Sunday, 8 November 2015
24 Bonds later-from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig-and we have 'Spectre' but what do you know about the three books that are the spirit of arguably the biggest 007 feature yet?
George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan or even Idris Elba. Take your pick, but James Bond would be nothing without the M that sent him on his first mission and created him; Sir Ian Fleming. The original suave, suited and booted spy who played cards and Bond girls, from island to casino like it was all a game. Ever since his first classic book 'Casino Royale' that has inspired all the classic films from the man with the golden gun to this day, Ian Fleming was given a license to write that made him the Great British tux alternative to the tweed of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 'Sherlock Holmes' sleuth detective. Making these classic chapters and bookshelves stories that are still as popular as they've always been in today's world of superheroes, monsters and robots.
The 'Spectre' trilogy begins with 'Thunderball' that was a lottery ticket winning movie for the one and only true Bond, Sean Connery. To this day the film remains a classic from the classic underwater scenes as tense as 'Jaws' to the iconic Bond villain that would end up being put to parody hilariously by Mike Myers' legendary Dr. Evil character in the spy spoof 'Austin Powers'. The rolling book introduces us to the legendary adversary Ernst Stavro Blofeld for the first time. It is as classic as any formidable Fleming novel that has inspired a massive movie that James Bond has returned in, 'From Russia With Love' to 'Goldfinger'. Does he expect you to read? No Mr. Bond fans they expect you to thrive (off this).
And you really will when the worlds most famous agent is sent on an impossible mission 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'. Slaloming between the snow-scaped slopes of the alps to the avalanche that is Blofeld and his 'Spectre' organisation coming down on a Bond who just wants to get the job done and even find love among all this hate and madness...with tragic consequences. When it comes to Bonded books 'Majesty' may just take the crown as the most thrilling roller-coaster of stakes and emotions that Fleming has ever penned on paper that would one day become a picture on the big-screen.
From tragedy with hate comes the conclusion to the classic chapters of the 'Spectre' trilogy with 'You Only Live Twice'. As Bond faces off with Blofeld for an epic conclusion that's streak of revenge is offset with the serenity of a Tokyo trip to the Far East which shows 007 the way and wisdom of the samurai as James bonds with Japan and finds rebirth and peace to all this 'Spectre' war in more ways than one. Looking for an eye for an eye with the original Scarface there's more than meets one here for a spirited and haunting finale to 'Spectre'. With the writing on the wall and the author of all of 007's pain and power, the late, great Sir Ian Fleming's word will always be Bond. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 16 October 2015
Holmes Court Advantage.
Magnified words from the legendary Arthur Conan Doyle of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes are read by a young man enthralled with the mysteries and stories to be solved from the famous Baker Street boy and his Mr. Watson doctor assistant. Yet these legendary tales aren't magnified by glass...but a pair of goggles.
A pair of iconic goggles that would take to the 80's Forum floor for the Showtime Los Angeles Lakers, as legendary NBA champion Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sky-hooked his way to recording the all-time most points in his sports league history. This iconic number 33 would use the Sherlock Holmes powers of deduction that he read before games as inspiration in sussing out his opponents during contests. The way Detroit Piston Bill Laimbeer's knee is knocking and locking one night and his history of injuries in that area point to a weakness down low. The way the infamous Boston Garden parquet floor splinters in that particular position means Celtic Kevin McHale will go right. And if Cap himself just gets into that position under the baseline, extends his arm to an almost perfect right angles and pitches the ball like a putt it should glide into the basket like that, every time, without fail.
Now in retirement Kareem is using those great powers of vision to deduct something even greater. His biggest challenge yet. We all know this thoughtful and wise man can write, just like he can act in things from 'Airplane' to the 'Game Of Death' fighting martial arts legend Bruce Lee. The 'Time' columnist is the best of the best when it comes to pros who have now turned their hoop hand to prose. Following his self-titled, acclaimed autobiography, 'Kareem' had wrote many a New York Times bestselling, published classic. From 'Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants' to writing children's story's based around the game with the life metaphors and lessons that run through it from teamwork to individuality.
