Welcome back bookworms, what have you been reading this past month? Any of my recommendations?
If the answer is yes, then you’re in luck because I have another 3 (actually it’s 5, considering one’s a trilogy, but shh don’t tell my editor) books for you to get lost in. I really hope you give these picks a chance and enjoy them as much as I did!
What’s in the pages? When you think of Rock and Roll excess, the first names that come to mind are probably: Guns N Roses, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath or The Rolling Stones. For me, it’s The Replacements, the best band you’ve (probably) never heard of. Trouble Boys charts the band’s decade long career. From its infancy to its demise, capturing every detail of their rise through the ranks of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll to be one of the most influential and underrated bands of the 80s. (Seriously, go listen to “Left Of The Dial” or “Takin’ A Ride”).
Why should you read it? Reading like an extensive deep dive of a long-lost relic, Trouble Boys is music journalism at its finest. Compiled from interviews and articles throughout the band’s career, Mehr manages to craft one of the best musical biographies I have ever read. He walks the fine line between pandering to his idols and showing them as true to life characters, knowing when to dial back the idolism to show just how flawed Paul Westerberg and his merry band of misfits could be.
Trouble Boys is detailed to the point of exhaustion but still manages to read as a work of fiction (probably because The Replacements were just that outrageous). After 25 years of rock and roll legends, rumours and one brief reunion, this is the true story of The Replacements, like you have never heard it before… and what a story it is.
Genre: Modern Classic
What’s in the pages? This book begins with Lyra, a young girl who lives in an alternate reality version of Oxford. Soon she is thrust into a perilous adventure with her companion Will into alternate realities, meeting witches, armoured bears, fallen angels and soul eaters. With the fate of the living and the dead on their shoulders, they must face the impossible to save everything they have ever known.
Why should you read it? I’m sure by now you’ve heard of His Dark Materials trilogy.
Spellbinding and packed full of adventure, it is the perfect series of books to get lost in while you are stuck at home. The world of His Dark Materials is a beautiful and vibrant landscape of an England that could be but isn’t. Pullman manages to explore the themes of theology, religion and science (in particular, quantum particles) while placing them in contrast with love, family and honour, all wrapped up in a nice little bow of a young adult classic. It is the perfect alternative to those who aren’t too keen on Harry Potter, dealing with the mortality of good and evil rather than stating that good is good and evil is evil.
This book is a fantastic example of what can be achieved when communities work together to reach a common goal (in this case, solving a cold case) and it almost reads like fiction because it is so unbelievable!
Genre: Young Adult
What’s in the pages? Emoni Santiago loves to cook, and when she cooks, she adds a little something special to every recipe. When she cooks, it’s the only time she can be herself and forget her reality of being a high school senior who has to look after her Abuela and her young daughter. Balancing a job, high school and her daughter leaves little time for much else, but then a culinary class opens up with a chance for a school trip to Spain. She knows that although her pot is filled to the brim with ingredients, she might just have to add one more into the mix, even if it means the pot overflows.
Why should you read it? Elizabeth Acevedo does it again. I reviewed her first novel, The Poet X early on in the book review column, and I praised it immensely (it’s still one of the best books I’ve ever read). With The Fire on High is just as good, in fact, I enjoyed it more than The Poet X, this book is a look at a type of adolescence that is usually demonised in general media, seeing young mothers as just that, young mothers and nothing more. What Acevedo does well in this book, is show that it is only one part of Emoni’s complicated life and character.
This is a bold, artistic story written by someone who really understands their young adult audience and wants to challenge them, instead of pander to them.
For more book recommendations follow Joel’s Instagram @neurodiversebookworm.