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Archive for the tag “book”

Book Review; I Suck at Girls by Justin Halpern

i-suck-at-girlsJustin Halpern has had one of those meteoric rises to fame akin only to the legendary Phoenix’s rise from the ashes. After breaking up with his girlfriend he moved back into his parents and from there started the Twitter account ‘Shit My Dad Says’ which became an overnight sensation and lead to a book deal and a TV show…all because his dad (like mine seemingly) is a belligerent who says the most random shite you ever heard.

I hadn’t realised he had written the first book (titled on the Twitter account) but after reading this one I will definitely hunt it down soon – unfortunately Waimakariri’s District Council’s Libraries haven’t got it, so if anyone has a copy I can borrow?

This tale follows Justin’s life sometime after the makeup of before-mentioned ex-girlfriend when Justin tells his dad he is going to marry her…and doesn’t quite get the rapturous reception that such an announcement would, or should bring. Simply, his dad told him to ‘relive those moments through life in which girls were involved and then if you still feel the same, then go for it…’

Or something like that.

So as Justin takes us on a journey through his female interactions from aged 8 through his mid-20s, the lanes flip with alarming regularity and raucous laughter as this absolute dunce with the ladies struggles through impressing a girl (with drawings of dogs defecating on her head), to robbing homeless men of their porn, to gropes in the car, to attempting to lose his virginity, and all that normal American stuff in between; college, sports, working in burger joints and the such.

While his failure in love is central to the plot, the undoubted star of the show is his dad who steps into frame like jumper leads attached to the testicles, only harsher. How Justin never ended up a babbling psychotic with murderous tendencies is anyone’s guess, but one cannot help but love the bloke, and at times I understood that being like him and me is not such a bad thing after all…we might die lonely, but people will always understand why.

A top notch read for guys and gals alike, beware the cantankerous bastard behind you!

How I picture his (and to some extent mine) dad...

How I picture his (and to some extent mine) dad…

Book Review; The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes

mercy-closeIt’s not that I hunt them out, or they hide in my bedside drawer or anything, but for some reason I feel compelled, nay obliged, to read Keyes everytime she pumps out a new novel. I have never tried to hide the fact that I enjoy her books and have giggled like a girl, cried like a baby, and chastised like a nun through all but one of her books to date and have even had the honor of meeting her and getting her finely scrawled chciken scratch on “Sushi for Beginners” which now resides at an ex’s….wasted….dying…unloved.

So to “Mercy Close”; pretty much all that happens in Keyes’ books is something along the lines of dimwitted and naive hot chick falling for bad-for-you boy while dealing with angst, pain, rejection and humiliation while each day dawns interspersed with Irish humour and uncomfortable moments of sexuality. Good bloody premise if you ask me…

…so imagine my surprise when this book almost dismisses each and every plot line set before over the last 15 years!

Meet Helen Walsh, a seemingly excellent Private Dick who becomes a victim of yet another Irish crisis (really? It seems Ireland exists in a permanent state of crises) and as the economy stumbles she is shunted into the dark ages as her electricity, phone, TV and eventually her mortgaged flat fall to the debt-collector and she has to move in with mum and dad. No real problem, she still has her Van Damme/Schwarzeneggar-esque cop boyfriend giving her a length on call (despite the kids and ex-wife hanging round 24-7), but if sex paid the bills, I’d be living in a cardboard box.

So when an ex turns up offering her a job, after the usual debating she does so; find the fourth member of a has-been boy band, Laddz, who are due to play reunion gigs, the epitome of any self-respecting performer. It seems he has simply ‘disappeared’ during practices no less than a week before the first concert, which, at the time, had sold barely more than Bad News had in Bad News (some of you will not what I am referring to here).

"Hang on...I think I found him..."

“Hang on…I think I found him…”

What happens over the next 30-odd chapters becomes an insight into the soft and rotting underbelly of the fame industry, exposing sex scandal, back stabbing, drugs, and public perceptions blown away. But for me it was the introspective into depression that had me gripped. As a confessed sufferer the byline became the main plot for me as Helen battled hers (and my) demons when faced with the enclosing black that comes with it. Although it overstepped with Walsh’s attempted, and failed, suicides, the first recorded conversation between her and her doctor hit a real chord explaining my exact thoughts about death…

…enough of the dark and weary, this is a pretty bloody good book to read, and other than the tame (in my standards) blow job and root between Helen and Artie there ain’t too much to class this as a real chick-lit type book.

Book Review; What the Night Knows by Dean Koontz

If nothing else I am a man of my word; after reading my first Koontz novel some time back which I didn’t like, I did offer to read one again and duly did so with this one.