But now Kareem is entering a whole new arena all together with his salute to Sherlock...or should we say his military brother 'Mycroft Holmes'. Abdul-Jabbar's new novel is a spin-off success like the Robert Downey Jnr films and the Benedict Cumberbatch T.V. shows. Keeping the detective alive like the spy of Ian Fleming's 007 Bond in this British intelligence age of 'Spectre'. Far from glorified fan-fiction from a celebrity this is an original alternative like Mitch Cullen's older 'Mr. Holmes' work which was turned into a movie with Sir Ian McKellen. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would be proud. This original story that sees Holmes heading to Trinidad to investigate a haunting horror on the shores of its beaches is a deep story of investigation and influence that not only understands the Holmes family, but the military grade character of the elder Mycroft too. Sherlock makes some highlighted appearances to for all the hat and pipe fans but this inspired book is something fresh and new altogether. With all that's on the bookshelf of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's library this may just be his best work yet. Not only does he craft a sensational story, the American's command of the old English style, language and Holmes narrative is perfection. This old school Lakers player leaves Hollywood for Baker Street and the elementary result is one that is dear. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Thursday, 15 October 2015
Tuff Gets Going.
Shots have been fired across the headlines this week as former Washington Wizards All-Star Gilbert Arenas has hit out at Caron Butler for his account of the Agent Zero's infamous locker-room gun-incident with former NBA player Javaris Crittenton (who is now serving 23 years in prison for a separate, manslaughter crime. Such a waste of such raw talent) over an unresolved gambling debt in his new already, Pat Riley to Mark Wahlberg acclaimed 'Tuff Juice' autobiography. Just for both sides of the argument, Butler states that after some gun talk threats from either sides, Gilbert laid out four guns and asked Javaris to pick one to be shot with. Arenas says he laid those guns out for Crittenton to choose which one Gilbert would be shot with. The whole situation was a mess!
Either way we are seriously digressing. That's not the issue here. The issue here is this annual. This amazing autobiography from Mr. Tuff Juice himself, Caron Butler is what we really need to focus on and how he turned away from the life of the streets to ball...something his teammates shouldn't have reversed once they made it too. Caron Butler's autobiography is inspired and the perfect influence for any young players looking to get into the game of basketball...not "the game", which in reality is anything but one. This is more. More than being a star under Coach Calhoun for UConn. More than the potential of being a top ten drafted star for the Miami Heat. Or more than being trade worthy for the Lakers Shaquille O'Neal with big-man Brian Grant and fellow underrated modern swingman Lamar Odom (thoughts and prayers...get well L.O.). More than what could have been in Hollywood. More than that was in Los Angeles as a Clipper. More than the ring as a Maverick in Dallas. More than the homecoming in Milwaukee as a Buck. More than the forecast for Thunder in Oklahoma City. More than this valuable veteran becoming a Piston in Detroit's Motor City machine. More than what could be as a Californian King on the throne in Sacramento. Even more than a powerful foreword from former teammate Kobe Bryant...now that's one hell of a co-sign from a guy where all waiting for him to be writing his own career tome. And of course more than what happened in D.C. More than all of this. But it's all here. All Caron has become. Because of all he has overcome.
