Posted in Paper Chase

Q2 Read It 2018

stickyReleased last fall, Sticky Fingers, the biography of Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner sent shockwaves through the publishing community. Wenner randomly ran into author Joe Hagan and asked him to work on his biography which eventually Hagan did after much deliberation.  At over 500 pages, Sticky Fingers is well researched with many facts but mostly focusing on what a terrible person Wenner is.  Tawdry tales of sex, drugs and not as much rock and roll as would have been expected; politics plays a bigger role throughout the book. Almost shockingly in the Afterword, Hagan notes that Wenner is “one of the great magazine editors of my lifetime”.  Touching on Wenner’s personal life but putting it in greater context of the times or the publishing business would have been more interesting than all the tiresome stories that appear here.  6/10

 

cat tabeThe Sri Lankan born, Canadian based author Michael Odjaante is most famous for his book The English Patient which won the Booker Prize in 1992.  In total he has published seven books including the recently released Warlight.  Published in 2011, The Cat’s Table is his sixth book and tells the story of a young boy who travels from Sri Lanka to England aboard a ship called Oronsay.  His travelling companions are Ramadhin and Cassius along with his aunt and cousin.  The book switches between the boat and what happens to the characters after their journey. It’s a fascinating book with beautiful passages throughout including a wonderfully described scene at an art gallery many years later.  7.5/10

 

steveSteve Martin started his entertainment career doing card tricks at Disneyland as a young boy then worked his way all the way up to touring arenas in the late 70s.  Born Standing Up is about the growth of both Martin as a person and his comedy act.  A quick read, it touches on both philosophy and self-improvement strategies that many self-help books promote (working hard, letting go of what’s not working, dedicating time to your craft, research, etc).  Born Standing Up is an entertaining account of Martin’s rise through touring comedy before walking away completely. 7/10

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Posted in Paper Chase

Q1 Read It 2018

For the past few years my reading of books has been off/on at best.  Read two books in a row then nothing for a few months before starting up again.  In 2018 I vowed to change that with a goal of reading a book a month.  Not exactly a stretch target but one to keep me going.  I’ve been posting on Instagram as I finish each one but wanted to post here as well.  I have not written about books in the past as my literary knowledge is good but limited. Instead of trying to write a few paragraphs every month, I decided to write quarterly about the three books I read.  Here is the first installment…

shippingAnnie Proulx’s 1993 novel The Shipping News won the Pulitzer Price for fiction in 1994. The story tells of Quoyle who moves back Newfoundland with his two daughters and aunt after his wife leaves him. His family was from the area of Killick-Claw area but his parents had emigrated to New York state many years before. Reviews for the book veer from “masterpiece” to “rubbish”. I fall somewhere in the middle but closer to the latter. While Proulx paints a vivid picture of Newfoundland, I never fully connected with the characters and had to push myself through it. 6/10

 

subtleMark Manson released The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*** in the fall of 2016 and since then has sold millions and the author has gained many followers. There are moments in the first few sections of the book where “f***” gets used quite a bit and grows rather tiresome but once that gives way, there are plenty of good life lessons revealed. A lot can be boiled down to “don’t sweat the small stuff” and don’t run away from your problems. Face them, tackle them, then trade up to more important problems. You only get so many f***s to give in life so choose wisely. Excellent book that I look forward to reading again in the near future. 9/10

 

rosieThe Rosie Project is the debut from Australian writer Graeme Simsion that has sold a few million copies since being published in 2013. The novel follows the plight of professor Don Tillman trying to find a wife who fits his rigid criteria when he meets the less than perfect Rosie and decides to help her find out who her real father is. Simsion keeps this romcom of a book moving along swiftly with many funny moments that has the reader rooting for Don and Rosie to get together. A movie has been in the works with directors/actors coming and going for a few years now, hopefully it sees the light of day soon. 7.5/10