Friday, 23 September 2016
Weathered wrinkles warn you that this is a man that has seen some miles. But country legend Willie Nelson's 82 year old mind is still as fresh as the first time Georgia was on it.
And it always will be for the legend who has seen it all and sung the same. From the highways with legendary men like the one in black, Johnny Cash, or the one in dark shades, Ray Charles. To the interstates he's gone at alone. The 'On The Road Again' singer takes us, his friends down the music row road most travelled for his memoir 'My Life' and this autobiography is as he puts it; 'A Long Story'. But boy is it a good one. As well wrote as one of his greatest hits these compelling chapters wont put you to sleep. Instead they'll have you wracking your brain to just how you finished just under 400 pages just before bed.
A coffee shop table-top book this is not. More like one for the motel road stop night if you get a little lonely. You'll be lucky to pick this Willie up as he goes full Kerouac on the road, taking you from Nashville to California and all the Houston's and San Antonio's he's been between before. Through it all, the places he's been and the people he's seen this maverick has always kept it real and religious in the name of his fathers soul and the holy spirit of song. As a matter of fact you can take the way he talks about how he writes songs as gospel. Because it's more than a genius of a guide from a life well lived. It's an all freeing truth that falls like a whiskey stream that wouldn't flow if it didn't fit. All the way from the waterfall to the bottom of your glass.
And there's a beautiful spirited metaphor and message for life here that Nelson gives us with no half measures. Whether he's talking about cowboys like the Magnificent Seven or tipping his cap to four walls this man knows exactly what he's talking about when he pays tribute to all the wives he's loved before like Julio Iglesias, or laments a lesson we should all heed and not lose in how it's 'Funny How Time Slips Away'. How can you not take the word from a man that's lived even more lives than we've even heard?
The crazy hearted road warrior of true grit in his recent lifetime has taken more than one kind of hit with rapper Snoop Dogg and rolled around in 'Dukes Of Hazzards' cars with 'Jackass' Johnny Knoxville, but it's the individual life of this solo artist that has garnered real inspiration. And from selling encyclopedias to being in the country music one (in the section marked, 'Hall Of Fame'), it's a life that is still being well lived. So before you hop in a thunderbird down 'Thunder Road' for The Boss, Bruce Springsteen's long-awaited, highly anticipated road warrior memoir 'Born To Run' next week, find time for a quick spin around the block with the man who knows the real road, chapter and verse. A man who will be on it again like our minds...always. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 18 September 2016
Conducted by British author Paula Hawkins and set in the fog of the hazy residents of London town gone up in big social smoke, this book is the first-person narration heavy, Gillian Flynn like book and movie adaptation of the year. But instead of caustic 'Gone Girl' couple Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, it's great Brit of true grit Emily Blunt that leads a sharp cast featuring Luke Evans, Rebecca Ferguson, Justin Theroux, Lisa Kudrow and Allison Janney down the line in 'The Girl On A Train' movie that switches tracks to the playing it "safe" suburbias of middle America. At least Emily gets to keep her accent.
Race through this 400 page quick read that has paced over 10 million copies sold on the bestsellers lists so far and you can see why this story can get on board with blockbuster bait come the fall Oscar campaign season. It has it all, chapter and verse. Thrills, suspense, twists and spills. And although it goes to some lengths to demonize every male character in this book, it can almost be seen as a spiritual reply to the dark places that Flynn takes her Amazing Amy too.
It's a modern day glare through the cynical curtain, rear window look of suburbia, where nuclear families have gone toxic and murder is rife on this street. Whether literal or in the emotional mystery form where you can't see the evidence of the crime, but oh how you can feel it. Safe as houses and I don't think. These intertwining couples on the surface look borrow a cup of sugar sweet, but they are literally screwing each other and in turn themselves all over the place. If you're looking for some innocence here it might be time to move.
This todays look at derailing happiness is so simple life gone sour scary it even kept legendary 'Shining' and 'Carrie' writer Stephen King up all night like the Tommyknockers were rapping at his door. It's that intense...and somewhat inspired. Raw and real storytelling has never been this slick. We just hope Hollywood sticks to the script and the recurring notes so essential to the story like balled fists and blood in the ears. Otherwise 'what are we going to do with it'? Hawkins hallmark novel is not some idea hawked by coffee table enthusiasts and airport book stores as the latest must read. Its something you should run to catch...even if you think you can wait all day for two to come at once. Sure this books everywhere but it's time to get take a seat on the train and join the club.
The girls waiting...
Read 'The Girl On The Train'? Join the Book Club and let us know what you think...
Monday, 12 September 2016
Long time. All read. We've been M.I.A. for 9 months! You know us. But no nothing like that...although we have been nursing a lot of books this year. 27 to be exact. A little off the 52 for 52 goal at week 38, but let's take some off the shelf.
