What the hell do you read next after you finish a book like this!?
While not a full on frontal assault horror novel in the tradition of The Shining or What the hell do you read next after you finish a book like this!?
While not a full on frontal assault horror novel in the tradition of The Shining or Pet Sematary, Revival definitely ranks as one of the darkest, most unsettling books King has written in a long time. It's a slow burn that touches on a lot of themes we've come to expect from King in his golden years -- family, nostalgia, grief and loss. King turned 67 this year and he seems to have reached a point in his life where the "big questions" about what it all means Alfie, and where we all end up are weighing heavy on his mind and heart. It's inevitable, right? I turned 40 this year, and I know those questions have already started to weigh on me.
This is one of those books I want to peel back layer by layer and dig down deep into its beating heart. King has moved past penning coming-of-age novels to now tackling what happens when we get old. What do our relationships look like to friends, lovers, siblings, parents when we start to lose hair where we want it, and gain it where we don't? What does a life of regret look like? What does redemption look like?
There is this exploration in Revival in a luxurious, patient way that could only be written by an author of King's maturity and discipline. It's been a humbling, emotional experience for me as a Constant Reader to watch how this man's work and art have aged with him, have reached places only possible because he's lived this long to keep telling the tales.
I get frustrated sometimes with certain fans (with hearts in the right place) who still want King to be churning out the kind of books he was writing in the 80's. Some of the best stuff the man has written happened in that decade. No doubt. He was a writing machine. With young kids and a coke habit to boot. But he's not that man anymore. Decades have come and gone and the writing should be changing to reflect that. Not just the style, but the contents. What King cares about, what he's come to realize and believe to be true, these are some of the passions that he injects into his writing now. There is a self-awareness and self-reflection that just wasn't apparent in his earlier novels. I'm not saying one is better than the other, just different, with different rewards to be found and had.
The first three-quarters of this book represent some of the most literary writing King has done over the span of his incredibly long (and hopefully even longer) prolific career. Yes it feels familiar -- there is the small Maine town and the coming-of-age elements of young children navigating a threatening and perilous world. But the writing is so rich this time, lyrical even. The doom is laying on the horizon, you can almost glimpse it, but you don't really know where it's going to come from. Or when.
One of the things I've loved about King over the years is his profound ability to assemble a world and characters that are so very, very normal. They are us. They are him. They are who we know and love. And the world they populate is normal too. Small town USA. Baseball games, apple pie. Rock and roll on the radio. But into this normal world creeps something slimy and sinister. While ordinary life of first loves, car accidents, weddings, births and tinnitus march ever onward, the sinister stays hidden in the shadows, watching and waiting to make its move. It's all so very fucking normal, until it isn't.
It's the rat trap waiting in the dark hole that you just had to stick your hand into. *SNAP*
The last quarter of this book is the snap! and it's either going to work for you or not. King has written a beautiful dedication (he often does) paying his respects to all those legendary writers of the dark who helped "build his house". In the pages of Revival the long shadow of their influence live and breathe in Charles Jacobs' obsession with electricity and his unnatural lifelong quest for answers and revelation. The Bible says: seek and ye shall find. But we must be prepared for the unraveling of the mystery and realize that we are just as likely to fall to our knees in horror as wonder.
First five star book of 2014 and I don't begrudge a single star (I must be getting soft in my old age). Eleanor & Park achieves epically sweet, em First five star book of 2014 and I don't begrudge a single star (I must be getting soft in my old age). Eleanor & Park achieves epically sweet, emotionally complex and infinitely satisfying without ever once spinning off into maudlin or melodramatic (which is an amazing achievement when your two protagonists are teenagers in the grips of love's first rush).
Speaking of: Eleanor and Park are wonderful. It's always such a treat when you get characters this fully realized that you can swear you've met them, that you actually know them. Their story is sweet but not saccharine, and as uplifting as it is perilous and nerve wracking. It's tough being a teenager, forced to navigate a capricious world known for its wanton cruelty; where life, as Eleanor so eloquently puts it, "is a bastard."
Isn't it though?
This is a book about how music is its own language that can be used to speak to someone when words fail us. It's a book about family: how much it can save us, and how much it can devastate us. It's a book about two misfits finding each other and discovering what it is in each of them that's worth falling in love with.
