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.

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.

Title: The Little Big Things – A Young Man’s Belief that Every Day Can Be a Good Day 

Author: Henry Fraser

Pages: 192 Pages

Publisher: Seven Dials

The Blurb

The memoir of the year by Henry Fraser, motivational speaker and mouth artist with a foreword by J.K. Rowling.

Being challenged in life is inevitable, but being defeated is optional…

Henry Fraser was 17 years old when a tragic accident severed his spinal cord. Paralysed from the shoulders down, he has conquered unimaginable difficulty to embrace life and a new way of living. Through challenging adversity, he has found the opportunity to grow and inspire others.

This book combines his wisdom and insight into finding the gifts in life’s challenges, and will resonate with anyone facing an obstacle, no matter how big or small. It includes Henry’s thoughts on how to look at the right things and avoid the wrong, finding progress in whatever you do, and acknowledging and accepting the darkness when it comes. Right at the heart of Henry’s inspiring philosophy is his belief that every day is a good day.

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

At the age of 17, Henry Fraser went on his first ‘lads holiday’. On this holiday his life was changed forever the he accidentally severed his spinal cord and was left paralysed.

The Little Big Things is the story of his journey of recovery from his accident. I can honestly say that this is one of the most inspirational books that I have ever read. It is an open and honest account of Fraser’s feelings during and after this life changing event.

The Little Big Things is a story full of hope. It is a book that should be given to anyone who is having a moan at the small and inconsequential things that happen to them. It will uplift you and at once remind you just how lucky you actually are.

The Little Big Things – A Young Man’s Belief that Every Day Can Be a Good Day by Henry Fraser is available now.

For more information regarding Henry Fraser (@henryfraser0) please visit www.henryfraserart.com/art/.

For more information regarding Seven Dials (@SevenDialsBooks) please visit www.orionbooks.co.uk.

Title: Threepenny Memoir

Author: Carl Barat

Pages: 227 Pages

Publisher: 4th Estate

The Blurb

‘Looking back at The Libertines is like catching flashes of sunlight between buildings as you race by on a train. An old film reel where the spools are weathered and worn, leaving empty frames on the screen.’ 

In the final years of the last millennium, Carl Barat and Pete Doherty forged a deep musical bond, formed The Libertines and set sail for Arcadia in the good ship Albion; a decade later, Carl would emerge from his second band, the Dirty Pretty Things, after one of the most significant — and turbulent — rock ‘n’ roll trajectories of recent times. Threepenny Memoir navigates the choppy waters of memory, and gives an inside look at life in the eye of the storm, chronicling how a pair of romantics armed with little more than poetry and a punk attitude inspired adoration in millions worldwide — and proceeded to tear apart everything they had. 

With unflinching honesty but real warmth, Carl — who has recently performed with The Libertines for the first time since 2004, and released a solo album — looks back at the creative highs and the drug-addled lows of life with both bands, as well as giving an intimate account of the people and places that have informed his songwriting. From Camden bedsits, impromptu gigs and minesweeping drinks in the Dublin Castle to Japanese groupies, benders in Moscow and chatting to Slash, Threepenny Memoir charts a fantastic course through recent musical history. And, in the aftermath, Carl reflects on the pressures — both external and self-inflicted — that led to each band’s demise, and on the challenges and rewards that life as a solo artist now holds. 

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

None who know The Libertines can ever accuse Carl Barat of living a boring life. In Threepenny Memoir we see the inception, the excitement and indeed the demise of the the most important bands of the noughties.

What is wonderful about Threepenny Memoir is seeing the love affair (because although it was a platonic thing it has to be called a love affair) between Carl Barat and Pete Doherty from the perspective of an actual Libertine and not from someone at the sidelines of musical history.

What this memoir has managed to do is to remind me just how much I love the music of this era and how much I miss the person I was back then.

Threepenny Memoir by Carl Barat is available now.

For more information regarding Carl Barat (@carlbaratmusic) please visit his Twitter page.

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

Title: Me

Author: Elton John

Pages: 374 Pages

Publisher: Henry Holt & Company

The Blurb

In his only official autobiography, music icon Elton John writes about his extraordinary life, which is also the subject of the film Rocketman.

Christened Reginald Dwight, he was a shy boy with Buddy Holly glasses who grew up in the London suburb of Pinner and dreamed of becoming a pop star. By the age of twenty-three, he was on his first tour of America, facing an astonished audience in his tight silver hotpants, bare legs and a T-shirt with ROCK AND ROLL emblazoned across it in sequins. Elton John had arrived and the music world would never be the same again.

His life has been full of drama, from the early rejection of his work with song-writing partner Bernie Taupin to spinning out of control as a chart-topping superstar; from half-heartedly trying to drown himself in his LA swimming pool to disco-dancing with the Queen; from friendships with John Lennon, Freddie Mercury and George Michael to setting up his AIDS Foundation. All the while, Elton was hiding a drug addiction that would grip him for over a decade.

In Me Elton also writes about getting clean and changing his life, about finding love with David Furnish and becoming a father. 

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

Elton John has always been a constant in my life. His music was ever present – school journeys home with my mum signing Sacrifice (badly) spring to mind but besides his music I didn’t really know to much about the man himself.

I watched the biopic Rocket Man and I loved it so decided that the natural next step would be to read his autobiography and find out more.

With Me you get more into the nitty gritty. Whilst the film can represent scenes of Elton john’s life and to some extent show the emotion of the moment the written word tells you just how the person was feeling. It guides you, allows you to make up your own mind. You aren’t told to feel a certain way, you are allowed to feel things on your own terms.

What is brilliant about Me is that Elton John does not hold back. Even when he himself does not come across too well. He has led a fascinating life – at times  it has been dark and dangerous and at other times it is just full of brilliant experiences and epic memories. It is such a joy that he has decided to share them.

Me is by far one of the better autobiographies that I have ever read.

Me by Elton John is available now.

For more information regarding Elton John (@eltonofficial) please visit www.eltonjohn.com.

For more information regarding Henry Holt & Company (@HenryHolt) please visit www.henryholt.com.