Tag: 1930s

Woody Guthrie – Bound for Glory | Review

Title: Bound for Glory

Author: Woody Guthrie

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 320

Rating: 4*/5


Woody Guthrie - Bound for Glory

Woody Guthrie – Bound for Glory


I have mixed feelings about this book, but I think that’s largely because it’s a bit of a beast if you’re not properly psyched up for it. It takes time and concentration to get through it and feels like too much of a chore to be a 5/5, but it’s still culturally significant. In fact, it’s even a lot of fun from time to time, and it’s impressive how Guthrie is able to capture the vernacular – and the lifestyle – at the time.

For a book that’s about a musician, there isn’t a huge amount of information here about Guthrie’s early musical career, but that’s okay. We still get to see him travelling around with his guitar and playing songs to the folks he met along the way. In many ways, that’s the point – this isn’t a ‘coming-of-age’ kind of story but rather the non-fiction equivalent of the fabled great American novel.

It’s also interesting to some of the themes that followed Guthrie throughout his life, of which fire is probably the most prominent. In fact, he lost several houses as a kid and spent a lot of time on the move, which is probably why he grew up to live a life on the rails. Say what you want about Guthrie, the man was a real character – and I can see why Bob Dylan used to re-read this book over and over again.

Ultimately, then, this book isn’t for everyone – but if you’re a big fan of either Guthrie or the folk music that he influenced, you’ll definitely enjoy this. But you’ll also enjoy it if you’re interested in America during the 1930s1950s. Guthrie’s writing is as evocative as any novelist’s, which means you can almost taste the dust and smell the sweat of the men in the taverns.


Woody Guthrie

Woody Guthrie


Click here to buy Bound for Glory.


George Orwell – Down and Out in Paris and London | Review

Title: Down and Out in Paris and London

Author: George Orwell

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 220

Rating: 5*/5


George Orwell - Down and Out in Paris and London

George Orwell – Down and Out in Paris and London


I’m not sure why it took me so long to get round to reading this one. In fact, I somehow ended up with two copies of it and gave one of them to my friend Neil, and he read and reviewed it before I even got around to starting. But once I did start it, I was hooked – in fact, it only took me a day to read it and I found it hard to put it down.

That’s a rarity for a non-fiction book, but then this one is written by George Orwell, and so I shouldn’t have expected any less. As you might have guessed from the title, it follows Orwell’s exploits as a down and out in both Paris and London as he tries to live on hardly any money at all, scavenging cash from the streets or working long hours in French restaurants.

That might not sound interesting, but it is. In fact, while this is technically a travel book, it’s also a type of social experiment, only from back in the 1930s. It’s the kind of book that everyone should read, regardless of who they are.


George Orwell

George Orwell


Click here to buy Down and Out in Paris and London.