Our awesome Elizabeth team catch us up on what they have been reading today!
From musician’s biographies to graphic novels, there’s something for everyone.
Set The Boy Free by Johnny Marr:
Set The Boy Free is the story of musician Johnny Marr, the founder, producer, arranger, guitarist and songwriter of one of the greatest bands to come out of Manchester…. The Smiths.
I have been a fan of The Smiths since I was in high school. The Smiths music remains a huge influence on musicians still to this day. It’s not a surprise that such a talented musician would also be a great writer. Johnny takes us through his early childhood love for music, his first guitar and his desire to write and play music from a young age. Of course the main part of this story is the story of The Smiths. This is the story I really wanted to know: How Johnny and his musical partner, Stephen Morrissey started the band and their work practices. Only together for a very short time, The Smiths disbanded under strange circumstances and to this day, have never reconciled. Johnny explains what happened at the time from his point of view, and delves into his relationship with The Smiths singer and lyricist. Morrissey may have a different story to tell, but this is Johnny’s truth of The Smiths. Of course The Smiths was only the beginning of his music career and the book goes through all his work following, including his recent collaboration with award winning film music composer Hans Zimmerman. Johnny also touches on his addictions over time and the life changing consequences of becoming a father.
This is must read for any fan of The Smiths, and for anyone who loves great music in general. – Mark
In the latest narrative non-fiction masterpiece from David Grann – author of The Lost City of Z – we are taken back to 1920’s Oklahoma, home to both the Osage Indian Nation and (in contemporary $$$) half a billion dollars worth of oil. Grann’s work is a devastating glimpse into the violence and corruption of the past, beginning with the influence of colonialism and the displacement of Native Americans, culminating in the unfathomable influences of hatred and greed that encouraged murderers and conmen to their heart’s content.
As the black gold transforms the OIN into the richest people per capita in the world at that time, they became the prime targets of murder and corruption. At the bloody hands of white businessmen, politicians and law enforcement hell bent on the theft of wealth and land rights, over sixty people were murdered, in cold blood. With a fledgling FBI struggling with the investigation, and the body count rising, J. Edgar Hoover finds an ally in Tom White: former Texas Ranger and pure, relentless detective – to work undercover amidst one of the most violent and devastating conspiracies in American History. A tale told from three perspectives, readers feel manifestations of power and fear, as shocking, true events unfold with the theatricality of films from the Wild West. In truth, the Oklahoma oil boom of the 20s generated enough revenue to eclipse the gold rush, four fold. Killers of the Flower Moon is the unravelling of a cover-up, a tragedy that has permeated generations since, and a critical examination of the awful things humans will do to each other for power, for money, and for oil…even today.
You will love this book if you enjoyed Upton Sinclair’s There Will Be Blood, Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, or (especially) Phillip Meyer’s The Son. – Amy
The Most Beautiful: My Life With Prince by Mayte Garcia:
There are not many people on this planet who have been a part of the private life of the legendary musician, Prince. His shocking passing at the age of 57 brought with it many stories about Prince, from many people who never really knew him quite the way Mayte Garcia did. At the time, Mayte didn’t speak to any media about her life with Prince. Mayte was married to Prince for 3 years, was a member of his dance team for longer and the mother of his only child, who passed not long after being born. They held a special bond that only Mayte can reveal in this beautifully written book.
Mayte opens the book with a prologue that hypnotises you into her story, not unlike the way a belly dancer moves to captivate her audience. This story is also her story, the story of a dancer and how she made dancing her life. A life that would eventually become a part of Prince’s life… and any Prince fan just wants to know a little bit more. – Mark
Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn:
“Concentration, focus, long-term thinking. Those are the qualities that separate a warrior from a mere flailing fighter.”
Thrawn is the origin story of Grand Admiral Thrawn, and his relentless rise to power. This epic story uncovers the events that shaped one of the most iconic, cunning and ruthless warriors in the history of the Galactic Empire – first introduced in Timothy Zahn’s classic Star Wars books Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising and The Last Command.
Thrawn follows the Imperial military commander’s rise to power, using logic and reasoning to plan out his next steps, even when they feel improbable to those surrounding him. Thrawn proves to have a singular tactical mind, one that Emperor Palpatine personally recognises and recruits into his military.
Thrawn is sent off to an Imperial academy, where he distinguishes himself as a brilliant tactical commander as he hunts down pirates and a group of insurgents. This version of Thrawn is indistinguishable from the original 1991 version. Thrawn appreciates art and recognises its value in understanding an enemy. He’s a strategic thinker, one who plans his moves carefully, rather than using aggression and strength to achieve his goals.
For the fans that have known and loved Thrawn from Timothy Zahn’s previous works they’ll be glad to know he has been preserved exactly how we would have expected. As a long time Star Wars fan and EU reader, Thrawn is a book I assumed would never happen following Disney’s takeover of Lucasfilm. As someone whom has gradually accepted the new canon, the book is an awesome resurrection of one of the extended universe’s brightest points and coolest villains. – Todd
Michael In Pictures by Richard Simpkin:
Richard Simpkin’s relationship with INXS started very earlier in their career: This book features hundreds of never-before-seen pictures of one of Australia’s greatest ever rock stars, Michael Hutchence. Michael encouraged Richard to turn his hobby for taking pictures into a photography career. He has gone on to shoot many important people over the years including Nelson Mandela, Audrey Hepburn, Michael Jackson, Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt. Richard Simpkin was a fan from the very beginning and took one of the last ever pictures of Michael, before his death in 1997.
This book is a brilliant read amongst the hundreds and hundreds of photographs. Beautifully presented and a must for any INXS fan. Get this while they are in stock, they wont last long! – Mark
The Infinity Gauntlet by Jim Starlin & George Perez & Ron Lim:
Collecting the original story from the early 90’s, Infinity Gauntlet is an incredibly fun read full of absolutely ridiculous double page spreads of wonderfully illustrated cosmic battles. Marvel collects heroes from The Avengers and The X-Men to The New Warriors and the mysterious Adam Warlock (set to arrive in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Guardians of the Galaxy 3!). We follow Thanos as he holds, what is quite honestly, a ludicrous amount of power in his attempts to impress Mistress Death.
While the illustrations aren’t exactly the prettiest when compared to modern standards, the sheer scope and size of this event makes this story well worth a read (especially with the upcoming Marvel films venturing into this territory!). – Brayden