At first glance, this really isn't "my kind" of book: I'm just not a black metal type of person. But, as a teen-ager in northern Finland during the 90...moreAt first glance, this really isn't "my kind" of book: I'm just not a black metal type of person. But, as a teen-ager in northern Finland during the 90's, I too knew people who listened to Norweigian blakc metal and fancied themselves satanists, or pagans, or odinists, or whatever the favored label for the truly rebellious happened to be on any given day. They were racist, and homophobic, and talked about burning churches. (And of course I also knew their counterparts, the evengelical christians who could not have been more thrilled to have these utterly lost souls to save. It was a weird time.)
So the subject matter was naturally fascinating to me. The same could be said of my husband, who originally brought the book home from the library. He was even class-mates with one of people the new edition talks about, albeit very briefly. (Incidently, this person could have been left out of the book completely, as he has very little to do with the music Moynihan is supposed to be writing about.) Still, I wasn't going to read it. But I made the mistake of picking it up, and was unable to put it down again. So I guess the writers managed to spin an engrossing read from their materials. So, for that this would earn half a star, if we could give half star ratings here. Because, engrossing as it was, the book's just not good enough to deserve even the "it was okay" rating, since it actually wasn't.
First of all, the writers didn't bother to do much writing. They conducted a lot of interviews, some of them even interesting, and then reproduced them verbatim in the book. There's hardly any attempt to conceptualize or analyse what the interviewees say, and very little effort made towards some kind of synthesis, just interview after interview after interview, so that the book occasionaly reads like a transcript of a documentary film, rather than a carefully written, knowingly constructed book. It's lazy and annoying.
Secondly, I can't for the life of me understand why waste paper on someone like the German Neo-Nazi who murdered a school friend because he was weird and possibly bi-sexual. This person is completely irrelevant in every way, yet he's allowed to yap on and on about everything from Atlantis to Zionist conspiracies. Again, lazy and annoying. The same goes for a recounting a couple of murder-cases that have only the most spurious connection to metal music. One I already mentioned, the other comes from Florida. A group of boys styling themselves as "The lords of chaos" killed one of their teachers and caused other kinds of harm. But they're not musicians, and from what I could tell, not even big metal fans. So what are they doing in this book? I had to wonder the same thing about some of Moynihan's own esoteric theories concerning the mythical wild hunt, and how someone's assumed name can direct their destinies. That's what counts for anylysis in this book: his name made him do it.
Moynihan and Søderlind don't write this book as outside observers, as journalists, but as participants and believers. The chapter on Jung makes this painfully clear.
The third strike, however, is the writing style. When they do get around to actually writing something, using their own voice, it's dreadful. The awful, sensationalistic, melodramatic writing is the main reason I can't, in good conscience, give Lords of Chaos more than one star. It's funny, in a way. The writers constantly mock tabloid press for over-blowing and over-dramatizing things, yet they themselves write in such a way that you can practically hear the dun-dun-dun-dun "suspenseful" soundtrack. It made sense then, to find out that Moynihan is also a musician of some kind of metal, neo-folk persuasion. Say what you will about metal, but you can't deny that it's not exactly known for its subtlety. The operatic, the sensational and dramatic is brought in full force here.
All that said though, I'm not sorry I read the book. After all, I did learn a bit about the phenomenon the ripples of which were felt even in my own small circle, back in the day.(less)
A book about hungover cures. Whatever will they think of next? Come to think of it, Crawford probably isn't even the first one to have this idea. Many...moreA book about hungover cures. Whatever will they think of next? Come to think of it, Crawford probably isn't even the first one to have this idea. Many of the recipes seem interesting and tasty, and the idea to divide to book into chapters according to Bertie Wooster's hungover types was fun. But who has the energy to cook in that condition? No-one, that's who.
This book gave me a few chuckles, but I predict that in the long run it'll be perfectly forgettable. But it dead make me want to a.eat a lot, b. have a fancy cocktail or three, and c. read books about alcohol by better writers, such as Wodehouse and Kingsley Amis.(less)
It's weird to find so much shilling for stuff in a book that purports to promote a "greener" lifestyle: I always thought that the first and last rule...moreIt's weird to find so much shilling for stuff in a book that purports to promote a "greener" lifestyle: I always thought that the first and last rule of environmentally conscious life was to buy as little crap as possible. Especially electrical appliances. But I get it. Kim Barnouin needs to pay her rent, just like the rest of us. Plus, who doesn't like getting new stuff? Especially electric appliances. I know I do.
Most of the recipes seem really good though, and I would love to try my hand at making every single one of them. Unfortunately, what's ecological to eat in California, isn't that in Finland, at least if you believe that you should eat food that travels as little as possible to get to you.(less)
So, definitely not my usual fair, but a. I'm a little tired of my usual fair at the moment, b. I'm a terrible dresser, and c. Trinny and Susannah are...moreSo, definitely not my usual fair, but a. I'm a little tired of my usual fair at the moment, b. I'm a terrible dresser, and c. Trinny and Susannah are hi-larious. At least on television. Their style doesn't completely work on book form. Still, there's something to be said for a book that can be read in about ten minutes and makes you laugh. I'll probably continue to be a terrible dresser though.(less)
It's an interesting selection and the information offered is generally pretty good, but I think my time would have been better spend reading at least...moreIt's an interesting selection and the information offered is generally pretty good, but I think my time would have been better spend reading at least one of the books Taylor introduces here.(less)
Why I thought it would be a good idea to volunteer to review this book, I'll never know. It's very interesting, and Dr. Powell is a good writer, but I...moreWhy I thought it would be a good idea to volunteer to review this book, I'll never know. It's very interesting, and Dr. Powell is a good writer, but I'm not exactly competent to assess the science behind her claims.(less)