Guns...gangs...drugs...death and all the wrong side of the street in-between. Substance abuse, not of his body...but others. Selling drugs and running with gangs. All until it stopped, not with a prison sentence, including the solitary, cruel confinement of 'The Hole', but when Caron decided enough was enough. He wasn't going out like that. Even if he could make a million on the street before he hit the stage of the NBA Draft, he wasn't going out like that. There was only one court Butler wanted to get caught up with...and he's been at its veteran, journeyman service ever since. But for a man whose played for almost ten teams over a decade and has found a home where he'll always belong to each respective city with each franchise, he never left the streets of Racine. He's never forget them, showing this NBA player more than cares with all the extra-curricula activities he's doing with the boys and girls to keep them off the streets and in the education of schooling everyone else from the books to the gym. And if you want to get there...you could start with this book. The NBA career may as well be the exceptional epilogue, because the life and times of young Caron Butler is what this is all about and it's life worth living and learning from. So you can do it too. Or he or she never has to. The struggle to survive behind the stratosphere if success. Caron Butler has overcome so much and the outcome is more than inspired...it's influential. It's not scripted on dry-erase...it's a real hit to the hardwood. It's not Hollywood...it's Racine. It's not Kobe...it's Caron. It's not the NBA....it's life. This is what it's all about. This is the juice. You don't think so? You don't like it? "Tuff"! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Monday, 5 October 2015
THE BLACK DAHLIA: Dripping in noir and dark red blood. Part of 'American Tabloid' writer James Ellroy's quartet set in Los Angeles is off the Q.T and very "hush, hush" like 'L.A. Confidential'. Based on the real Black Dahlia murder mystery in Los Angeles this Hollywoodland homicide was adapted into a movie starring leading men Josh Hartnett and Aaron Eckhart and femme fatales Scarlett Johansson and Hilary Swank. Read with slick, classic lead cop investigative narration like its been ripped fresh off the typewriter, you feel how all drawn out this is like the case of the unsolved 'Zodiac' killer that demonised the angels of the city of Los Angeles. With brilliant boxing ring asides with the fire and ice of two partner cops in busting crime in the jaw, like the fire and ice of classic Laker Baylor and West this rages like a bull. All the way until the end which seems to go on until one of California's cruellest mysteries is brought to a light realer than a cinematic one. Until then the death of the Dahlia will never fade to black. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Thursday, 24 September 2015
CHILD OF GOD: Devil knows there's nothing godly about the central character in this Cormac McCarthy classic, this is 'American Psycho' with a twisted Tennessee turn. This is definitely not for children...or the faint hearts, or even those that it takes a lot to offend. The 'No Country For Old Men' and 'The Road' writer gives us another dark, shadowy story that is dripping with 'Blood Meridan' and is a far stampede from 'All The Pretty Horses'. The rapist that stalks these pages like your worst nightmare rewoken from a horror even Hollywood wouldn't screen is evil walking around like the dead, but McCarthy maps out his life like he would for any human being...with respect for the story. The process of writing. And its in Cormac's signature style that we get some perfect prose, even if our subject is the furthest thing from it. But compared to author it doesn't matter. Any child from Cormac is written by the hands of a God. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 21 August 2015
THE JIM MURRAY READER: "As a kid, I didn't read Dr. Seuss, I read Jim Murray. In the 1979-1980 season, my parents had the newspaper spread across the table, as they did every morning. I was just at the age when I could read it, and recognize what was going on in it. Calendar section, ugh. Front page, meh. I said, "Wait a minute, what's this?" It just jumped off the page in 3-D. Kareem had gotten injured in Philadelphia, and Magic was going to start at center. And it pulled me in like a novel or something. I dove right into it." Nothing says it better than these words from modern day musical inspiration Ben Harper, as the famous Lakers fan tells us about his memories with Pulitzer Prize winning sportswriter and journalist Jim Murray. A man who has been ringside and courtside to write first-hand columns on everyone from Muhammed Ali and Michael Jordan. It's only legal pad in typewriter fitting that the greatest sportsmen of all-time were wrote about by the greatest sportswriter who wrote about more than just the game as his wonderful wordplay and magical metaphors brought sports and life together as one. Like so many hand in hand talk and write about today. The man who could spend an entire article talking about the way Magic passes the ball handed us a lifetime of work and to anyone who wants to start theirs with his needs this catalogue of classic collections of Jim Murray readings. We could never put it better than the master Murray, but get the scoop like Jackson, Jim is the reason this writer writes! What more can you possibly say? TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Tuesday, 4 August 2015
JAMES PATTERSON-MARY, MARY: Mary, Mary quite contrary how does your bookshelf grow? Thankfully quite exponentially due to James Patterson and the American writers own Sherlock Holmes character, Detective 'Alex Cross'. The D.C., D.C. who has solved many classic cases by the book, including 'Along Came A Spider' and 'Kiss The Girls' and has even appeared in many hit movies as Morgan Freeman and Tyler Perry's Cross. Here Alex makes the cross country trip from Washington to Los Angeles to solve some real Hollywood homicide. Movie stars and celebrities are getting owned left, right and downtown centre and we no the cluedos don't lead to Perez Hilton on Rodeo Drive with a laptop, even if some threatening letters are being wrote. So whose making the final cut in this script flip? And will this twist have a happy ending?
