Saturday, September 28, 2013

Reading books

Over the past ten days I seem to have read a large number of books, so I thought that I'd share them with you.


Quiet - Susan Cain: an excellent book explaining introversion. I have to admit, though, that I am finding the later chapters less interesting. This might be an attempt to spin the book out or it might just be me.

Up in the air - Walter Kirn: after having watched the film, I had to read the book. I've only read the opening chapters so far but stopped as I found them slightly boring. If a film is based on a book, then normally I prefer the book, but in this case I prefer the film. Maybe it's a psychological bias of preferring whichever came first.

The perks of being a wallflower - Stephen Chbovsky: unusually, the author of the book was allowed to write the screenplay and even direct the film. I didn't think much of the book, probably because it was supposedly written by a very callow fifteen year old. Even so, the narrator is supposed to be good in English so one might have expected richer language. The film is much better.

I am Ozzy - Ozzy Osbourne: sex, drugs and rock'n'roll, or rather booze, drugs and rock'n'roll. A complete waste of time. The only part which is vaguely interesting is before Osbourne and Black Sabbath became famous. Otherwise it's one long party which exceeding tiresome to read.

The hundred year old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared - Jonas Jonasson: as opposed to Ozzy Osbourne, I have a great deal of time for this book. It was recommended to me by two people who I met at a bar mitzva, the only connection between them being that we were all sat at the same table. One of them said that it was like a Swedish Forrest Gump, a comment which makes sense only after having read the book. At times, it reminds me of the Cryptonomicon, in terms of the strange adventures which can happen to someone (although here there are no computers to be found). A very original romp through the 20th century and highly recommended.

Tune in - Mark Lewisohn: a massive tome (the hardcover edition runs to 960 pages and this is the first book in a trilogy!) telling in minute detail the story of The Beatles. This first book runs from 1940 (with John Lennon's birth) up to December 1962, with the recording of 'Please please me', when four louts became T*H*E* *B*E*A*T*L*E*S. I don't really care to read about John's paternal grandparents, but this shows the amount of research which Lewisohn carried out. He is able to bring to light new aspects of what I thought was a well-known story and in certain cases, to change completely one's understanding of what happened. The most important instance of this is the signing of the record contract with George Martin in 1962. I appreciate that not everyone will be interested enough to read the entire book with concentration, but I imagine that it will be easy to dip in and read extracts. I was fortunate to read this whilst having nothing else to do.

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