Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Black and White and Read All Over

Thanks to my daily commute, I get through a fair few books over the course of a year. Here's the tomes that have been keeping me entertained over the past wee while - the list is somewhat shorter than I would have expected, but that's because The Great and Secret Show, The Creation Records Story and the Michael Jackson biography were all huge books.
Yes We Have No - Nik Cohn: Disappointing travelogue of a tour around "alternative" England, including travellers' camps, National Front members, witches and an Indian boxer. Promised much more than it delivered.
Trussed - Shiromi Pinto: Entertaining, fast-paced novel about three intertwined lives - Sri Lankan dominatrix Vinda; her cousin and Elvis impersonator Angel; and bail bondsman Regis. Read in a week and thoroughly entertaining from beginning to end.
The Final Whistle? - Harry Reid: Interesting, well-argued look at the problems facing Scottish football and the possible solutions to those problems. A few years old, so some things have changed - Gretna's demise being the most notable. A few strange idiosyncracies in Reid's style, surprising in a former editor of The Herald, were infuriating, but all in all, a worthwhile read for fans of Scottish football.
Gangster - Lorenzo Carcaterra: Fantastic novel about New York crime boss Angelo Vestieri's rise from sickly immigrant to the most powerful man in America. Written by the same author who wrote Sleepers, the book followed the standard Godfather/Goodfellas route, but was all the better for it.
The Great and Secret Show - Clive Barker: Sprawling fantasy novel recommended by a colleague, who said it's her favourite book. Strong start and finish, but a lull in the middle of a very lengthy novel meant it was a struggle at times. Worth a read, but never going to feature in my favourite books list.
Marley & Me - John Grogan - Surprisingly entertaining tale of One Man and His Dog. I read it after seeing the Owen Wilson/Jennifer Aniston movie, but the book was much better. A worthwhile read, although it's hardly War and Peace.
Michael Jackson: The Magic and The Madness - J Randy Taraborelli: The definitive Jackson biography from one of the few journalists ever taken into the King of Pop's confidence. I started reading this a month before I was due to go and see Jackson in concert; by the time I finished it, he was dead.
The Creation Records Story: My Magpie Eyes are Hungry For The Prize - David Cavanagh: Thorough history of the record label that dominated the Britpop years. A tale of junkies, geniuses, nutters, coke, lots of money, Primal Scream and Oasis. Noel Gallagher left Oasis while I was reading the book.
A Death In Tuscany - Michele Giuttari - Fast-paced novel following the exploits of Florence police chief Michele Ferrara. Complex plots involving paedophiles, drug dealers and mafia dons tie well together for an enjoyable read.
Bravo Two Zero - Andy McNab - Exciting tale of the SAS behind enemy lines. McNab's unadorned style was a bit grating to begin with, but once the story picked up speed, so too did the writing. Not as harrowing as I expected it might be, but a glimpse into a world I'm glad never to have been a part of.
The Resurrectionist - James Bradley - Rather odd tale of anatomists and grave robbers in Victorian London. Bradley's writing style captured the era well, but there was little to keep the reader desperately turning the pages.


Erica said...

Mention the name “Harry Reid” in some of the more conservative states in the union and you will likely not get a positive reaction. He is a hideous cadaver. Pfeh.

Groanin' Jock said...

Presumably not Harry Reid the former Herald editor and football writer?