The SMB Book thread

riffraff

Striker
I seem to be on rock music biog trip at the moment due to discovering that they’re not all in the music section of my local library but some are in the biography section. How they decide which goes where I’ve no idea.

Creation Stories by Alan McGhee. 7/10.
The loon behind Creation Records (oasis, jesus and mary chain, primal scream, ride, teenage fanclub, super furry animals, my bloody valentine etc etc) fesses up. The usual tales of rags to riches and excess from the world of popular music. Love owt like this me.

Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This by Dave Stewart. 5/10.

One of our own etc. Ettrick Grove, Flat by St Anthony’s, The Londonderry, Bede School, Seaburn Hall gigs, Monkwearmouth College.....
A roll call of the great and the good and the not so good and the not very good at all traipse through Stewart’s life. Everyone a great friend or a very good friend or merely a good friend or extremely talented or a magnificent musician or a true artist or legendary figure or.......I’m sure you get the picture.

Did you realise he’s nivver played on a bad record or produced one or wrote a bad song or filmed a bad documentary or directed a bad film? Quite what qualifies a musician to become a fillum director I don’t know then to complain about criticism when that fillum was absolute shit.....well.

Don’t get me wrong I quite like some of his stuff but a little critical awareness is surely in order here.
Slightly distasteful is that of the hundreds of wimmen he must’ve surely rattled the only one apart from his wives named is Stevie Nicks, he goes into detail about it yet never mentions any others. I don’t even fancy her either it just didn’t seem right to me.
 

ouro

Striker
Just read The Ten Thousand by Paul Kearney. It's a fantasy novel about a race called The Macht (first in a trilogy) but it very closely follows the true story about Greek General Xenophon and the march to the sea. I am curious to see how it continues in books 2 and 3.
 
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A teenage girl takes part in an 'experiential archaelogical' reenactment of living an Iron age life in the Northumberland countryside with her violent controlling dad, passive mam, a university professor and three of his students. It all starts to get a bit intense and goes very badly wrong. Beautifully written, chilling, and a great advert for short novels in an age where I've read too many which could have done with a hundred pages chopping out in the editing process.

 
Butcher's Crossing by John Williams 9/10
From the author of Stoner. This, for me, is an even better book. A Harvard dropout goes to the Wild West to find himself. Ends up funding a hunting expedition in search of one of the last great herds of buffalo. Strong parallels with Cormac McCarthy.

 
Just finished one of Grisham's latest, "The Reckoning" I read most of his books, this one is an improvement on some of his recent offerings

Gunna start Philip K Dick's "The man in the high castle" next, being watching it on Amazon,
 

Lexingtongue

Striker
Enjoying Joseph Kanon currently. I like his direct writing style, even if it gets you confused on the odd occasion.
A teenage girl takes part in an 'experiential archaelogical' reenactment of living an Iron age life in the Northumberland countryside with her violent controlling dad, passive mam, a university professor and three of his students. It all starts to get a bit intense and goes very badly wrong. Beautifully written, chilling, and a great advert for short novels in an age where I've read too many which could have done with a hundred pages chopping out in the editing process.

I love a short novel. I try and mix them up, one long followed by one short. Just finished The Fireman by Joe Hill which was an abomination and turgidly long at 750+ pages.
 
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KENT-FTM

Midfield
I seem to be on rock music biog trip at the moment due to discovering that they’re not all in the music section of my local library but some are in the biography section. How they decide which goes where I’ve no idea.

Creation Stories by Alan McGhee. 7/10.
The loon behind Creation Records (oasis, jesus and mary chain, primal scream, ride, teenage fanclub, super furry animals, my bloody valentine etc etc) fesses up. The usual tales of rags to riches and excess from the world of popular music. Love owt like this me.

Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This by Dave Stewart. 5/10.

One of our own etc. Ettrick Grove, Flat by St Anthony’s, The Londonderry, Bede School, Seaburn Hall gigs, Monkwearmouth College.....
A roll call of the great and the good and the not so good and the not very good at all traipse through Stewart’s life. Everyone a great friend or a very good friend or merely a good friend or extremely talented or a magnificent musician or a true artist or legendary figure or.......I’m sure you get the picture.

Did you realise he’s nivver played on a bad record or produced one or wrote a bad song or filmed a bad documentary or directed a bad film? Quite what qualifies a musician to become a fillum director I don’t know then to complain about criticism when that fillum was absolute shit.....well.

Don’t get me wrong I quite like some of his stuff but a little critical awareness is surely in order here.
Slightly distasteful is that of the hundreds of wimmen he must’ve surely rattled the only one apart from his wives named is Stevie Nicks, he goes into detail about it yet never mentions any others. I don’t even fancy her either it just didn’t seem right to me.