STEPHEN KING-ON WRITING: Heeeere's Steeeephen! The King of books is back but like you've never read him before. The mastermind behind so many classic books and the movies they have made like 'Carrie', 'The Shining', 'The Shawshank Redemption' and 'The Green Mile' is back with a memoir like no other that isn't all autobiographical arrogance like the self portraits from most Hollywood types. Want to write the next 'It'?! Well tough you ain't Stephen King and he wont show you! He'll tell you all about it mind and show you your own way with tips of the trade in writing your own story. This is a writing guide as much a great aid as the late, great Syd Field's Screenplay service. Even giving us a behind the pages look at how he crafted some of his classics as well as his own survival from a horrific accident that has given him another lease at life. The king of kings, King rules the game of thrones that is storytelling for the bookshelves, even more than George R.R. Martin. Now you don't have to resort to using a sledgehammer to keep this King and his subjects in your house. TIM DAVID HARVEY
Saturday, 23 May 2015
Sunday, 10 May 2015
LONE SURVIVOR: Inspiration doesn't come much stronger than this. This survival of the fittest inspired the hit Mark Wahlberg film last year that was truly a great shot of battling with the harsh realities of modern warfare. In his call of duty, Mark did real life 'Lone Survivor' Marcus Luttrell proud with honour. Still just like with Bradley Cooper's depiction of real life friend and 'American Sniper' subject Chris Kyle, you just have to read the real story behind the subject of a star powered movie. The real story of against the cruelest of odds survival is what is really worthy of award and commendation. After losing his team to the violence of Taliban rebels after letting go what was thought to be goat farmers, Luttrell found himself in the middle of his own personal, hell war zone all by himself, until he was helped out by some incredible villagers. This story is inspiring in more ways than one just like it is enlightening. Showing that there is more to just one side of war and grey areas to the black and white nature of how the media or popular consensus treats the conflict between countries. Even if you haven't seen this film you need to take a look at this book for the sake of Marcus, for all he sacrificed and survived. This is the brave. The proud. You may have been through a lot in your life, but not this much in one day. So lets take a moment. For the man. For his men.
Monday, 13 April 2015
ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER-TOTAL RECALL: Recall this! Arnold Schwarzenegger is the definition of the American dream and he details all of this in page after page of the volume of his life for a mammoth, monster machine of an amazing autobiography 'Total Recall' (not to be confused with the classic Phillip K. Dick book that inspired one of his biggest movie hits). The man who wrote 'The Encyclopedia Of Bodybuilding' gives you 600 reps here in an epic, power bar motivational piece of prose, that also shows some great humility amongst the "get off your ass" inspiration. You just can't put this cinder book down like the heaviest iron pumped in training. Everything is detailed here from the Austrian who came to America with some incredible and impossible goals but unbelievably achieved them all. The bodybuilding of being Mr. Olympia, the politics of being Governor of California and that little movie career inbetween that you may have heard about too. Even the hardships of the heart and marriage trouble of the seemingly indestructible, 90's figure of real super heroic standards are brought to honest page shedding light. The titanic sized triple threat has something for everyone here, even if you're not a movie buff. Interested in working out? Then you can follow Arnie's regime all the way to the free weights of Golds Gym. Politics your choice of coffee table talk? Then the 'Governator' will inspire you into a deep debate of knowledge and power. Still for film fans Schwarzenegger tells all about his hit movies from 'Terminator' to 'Twins' and 'Predator' to 'Junior' with some top tip, trade secrets (including some of the films he should have been a part of). Still throughout it all, family and famous friends, Arnold remains Arnold and that's what makes these chapters compelling. Sorry we cant resist...Hasta La Vista...bookshelf!
