Tag: Guitar

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.

 


Hugh Laurie – The Gun Seller | Review

Title: The Gun Seller

Author: Hugh Laurie

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 342

Rating: 4*/5

 

Hugh Laurie - The Gun Seller

Hugh Laurie – The Gun Seller

 

Hugh Laurie is a man of many talents. He was fantastic as one half of Fry and Laurie, and I learned how to play a bunch of his comedy songs on guitar. He was great as Dr. House, although I was a little late to the game on that one. And it turns out that he’s also a decent author, as this book attests to.

It’s basically a cross between a comedy novel and a tale of espionage, reminiscent of Graham Greene at times. Laurie is a pretty good writer, although some parts of it were duller than others, and it’s mainly the dialogue and the interplay between characters that makes it stand out. He’s also paid a lot of attention to the plot, and it often feels as though every detail has been accounted for.

The main problem that I had with it was that I thought it should have ended about two thirds of the way into it. The ending was needed for the rest of the book to work, but it wasn’t particularly well executed and I thought it could have done with a little more work. I found my attention drifting as I neared the end, and I spent the last thirty pages thinking vaguely about what I was planning on reading next.

Overall, though, it was still an impressive little novel, and it’s a shame that it’s the only one that Laurie has released – to my knowledge, at least. It’s the kind of book that you could take on holiday and read on the beach or simply dip in and out of on the commute, especially because the story line remains fairly consistent throughout so it doesn’t matter too much if you forget what was happening and then come back to it. And if you took the covers off and tested it against contemporary thrillers from famous authors, I’m pretty sure it could hold its own.

 

Hugh Laurie

Hugh Laurie

 

Click here to buy The Gun Seller.

 


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