This is the Life. Believe it or not, I haven't forgotten any of it. ~Life, Keith Richards
Well now, there you have it. Who'd have thunk "Keef" would h
This is the Life. Believe it or not, I haven't forgotten any of it. ~Life, Keith Richards
Well now, there you have it. Who'd have thunk "Keef" would have lived so long -- he certainly won't be leaving a beautiful corpse when he finally does kick off, that's for sure. And that will probably be from natural causes at this point in his life on the eve of turning seventy, but who the hell knows with this guy? Sure he's laid off the dope, but he's still managing to fall out of trees hard enough to put a crack in his skull, or find himself reaching for a giant tome on the top shelf of his home library and subsequently getting buried under an avalanche of falling books (that one caused him a few broken ribs).
This cat has got more lives than can be counted. Yes, he should be dead, a looooong time ago. That he's not, is astounding. That he can remember most of his life, even the heavy drug years, is more astounding still. That his telling of it should be so engaging and insightful, raucous and unflinching and funny ... well, that astounds me most of all.
I’m not a raving Stones fan, that isn’t what brought me to this autobiography. Sure, there are about 35 of their songs I can sing along to and like many people, there are another 10 I consider to be some of the best rock songs ever written. But I wasn’t born early enough to come of age during the Stones golden era when they were young, ferocious and unstoppable. I wasn’t a “Mick girl” or “Keef girl”. For better or worse, I missed the 60s and 70s, but that doesn’t mean that time in music history doesn’t interest me. It interests me quite a lot actually.
Rock histories and music retrospectives on particular times and places endlessly fascinate me. It’s not enough just to listen to the tunes, I want to know the where, when, who, how and why something was written, recorded, and imbibed. The birth of rock n roll? I want to know the characters, the causes, the culture that spawned it. I want to know when it learned to walk, and then I want to know who made it run. Who was in the engine room? I love hearing about all the little asides and anecdotes about who was where, who saw who perform and then started their own band – the roots of the roots (stretch it back as far as you think you can).
I came to this book hoping I would get a glimpse into that engine room, at all the characters huffing and puffing, fighting and fucking their way along in there, keeping this beast coined Rock n Roll running. Rock n Roll will never die if everyone in the engine room keeps doing their job. In that vein, this book did not disappoint. The first half is a fairly detailed portrait of what was going on in the world of music at the time the Stones stepped onto the world’s stage, how the times were a-changing and people were ready for something different. It’s ironic that what the Stones started out doing was Chicago blues -- what was “different” is that it was now reaching a white audience.
Richards has a very definite opinion on how everything unfolded in his life and in the life of the band (i.e. he didn’t steal Anita from Brian Jones, he rescued her). It may not be the complete truth, but he’s not bullshitting the reader either – it is the truth as he believes it to be. In a lot of ways this is a long conversation with the man that you start in the middle of the afternoon over coffee and don’t finish until dawn the following day when the empty wine bottles lay strewn about you and you have the beginnings of a nasty headache coming on. It’s intimate, forthright, and in your face. There were times I flinched and felt like screaming: “TMI Keith! For godsake, TMI”
I was appalled to hear him so blithely recount his and Anita’s epic drug years, strung out on smack, with two small children in their care. Even after many arrests (and car crashes), it didn’t seem like there was ever any threat of having their kids taken away. When a third baby is born and dies in Anita’s care of supposed “crib death” my stomach rolled over with nausea. Maybe that’s all it was, but maybe it was from junkie neglect. Thank heavens Keith at least had the sense to send his little girl Angela to his mum to love and raise in England. Despite the extremely unconventional upbringing, Keith’s eldest son Marlon seems to be pretty well-adjusted these days with a family of his own. His few reminiscences that are included in the story are not filled with bitterness or anger, but rather with a sardonic humor and a deeply expressed loyalty to his father.
The music bits are really really good and if you’re a guitar player, you’ll even get some awesome tips. Keith’s descriptions of the songwriting process are fascinating too, as well as the realities of recording albums in the pre-digital age. My favourite portion of the book might just be the time the Stones spent in France recording the double album Exile on Main Street. I’ve since found out that a documentary has been made on this very subject called Stones in Exile that I now HAVE to see.
