Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, is a big book (528 pages). Sure, I wanted to read it, but when I spotted the audio version, read by Bruce, I knew I wanted to listen to it more. Nineteen hours of his
sexy distinctive voice, reminiscing about New Jersey, guitars and recording studios was bound to be absolutely fucking glorious.
And then I took it to the next level. I interspersed listening to the audiobook with listening to every album in its entirety, as he discussed them in the book. I listened to the songs in the order they were published (because as Bruce says, ‘…an album with its A and B sides has a ‘collective’ story…’, something that millennial-playlisters who cherry-pick songs will never quite understand). It was another 15 hours and 38 minutes of Bruce-listening-pleasure.
I’m not going to write a review of the book – fans will read it and love it to bits (everyone else will think “528 pages? Pass.”). But I have picked a favourite song from each album. Continue reading
I loved The Ice Storm by Rick Moody. It’s a brutal, sad story.
There’s not much to like about the characters but there’s lots to like in Moody’s words. This book was extremely visual for me – perhaps because I saw And Lee’s insanely good movie version of the story years ago, or perhaps it’s because Moody has created a distinct sense of place and time. Either way, writing a review wasn’t working so I’ve gone with an audio approach.
I Write the Songs / Barry Manilow
Once his dreams had been songs. He’d been a balladeer of promise and opportunity. Continue reading
01. Converse make my feet hurt but I really want these or these (particularly because I missed out on these beauties from Gorman despite getting there on the day they were released). Continue reading
You know I hate the term ‘quirky’, right? Anyway, The Reminders by Val Emmich is an
quirky off-beat story – not as mad as something like The Portable Veblen but certainly a little odd.
Ten-year-old Joan Lennon Sully has an amazing gift – HSAM (highly superior autobiographical memory). She remembers everything that has happened to her in detail. However, Joan knows that most people don’t have a memory like hers and after watching her grandma suffer from Alzheimer’s, she understands what it means to forget –
Grandma Joan had to throw me out of her brainbox so she could have enough room for the lyrics to all her favourite songs. She remembered those until the day she died (Saturday, October 8, 2011). Continue reading
It’s had a squillion reviews on Goodreads; it was a re-read for me; and it’s packed with pithy one-liners – all good reasons for a literary mixtape for Jay McInerney’s eighties classic, Bright Lights, Big City.
If you haven’t already read it, get on it – it’s a brilliant snapshot of grief in its denial phase, set against eighties New York with its largesse, its cocaine, its filth, its beautiful people.
4/5 It holds up.
Saturday Night / Cold Chisel
The night has already turned on that imperceptible pivot where two A.M. changes to six A.M. You know this moment has come and gone, but you are not yet willing to concede that you have crossed the line beyond which all is gratuitous damage and the palsy of unravelled nerve endings. Continue reading
It doesn’t seem quite right doing a literary mixtape for a book that I loved so much. Because I should be telling you why I loved it, and urging you to read it. Read this review and also this one – they sum up why it’s ace. Now off you go and read it.
5/5 Magnificent. Continue reading
I’m very keen on books that incorporate music into the story and I’m not fussy about the format it takes. Things I love: literary mix tapes; words put to song; songs put to words; and authors who include playlists in end-notes. So, of course I was going to read Laura Barnett’s latest, Greatest Hits.
Greatest Hits is a fictional memoir. Singer-songwriter Cass Wheeler reflects on her life by choosing sixteen tracks that define her. Each chapter begins with the lyrics to one of her songs, followed by Cass’s account of important events in her life. Cass’s childhood, in particular her relationship with her mother, sets the foundation for an interesting story, and it moves on to her troubled teen years, her discovery of music, her rise to fame, and her tumultuous relationship with fellow musician, Ivor. Continue reading
Any book that begins with a playlist and an introduction by Nik Kershaw is obviously going on my reading list.
A quick Nik Kershaw refresher before I get into the nitty-gritty of 100 RPM – One Hundred Stories Inspired By Music, edited by Caroline Smailes –
And a little reminder of when I met him… Continue reading
Okay, that’s a Leo Sayer song but this post is all about the Gibbs.
I felt it was time for a Bee Gees literary mix tape (mainly because I’m still sulking about Barry’s cancelled Melbourne tour).
Marvel at the lustrous hair (chest and other) and the magnificent use of solid gold.
01. You Should Be Dancing / Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead Continue reading
Fairly certain that every review of Liz Moore’s The Words of Every Song begins with “I picked up this book because I loved Heft.”
So, let me begin… Continue reading