books

Goodreads review: Journey to the Centre of The Cramps

Journey to the Centre Of The CrampsJourney to the Centre Of The Cramps by Dick Porter.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars.

So you should all know that Erick Purkhiser and Kirsty Wallace – or Lux Interior and Poison Ivy, to give them the names by which the world most readily identifies them – were The Cramps. You know: the band that invented the term psychobilly (even if they didn’t think they had much in common with the double-bass music that ploughs that furrow today), who were often written off as a novelty act (because monsters) and who were stalwart protectors and exponents of the history and primacy of rock and roll.

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Goodreads review: Akira, Vol. 3

Akira, Vol. 3Akira, Vol. 3 by Katsuhiro Otomo.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is another brief review, largely because it feels kind of weird to review Akira per-trade rather than as a whole.

Boat trips are fun.

(No, it doesn’t. It just fits in with my must finish it! feelings – though I’m trying to pace myself with it. I mean I can’t read manga all year, can I?) (more…)

Goodreads review: Don Quixote

Don QuixoteDon Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (tr: John Rutherford).
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

How do you review something like Don Quixote properly? I mean, something that was written four centuries ago, and is a cornerstone of Spanish literature. It’s one of the earliest novels, deals in knighthood and class, and is something I’ve lugged from country to country over the past 20 years because I never seemed to be able to donate enough time to it.

Well, I’ve now finished it, so I’ll give reviewing it a shot: Don Quixote is a pretty good, earthily rendered cautionary tale of how reading chivalric romances leads to elder abuse. It also features more people vomiting on each other than you’d expect from a classic of literature.

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Goodreads review: Akira, Vol. 2

Akira, Vol. 2Akira, Vol. 2 by Katsuhiro Otomo.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I guess a lot of what I wrote in my review of the first volume of Akira is applicable here: it’s something technological and dirty; something full of speed and movement, yet manages to not advance the story particularly far.

(Well, that’s not entirely true. The story told here hints at Bigger Consequences Yet To Come, even though the whole volume is essentially one lengthy chase sequence.)

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Goodreads review: Akira, Vol. 1

Akira, Vol. 1Akira, Vol. 1 by Katsuhiro Otomo.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So, you’ve probably seen the 1988 animated film with this name. You know, with motorcycles and a whole lot of screaming testosterone haircuts with axes to grind and heads to explode. And so you’re expecting this to be pretty much the same thing, right?

That’s a pretty good assumption.
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Goodreads review: Shots

ShotsShots by Don Walker.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Laconic and dry. That’s probably the write-up you’ve got in mind for Shots, songwriter Don Walker’s first book. And you’re probably not all that far wrong. But that reductionism is a disservice: The book is dry, with one economical eye on the door, but there’s a lot more going on.

The book is an autobiography, more or less, but it’s not a lot like that of his on-again off-again bandmate Tex Perkins, say. It’s a collection of images gathered together under the names of places that exist, or are a state of mind – Home, Carr’s Creek, Kings Cross, The Road, Paris and so on – but they flit, moment to moment. (more…)

Goodreads review: Moby-Dick

Moby-DickMoby-Dick by Herman Melville.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

I’m not entirely sure what the purpose of reviewing Moby-Dick is.

I mean, really.

It’s the sort of book that will always be part of the canon, and I imagine people will always feel guilty about having not read it, or will imagine that it’ll be a lot harder going than anything else.

Which is kind of a shame, because it really is pretty delightful.
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Goodreads review: Errol Flynn: The Untold Story

Errol Flynn: The Untold StoryErrol Flynn: The Untold Story by Charles Higham.
My rating: 2 of 5 stars.

First things first.

I couldn’t get that bloody tune out of my head the whole time I was reading so it’s only fair you have to deal with it now too. It seems likely songwriters Reyne and McDonough had read Higham’s book, because the lyrics specifically make reference to the meat of the work: the supposition that the Tasmanian thespian dipsomaniacal klepto satyromanic was also a dyed-in-the-wool anti-Semite and Nazi.

Yeah. (more…)

Goodreads review: Powers of Darkness

Powers of Darkness: The lost version of Dracula.Powers of Darkness: The lost version of Dracula by Bram Stoker and Valdimar Ásmundsson.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

This book serves as a re-translation of an early Icelandic translation of Bram Stoker’s bitey classic, Dracula. The Icelandic version of the Count’s tale dropped in 1900, only two years after the first translation (into Hungarian), and is notable because there’s evidence – lovingly detailed in forewords, afterwords and footnotes – that Stoker was in touch with the Icelandic translator of the work, Valdimar Ásmundsson, founder of the newspaper Fjallkonan, providing information from draft versions of the English text to work with.
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Goodreads review: Dracula in Istanbul

Dracula in Istanbul.Dracula in Istanbul by Ali Rıza Seyfioğlu.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

I know what you’ve always wanted: a version of Dracula with cars in it, set in Istanbul. And where the head vein-drainer is a military coward instead of a great warlord. And where there’s lots of reference to God, and the steadfast nature of a good Turkish gent is the highest achievement one can have.

Right?

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