Category: Books

The Book I Read: It By Stephen King

Yes, he’s the master of horror.

I’ve read over a dozen of his books now, and while some are better than others I enjoyed them all. This is one of the better ones. At 1100 or so pages, it took a while to finish, but even at that length I didn’t find much filler. There was one scene that I didn’t really like but overall I liked it a lot and really got to know and care about the characters. I liked the way he switched back and forth between them as kids and as adults. Sometimes you had to read a bit to know which was which. Clever. And Mr. King was very descriptive with being too long-winded. He really does know how to write.

The Book I Read: Here, There And Everywhere – My Life Recording The Music Of The Beatles By Geoff Emerick And Howard Massey

Geoff Emerick was actually THERE. We’ve heard a million times about what happened when the Beatles were recording, from the early days until the bitter end. But he was actually there to see and work on a lot of the music. His accounts of the Beatles pushing the limits of the studio again and again offer a world of insights into their music process. He sometimes seems to brag a bit about his record prowess, but then again you can’t argue with the results. His accountings of the Revolver and Sgt Peppers sessions alone make the book worth buying. But there’s much more than that.

The Book I Read: Complicated Game – Inside The Songs Of XTC By Andy Partridge And Todd Bernhardt

So many great songs. Andy wrote most of XTC’s songs and they are one of the best bands ever. This book takes about 30 of his XTC songs ands discusses them at length. In doing so, it provides a wealth of insight into his creative songwriting process.

“I like accidents. I like to put myself in the way of musical harm. I like being at the wheel of that musical car, and aiming it at the wall, just to see what shape the car’s going to come out. It might come out an interesting shape that would have taken me forever to decide on otherwise. – Andy Partridge”

And don’t just believe me, here’s what Amazon has to say:

The Book I Read: Gone Girl


This book, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, has been a best seller for a few years now and I finally found a copy of it used. So yes, I am behind the times, but yes also, I did read it!

It was a great read and I could hardly put it down. She has a writing style and a story that pulls you in. There were plot twists in the best way. If there was a flaw in the book it was the ending, which was ok but not great. But the rest of the book WAS great and I recommend it.

From the description on Amazon:

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

I’ve already gone out and bought another book by Ms. Flynn, and I even bought this one new!

What do you think? Leave me a comment!

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The Book I Read: The Storyteller

Jodi Picoult The Storyteller

I’ve read a couple other books by this same author, Jodi Picoult, (Nineteen Seconds and My Sister’s Keeper) and I enjoyed them both. She has a sharp knack for rich and engaging characters and for what moral choices they might make in difficult situations. Well, this book is that and more.

“Everything changes on the day that Josef confesses a long-buried and shame­ful secret and asks Sage for an extraordinary favor.”

The story is set in the current day and the protagonist (Sage) is a modern young woman, but much of the story centers around an elderly man (Josef) she meets and the difficult request he makes of her. It turns out he was once a nazi working in concentration camp and a large chunk of the book takes place there in war-time Germany.

Life under the nazis and in the camps was awful beyond imagination and the harrowing narrative doesn’t shy away from that at all. I said “Whoa” and “Holy crap” out loud a few times and was moved by the characters and their gripping situations. At times it was a bit of a difficult go, with the terrible things that happened, but at the same time(s), it was so absorbing that I couldn’t put it down. This is a really good book and I do recommend it.

Have you read this book?

What do you think? Leave me a comment!

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The Book I Read: The Beatles – A Hard Days Write

Beatles Hard Days WriteAre you a major Beatles fan? Not just liking their music, but wanting to know a lot more about it. If so, then this thorough but easily-readable book is just the thing. The author, Steve Turner, takes a look at every single song that they wrote and the story behind each song. Some song explanations take less than a page, others a few pages. Most of the song stories are quite interesting and informative If you wanted to know about any (or all) of their songs, then start with this book. It reads so easy but it is packed full of Beatle knowledge. I really enjoyed it.

Every song they wrote is represented here, up to and including the ones on the Anthology albums. It’s all chronological so you also get a sense of the increasing complexity and maturity of their music as time went on.

