Tag: Travel

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.

 


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.