Tag: Memoir

Stephen King – Danse Macabre | Review

Title: Danse Macabre

Author: Stephen King

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 480

Rating: 4/5

I wasn’t expecting to like this book as much as I did, mainly because it’s non-fiction and obviously King has a reputation as the master of horror. Still, it’s a non-fiction book about horror with a little bit of memoir and autobiography thrown in, and that makes it a pretty fascinating book if you’re a fan of either horror or Stephen King.

At the same time, it’s definitely dated in a lot of places. For example, he mentions an exciting new punk band called The Ramones and makes a reference to a book he’s writing where a parent loses a child, and I’m pretty sure he was talking about Pet Sematary. Kind of weird really, because the Ramones later recorded a song of the same name.

He also talked about how Kubrick did a good job of the movie of The Shining, and that was weird to me because King famously doesn’t like it. Perhaps he changed his mind later on. He also talked about how there aren’t enough works about haunted cars, which he later changed with Christine (still need to read it) and From a Buick 8 (actually terrible).

The fact that it’s a non-fiction book means that by its very nature, it has something of a different tone to King’s other stuff, although you can definitely tell that he’s the one who wrote it. Perhaps it’s also that he was a little younger and therefore closer to the start of his career. Whatever the case, he comes across as almost irreverent at times, though not in a bad way.

He always treats the works that he covers with the greatest of respect even when he doesn’t necessarily enjoy the work in question. He acknowledges that something can be hugely influential and important to a specific genre of film and literature, even if he doesn’t like the work itself. It’s a bit like how you can enjoy rock music without being a fan of The Beatles.

I don’t think that this book necessarily has a widespread appeal, but if you’re either a Stephen King fan or a fan of classic horror – and let’s be honest, if you’re one then you’re probably the other – then this will be right up your street. If nothing else, you’ll find yourself walking away with a whole bunch of recommendations to check out. I know I have.

Of course, some of the stuff that he covers here is pretty niche, to the point at which you’d probably struggle to track some of it down. Other is much more well-known, from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to The Exorcist and even King’s own books. He also writes in a way that doesn’t ruin things that you haven’t yet experienced, which I was worried about. Good stuff!

Learn more about Danse Macabre.

 


Richard Branson – Losing My Virginity | Review

Title: Losing My Virginity

Author: Richard Branson

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 520

Rating: 3.75/5

I’ve had this book lying around for a good few years now, but I’ve been putting off picking it up for whatever reason. It’s kind of strange really, because I remember giving the prologue a read back when I picked it up and quite enjoying it, I just never had the momentum to keep going. But that all changed when I had to travel back to Tamworth for a family engagement because it’s something of a tradition of mine for me to pick up my longest unread book.

One of the good things is that it’s actually misleading, because while this is quite long in terms of page count, it has pretty big text and a bunch of photographs in it too. It’s also just generally quite interesting, whether you’re a Branson fan or not. I can’t say that I knew too much about him going into it, but I had heard good things about this book and I knew that he was an interesting chap.

I guess the noteworthy thing here is the market that Branson was aiming for. It’s got a lot to offer just because he had an interesting, action-packed life, especially when it comes to some of his ballooning adventures. It also has a lot to teach you about what it takes to be successful in business, but they’re the kind of insights that you can apply at any kind of job, from a corporate role to self-employment.

I still haven’t made my mind up on what I think about Branson as a person, but I am glad that I know a little more about him. I think I pitched this book just about right because there’s no need to go out of your way to get to it in a rush. If you do see it lying around though, it’s not bad and worth your time. I’d definitely say it’s in the upper half of the “celebrityautobiographies that I’ve read throughout the years, at least in terms of quality.

It was also just a genuinely pleasurable reading experience, something that was nice and easy to absorb while still giving me a few little bits of food for thought. In fact, it basically set my expectations pretty well and then delivered exactly what I was hoping for from it. For a non-fiction memoir, I think that’s almost the best that you can hope for, and this really would have had to have been something quite special for it to stand out to me above all of the other great stuff that I’ve been reading.

This brings us on to the final question that I try to answer in my reviews, which is whether or not I’d recommend it. Honestly, I’d have to say yes, even if you have no particular reason for reading it. There’s a little something for everyone and while it’s not exactly going to hold up to a re-read, it was alright for a one time thing. Check it out, I guess.

Learn more about Losing My Virginity.

 


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