Tag: Treat

James Frey – A Million Little Pieces | Review

Title: A Million Little Pieces

Author: James Frey

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 518

Rating: 4.25/5

I was given this as a birthday present from someone who’d read it themselves and enjoyed it and who’d seen that it was on my ridiculously large want to readlist. I don’t actually get given books that often because more often than not, I end up resenting them because I feel as though I have to read them whether I want to or not. But as this was off my big old list, we dodged that problem.

I think I first heard about this on BookTube, although I can’t remember who was talking about it. It basically instantly went on to my wish list because it’s a non-fiction drug book and I’ve always been partial to books about drugs. I even quite like it when you get references to opium in stuff like The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy falls asleep in a field of poppies.

Because I find the subject matter interesting, I was pretty much guaranteed to like this one. However, there are some other factors that come into play too. For example, the dialogue is written without quotation marks or indeed any form of punctuation, which some people might offputting. It’s the first thing I noticed when flicking through it and that, combined with a blurb from Irvine Welsh on the back, made me think it might be a tricky read. It turns out to actually work better and to flow more smoothly like that.

I guess that’s because of the style of the book. It’s written as a sort of stream-of-consciousness memoir and reads as though Frey is just chatting to you at a bar, and so this style of punctuation is perfect. At the same time though, I’m sure it’s not quite to everyone’s tastes, and that’s okay. And besides, if you like drug stories but you can’t deal with the punctuation, there’s always the movie version, which I’ll probably watch at some point or another.

Other than that, I’m not sure that there’s much more that I can tell you. I think as long as you have an interest in the subject matter – that of a recovering addict trying to get clean – and you don’t mind dialogue when it’s oddly formatted, you’re in for a treat. I will say that he spends the majority of the book either thinking about drugs or wishing he was dead, and so it can sometimes feel a little samey, but that can’t really be helped due to the subject matter and you have to respect the honesty.

Overall then, I’d definitely recommend this one, especially if you have an interest in drug and addiction memoirs. Otherwise, if you’re worried about trigger warnings or if it just makes you unhappy to read about stuff like this then maybe give it a miss. You’d be missing out on a good read, but it’s also a difficult one that can be quite confrontational too. As for me, I’m glad that I read it. A good gift!

Learn more about A Million Little Pieces.

 


Haruki Murakami – Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman | Review

Title: Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman

Author: Haruki Murakami

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 436

Rating: 4/5

This was another book that’s been on my wish list for a little while because Murakami is one of those authors where I want to read everything that he’s ever written. I actually picked this one up because I got my friend to pick out some random numbers to correspond with books on my wish list and this is what she came up with.

I didn’t realise until after it arrived that it was a collection of short stories, but that’s not a problem. I’ve always enjoyed short stories and Murakami is a master at the style, and so you know that you’re in for a treat here. Despite that, there are still a couple of stories here that I didn’t much enjoy, but that’s only natural in a collection like this.

For the most part though, this was a cracking collection and I was very pleased with it, even though it took me a little longer to get through it than I was expecting. There are a lot of ideas here and it takes a little time to wrap your head around them, but that’s to be expected when you’re reading Murakami. I blitzed through the whole collection in three or four days, but I’d also understand if you wanted to take a little longer to make sure that it all sinks in.

What I would say is that this could be a pretty good place to start if you’re new to Murakami’s work and you want to get an overall cross-section of what he’s all about. It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but then show me a book that is. No, seriously, show me it. I’m about ready to add a few new more books to my wish list.

So would I recommend it? Overall, it’s a yes from me, although you might want to read it over a prolonged period of time instead of doing what I did and focussing on it as your main read. That way, you can enjoy it a lot more, a bit like having a series of meals at different restaurants instead of stuffing yourself silly at an all-you-can-eat.

Oh, and of course, big thanks to my friend (who’d probably prefer to be unnamed) for picking this book out for me. As you can tell, it was a big hit for me and a lot of fun, and just the book that I needed at just the time I needed it. Good stuff!

Learn more about Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman.

 


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