books

Goodreads review: Sex, Lies & Statistics

Sex, Lies & Statistics.Sex, Lies & Statistics by Brooke Magnanti
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A short review because there’s really very little room here for me to make snark about characters or plot devices, seeing as this is something that’s rooted in truth, and how it’s perceived when passed through the lens of the media. (more…)

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Goodreads review: How Music Works

How Music WorksHow Music Works by David Byrne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So, David Byrne knows a thing or two about music.

This shouldn’t be surprising. After all, he’s been a recording artist and performer – two very different things – for well over 40 years now, and he’s renowned for his creations and collaborations. I’ve been a fan – though not a rabid one – for a couple of decades, and so I figured a trawl through this was in order. What I found was a weird (yet enjoyable) hybrid: (more…)

Goodreads review: Strawberry Hills Forever

Strawberry Hills Forever.Strawberry Hills Forever by Vanessa Berry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’ve never really been someone for zines. I’ve read them on occasion, but in a lot of cases I find they’re a bit more OCD or hermetic than even I could handle. Sometimes it feels as if I’m an interloper with some titles; that I’m not the audience. Could be the case, granted. So I’m happy to note that this collection of pieces from Vanessa Berry – culled from her zines I Am A Camera and Laughter and the Sound of Teacups are welcoming while still maintaining their dedication to singularity of vision.
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Goodreads review: The Town

The TownThe Town by Shaun Prescott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Shaun Prescott’s first novel is a strangely compelling Oz-lit amalgam of kitchen-sink drama filtered through an odd, pastoral folk weirdness lens. It’s an examination of failure: of motivation, of society, of relationships and of the laws of physics. It’s a meditation on the pull exerted by cities and their rural sisters, a contemplation of one’s ability to record loss (and the writing process), and something of a rueful love-letter to a particular part of Australia. (more…)

Goodreads review: Detours

DetoursDetours by Tim Rogers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Five stars. I suppose it’s unlikely I would have rated any other way, really, given how much of my early adulthood was soundtracked by the guy. See, for nerdy dorks of my age and type, Tim Rogers’ work is pretty important. I’ve written about that here if you’d fancy further solipsism – but suffice it to say You Am I were (and are) a band that made you feel like you could give it a go, and that there was stuff and a place out there for you, too.

Yeah, there are big rock moves, and big rock appetites. But then behind it all was someone who wrote songs about OCD, who felt an impostor, and who used Townshend windmills to blur reality, just a bit.
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Goodreads review: Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth

Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on EarthJimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Chris Ware’s almost-autobiographical tale of a meek man and his familial foundering has been on my to-read list since it started winning a bunch of awards in 2001. I’m kind of glad I’m reading it now, because I’m not sure I would’ve had the emotional fortitude to survive it back then.

It’s cold in here.

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Goodreads review: You Don’t Know Me

You Don't Know MeYou Don’t Know Me by Brooke Magnanti
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You know, it’s not every book opens with a quote from the 1700s by a leading light in the field of anatomical pathology. But then, we’re dealing with a tiny town in the Highlands, where the morgue assistant’s a metalhead and the population are individual, to say the least.
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Goodreads review: The Decagon House Murders

TitleThe Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Imagine a ten-sided house. Add to it murder mystery enthusiasts, each bearing a famous crime writer’s nickhame. Add a sprinkling of weird fiction ghostliness and gothic murder. Then kill everybody.
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Goodreads review: Wolf in White Van

Wolf in White VanWolf in White Ban by John Darnielle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The short review? Songwriter writes book. Book digs a bit deeper into some of songwriter’s peccadilloes. People who like songwriter’s work will like book. EXEUNT.

I have to admit I was predisposed towards liking this book given that I am a fan of Darnielle’s music. Knowing how good the writing is in The Mountain Goats – an eclectic, honest and nerdily funny combo who’ve produced some of the best songs about a) peanuts, b) relationship decline, c) abusive adolescence and d) insurance fraud ever (I’m not covering goths, road trips, wrestling, Michael Myers or religion here, but take my word for it, they’re there) – I expected good things.
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