Monthly journo round up time. Here’s the great and not so great from April:
Will Oldham, On Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy (Faber) – Start of a series of books from Faber where leftfield musicians interview themselves. Intriguing idea, and a good subject for the first one. Fascinating in-depth look at music that you rarely get.
Colin Irwin, Neil Young: A Life in Pictures (Carlton) – Does what it says on the tin, basically. Well selected and narrated, though.
Richard King, How Soon is Now? (Faber) – Great history of British indie record labels since the birth of Rough Trade. King really knows his shit, and the book is hilarious in places.
Irvine Welsh, Skagboys (Cape) – Didn’t review this, but interviewed Irvine along with a bunch of other writers. The book’s cracking – a total fucking romp through Thatcherism and its consequences.
D W Wilson, Once You Break a Knuckle (Bloomsbury) – Brilliant debut collection of stories from that hard-bitten, working class American school.
Stuart Nadler, The Book of Life (Picador) – Less impressive American story collection – hints of Updike and Roth, but a bit samey and inconsequential.
Kevin Barry, Dark Lies the Island (Cape) – Yet another story collection, this time from Ireland. Very impressive too – Barry is a really original voice, bitter but compelling.
Ken Bruen, Headstone (Transworld) – Ach, it’s a new Ken Bruen, it’s class, that’s all.
Kathleen Jamie, Sightlines (Profile) – One of my books of the year easily. Nature writing, memoir, travel book, philosophy – all delivered in the precise and beautiful language of a poet.
Something to note, if you’re so inclined – of the nine books only two are novels, three story collections, three music books and one piece of nature writing. Whatever that means.
All of which meant I never had the time to read:
Iain Banks, Stonemouth (Little Brown)
Tony Black, Murder Mile (Preface)
Elizabeth Reeder, Ramshackle (Freight)
Which is a shame, cos I bet they’re all cracking.
Till next month, peeps, and watch out for it – May is a doozy for great books!