In an author’s note Parton exhorts young readers, bullies and victims alike, to have understanding hearts and find comfort in knowing that hurts can heal. Tender and heartfelt with a loving message—if a little sanitized.
Wilson’s emotional authenticity is beguiling as he takes readers deeply into his mind, voices and all, to describe his unique manifestation of musical genius.
We learn as well about the perils and inconveniences of celebrity, his deep affection for his wife and daughter, and losses (parents, others). He ends with an account of his recent stage performance as Lyndon Johnson. The highs here—and there are many—are meth-less but addictive.
For dedicated readers with the patience for philosophy and oblique reasoning, the work offers intriguing insights into how we might understand art and religion as two modes of the same creative impulse.
Over 680 pages in length, Shock and Awe is a suitably (ridiculously?) gargantuan study of “a time when pop was titanic, idolatrous, unsane, a theatre of inflamed artifice and grandiose gestures”.
Rock writing rarely tells us properly what a band treading water or in slow decline feels like from the inside. Hook does so memorably.
Mr. Salle gets no points for originality of insight...But “How to See” is lovely to read, mostly, because Mr. Salle can actually write.
Mr. Lawrence, a professor of cultural studies at the University of East London, provides a lot to chew on, sometimes too much. Occasionally his paragraphs are weighted down with alphabetical lists of, say, every notable band that played at a particular club in a given year — like a garnish that overwhelms the dish.
...his excellent new book...The release of Semley’s book this week will no doubt occasion another battery of celebratory odes to the Kids and their importance, their influence, their continued relevance to this day.
Most insightful, he reveals his ongoing battles with depression—"shortly after my sixtieth I slipped into a depression like I hadn't experienced"—and his eventual ability to live with this condition. Springsteen writes with the same powerful lyrical quality of his music.
This is a book of great compassion that traces the contours of a single remarkable life. But Bergner is also doing something more expansive, examining the long and tormented history of black involvement in an elite artistic tradition and in society at large.
At a time when people feel compelled to revel in and share their excesses—and Gordon does share a few of his—it’s refreshing to find a story in which the search for meaning trumps the search for mischief.
Millard is not breaking new ground in this book, but she tells a thrilling, always entertaining story.
Ajayi is at her best when she delves into her personal experiences as a Nigerian immigrant in the U.S. and combines humor with pathos; this honesty makes the book worth reading.
Pastoral, then, is an interesting title for a book that so challenges our notions of the same, but these unruly edgelands, one suspects, are as close as many suburban Muscovites get to that elevated ideal. It is essentially, a book about how people use – and abuse – the precious green spaces available to them.
Christopher Goscha’s thorough and thoughtful new history of Vietnam counters these simple portrayals with large and welcome doses of complexity.
A few more efforts to soothe ruffled feathers and forgive trespasses would have taken the aggrieved, resentful edge off this book, but still, it’s good to hear the much-repeated story of the Beach Boys’ implosion from the point of view of the canonical villain of the piece...For die-hard fans of Love & Mercy, probably one to miss.
Focusing on the year and a half before Burton’s death, the book adds depth to an important chapter in the band’s history.
If judged simply as a book, as it should be, and not along a friendship continuum: whoosh. It’s juicy, opinionated, indiscreet, immodest, not terribly well organized or fact-checked. (Elvis was not, in the late 1960s, “a regional performer.”)
The book itself is beautifully constructed with a sturdy cover and heavy pages that can withstand even the most vivid coloring with pen, pencil or brush. Coloring aficionados will get hours of pleasure from filling in the drawings...