31/10/2014

Reading - October 2014

Yes Man by Danny Wallace (2005)
Read this on the bounce from Join Me! and initially I thought that it wasn't as good, but it won me over. Danny's willingness to pursue a silly idea past the point of common sense ends up achieving something, and his willingness to share elements of his life gives this a reality that fiction would lack. Ultimately rather sweet.
The Week (4 October 2014 / Issue 991)
Brian May's Red Special by Brian May with Simon Bradley (2014)
Fantastically detailed examination and account of Brian May's iconic,  home-made guitar. The thinking that went into it is amazing, as is the fact that it has survived 50 years of rigorous life on the road. The more I learn about Brian May, the more I am impressed. He really is a unique player, and I love listening to him talk too. I would have liked a little more info on the backline - since the sound of an electric guitar is the whole thing, particularly so in May's case, where it's the combination of the guitar, a Rangemaster-style treble booster and AC30s. Nevertheless, a real feast for a guitar geek.
The Player Of Games by Iain M. Banks (1988)
One of my favourite books, although I haven't read it for a while. An astonishingly complete vision of otherness as well as an engrossing thriller. Fantastic.
Star Guitars by Dave Hunter (2010)
A coffee table tome for guitar geeks (hi!) describing 101 famous guitar players and the guitars they are most associated with. Some odd omissions: Jimmy Page's Gibson doubleneck warrants a mention, but not his Les Paul, for example. The book is well but somewhat randomly illustrated - although there's at least one picture of each guitar being described, there are many more of assorted records, sleeves, tickets and posters of the artist, which seem a bit pointless. Still, any guitar porn is good guitar porn as far as I'm concerned.
The Rock Snob's Dictionary by David Kamp & Steven Daly (2005)
Pitch perfect piss take of the elitist, obscurist mentality of the worst kind of rock fan; the one for whom it's not about sharing but competing. Very funny and surprisingly informative. Multiple excerpts available online!
Guitarist (November 2014 / Issue 387)
Comes with a free supplement all about effects. I feel my wallet is in danger again ... might have to try and distract myself with a project to build a treble booster!
The Week (18 October 2014 / Issue 993)
One Fine Day In The Middle Of The Night by Christopher Brookmyre (1999)
I still can't believe this hasn't been made into a film - it seems custom designed for it.
Passion For Speed by Nick Mason & Mark Hales (2010)
A multi-millionaire plays with his toys.
Playing To The Gallery by Simon Hoggart (2002)
Subtitled "Parliamentary sketches from Blair year zero", which all seems a very long time ago now. Very, very funny in places, with a keen eye for the ridiculous, but a warmth and fondness too.
The Week (25 October 2014 / Issue 994)
Religion For Atheists by Alain de Botton (2012)
Well worth the re-read, in the same way that reference or educational books are - to remind oneself of the principles, ideas and thoughts within. Not just thought-provoking, but an inspiration. (I do wish the paperback edition stretched to better quality reproduction of the various photographs though.)

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