FURIOUS COOL-RICHARD PRYOR & THE WORLD THAT MADE HIM: Laugh now, but David and Joe Henry are on to something. The writing pair where writing a film about the greatest comedian of all-time when penning this book. Now there's been rumours that Eddie Murphy is about to star in one about his idol Richard Pryor. The brothers here give a detailed account of this mans life for a brilliant biography that serves as an appropriate accompaniment to Richard's 'Pryor Convictions' autobiography. Wrote with the help of family and friends and some real conviction this isn't just an appropriate account, it's also a gem of a guide that features inspired italics of descriptive and deep bookends to chapters that read like treatments to scripts. This 'Furious' heaven is worthy of moviemaking and the moments of a man that still brings tears to our eyes. Striking the fine, familiar line between comedy and tragedy, the Henry's give us gold. Yet it will always be Richard Pryor that will have the last, lasting laugh. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Thursday, 19 February 2015
SOUTH OF THE BORDER, WEST OF THE SUN: Haruki Murakami of Japan is to the Western world of writing and reading what Studio Ghibli is to the filmaking and movie one. The 'Norwegian Wood' and 'Sputnik Sweetheart' wonderful writer offers us more beauty of love over his poetic prose of compelling chapters. Short, but sweet this is just a tactile, terrific taste of the menu of this mans bookworm serving, versatile volumes. Based on the title of a Nat King Cole song and surrounded by the seasons of our lives this story studies a man who has it all, the whole nine. A man living the high-life in Uptown Tokyo, only to face the shadows of his past when an old flame reappears threatening to torch everything he's worked so hard for and burn it all away. Temptation in this turner almost seems too much. Engrossingly evocative, albeit a little too explicit this raw and revealing look of love and life is a master of wisdom and woe at work. Bordering on a classic, its time for this books moment in the sun. Time to shed some light on a generational writer of Elmore Leonard and Cormac McCarthy styling's and standards. No matter how many of his matters of the heart that you read, there'll be nothing quite like your first love. TIM DAVID HARVEY
Wednesday, 4 February 2015
FOXCATCHER: Catching Oscar buzz, this Fox could trap some serious Academy gold come months end. With the superb Steve Carell and the sublime Mark Ruffalo snaring Oscar nominations for Best Actor and supporting respectively. Still controversially, lead Channing Tatum hasn't received his just deserves from the Academy. The man he played, wrestling Hall of Famer Mark Schultz originally wasn't too pleased either, going on a Twitter tirade against Bennett Miller's movie as he felt it wrongly represented him. Only this week however the canvas master has retracted his statements and spoke volumes about the film. Still, big fans of our Oscars favourite ourselves it was time to get the real story behind the movie cameras...and its more intense than the compelling, choke hold film itself. Shocking and heartbreaking the tragedy of the Schultz family by the hand of the vile Du Pont is laid all out on the floor by the champion Mark Schultz in this moving, wonderfully wrote memoir that has you pinned from round one, page one! From glory to misery he details it all even going into vivid detail about the techniques of his trade that will even hold non sporting fans like that first practice scene in the film. Despite the dark clouds that loom over this prose, there's an inspiring, unconditional, never say die theme and message from Mark that will be left engraved on the psyche of your courage. This man no matter the means will never tap out. Time to tap in.