The book does become a bit of a slog in the third act. There are places where Keith begins to ramble a bit and the narrative loses focus. I mean c’mon, you’re not that fascinating bro, how about a little nip and tuck here and there; isn’t that what an editor is for? But overall, I remained completely immersed for the two weeks it took to listen to this unabridged version read by Johnny Depp, Joe Hurley and the man himself. And what begins as a charming and enchanting coming-of-age tale and a young man’s love letter to the power of music eventually does descend into the pit of hedonism and rock star excesses. How could it not? It’s Keith Richards after all. But through all the shit, there is pure, unadulterated love for the music. That I can admire, that I can respect....more
This book drips fun and if you're one of those not immune to such things, it will bite your ass so hard with the nostalgia bug, it may take you days tThis book drips fun and if you're one of those not immune to such things, it will bite your ass so hard with the nostalgia bug, it may take you days to recover. Yes, I'm one of those.
I missed the hardcore gaming hysteria of the 80s - though I did play my fair share of Pac-Man and Super Mario Bros. What I didn't miss was the music and the movies. There was a lot of shit, but there was awesomeness mixed in there too, and one of the things this book manages to do is to mine some of that awesomeness. Then it wraps it in an addictive quest adventure riddled with puzzles and clues meant to tickle the nostalgia center in your brain (I think it's located in the lower cortex, or maybe it's the amygdala?)
Either way, this really is the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for the 80s generation. It was by no means a perfect decade, but it had its moments of glory and splendor. There was a dark side to the decade, but for those of us coming of age, it was a decade filled with promise and innocence too. Much of the wool wasn't pulled from my eyes until the 90s, when arguably the music got much better, but also angrier in its rawness and honesty. In the mid-80s, I was still young, hopeful, and blissfully naive, she-bopping around to Cyndi Lauper. This book made me itchy to try and recapture some of that blissful ignorance, but as the saying goes, you can't go home again.
Then there is the invention of the OASIS itself. I'm still waiting for the hoverboards from Back to the Future II to make it to market, so I'm not gonna hold my breath on this sultry siren song of the most mind-blowing virtual reality version to come to fruition any time soon. I would say we're all better off if it doesn't. I mean, who could resist? (view spoiler)[Live in my favorite movie or TV show? You mean I can be Brody on the Orca? Or hunt demons with Dean Winchester? You would never see me again! (hide spoiler)]
Book? What's a book? Notice how not one novel is mentioned in this story (well, save for Halliday's Almanac thing). There's good reason for that. If you've been sucked into "Neverland on crack" it won't leave much time for pleasure reading. I know the character of Halliday is a gaming geek at heart (which I guess means he doesn't read), but I was so disappointed that there was no referencing of the iconic novels of the 80s. And while I appreciated some of the movie references, I really missed the shout-outs to the horror genre. Not only does this decade mark the rise of Stephen King, but there's The Shining, The Evil Dead, The Thing, An American Werewolf in London, The Lost Boys (I could go on, but I won't).
Bottom line, this is a FUN book, addicting and charming, and I can't imagine it won't be optioned for the big screen. This book is epically cinematic and will likely make an even better movie. ...more
I think it's too bad that this book is probably going to get overlooked by a lot of people just because the cover is just so gosh-darned pink -- itI think it's too bad that this book is probably going to get overlooked by a lot of people just because the cover is just so gosh-darned pink -- it looks like a tosser, easily dismissible as frothy, feel-good chick-lit, more fluff than depth, more cheese than ...urm... meat? I know I was on the verge of dismissing it for all these reasons and more; I mean, c'mon!?! David Cassidy? Really people? But thanks to a contagious review here on goodreads, I took a chance and am I glad that I ever did.
I don't just think I love this book, I know it with complete and utter certainty. Why? Because it is filled with bittersweet insights on life and love and laced with a quick and sassy humor that had me laughing out loud. This book has heart -- a real, beating, bloody, muscle that pumps and lives and breathes in the pages. So okay, there's that David Cassidy thing, but really, he's just the point of entry to a book that explores so well, with such empathy and truth, the bumpy and perilous terrain of our first crushes and those critical bonds of first real friendships that will define the women we become.
And speaking of those first crushes? Remember those? How much we threw every single piece of ourselves into them, right down to our protons and neutrons? I'm thinking a magic part of that intoxicating buzz never truly leaves us if we're lucky. I remember seeing Eddie Vedder on stage when I was 19 and it was as close to a "religious" experience as I'll ever get. Can I get a Hallelujah? I really did almost implode at the molecular level.