The story follows Detective Calvino who starts (unofficially) investigating a gruesome murder in which a 14 year-old slays, and I use the term lightly, his entire family. It mirrors similar murders from 20 years before which raises some nightmares for Calvino.

With what proved to be a gripping concept of horror story-telling this book dives right into the worst man can do to his fellow human-beings and if you have a low threshold for depravity, this might not be you. However, in saying that while I enjoyed the story the horror and gruesomeness was way too far and between as it was interspersed with some psychological mind-fucking and God-awful biographies on Calvino’s wife and kids…no family is that perfect, not even the Keatons.

While you expect some way out concepts and crazy shit in the paranormal, I have to say that the ending was like a king hit, but one that didn’t connect right. It was bullshit way to finish the book…but I won’t spoil it for you.

All in all a goodie but at times dull and drawn out. However it may well have sparked interest in reading another Koontz book, I just wish it would get a bit more scary. I guess it can’t be easy writing in the same genre as Stephen King…

Book Review; The Flight by MR Hall

Before I read this book I didn’t know the specific role of a coroner, other than make a call on how someone died. This book detailed exactly their role and threw in a thrilling and intriguing story to boot.

While I take plaudits and tabloid reviews on books with a bag of salt it seems everyone who did rave about the series of novels centered on Coroner Jenny Cooper got it bang on. There is very little to pick apart in the style and picture painting that is a credit to Hall. To reiterate that point, Hall is in fact a male writer writing about the inner thoughts and feelings of a female, and while I guess plenty novelists probably do write on the POV of the opposite sex, until I researched the author after I read the book I actually thought Hall was a Hall-ess.

So to the story itself; an Airbus A380, the largest and safest plane in the air crashes into the Severn Estuary with complete loss of life and while the investigation falls under the jurisdiction of England’s Ministry, the discovery of two bodies on the river bank fall into Cooper’s. One, a very young girl who was a passenger is the only one of the entire complement to have a life jacket on, the second the sailor of a yacht which happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. By deduction, guesswork and luck Cooper finds out that the deaths of these two is not quite as straight forward as it seems, and when spooks from both sides of the Atlantic start showing up in an attempt to make Cooper do as they say, the plot thickens into the darker side of politics, terrorism and Government cover ups.

I don’t want to give anymore away than this as it would spoil the book somewhat as the conclusion was one I didn’t (quite) see coming, and even though this books comes in sometime after novels there is no spoiling of continuation. Unfortunately there was the obligatory love interest however not to the extent where it smacked on Hollywood in that is was somewhat subtle.

Top read, with a frighteningly plausible reality!

Book Review; Black Vinyl, White Powder

By Simon Napier-Bell

I love books giving ‘insider’ views on the music industry. Autobios don’t really do it well as good as they are as people, especially stars, are never going to really compromise themselves while they’re still alive…well, except for that book by Ozzy! What a fucken hoot that was!! But in essence a lot I have read have been good without being anything startling.

But then I read Mick Wall’s Paranoid which not only freaked me right out it set the rules straight on how to tell it ‘like it is’. And this book is just the same, if not as shocking.

Simon Napier-Bell (SNB for short) is a manager in the music industry and has, amongst others managed Wham! and The Yardbirds…for those youngies out there, Wham! were a duo from the 80s responsible for crap music and wanking in toilets, and for those a bit older but still younger than me, The Yardbirds were a shit hot band in the 60s who eventually became Led Zep…without SNB.

This book gives an insight from the 50s through to the end of the millennium the rise and rise of British music and how it evolved over 40-odd years not by fashions, popularity or even demand, but by that staple diet of all rockers, drugs. From the days of jazz into rock n roll, rock, heavy metal, glam, disco, New Romantics, Boy Bands….

Some of what SNB mentions will shock you, some of it will amaze you, but all in all the book will be a great reference for trivia and subject matter about some of music’s biggest stars. Some stories really stand out; Keith Moon and his coprophilia (I had to look it up too), Jimmy Page doing drugs in the toilet with tranvestities, Boy George and his battle with his boyfriend, the money artists were, or in most cases weren’t making due to dodgy deals, the making of Donna Summers and Boney-M…there is a story a minute and all of them are worth reading.

I would recommend this to anyone who likes a bit of gossip, however towards the end the factual analysis of the industry was a bit of a bore, anti-climatic if you will considering the content before it. And remembering this book is about 10 years old that analysis is dated and null and void considering what we know now…

Get it.

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