Reading - May 2013

Chocolate Shoes And Wedding Blues by Trisha Ashley (2012)
Clunky but enjoyable romcom. Junk food for the mind.
The Week (27 April 2013 / Issue 917)
Q: The 100 Best Record Covers Of All Time edited by Andrew Harrison (2001)
This is more of a special edition of a magazine than a book. It features some ... unusual choices (for example, Elvis's Aloha from Hawaii Via Satellite might be the epitome of kitsch but it's still a thrown-together mess). The book is 12" square though, so the reproductions of the covers are full size. Which is nice.
The Week (4 May 2013 / Issue 918)
Under The Duvet by Marian Keyes (2002)
I picked this up hoping it would be an insight into how she approaches writing (in the vein of Stephen King's superb On Writing), which the blurb implied. There's about a page of this; the rest is throwaway newspaper magazine articles. Dispensable and disposable.
Guitarist (June 2013 / Issue 368)
Walking On Water: The West Pier Story by Fred Gray (1998)
Brief, interesting but ultimately somewhat sad story of Brighton's West Pier, once a thriving resort highlight but now a skeletal relic. We were lucky enough to be able to go on it, supervised and in hard hats, at around the time this book was published and it was in a terrible state - but at least the buildings were mostly intact and there was a very real hope that it could be restored. (Here are some photos from a tour around the same time.) Now this seems unlikely, given that all that remains are the iron pilings, as you can see in a number of superb studies by Chris Wright.
The Chosen by Chaim Potok (1966)
One of the most moving books I know, although I'd be interested to find out if a non-Jew felt the same. I was taken to see the film by my Grandma when I was about 12 or 13, and although I've never seen it since (it's not easy to get hold of), the book is a firm favourite.
One Fine Day In The Middle Of The Night by Christopher Brookmyre (1999)
Classic Brookmyre romp through school reunions.
The Week (11 May 2013 / Issue 919)
The Week (18 May 2013 / Issue 920)
100 Best Album Covers by Storm Thorgerson & Aubrey Powell (2001)
Another interesting collection of covers, spoiled by the inclusion of not a little art school pretension (nobody can seriously pretend that Bob Dylan's Self Portrait artwork is anything other than incompetent) and by a layout that reduces the printed size of the very item under discussion and sometimes completely ruins it by printing it across the binding.
Thelwell Goes West by Norman Thelwell (1975)
Gentle horsey humour for a spare ten minutes.
The Manual (How To Have A Number One The Easy Way) by The Timelords (1988)
Badly dated in places, timeless in others, very funny overall. Essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in pop music.
The Week (25 May 2013 / Issue 921)
Guitarist (July 2013 / Issue 369)
Zen Guitar by Philip Toshio Sudo (1998)
Common sense masquerading as mystical claptrap. No doubt it stimulates and inspires some people to consider the connectedness of all things and to ponder the sound of one hand clapping and all that bollocks, but not me. What this boils down to is: keep practising, be patient, keep learning. And now you don't have to read it.
American Gods (author's preferred text) by Neil Gaiman (2011)
This is a very long book and I only made it half way through. It was reasonably enjoyable but I got distracted after about a week and didn't really feel compelled to come back to find out what happened. I felt like the story was supposed to be about something important but I couldn't decipher what. And I have a suspicion of "author's preferred text" versions of anything anyway; authors are rarely their own best editors (e.g. Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix) and a novel that is 12,000 words longer than the original edited version isn't a good sign.

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