JACK REACHER-ONE SHOT: BANG! If the fuse running on Tom Cruise's 'Mission Impossible' franchise wasn't enough (he's chosen to accept another self destructing tape this July), Cruise now has another franchise on his hands thanks to 'Jack Reacher' and with writer Lee Child (the master of the American detective novel who hails from...Coventry) and his bookshelves and stores of doorstop volumes you can book yourself in for more sequels. This 'One Shot' was the chapters that inspired this Jack's first cinematic reach and its a great unraveling mystery, just clocking in at an evening choking, leaf under 500 pages. It all starts with an ex military guy going all American sniper on some Indiana workers clocking out from their mundane day to day work life, but what unfolds meets more than the crosshaired eye. Just like a James Patterson 'Alex Cross' detective or a Michael Connelly 'Lincoln Lawyer' table read, you'll burn through these daunting page loads quicker and more satisfied than they appear. This P.I. with no magnum is even close to 'Bourne', but like Jason this Jack isn't all that when compared to the British intelligence trade of a 'James Bond' or 'Sherlock Holmes'. Still with this one you've just got 'One Shot'. I suggest you take it. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 18 January 2015
AMERICAN SNIPER-Oscar buzz is surrounding the Clint Eastwood film 'American Sniper' to the tune of six nominations in the clip. Thanks to in part Bradley Cooper's perfect performance of scope as American hero Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in U.S. military grade history. The movie based on this magnificent memoir is just as compelling as these chapters thanks to the perfect tribute and fitting homage from Clint and Cooper. Their visits to Kyle's hometown and humbled help is even detailed quite nicely by Chris' widowed wife in the movie adapted book package. Yes, Chris Kyle tragically died but he leaves us with an amazing autobiography that gives readers reason to his position as a deadly soldier from a distance. With his wife by his writing and loving side the war of fighting for your country and marriage, miles and lives away from your partner is brought to the forefront in parts of the book that will resonate with everybody from soldiers to civilians. War effects us all, whether we like it or loathe it not. Somehow between all the bullets and back and forth, this mans work brings us peace.
BRUCE: Hungry hearts need to pick this one up. After Clinton Heylin's quote assisted drive and delve down E Street and Robert J. Wiserman's mixtape, chapters of sort 'Walk Like A Man', 'Bruce' brings us a biography as close to the man himself , as Springsteen has stated recently he wont be putting pen to paper for his own story. But lets face it he's done more than enough of that in his songs anyway. But when we say this biography by Peter Ames Carlin will have to do, this is by no means an insult. This is inspired! A real tour through the man and E Street's legacy, written by a fan not motivated by hero worshipping bias but by the honest and decency of what's real and right as he writes. We learn more about this bosses life from Jersey to Jungleland and love him all the more for it. A lot has been said, wrote, published and sold about this man over the years but with the cooperation of him and his closest nothing captures Springsteen quite like 'Bruce'.
THE LOST WORLD: Roaring into 2015, after starting last year reading the Michael Crichton classic 'Jurassic Park', it was only right we began this year with the sequel. Especially with the movie sequel 'Jurassic World' opening its legendary gates this Summer. Something truly has survived here as the dinosaurs are back for the 'Congo' and 'E.R.' creators sequel to his finest work. You'll be pleased that this brilliant book doesn't suffer sequel slump either as it is an enthralling and exciting page turner. This thriller also serves as a magical manual of prehistoric, scientific and chaos theory as deeply descriptive in this textbook nature as it is in its vivid, imaginative storytelling one. The dinosaurs are ruling the earth once again.
I, ALEX CROSS: Along came a spider again. After being introduced to our favourite D.C. detective and "America's Sherlock Holmes" last year we delve once again into the vast shelves and sections of James Patterson's work. This time Washington's finest is chasing a crime syndicate and scandal that could lead him to running all the way to the White House. After the wonderful work of Morgan Freeman in 'Kiss The Girls' and the 'Spider' sequel, we now have have something that could serve as a second installment to Tyler Perry's 'Alex Cross' reboot. Either way, from story to screen we sure would love to read and see more from Patterson and his own 007 to his Ian Fleming soon. Cross our hearts. TIM DAVID HARVEY.