Dec. 20th, 2016

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57. Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

As I've written about elsewhere, I came to Bruce's music later in life, but am enough of a fan that I wanted to read the autobiography.

It's about 75% about music - listening to it and making it. Some Amazon reviewers complained about that, but that's what I'm here for.  Like Keef, Bruce realy comes alive when talking about music.

Having said that, his rock and roll anecdotes, while nowhere near as wild as Keef's, are authentically funny in the telling.  (The crossing the toll bridge into New York with $1 worth of pennies story is a particular gem).  His descriptions of how his early musical endeavours sucked are beautifully self-deprecating.   Anyone who's ever been in a less than competent band will relate.

For many years he had very little life outside of music because when you're a bit bipolar and a bit OCD, that's a great way to self-medicate.

He talks about how he was lucky to grow up in an age where there was such a variety of music to inspire him, but I think he was even more fortunate that he grew up in an era when recorded music was nowhere near as good as live quality-wise, so every bar had an in-house band and he was able to make a living (albeit a pretty poor one) as a full-time musician straight out of school and didn't have to waste time at a day job, and got paid to hone his craft.  That's something that's sadly not an option any more.

He comes across as a genuine, caring, hard-working guy who has had good luck but also worked very hard to make his dreams come true.  He's never ungrateful about how things have worked out.  It's long, but totally worth it.

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58. The Sea-Stone Sword by Joel Cornah

Joel (creator of The Milliverse, if you do Twitter) is published by the same publisher who publishes Joanne Hall, so I picked this up at the Grimbold Books stall at BristolCon.  It was recommended because I'd run out of Sebastien de Castell and it has "swashbuckling" in the description.

It's about a young boy's quest to become a hero, or is it a villain?  Where does one end and the other begin?  It's a concept I can get behind, there's pirates, sapient penguins, dinosaurs and dragons, so what's not to love?

Unfortunately it's a bit of a mess - the pacing is odd, so parts just fly by and others drag.  It could have done wiht much tighter editing.  Some of the characters are believable and others not so much.  Parts are told well and other bits are questing-by-numbers.

It's a first book, though, and I've got the sequel as well.  I'll give it a chance to see if the writing and editing have tightened up.  Also I want to know more about the penguins.

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