6 January 2014

Books of 2013: Part 6



Short listed for the Richard & Judy Book Club 2007. An uplifting story set in Los Angeles about one man's effort to bring himself back to life. Richard is a modern day everyman; a middle-aged divorcee trading stocks out of his home. He has done such a good job getting his life under control that he needs no one. His life has slowed almost to a standstill, until two incidents conspire to hurl him back into the world. One day he wakes up with a knotty cramp in his back, which rapidly develops into an all-consuming pain. At the same time a wide sinkhole appears outside his living room window, threatening the foundations of his house. A vivid novel about compassion and transformation, "This Book Will Save Your Life" reveals what can happen if you are willing to open up to the world around you.

This book is the autonomy of 'meh'.  I read it, it was vaguely enjoyable, and that was it.  I felt nothing for any of the characters and didn't think about it afterwards.  It just happened and now its over. Its not a bad book but there isn't really much point to it, don't go out of your way to pick this up.
***

Now in paperback, the New York Times bestseller that takes readers on a riotous journey through the mind of one of America's premier comics George Carlin's legendary irreverence and iconoclasm are on full display in When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? as he vainly scours the American landscape for signs of intelligence in his third national bestseller. Ranging from his absurdist side (Message from a Cockroach; TV News: The Death of Humpty Dumpty; Tips for Serial Killers) to his unerring ear for American speech (Politician Talk; Societal Clichs; Euphemisms: 13 sections) to his unsparing views on America and its values (War, God, Stuff Like That; Zero Tolerance; Tired of the Handi-crap), Carlin delivers everything that his fans expect, and then adds a few surprises. Carlin on the battle of the sexes: Here's all you have to know about men and women: Women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid.

I listened to this as part of the booktubeathon which I failed spectacularly.  This was for the audio book challenge.  I don't normally like audiobooks, and the only one I've listened to since I was a child was The Fault in our Stars and that was after I'd read the book so I already knew the story.  I was worried that I wouldn't be able to take it in properly in audio form as I wouldn't be able to focus enough, and this proved to be true.  I love George Carlin to death, I think he was a genius and I've seen most of his stand up so I thought this would be a good choice for the challenge, unfortunately this wasn't the case.  The bits I remembered were really good and typical to his style, some of it was taken directly from his stand up, but audio books just don't work for me.  I've decided not to rate this book because I couldn't take it in properly in this format so it doesn't seem fair.


Horror hides behind an attractive face in The Picture of Dorian Gray,Oscar Wilde's tale of a notorious Victorian libertine and his life of evil excesses. Though Dorian's hedonistic indulgences leave no blemish on his ageless features, the painted portrait imbued with his soul proves a living catalogue of corruption, revealing in its every new line and lesion the manifold sins he has committed. Desperate to hide the physical evidence of his unregenerate spirit, Dorian will stop at nothing--not even murder--to keep his picture's existence a secret.

Another one from my beautiful Barnes and Nobel leather bound collection.  On the whole I really enjoyed this book, I've read a couple of reviews that says they appreciate it more then enjoyed it and I can see where there coming from.  Its amazingly well written, descriptive and has a great story line, but there was one chapter that I hated.  Not only did I not like this chapter but it seemed to add nothing to the story, it really dragged the book down for me.  As always Wilde's dialogue is impeccable and the thing I always enjoy the most, famous quotes galore!  oh that wit!
****

Jarvis Cocker is widely regarded as one of the most original and memorable lyricists and performers of the last three decades. Here, for the first time, is a selection of sixty-six lyrics, presented with commentary and an introduction by the man himself.
In this volume, readers (and Pulp fans) will find such classic Jarvis lyrics as ‘Common People’, ‘Disco 2000’, ‘Babies’, ‘This is Hardcore’ and ‘Do You Remember the First Time?’. The selection, assembled by the author, reveals a sensibility that is unmistakeably Jarvis: a sometimes visceral, sometimes everyday take on love, relationships and the things we do to each other when the lights get low.
Mother, Brother, Lover takes the reader on a thirty-year tour into the life, art and preoccupations of one of the great British artists of the late-twentieth century. Shocking, sharp, clever and funny, it is a beautiful collection of lyrics and commentary.

If you have been following this blog for a while you will know that I love song lyrics.  There are always some song or another that will stick with you at a time in your life when you need it, and Jarvis Cocker is the king of relatable lyrics.  I've loved pulp for years and was luckily enough to see them live this year so as soon as I saw this book I had to buy it and read it immediately.  I was a little disappointed with it however, there were plenty of songs I loved in it but I wanted more of an insight into what they were about, what inspired them etc but the explanations were minimal unfortunately.  
****

In a memoir hailed for its searing candor and wit, Alice Sebold reveals how her life was utterly transformed when, as an eighteen-year-old college freshman, she was brutally raped and beaten in a park near campus. What propels this chronicle of her recovery is Sebold's indomitable spirit -- as she struggles for understanding; as her dazed family and friends sometimes bungle their effords to provide comfort and support; and as, ultimately, she triumphs, managing through grit and coincidence to help secure her attacker's arrest and conviction. In a narrative in turns disturbing, thrilling, and inspiring, Alice Sebold illuminates the experience of trauma victim even as she imparts wisdom profoundly won: "You save yourself or you remain unsaved.

Another of my library sale finds.  This is a powerful memoir set around a horrific event.  I don't really know what to say other then go out and buy it.  Its not for the weakhearted due to the subject matter but it manages to be hopeful despite the awful things that happened to her.  Its hard to believe that this is a real person and not a character at times, its a very emotional book, I defiantly recommend it.
****
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