related blog posts that will be posted over the next few weeks. As always, keep an eye out for some pretty cool blogger type peoples – Matt Phil Carver and the lovely Clare who I mentioned before.

L x x

Synopsis

Chelsea Bird follows young art student Harriet Bennett as she traverses life through London in the swinging sixties. We are privy to her observations about life, love, sex, drugs and rock and roll.

Review

This is going to sound terribly blunt but I did not like this book. The storyline was weak (to the point of non existence), the protagonist was annoying, a flibbertigibbet and in no way strong enough to carry the narrative without the reader getting distracted on more than one occasion.

The only real saving factor is that you could argue its validity as a social text highlighting the attitudes of both men and women in arguably the most society changing decade of the 20th century. Other than that it was just kind of boring.

However, this is all just one person’s opinion. Give it a read yourself and let me know what you think

Chelsea Bird by Virginia Ironside is available now.

Chelsea Bird

Synopsis

When Finlay’s basketball coach asks him for a favour, little does Finlay know that his whole world will be turned upside down by what lies ahead. Finlay has spent the summer in training to be the best basketball player on his team. He and his seasonal girlfriend, Erin, have worked hard pushing themselves to get the best results from their body. For them, basketball may be a way out of the town where they live; a town that is damaged through gang and drug crime.

However, when the coach asks Finlay to take new boy Russ under his wing, Finlay’s spot on the team becomes questionable. To make matters worse, Finlay has to protect Russ, the boy taking his position from the rest of the school. Russ, who is suffering from PTSD after the death of his parents likes to be referred to as Boy21 and believes his father is going to come from outer space and remove him from the planet Earth. This is a lot more than Finlay bargained for in hs final year of high school

Review

Having read all but one of Matthew Quick’s books (Sorta Like A Rockstar is on my TBR pile) I have to say that so far Boy21 has been my favourite. I loved the balance of real world problems with teen angst and drama. The linking to the cosmos and space made you see how small some of the problems actually were.

I think that Quick has a knack for finding a voice for contentious issues and displays them so well in his narratives. Finlay’s love of basketball versus the love he has for Erin; that Finlay wants to do right by Russ even though he knows that eventually it will cost him his spot on the basketball team.

Quick appeals to your emotional side, making you want to root for Finlay whilst seeing the bigger picture. He weaves a social setting which is fraught with drama yet does not seem unrealistic. He uses sports to show how it can help you, not only with your peer but by giving you something to focus on and root for. Quick has created a cast of characters and a story that leaves you thinking for a long time afterwards.

Boy21 by Matthew Quick is available now.

Boy21

Ok. So I know I have recently done my big round up but now it is time for my weekly TBR list. As I said on the round up I am back in work this week and my granddaddy is coming to visit so my reading time is going to be severely hindered this week. However, I will try and get as much done as possible.

Here is the list of books I am going to aim to read this week:

Chelsea Bird by Virginia Ironside – 119 pages (NetGalley)

The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs by Greil Marcus – 320 pages (NetGalley)

Walt Before Mickey by Timothy S Susanin – 373 pages (NetGalley)

These Days Are Ours by Michelle Haimoff – 291 pages (NetGalley)

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green 259 pages (Personal Reading List)

Only a brief post today but I hope you all have a great reading week.

L x