Reading - January 2022

The Storyteller by Dave Grohl (2021)
By reputation and general agreement, Dave Grohl is one of the nicest, most genuine people in rock, driven by a real love of and enthusiasm for music. This comes across in the book in spades, even if it does bear the slick signs of a professional writer being fairly heavily involved. Dave's life (it feels wrong to call him "Grohl" somehow) has been far more varied than I realised, but the unifying thread is his passion for what he does. What's also apparent, although he either too modest to say it or just doesn't realise, is that he's a amazing communicator and leader. All in all, a slightly breathless, but incredible dash through some stories in his life - eminently readable and surely crying out for volume two, if he's ever inclined.
First Time In Forever by Sarah Morgan (2015)
The rather generic title masks a superior romance about life in a small town and the people who settle there. First in a series - woo! I was amused to note that although Sarah Morgan is British, she mostly sets her books in the US. She obviously knows her market!
How Pleasure Works by Paul Bloom (2010)
Subtitled "Why we like what we like", this is a pleasant skim across the surface of research and literature about the science of pleasure, and why, for example, humans take pleasure in things that are not obviously pleasurable. We're not just talking about masochism here, but things like smoking, or drinking beer (which, however much you may like it now, was almost certainly an acquired taste), or watching scary or sad films. I'm not sure I've come away with any lasting conclusions or knowledge, other than that the human mind is a complicated and strange thing - but this failure is probably mine rather than the book's, as I mostly read it last thing before I went to sleep.
The Meaning of Liff by Douglas Adams & John Lloyd (1983)
Despite having been a fan of Douglas Adams since the very beginning (I listened to H2G2 with my Dad on Radio 4 in the late 70s), for some reason I've never read this before. It's a stocking filler really, albeit a very superior one - slight, disposable and amusing in a sort of "I've forgotten the joke already" way. In a sense, it's in the wrong format - it would make the basis of a very good comedy routine. Oddly, despite ostensibly using obscure place names as words, many of them are actually pretty well-known. Anyway, I don't know if it's ever been updated but I'm pretty certain this is the original edition (on loan from the library), not least because of the datedness of the cultural references and occasional but noticeable sexism and borderline homophobia.
The Sacred Art of Stealing by Christopher Brookmyre (2002)
Not sure what I can say about this that I haven't already! I probably first read it soon after it came out and have read it a dozen or more times since. Just great.
One-Hit Wonder by Lisa Jewell (2001)
Oddly, the day after I finished this, I read about Betty Boo: how her second album was a flop and she dropped out of the music business to look after her ill mother. I have no reason to believe that Bee Bearhorn, the one-hit wonder of this book's title, is based on Betty Boo, but the similarities are striking - well, up to the point where Bee dies alone in a rented flat off Baker Street (this hasn't happened to Betty Boo, thankfully). But the book's not really about that. It's about what happens afterwards, and how her younger sister finds herself while trying to find out what happening to Bee. It's a very sweet story, notwithstanding the tragedy at the centre of it.

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