October tbrTwo books from my BookCrossing Christmas pile, so I think I’ve got that finished off now and we’re on to books acquired on Christmas Day (am I more behind than I was this time last year? Yes, slightly – I was reading books acquired in early January at the beginning of October 2014 (and my TBR is bigger than then, too). Oh well, at least I’m reviewing books read in October now, and I’ve been getting quite a lot of reading in during the past week, due almost entirely to a new policy of being really careful how much work I take on! So, two works of non-fiction and memoir, one having more information that is provable and recorded than the other …

Bill Bryson – “Shakespeare”

(BookCrossing Secret Santa gift, 10 December 2014)

A fairly short book which cleverly pulls together what (little) is actually known about Shakespeare and his life, with mention of some of the more lively conjectures and background about his times, too. It’s refreshing and useful not to have the work full of someone’s pet theories, and of course it’s written in his usual lively, humorous and approachable style.

My only problem with the book is that it’s a bit too approachable and non-academic – he does specify his references as he goes, but there are no notes, and sometimes he’s quite vague, for example when he talks about “some lines” in a play being problematic but doesn’t specify where they are or exactly what he’s referring to.

But it’s a good addition to the vast collection of books on Shakespeare, great as an introduction and with enough knowledge and detail for someone with a bit more knowledge.

This book will suit … anyone interested in Shakespeare or the theatre of his time in general. Might not be scholarly enough for some (but wasn’t intended to be).

Seb Hunter – “Hell Bent for Leather”

(BookCrossing Secret Santa gift, 10 December 2014)

One in the genre of failed rock star / band member memoirs (which I very much enjoy) with the (very amusing) addition of lists and instructions on all sorts of stuff to do with heavy metal music – genres, best albums, types of guitar, etc., which add interest and fun. These are obviously for the aficionado, but then I’m not sure you’d read this book if you weren’t at least a bit into the music, as it would be an odd read then.

Apart from the extras, it’s a classic music memoir, completely with embarrassing photos and endless tales of forming a band, being in a band, what happens when things go wrong in a band, and the struggle to find true love (or lust). It’s honest and refreshing (particularly about a bit of disastrous drug-taking which would put anyone off), and has a nice catch-up section at the end based around reforming one of his bands for the book launch and showing which friendships endured.

This book will suit … people who are in a band  / want to be in a band / don’t want to be in a band but like reading about people who are in bands.

I just realised when Googling to check how successful a musician he ended up being that I’ve read another book by this author, “How to be a Better Person”, which I reviewed in 2010.

I’ve just finished a lovely Dorothy Whipple novel, review to come on Sunday, all being well, and I’m currently reading the 8th Forsyte Saga book, and jolly good that is, too. Having not learned from my last experience, I’ve also “won” another book on NetGalley, but this is a non-fiction book about people on the autistic spectrum in Silicon Valley, so is likely to be more of a hit …

How’s your October reading going? How’s your TBR compared to last year?