Goodreads Review

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.




Goodreads review: Dracula

Dracula.Dracula by Bram Stoker.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

So it seems I’m on another Gothic Lit jag. And where better to continue with the granddaddy of fanged fiction: Dracula?

You know this novel, though, right? It’s pretty much the ur-text for how we conceive of vampires, and throws a long shadow. (Though not, presumably, in a mirror.) It’s overwritten and can flip between boredom and action in a moment. I always find it a drag to read until about halfway – I am almost always of a mind to give it away – but then it snaps back in and I’m pulled through to the end.


My plan all along!


Goodreads review: 1001 Australian Nights

1001 Australian Nights: A Memoir.1001 Australian Nights: A Memoir by Dave Graney.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

Dave Graney is someone who I’ve never understood. But then, I suspect that’s exactly how he likes it.

See, when I first came to hear him – circa Night of the Wolverine – it was just before he blew up into an ARIA-winnin’ pink-suit effigy. I didn’t get the trip: it was a bit too arch for me, who was very meat-and-spuds rock. But over the years I’ve come ’round to what’s on offer – the range of moves and the dedication the man and his machine have towards making their particular kind of music. (I mean fuck, he’s still at it, and still good at it, which is more than can be said for some outta the same starting-blocks.)

Goodreads review: The Castle of Otranto

The Castle of OtrantoThe Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So it’s coming up to the holidays so I thought to myself what better time to check out the first English supernatural novel, progenitor of the Gothic genre and on-point guide to decorating your home with revenge-themed supernatural armour? And so I reached for Horace Walpole’s 1764 banger.

Basically, everything you know about the Gothic mode – weird religious symbolism, perverse family intertwinings, twisted tunnels, ghosts kicking arse from beyond death, the horror of landscape and the terror of the built environment – is in here. (more…)

Goodreads review: Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier

Twin Peaks: The Final DossierTwin Peaks: The Final Dossier by Mark Frost.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

You know, I really wanted to like this book. I was looking forward to it ever since I heard it was coming after the show, and especially given the high quality of The Secret History of Twin Peaks. I knew that the show’s return had surpassed any expectations I’d had by a mile, and surely the book must deliver more of that magical mojo, right?

It didn’t work out that way. (more…)

Goodreads review: Nick Cave: Mercy On Me

Nick Cave: Mercy On MeNick Cave: Mercy On Me by Reinhard Kleist.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So let’s get this out of the way first: I am a Nick Cave fan. Not a rabid one, no – I don’t believe he excretes perfect songs into the world, and almost every album he’s associated with could do with having about a third chopped off it – but I like him well enough. I’ve seen him play a couple of times, and have most of the records. Hell, I’ve even read his books a couple of times. (Well, not the Bunny Munro one. )

But there’s something important to know: I like him while disliking him.

Goodreads Review: David Bowie: A Life

David Bowie: A LifeDavid Bowie: A Life by Dylan Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the wake of Bowie’s death, I bought a bunch of biographies of the man, wanting to know more. Hell, I guess we all did, ’round then – after all, how do you account for a single version of the life of one guy who lived so many variants, and was held close by so many for such a multiplicity of reasons? I figured I’d get around to ’em all in time, and then the idea of there being no more David Bowie caused me to chuck the brakes on the whole read-the-biog thing.


Until now. David Bowie: A Life, the most recent Bowie biog to surface, takes a conversational approach over the standard facts-times-sawdust take on the format, and works winningly well, though not without caveats. (more…)

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…)

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…)