I love books that can write about friendships among women, convincingly and with genuine feeling. Petra and Sharon are wonderful as adult friends, and as children they are charming and unforgettable. This book has a high nostalgia factor that resonates. It's a beautiful read and I loved every minute of it. Highly recommended. ...more
I find writing reviews for books I love quite intimidating really. I feel overwhelmed with the task of ever doing a book justice that I want everyoneI find writing reviews for books I love quite intimidating really. I feel overwhelmed with the task of ever doing a book justice that I want everyone to read. And then there’s always the risk that if you gush too much, it’s going to turn people off, or build their expectations so high that when they do pick the book up they can’t help but be a little disappointed. But perhaps I’m over thinking it too much.
I had never read anything by Jennifer Donnelly before and didn’t know quite what to expect when I picked up Revolution. I thought the cover quite beautiful, and the historical aspect of the story called to me, so I had no qualms about giving it a try. What can I say about a book that totally swept me up in its pages and consumed my every free thought when I wasn’t reading it? The sheer beauty of some of its prose squeezed my heart. Donnelly does such an amazing job writing about music that I swear sometimes I heard the notes wafting up from the page. I’ve never claimed to be a music aficionado of any age or style, I don’t read music, I’ve never taken a music appreciation class – but I listen to music. It has an undeniably important place in my life, as vital as reading, and there is just something so simple and honest about the way Donnelly threads music throughout this novel that left me totally captivated.
Then there’s the story – about a defeated young girl undone by tragedy who has lost her way, and her will to live. Andi is angry at herself, at the world, and the depth of her grief and rage is like a sharp and vicious thing that she carries in her chest. Andi is definitely a young woman spiraling out of control. She’s been essentially abandoned by her parents – her father because he is a Nobel-winning scientist obsessed with his work, and her mother who mourns so deeply for the loss of her child it has unhinged her, leaving her depleted, empty, with nothing to give to her surviving daughter. I thought the relationship between Andi and her mom to be a tender and damaged thing; both women have been so traumatized by loss that a sort of role-reversal has taken place, where Andi has become the fierce protector and the one doing the “looking after”.
I love how this novel unfolds, that it is two stories with two narrators – one contemporary one historical. The detail is so vivid, the sense of place so strong, you walk the streets of Paris and run through the catacombs that haunt the modern city to this day. French Revolutionary history is filled with brutality, intrigue, betrayal, hope and disillusionment. As a novelist, you don’t have to exaggerate any of the historical details, you simply stand out of the way and let the story tell itself. I feel that’s what Donnelly has done here; she’s taken her fictional creation – Alexandrine – and written her into the pages of history. Through Alexandrine’s diary, we get an intimate look at the scale of human barbarity it takes to pull off a Revolution.
Andi becomes consumed with the diary and with Alexandrine’s fate and the fate of the boy King locked in a tower to rot. She can only hope that the diary can give her the peace and understanding she seeks to save her own life. This book is gorgeously textured and layered like an 18th century French painting, or a beautiful piece of composed music. It is also a pulse-pounding page-turning adventure, an enigmatic historical mystery shrouded in intrigue and speculation. It's a love story about the bonds between parent and child, brother and sister, lovers and friends. Read this book. ...more
I’m just going to say up front, there’s no way I can do this little book justice just because there’s so much heartbreaking honesty packed into so smaI’m just going to say up front, there’s no way I can do this little book justice just because there’s so much heartbreaking honesty packed into so small a space it just boggles the mind. Author Jandy Nelson has tasted real loss – she’s held it in her chest, been held prisoner in its freezing, unrelenting grasp. How do I know this? Because this is a story about grief and what it can do to a person in all its jagged edges, how it changes us for better and worse, how it cannot be bargained with, how it transitions from a blinding scream to a soft whisper but never goes away completely.
The Sky Is Everywhere is also an achingly, bittersweet look at young love, that first shock to the system when all of your senses become crazily, exponentially heightened at once, and all of your common-sense exits stage left with a resigned but good-humored flourish. Lennie Walker learns that not only will grief make you do weird and sometimes self-destructive things, love will too – in the throes of both at the same time and you are in danger of becoming an outright mental case.
The supporting characters in this story are absolutely lovely and I don’t think I will ever forget them – Gram, Big, Toby, Joe and Sarah – it’s really the people who know us and love us that make us strong and keep us strong. This is a beautiful little book and a wonderful story that I highly recommend. ...more
My generation's Love Story. Really enjoyed this one, and despite the fact that more than half of Sheffield's musical references were over my head, theMy generation's Love Story. Really enjoyed this one, and despite the fact that more than half of Sheffield's musical references were over my head, the book still moved me. Sheffield has written a manifesto for all us mix tape geeks and I thank him for it....more