Saturday, 29 June 2013
GLORY ROAD: If you thought the Disney movie-that could make some hoop heads forget the gridiron passion play of 'Remember The Titans'-was inspiring then wait until you read the book of this basketball road to glory. Coach Don Haskins gives his autobiographical take on his trip to the Final Four victory of the 1966 NCAA Championship, in which he started five black players for the first time in basketball history. His Texas Western victory over Kentucky was groundbreaking not only in sport, but life and cultural measures and messages. The ever modest but hard-working coaches coach Haskins downplays his movie inspiring feat and that's where co-writer Dan Wetzel comes in at the start of every chapter. Haskins offers a coaches playbook to how this game should be played and how young men should be taught how to be beyond the game. It all makes for an inspiring and uplifting read for coaches and people looking for inspiration alike. It's hard to believe that back then black males where considered by racists to have no place in the game of basketball...let alone all the other horrible suffering people endured (which is brought to more light here). What a difference time, strength, resolve and a coach makes...and of course a group of young men who stood up to truly atrocious abuse from some men twice their age and defeated it all, winning over everyone in the process. That's true glory.
MILES-THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY: Quincy Troupe gives the late, legendary jazz man the creative space to deliver one of the most vivid and free-flowing but consice and controlled autobiographies ever. Miles Davis...is still the man even with his passing. Some considered him angry and arrogant but here you'll ust see he's just purely passionate. He'll move you too tears (especially when he talks about wanting to take up medicine) as well as showing he has a sense of humor as he delivers vividly, evocative tales from the smouldering, smoke-filled clubs of his playing from New York to the rest of the world. Bird, Mingus, Duke, Coltrane, they all play their part as does all the incredible musicians that have worked with or inspired Miles. From Billie Holliday to Frank Sinatra. As this book closes Davis' even lamented his love for the next generation of music in Prince...and he was right with that new power movement. He even said about how 'The Artist' and himself almost cut a full record together...oh my how sweet that would have been. From the 'Sketches Of Spain' to the 'Bitches Brew' Miles writes like he plays jazz, freestyling with controlled, improvisation and inspiration. Forget what you know or have heard. On this Miles is hitting all the right notes...and to those who called him a racist. Just check his reaction to his friends giving him grief for hiring white musicians (and I'm paraphrasing here somewhat)..."hey, I don't care if the cats green...if he can play, he can play". What a legend.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN-VAMPIRE HUNTER: I've said it before. It's funny how it all comes around. I brought this book one year after seeing the film adaptation last year which starred a Liam Neeson lookalike as good ole Abe (and I used to say-before Daniel Day-Lewis gave an Oscar winning nod-that Neeson would make a perfect Lincoln). I remember-for personal reasons-the day I saw that film was one of the best days of last year and my life, so who knows how good the film was...I could have been watching the worlds worst film and thought it was amazing. So I can forgive a film where the most meaningful President in American and cultural history starts slaying vampires at night like his name was Buffy. Still, what made the film and of course the book that produced it so good is this strange idea actually works. With fake diary entries and mocked up old photo's offset by real, inspiring quotes starting each chapter this is a real, ravishing and inspiring read. Everyone loves vampires...and everyone loves Lincoln so this four scores. There's meaning behind the madness too with potent messages as powerful as garlic, some satire and a lot of hero worshipping. Hey if anyone could slay the undead as well as slavery it's the man in the top hat. The ending is different to the film (of course it is Hollywood) but then again the film did handle Lincoln's assassination better than Speilberg's Oscar winning epic...yeah I said it! There's care and consideration behind what looks like an exploitation. There's more to this then meets the eye. Some men are just too interesting. Thank you Seth-Graham Smith. The man who-because of reading it wrong-I thought wrote both 'Zombies' and 'Pride and Prejudice'. Mash-up's havent sounded this good since Jay-Z and Linkin Park. What the hell are you waiting for? TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Monday, 17 June 2013
PHIL JACKSON: ELEVEN RINGS-THE SOUL OF SUCCESS: After giving 'The Last Season' another go round, our most anticipated book release this year came round and the Zen master didn't dissapoint. Toeing the court-line between his Buddist beliefs and core coaching principles, Phil Jackson gave us the perfect manual for Basketball and life leaders to be. The greatest coach of all time lamented his legend by giving us an in-depth, press-dream look at both his time with the storied Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers championship teams. What a legacy. From Michael Jordan to Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest and Metta World Peace to Dennis Rodman and 'The Worm' this dry erase writing covers it all. Stay tuned for the full review.
ERNESTO "CHE" GUEVARA-THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES: This revolutionary leaders pre-political diaries as a young man are iconic and inspirational in themselves. A short but sweet read of a long and legacy making trip down South America, this is something for followers and travellers alike. From heart-warming to gut-wrenching stories and laughter to tears this truly is one book that isn't about this man's destiny destination but about his joyeous journey. You'll never believe what he gets up to and you won't want to say goodbye. Time to write your own travel journals. Make it a trip.