If there's one book you must read on Creation Records and its history, then this is the book - My Magpie Eyes Have Seen The Prize: The Creation Records Story by David Cavanagh.

The weight of 3 bricks - but a brilliant book.
 

riffraff

Striker
If there's one book you must read on Creation Records and its history, then this is the book - My Magpie Eyes Have Seen The Prize: The Creation Records Story by David Cavanagh.

The weight of 3 bricks - but a brilliant book.
I’ve got it on the shelves but McGhee looked an easier read.
 
A teenage girl takes part in an 'experiential archaelogical' reenactment of living an Iron age life in the Northumberland countryside with her violent controlling dad, passive mam, a university professor and three of his students. It all starts to get a bit intense and goes very badly wrong. Beautifully written, chilling, and a great advert for short novels in an age where I've read too many which could have done with a hundred pages chopping out in the editing process.

Red...definitely.
:::::::

The Boy Made of Blocks. By Keith Stuart

Easy read, gives insight to raising an autistic child.
6.5/10
 
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ouro

Striker
Cari Mora by David Baldacci. A good novel spoiled by rushing the end, I am guessing he had a deadline. Characters just 'disappeared' and threads were introduced and not followed up. A bit like Wilbur Smith in that. I would say 200 more pages would have called it excellent, but I will still give it 7/10.
 
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood 5/10
I enjoyed The Handmaid's Tale and her Maddaddam Trilogy, but this is overhyped nonsense. Poorly written (she's emptied the cliche bank on this one), predictably plotted.

 

MackemSmokey

Reserve Squad
Just finished ‘sniper one’ by sgt Dan Mills was excellent, about his platoons time in iraq.

Always wanted to read the sixteenth round by rubin carter, the film Hurricane was based on it with Denzel, Bob Dylan wrote that song about him, definitely getting that to read next
 

SYB_DC

Winger
I've been reading some older books by well-known crime writers recently. In the spirit of brevity, Ian Rankin's Mortal Causes is a typically snappy John Rebus book (7.5/10) and John Harvey did his usual bleak Nottingham book with Off Minor (6.5/10). It's interesting in both cases to read books that are nearing 30 years old and are heavily tied to places that have changed much since (Edinburgh in Rankin's case and Nottingham in Harvey's). Both authors are masters of witty dialogue, so they're always fun reads even if something in the plot rankles - as a major part of Off Minor did for me.

Also, I'll congratulate anonymously the two SMB writers who received writing fellowships today from Sunderland Culture. Well done to the both of you.
 
I've been reading some older books by well-known crime writers recently. In the spirit of brevity, Ian Rankin's Mortal Causes is a typically snappy John Rebus book (7.5/10) and John Harvey did his usual bleak Nottingham book with Off Minor (6.5/10). It's interesting in both cases to read books that are nearing 30 years old and are heavily tied to places that have changed much since (Edinburgh in Rankin's case and Nottingham in Harvey's). Both authors are masters of witty dialogue, so they're always fun reads even if something in the plot rankles - as a major part of Off Minor did for me.
In the same vein as the books you mention, I'd thoroughly recommend the first book of the Laidlaw Trilogy by William McIilvanney, don't bother with the other two though. It was written in the 1960s IIRC and influenced Ian Rankin to become a crime writer. 'The Quaker' by his son Liam McIlvanney is also worth a read and is set in similar times but written recently.
 
Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

The much awaited follow up to The Book Thief. I started it with some trepidation, not wanting to be disappointed. I wasn't. It's a a slow burner and long but very good. Basically, the story of five brothers, focussing primarily on the fourth, Clay (although the eldest brother is the narrator). It's basically about love, loss and family and pulls you in emotionally. 9/10
 

Lexingtongue

Striker
Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

The much awaited follow up to The Book Thief. I started it with some trepidation, not wanting to be disappointed. I wasn't. It's a a slow burner and long but very good. Basically, the story of five brothers, focussing primarily on the fourth, Clay (although the eldest brother is the narrator). It's basically about love, loss and family and pulls you in emotionally. 9/10
I read another by him, I Am Messenger, which was atrocious but I loved The Book Thief. I'm a bit dubious about jumping in to Bridge but I have noticed it. I take it I should make the plunge?
 
I read another by him, I Am Messenger, which was atrocious but I loved The Book Thief. I'm a bit dubious about jumping in to Bridge but I have noticed it. I take it I should make the plunge?
Yeah. I really enjoyed it. Started out wondering whether it was a mistake but ended with that mix of accelerating to the finish but not wanting it to end that you get with a really good book.
 

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