Tag: Childhood

Bill Bryson – The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid | Review

Title: The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

Author: Bill Bryson

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 416

Rating: 4/5

Bryson’s non-fiction is always a lot of fun to read, and this book was no different. What’s interesting, though, is that instead of focussing on travel writing as he usually does, this was instead a memoir about Bryson’s childhood adventures. That was cool in one sense, but in another sense I would have preferred to have had some travel writing from him, purely because that’s what he’s best at.

There’s also the Thunderbolt Kid gimmick, which I wasn’t particularly a fan of because I’m not much into superheroes in general. I get that it was his childhood fantasy and stuff and it did a good job of tying the book together, it’s just that I have different interests I guess. Plus it wasn’t really needed, and it ended up just feeling like a gimmick that Bryson relied on when he wasn’t too sure how to finish a chapter.

But I don’t want to complain too much, and in fact as a general rule, I did still really enjoy this. Bryson’s writing is always a pleasure, and I’m sure he could write about literally any subject and I’d still enjoy it. If anything, that’s kind of the gist of this review. I have less in common with Bryson when he’s writing about his upbringing as a kid in America than I do when he’s writing about the places that he’s visited.

And that’s kind of the problem here. I don’t really have anything else to say about this one and it was just okay, although at least it didn’t have any of the sort of inadvertent snootiness that’s ruined a couple of other Bryson books for me. Overall, it was eminently readable and I’m glad I picked it up, especially because it was for free from a little book exchange outside someone’s house, but it wasn’t quite as good as I was expecting.

If you’re a Bill Bryson fan then you’ll want to pick this one up of course, but at the same time I should warn you that it’s just so-so, and definitely not up to scratch if you compare it to some of his other stuff, and Notes from a Small Island in particular. If this was written by just anyone, it would’ve been fine. But because it’s by Bill Bryson, it’s a let down.

Learn more about The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.

 


Janis Jonevs – Doom 94 | Review

Title: Doom 94

Author: Janis Jonevs

Type: Fiction/Non-Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 258

Rating 4.5/5

 

 

This book was fantastic for two simple reasons objectively, because it’s different, and subjectively, because it reflected my own childhood. It turns out that the Latvian city of Jelgava in the mid-nineties had a lot in common with the British town of Tamworth in the mid-2000s.

As you’ve probably guessed from that, Jonevs is a Latvian, and I actually met him at a party/networking event when I was invited to Riga to learn more about Latvian literature. This book wasn’t out at the time, at least not in English, but I’d heard enough about it to think that I was going to like it. I just didn’t expect to like it this much.

It’s basically a coming of age story, following Jonevs and his fellow metalheads as they finish up at school, discover drink, drugs and cigarettes and get into the Latvian metal scene. I hadn’t heard of most of the bands, of course, but there were mentions here and there of those that I had heard of. Kurt Cobain’s suicide plays a part in the plot and there were shoutouts for bands like My Dying Bride, Mayhem and Burzum. There was even a mention for Cynic, who are probably my favourite out of all of the heavier bands that Jonevs talked about. How Could I? and Veil of Maya in particular.

The only reason for 4.5/5 and not 5/5 is that there were a few typos.

 

 

Click here to buy Doom 94.

 


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