We started the year with some iconic pieces of literature. Including the mind-weaving plot strands of 'Cats Cradle' and 'In The Heart Of Darkness' by Joseph Conrad. Two absolute classics for any collection.
Then we moved into the arena of hoops after we found Bill Simmons epic, essential 'Book Of Basketball' in New York's Strand store for just two bucks. That's something that doesn't happen 'Any Given Wednesday'. You want some history on court? Than this textbook that references everything from 'The Godfather' to 'Rocky' is the law. This lead us to invest in more musts like the concrete classic 'Heaven Is A Playground' by SLAM columnist Rick Telander and the incredible 'Life' of Michael Jordan by our friend Roland Lazenby. You can look for our interview and review about it here if you like and watch this space for the forthcoming 'Showboat' on Kobe Bryant coming soon.
We kept it only a little off court for some inspirational reads while away. Reading late, great sports presenter Stuart Scott's moving memoir, 'Everyday I Fight'. Literally the most inspirational book we have ever read from a powerful personality who kicked cancers ass before he passed. And then whilst alone in Tokyo former NBA player turned panelist Jay Williams told us 'Life Was Not An Accident' as we found ourselves in the Far East.
Not to boast but being in Japan really meant something this year. Maybe even the next one too. So reading up was a requirement as we reached for the classic 'Memoirs Of A Geisha'. And after a good friend from work lent us a taste of 'In The Miso Soup' and the classic '69'. We learned that our boys down the train line The Beatles released four iconic albums 'Abbey Road', 'Yellow Submarine', 'The White Album' and 'Let it Be'. All in 1969.
A lot of flights meant a lot of airport reads and the only thing better than Californian crime writer Michael Connelly mixing classic characters Harry Bosch and The Lincoln Lawyer for 'The Reversal' is James Patterson moving into his inventive Book Shorts for those connections. 'Cross Kill' keeps us in the scope of our favourite detective Alex for the cross-hairs of under 150 pages. Whilst the 'Miracle At Augusta' swing was the perfect thing to get us ready for the Masters.
Speaking of memoirs you know we love movies based on books. And the start of the year had us practicing for the Oscars speeches with the revolutionary 'Revenant' as real as it is raw, 'Moneyball' writer Michael Lewis' statistical 'Big Short' and 'Concussion' probably the most important sports book and movie ever wrote. Reaching back to recent Academy classics we saw just how important 'Still Alice' is...especially when it comes to family. While 'The Drop' is definitly something you should pick up. As underrated as the Tom Hardy film it was adapted into, this is a gem from the acclaimed writer of top pages turned films 'Mystic River' and 'Shutter Island'. We even have to break our no screenplay rule here for the script of 'The Counsellor' and you should take to the sofa too. After all it is Cormac McCarthy.
Not really a movie adaptation or even a real memoir, 'The Autobiography Of James T. Kirk' is a fictitious but force of a book for any star fans who prefer treks to wars. Especially to commemorate Gene Roddenberry's creations 50th anniversary. And sorry Pine you know we're reading it in a Shatner stop-start tone, no matter how much we salute you captain. Also toeing the spine of memoirs our 'Rebel Heroes' by Fun Lovin' Criminals frontman Huey Morgan pays terrific testimony tribute to all the musicans that they just don't make like they used to and the Springsteen scribe 'Talk About A Dream'. A collection of interview transcripts from Bruce that is the closest thing we'll get to an autobiography from the Boss until the long-awaited, highly-anticipated 'Born To Run' book makes it in the post.
And then of course we had to add some greats from legendary authors to the coffee table starting with the dear departed Harper Lee's long awaited sequel to 'To Kill A Mockingbird' in 'Go Set A Watchmen' and a true chiller from the King. A shining science fiction from Stephen in the alien 'Tommyknockers'. The perfect thing to get us ready for the best show on T.V. this year, the 80's 'E.T.', 'Goonies' of Netflix's 'Stranger Things'. Not to mention an actual non sci-fi (apart from the scripted aside) from the forefather Phillip K. Dick in 'The Broken Bubble', bursting with nuclear family combustion.
But 2016 has been a sad year were we lost too many great people. And after the 'Soul Of A Butterfly' has remained our favourite book for years it was time we read more into the late, greatest Muhammed Ali, aside from the iconic cover tributes in 'Time', 'Sports Illustrated' and 'Rolling Stone'. 'King Of The World' from the editor of 'The New Yorker' David Remnick has aways been one of the greats, but to get the real picture from the page the best sportsmen of all-time himself had to have the last word with his own story. And King Ali's full autobiography really showed that the man who stung like a Bee really was, 'The Greatest'. TIM DAVID HARVEY.