(A Review of Three Books)
After I have dropped off Inna at the hospital where she is working now, I decided to go to Chapters Bookstore at Polo Park to check out new books to add to my ever-growing collection. In my only about half an hour of browsing through the Music section, I finally got to choose two books. And on my way to the cashier, I noticed the stall promoting the latest work of J.K. Rowling; I ended up going home with three new books.
Shut Up and Give Me the Mic! (A Twisted Memoir) by Dee Snider (2012, Gallery Book)
The face of Twisted Sister’s vocalist, Dee Snider, was inescapable. His was one of the most recognizable faces in the genre Pop/Glam Metal. And it was the cover of the book. Being a fan not only of Twisted Sister’s music but also of Snider’s wit and stance against parents who hate rock music, I was naturally drawn to the book. I picked it up, flipped through the pages, and started reading the preface. After reading two chapters, I ended getting a copy. I simply couldn’t let go of it.
I knew that Snider is different from many of his fellow Metal stars—especially through his interview in the film documentary Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey (2005) and the offshoot TV series Metal Evolution (2011). This is the primary reason I knew that this particular Rockstar autobiography would be different from the great number of similar books in the market. It was indeed a breather from many of the Rockstar memoirs published recently, in which the stories revolve around drugs, vices, drugs, and more drugs. With Snider’s, his sobriety was a big key to the book’s drawing power.
Starting from his relatively happy yet challenging childhood life, Snider’s stories seem more credible than those of heroin-addicted Rockers whose ability to recall details in their past becomes questionable because of their long and abusive drug use. In Snider’s words, he said that he was sober and drug-free enough to remember what really happened in his life even more than 30 years ago; unlike many formerly drug-addicted Rockers who couldn’t even remember what happened 30 minutes ago.
Shut Up… is truly inspiring, especially for artists who do not smoke, drink, or do drugs and who never believe that Rock music is always “sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll.”
This Will End in Tears (A Miserabilist Guide to Sad Music) by Adam Brent Houghtaling (2012, It Books)
This is simply a compendium of songs in various genres whose lyrics delve on miserablism—sad songs that ironically make the passionate listener happy. The title was what caught my attention (It’s obviously a reference to the album It’ll End in Tears, released in 1984 by 4AD Records under the moniker This Mortal Coil). I skimmed through the pages and I saw there Joy Division, The Smiths, Radiohead, and The Cure. Good! Bought.
The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling (2012, Little, Brown & Co.)
I don’t even know yet the plot of this book. As far as I know, this is a novel for adults—apparently very far in concept compared with Rowling’s internationally massive masterpiece. But as a completist, having in my collection all the Harry Potter books (1997–2007) and the supplements Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2001), Quidditch through the Ages (2001), and The Tales of Beedle the Bard (2008), I just needed to have a copy of this latest offering by Rowling.
The Last Leaf
Despite my owning already more than a thousand physical books, I just couldn’t stop myself from making my collection grow ever bigger. That’s okay; there’s still much space in our basement and in my brain, anyway.