MR S. MY LIFE WITH FRANK SINATRA: Normally I don't touch biographies about celebrities. I prefer the albeit truth from the horses mouth, but George Jacobs life was worth the look. Especially for 49p (the bargains continue). Ole Blue Eyes former valet saw everything when it came to Frank...and we do mean everything for one of the most hilarious stories. The two fell out in the end, so you may want to take some of this with a pinch of salt and there is a lot of this celebrity life that is just sleazy. Still there's that Rat Pack cool from Vegas to Palm Springs. Plus with an inside look at everyone from the Kennedys to Marylin Monroe this isnt just a story about the chairman. To be Frank it's a look at the history of American culture and the dream of it over the last century.
FIGHT CLUB: David Fincher made this a classic film with fellow 'Se7en' star Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, still it's this original novel story that truly made the film both weird and wonderful. Remember the book came before the chicken, so its always better. Brutal but beautifully wrote, this scarring satire is a punch and precursor to insulting modern times and it pulls all sorts of punches at a dull and monotonous everyday life. Sure this isnt for everybody as like the film it's a little bit too much, but behind the bruised eyes you can see it's saying so much more. Do you get the message? Or like someone with two black eyes have you already been told twice?
JACK KEROUAC-MAGGIE CASSIDY: How about one more short story? That's what a lazy Sunday gives you. Completing a week of real reads, nothing beats Kerouac. After my best friend dedicated a copy of 'On The Road' to my American travels, it was only right in this present I brought one that matched my feeling today...head over heels in love. A hopelessly beautiful take on a teenage love affair this really is the best of this legendary American beat writers wonderful works. Anyone whose ever found the one, will join the millions who relate to this book. A story as sweet as it is sincere, it's a lovers lament to not only matters of the heart, but the best times of our life...high school. From sports day to love notes, as hearts race check yes on this one. This is love, this is life. This is Kerouac.
Coming Soon....'Glory Road', Miles Davis and more....
Wednesday, 5 June 2013
BILL BRYSON: NOTES FROM A SMALL COUNTRY/DOWN UNDER/THE LIFE & TIMES OF THE THUNDERBOLT KID-For years my parents and aunties and uncles would buy me these books as I was growing up with keen ideas to travelling. Recentely I reopened this dream by finding these books and reading through the tales of one of the greatest travel writers ever. This American is as insightful as he is inspiring and as scathing to whats wrong as he is rightfully funny. 'Notes From A Small Island' is hilarious...especially as Britain is my familiar home. While 'Down Under' is a unique trip and take of the depths of the delightful Australia. Still, however it's his hilarious and unbelievable take of 50's America in 'The Life & Times Of The Thunderbolt Kid' that truly hits home. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wish you lived the life...so why not?!
PHIL JACKSON: THE LAST SEASON (A TEAM IN SEARCH OF ITS SOUL)-With the release of Phil Jackson's latest memoir 'Eleven Rings-The Soul Of Success' (stay tuned for a review) we re-read the legendary Chicago Bull and Los Angeles Laker coaches last book. Set in the dream team turned nightmare season of a Lakers squad that boasted Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone and Gary Payton but no championship hardware, this is a truly insightful behind the scenes look at what was Phil's last season in Hollywood before he returned to the hardwood to fill out the rest of those eleven rings. This is as real and as revealing as it gets. With his new book looking to be his best, almost a decade back this was the one piece of writing every tabloid journalist and would-be-coach wanted to get there hands on. The perfect journal and coaching manual, still not lost today with all that's happened since.
TOM CLANCY: EXECUTIVE ORDERS-With 'Star Trek's' new Kirk about to take the Alec Baldwin/Harrison Ford/Ben Affleck mantle of CIA's best Jack Ryan it was time to look at one of Tom Clancy's epic stories in the Ryan saga. Almost a mammoth 900 pages, this took almost as long to read as it was to lift out of the old cupboard of old family books. Still, in the end this intriguing tale is worth the read. Vivid and descriptive, we see Ryan take on the role as American President (this feels more like you should picture Mr. Ford) after a terroist attack that seems all too familiar...although this book was penned in 1996. From the pressroom to the situation room and war to an epidemic to end it all, this is as real as it gets.
I AM LEGEND: With Will Smith's father and son Sci-Fi 'After Earth' out this week it's time to take a look at the book that his last out of this world outing was based on. Very different from the film in plots and locations this quick read is a novel page turner that keeps you on your toes and the whites of your knuckles. This Richard Matheson book is bold, brilliant and a horror/sci-fi that mixes Phillip K. Dick with what inspired Stephen King. Truly terrifying and incredibly isolated you are drawn right into this in it's own right. The brilliant Will Smith film has not lost the transalation of the books original message. With an even beautiful and heartbreaking one man and his dog tale this is the original and best. The film may be a classic...but this is the legend. TIM DAVID HARVEY.