OK, yes, I know the picture here is the german version but believe me I read the English version. The German cover was a better graphic so I used that one. I got this book in the bargain books section of Barnes and Noble. So run down there and get one!

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The Book I Read: Bowie – Loving The Alien

Bowie Loving The AlienAs you might have noticed, I read another David Bowie bio recently. I enjoyed that one, but this one is better.

Christopher Sanford, the author, is very thorough. And I do mean very. I learned so much about Bowie by reading this book. I will say that the author is not just a Bowie fan-boy, he offers an extensive portrait of the star, warts and all, through all of Bowie’s personalities and personas. Bowie is no saint and that is made clear here. On the other hand, he is a musical superstar, deserved so, and that is made clear too.

From the Amazon web site:

Based on interviews with family members, colleagues, lovers, and the previously silent William Burroughs, this unsparing yet evenhanded biography guides the reader through the many personas, crises, and musical metamorphoses of David Bowie—also known as Davy Jones, the Laughing Gnome, Major Tom, Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, the Thin White Duke, a drug-addled grandfather of punk, actor, art aficionado, political activist, one of rock’s most resonant icons, and a totem of modern pop culture. Nowhere else is the man and musician so convincingly deconstructed and so compellingly humanized.

My biggest regret about this book is that chronologically it ends at 1997, with the “Earthling” album. I enjoyed the book and would have liked to know more about the later years and the subsequent albums.

That said, this is a really well-written and comprehensive book about David Bowie and does a great job of chronicling his life and music. Recommended.

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The Book I Read: David Bowie And The 1970s

David Bowie 70sThe seventies were a weird time for music. On the one hand there was the great new wave and punk movement, on the other there was the horribleness of disco. Yeah, but throughout the decade there was also the amazing and varied music of David Bowie.

The book I just finished, “The Man Who Sold The World: David Bowie And The 1970s” by Peter Doggett is a lengthy but interesting account of Bowie in arguably his most productive and interesting decade. Nothing against his other work, I am a huge fan of his, but from Space Oddity through Scary Monsters in the seventies (roughly) there was also Ziggy Stardust, Young Americans, Hunky Dory, Diamond Dogs and a number of other ground-breaking albums and ever-shifting personnas and identities.

The 2014 Seattle And Bumbershoot Trip – Part 2

bumbershoot_2014_logoClick here to read part one first

I’ll post some pictures soon, but here’s part two of what we did on our trip.

Saturday August 30

This is the day I have been waiting for, the start of the Bumbershoot Music and Arts Festival. We took the monorail to the Seattle Center, the site of the festival, and yes we were early. That’s how I like it. At 11:00 AM, we entered the festival and headed immediately to the Starbucks Gold Lounge, for a free coffee drink. Then we walked over to the VIP Hospitality Lounge and had some snacks there. OK, now time for music. First up was The Lonely Forest in the KEXP lounge (the secret stage). This show and their outdoor show later today were going to be their last shows ever. After some 10 years together they were calling it quits. Too bad, too, because their set was great! Now I discover them!

Complicated Shadows: The Life And Music Of Elvis Costello

Have you read this book?

Elvis is King. That’s the message he inserted oh-so-cleverly over and over on the cover of his first album. Of course, there was that other Elvis too, but Costello burst on the music scene full of himself and full of potential. His uber-catchy songs and stunning way with lyrics made him famous and infamous overnight and his fame took off despite his occasional efforts to derail that train. This book details his early years and rise to fame as well as many of the things that he did to mystify and sometimes alienate his listeners from then on, as well as his loves and likes along the way.

He is one of the most talented singer-songwriters ever. There, I said it. He’s made a few mistakes in his life and in his music choices, but overall the depth and breadth of his amazing career is matched by very few. This book tackles both the life and the music chronologically, and unfortunately ends too soon in the early 00’s with the somewhat forgetable North album. But each album from My Aim Is True up through North is discussed and matched with the corresponding events in his personal life (along with his bands and backup musicians). Sometimes the life part goes a little light but there is still insight into the personality and into the music.