Tag: Vernacular

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.


Graeme Macrae Burnet – His Bloody Project | Review

Title: His Bloody Project

Author: Graeme Macrae Burnet

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 282

Rating: 10/10


Graeme Macrae Burnet - His Bloody Project

Graeme Macrae Burnet – His Bloody Project


Disclaimer: While I aim to be unbiased, I received a copy of this for free to review.

Okay, first of all, I loved this book. It reminds me of Hemingway and Graham Greene, and is written in a sort of timeless style that never goes out of fashion. What’s remarkable about that is that it manages to do that whilst still using the vernacular of the time – still, despite being set in 19th century Scotland, it’s still easier to understand the dialogue than it is in your typical Irvine Welsh book.

The characterisation is fantastic, as well as the story line. It also takes the form of an unusual format, including the written narrative of a murderer, the autopsies carried out by a local doctor and the transcript of the hearing in which the murderer faces the wrath of the legal system. And all of these different things are wound together in a compelling narrative that keeps you turning pages until the end.

The story itself is described as “documents relating to the case of Roderick Macrae”, our murderer. But as we find as we turn the pages, perhaps he had his reasons, and I thought it was fascinating to see how the author played with the reader’s expectations while ushering you slowly towards the end of the book. I can honestly say that I haven’t read anything like this for a long time, and I’d definitely recommend it, especially if you’re a fan of the classics. It has a certain vibe about it that just makes me love reading.


Graeme Macrae Burnet

Graeme Macrae Burnet


Click here to buy His Bloody Project.


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