Oct 2013 tbr Well, I’ve been working my way through those shiny celebrity autobiographies on the TBR shelf (which, by the way, sports an optical illusion. See those mainly blue books stacked horizontally on the shelf itself? The TBR double-stacked front row extends right up to those even though it looks like there’s a gap. I wish it was that small!) and here are reports on two of them. Of course, the Steven Tyler book was a dead loss, as reported here, but I’ve just had a good two in a row. Well, a good one and an interesting page turner, anyway …

Michael Johnson – “Gold Rush”

(12 March 2013, Poundland)

Having encountered Mr Johnson via the TV commentary coverage at the Beijing and London Olympics, we know that he’s a somewhat serious man, shall we say, who doesn’t suffer fools gladly and demands perfection of (to be fair) himself as well as others. And so he shows himself to be here, in this interesting examination of what makes an Olympic champion, apparently published to take advantage of the build-up to London 2012, but applicable at any time.

He interviews notable Olympians from Daley Thompson to Rebecca Adlington, but often seems to be concentrating on moaning about people (especially Usain Bolt) who don’t take it all seriously enough and don’t (Usain) live up to their true potential and just seem (Usain) to want to coast along and take the easy way out, whereas (Usain) if they trained like Johnson did and stop mucking around at the start line (U…) they would do a heck of a lot better. Young people today (not our Rebecca, though) etc., etc.

But, well, he’s a grump, we know he’s a grump, and he does tell stories against himself as well as using himself as an exemplar of good training and attitude. He obviously wrote it himself, too (in a good way), taking the time to thank his writing coach in the acknowledgements. I found the rants quite amusing and found a lot to enjoy in the rest of the book

Other Olympics reads: Awaken the Olympian Within, The Secret Olympian, From the Slopes of Olympus to the Banks of the Lea, and of course my own mini-Olympic adventure blog post.

Julie Goodyear – “Just Julie”

(12 March 2013, Poundland)

Everything a celebrity autobiography should be: full of events, relationships, secrets, scandals, tears and gossip, and told in an authentic voice which reads just like its subject has grabbed you by the arm in a slightly sticky pub and dragged you into a corner to regale you with her side of the story. It’s got never-before-seen photos and a leopard print inside back cover, too – you can’t go wrong, can you?

Chronicling her eventful life, she seems very open, and all is plausible although quite clearly her attempt to set the record straight on a few things. Fair enough, as she did have a rough ride in the papers and quite a lot of bad luck. Her fondness for her major role as Bet Lynch shines through, and she applied a Michael Johnson-like seriousness to the business of researching and creating Bet which just shows that a bit of application can get you a long way.

Goodyear is obviously a formidable lady (nothing wrong with that) who is proud of her roots and of having stayed close to them and survived adversity. She even uses her accent in the writing of the book, with plenty of “me Mam”s scattered through it, which gives it that immediacy. Well and grippingly told and an interesting read about survival.

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Still reading “Dance to the Music of Time” and a book I had for my birthday back in January – oops! Having said that, I’ve only acquired one book this month so far, and the TBR is slowly going down …