I dismissed Stan Collymore many years ago as a woman-beating dickhead who had unforgivably wasted an amazing football talent.
How could you not, his un...moreI dismissed Stan Collymore many years ago as a woman-beating dickhead who had unforgivably wasted an amazing football talent.
How could you not, his underachievement as a striker was there for all to see and then there was the Ulrika moment and his dogging incident too.
So I was very surprised when Talksport, (a national radio station surprisingly dedicated to, er, sport) took him on as a presenter. I was even more surprised when he turned out to be very good presenter. I was then flabergasted to hear him stand-in on the mid-morning 'heavy' section of the radio and more than hold his own against some very senior and knowledgeable people on a wide variety of subjects.
This was when I first heard him talk about the mental health problems that have beset him his whole life and eventually led me to pick his book out in the library.
I am so glad that I did. Most auto-biographies that I read are desperate attempts to portray their author in a better light. Stan's doesn't. He talks about his mental problems openly. Many are to do with doubts and insecurities that we all would feel, however the consequences of his are much more unsettling.
He doesn't fall back on these problems as justifications for a relatively wasted career and definitely not for the 'Ulrika hitting' incident.
What he does do is point out what may be the blindingly obvious but most definitely easily forgotten - namely that sports stars and celebrities have their own problems,the same as anybody else and when those around don't help and or recognise these problems, the tragic consequences are compounded by money and fame, not prevented by it.(less)
Graham Hancock started out as a travel journalist and then moved into historical sleuthing which is...moreGraham Hancock? Yeah I've got all of his records!
Graham Hancock started out as a travel journalist and then moved into historical sleuthing which is when I first came across his work (The Sign and the Seal, Fingerprints of the Gods). What I loved about his stuff was that he was obviously very passionate and enthusiastic about his research and that came across completely in his writing to such an extent, that even potentially mundane topics such as the age of the pyramids or detailed descriptions about astrological precession became exciting page turners!
For me, some of his more recent work, whilst still excellent seemed to have lost a little oomph. Now, with Entangled, I was aware that he was writing a fiction book to get across ideas that would attract too much criticism and ridicule if they were presented as fact. I'll be honest, I was expecting something similar to The Celestine Prophecy or The Da Vinci Code, ie, a book desperate to get ideas across with a superficial plot and basic prose to carry these ideas along - not that I am knocking these books, I have enjoyed them and will continue to recommend them to others.
The last reason for my trepidation is a more personal one. This is my year of change. I'm trying very hard to become aware of and break bad habits, whilst hopefully creating newer better habits. As a consequence, I have become very conscious and protective over how my time is spent. I have given up on watching TV completely. I haven't given up on fiction books, but I have started several this year that have not engaged me and they have quickly been returned to the shelf after only a few pages.
I needn't have worried, Graham Hancock, is back to his best!
Entangled has, without doubt, surpassed all of my expectations. It is very well written, there is a depth to the main characters that allows for empathy, the plot flows and most importantly, that spark, that oomph is back.
There is science and pseudo-science involved in the story, but it is fitted in on the whole as part of the story, and there was only one (short) point in the book when I felt it nearly slipped into lecture mode. Let me reassure you, this book can be enjoyed without knowledge of, or even contemplation of the science behind it, it really is a brilliant, easy to read piece of fiction. You also don't need to be familiar with any of Hancock's previous non-fiction work, but if you are new to him through this book, I would definitely recommend his work.
Entangled reads like a thriller because, er, that's exactly what it is! Each chapter is told from the viewpoint of either Ria or Leoni. It is fast paced, exciting and features lots of battle scenes which in some ways you don't even notice as you find yourself unable to put the book down and trying to read one more chapter to find out what happens next!
Hancock does not shy away from either using industrial language when appropriate or inserting the gory details of the fights, and this is a credit. Too much entertainment nowadays tones down both violence and language in an attempt to gain wider audiences. Hancock has a story to tell, and tell it he does, superbly.
My only real criticism is the fact that this book whilst it can be read and enjoyed in isolation, is the first in a series. How many books will form the series, I don't know. There's no mention of it on the cover nor in any of the (limited) blurb that I have read. If I had known, in all likelihood, I wouldn't have started this until the series was complete, but that's just me. I haven't started Thomas Covenants Third Chronicles as an example even though I am desperate to and won't until it has been completed.
5 stars, and highly recommended to everyone.(less)
I'm not sure why exactly, but I feel greatly uplifted having finished this book.
My kids are young enough to become something of their lives, and by he...moreI'm not sure why exactly, but I feel greatly uplifted having finished this book.
My kids are young enough to become something of their lives, and by heck am I going to become a pushy parent!
In a nutshell this book looks at success and boils the reasons down to two main factors.
First, luck/opportunity. I'm a firm believer in making your own luck, and this is where the '10,000 hour rule' comes in.
Secondly, cultural legacy. If you can become aware of limiting factors and or obstacles, you can do something about it.
As an aside, I had a very interesting conversation over the weekend with a friend who is currently working in South Africa. Whereas the apparent barriers of apartheid have been removed, in people minds, it is very much alive and kicking. The cycle needs to be broken.
I'm not suggesting that this book can break that cycle, but unless you are aware that there is a cycle, you're not going to even think about breaking it.
And that's what this book does. On one hand it looks at the causes of success. On the other, it looks at the causes of failure.
I disagree with all those who say the book is aimless on that basis.(less)
I started this book on a plane journey once, many years ago. I think the person next to me fell asleep and left it on their tray and I thought why was...moreI started this book on a plane journey once, many years ago. I think the person next to me fell asleep and left it on their tray and I thought why waste a good opportunity to read!
The start is very interesting as you are trying to figure who is who, and where this story is likely to lead.
As I recall, the book owner woke up at one point and was more than happy to allow me to carry on reading. As the plane came into land, they even said that I could borrow it and return it to them by post... Probably because they must have been in the middle of the book at that time!
The middle meanders and seems to take too long to get through. That's always my worry about reading or watching a 'situational comedy' - will it have the legs to go the distance?
I started to suspect the twist towards the end, but I was gripped again and enjoyed the climax.
I came across my copy in the window of a charity shop a few days ago. Worth the 50p? Just about. I don't think it has aged well, so much has changed in the world since this book was written and because of the characters, you are constantly reminded of that change and it becomes difficult to fully immerse yourself into it.
I also have a confession to make... I couldn't remember where I'd left off all those years ago, so I started from the beginning!(less)
Damn... 'The Red Wedding' chapter was AWESOME. It has to be one of the bravest things that an author has done. Certainly, there has been very few thin...moreDamn... 'The Red Wedding' chapter was AWESOME. It has to be one of the bravest things that an author has done. Certainly, there has been very few things that I have been reading at 1.00 in the morning that have made me jump up and shout "WHAT?!". I then re-read the last couple of pages of the chapter just to see if I had somehow mis-read it! Unbelievable. Incredibly difficult to continue reading after that for a few chapters. You expect to see the 'good guys' eventually triumph, and wrongs righted. This series definitely bucks that trend and it is definitely weird reading a story where you have no idea whatsoever in which direction the story or it's characters are heading.(less)