David Bowie: A Life
Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Crown Archetype (September 12, 2017)
Reviewed by: Dr. Wesley Britton
When Prince died on April 21, 2016, just four months after the passing of David Bowie on January 10, there were immediate and numerous comparisons made between the two giants of music in terms of importance and influence. I well recall one TV commentator certain Prince was the more influential of the two.
I can’t figure out that reasoning at all. For one matter, by the time of Prince’s first successes in 1979, Bowie had already made a decade-long cultural impact difficult to match. As some of the interviewees in Dylan Jones oral history of the life of David Bowie opined, Ziggy Stardust was where the ‘60s ended and the ‘70s began. A large number of British acts from U2 to Duran Duran acknowledge Bowie as an important influence. Not to mention acts like Mott the Hoople, Iggy Pop, Lulu, and Lu Reed who all benefited from Bowie’s career-saving hand. Later, Madonna and Lady Gaga also pointed to Bowie as a seminal influence on their careers. And all this before Prince set foot into a recording studio.
And, judging from the countless verbal snapshots in Dylan Jones oral history, Bowie’s impact on the many people who knew or simply met him was profound on many levels. For one matter, he was a figure with a deep well of interest from music to the visual arts to theatre and film to fashion to literature. Because of his shifting guises throughout his career, he worked with a wide range of collaborators, producers, musicians, and business advisors. Depending on your point of view, Bowie was simply following his vision or was callous in his leaving some of his associates behind as he changed directions throughout his career.
While painting a “warts and all” portrait of Bowie in the words of hundreds of personal interviews, Dylan Jones presents a more than rounded portrait of an artistic giant worthy of the many accolades Bowie received before and after his death, but certainly he was no saint. In his personal life, he enjoyed a wide range of sexual experiences. Many of them, by 2018 standards, could be considered child molestation. During the ‘70s, Bowie did a bit too much coke. And during the ‘80s, his artistic vision let him down when he crafted some admittedly substandard albums.
But, in the main, most commentators on Bowie in Dylan Jones’ biography remember Bowie in a very favorable light, from his private personal life to his work in the studio to his interactions with, well, seemingly everyone he ever met. From start to finish, Bowie is seen as an innovative artist with drive, talent, a special physical presence as well as intellectual abilities and curiosity. It’s such a personal book that those looking for insights into Bowie’s creative process may feel slighted, but there are no shortage of other books that explore such aspects of Bowie’s output.
I’ve always shied away from using the term “definitive” for any biography as many are comprehensive but usually lack in one aspect or another. Dylan Jones A Life comes close as he actually wrote very little but instead compiled a year-by-year history of Bowie and his circles using the voices of so many observers. It might not be the one and only book you should read about Bowie, but I can’t imagine any other tome out there that touches so many bases. Maybe not definitive, but certainly indispensable.
This review first appeared at BookPleasures.com on Aug. 20, 2018:
I’ve been crazy about this series from the word go and have loved each book more than the last one. I was honestly at the point where I thought my love for this series was maxed out but nope, I was wrong. This one…this one blew my mind and blindsided me with what has happened…I seriously did not see any of this coming…especially not the tears. My poor hubby came in from taking the dog for his morning walk to find me clutching my e-reader with soggy tissue in hand mumbling “dammit they made me cry!” He patted me on the shoulder and simply said “It’s been known to happen honey.” and went to make his morning tea…with my response of “Not when it’s a freakin’ hockey story. It doesn’t.” well, I was wrong apparently it does.
And that’s all the tear talk that we’ll be having today except to say that there were happy tears and sad tears and frustrated tears and some really pissed, angry tears and that’s the end of the tear talk.
‘Goal Line’ is puts us back inside the crease as we meet and spend time with fellow Canadian Bryan Delaney. The latest addition to the Railers and back-up for Sven the Railers totally adorable bigger than life Russian goalie. Bryan’s life hasn’t been the greatest, but he’s worked hard to get where he, is in spite of the obstacles he’s faced. Leaving his home in nowhere Canada at the age of 15 he found the beginnings of the family he should have had with his billet family before being drafter to the Raptors and can I just say that it’s a good thing he lived in Nowhere, Canada because I seriously want to get my hands on his parents…they do not deserve to be Canadian and we need to deport them to…the bottom of the ocean sounds good so let’s go with that, ok? I really came to love Bryan and at times his sense of insecurity and lack of self-worth more than anything were what brought me to tears, so the love and positive support that he received from Gatlin were like a balm to my soul. Bryan brought out my mother instincts practically from the word go and I have my milk and cookies ready for him.
For Bryan the Railers are a whole new creature when it comes to hockey teams as far as Bryan can see and he’s more than a little lost as to how to fit into this new and different team and when Sven takes him to get some new artwork for his helmet Bryan’s in for one more surprise when he meets Gatlin. Gatlin takes one look at Bryan and sees the history of sadness, heartache and insecurity that Bryan’s tried so hard to hide from the world and all he wants to do is to bring something good into Bryan’s life.
When Bryan gets drafted to the Railers he’s leaving behind more than a hockey team…he’s also leaving behind his first love affair…thank heavens because this one’s toxic city.
There’s a bit of an age gap between Gatlin and Bryan and while I’m ok with age gaps but still not a big fan of them. This one worked really well because of his age, Gatlin had the calm and maturity to be the supportive person that Bryan needed…these two men fit together effortlessly in my opinion and I so enjoyed their relationship…it worked really well for me. That’s not to say that they didn’t have some challenges to get there just that I had no problem believing that they would.
I think one of my favorite things about this book…actually about the series in general is how much we get to see of the characters from the previous books. It’s like getting a bag of my favorite candy when this happens in a series. I have such a weakness for this and because this story is based around a sports team it would honestly be bizarre to have it any differently.
‘Goal Line’ turns out to be a huge game changer for this series and one that I think will be as surprising for other fans of the series as it was for me, but I’m so on board to find out what happens next.
An ARC of ‘Goal Line’ was graciously provided by the authors in exchange for an honest review.
I liked this book so much I read it twice! This time around I listened to the unabridged audiobook read by the author who just so happens to be a professional narrator himself. Since he's a pro and the material is his, his voice hits all the right notes. He's engaging, pleasant and unnervingly menacing when he needs to be and I recommend it highly! 4 1/2 Stars
Here's my review of the story:
The Nightmare Room lives up to its title. It is a slowly building creepfest fueled by nightmares for the first half then picks up speed in its later half.
Peter and Hannah need a new start after a devastating loss and move back to Peter’s hometown to help with his ailing parents and to heal themselves. They move into a property that Peter’s dad purchased that is huge, old and in disrepair. Hannah loves the idea of the old home but Peter’s not so sure.
"Hannah had gotten it wrong. This was not the sort of house featured on her home improvement show; this was every house in every horror movie he’d ever seen."
Despite his misgivings, Peter, who is an audiobook narrator, sets up his studio in the dark, dank basement and soon realizes that he may not be alone down there! Is it real or is he starting to lose his marbles?
I just loved some of the descriptions of the house. It makes me long for an old haunted house of my own.
". . . he was facing a narrow, grey door. A basement door. His vision had steadied and the room no longer moved about him. But the door… It’s breathing."
This is a decent little horror tale that has a lot of layers that reach far beyond the haunted house trappings. It deals with aging, grief and past regrets that come back to haunt. The main characters come across as real and imperfect and as a reader who needs decent characterization I really appreciated this. I did want to learn more about Peter’s birth mother because I’m nosy and have so many questions but perhaps that will happen in a prequel or sequel? I can only hope
I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway a very long time ago. I kind of wish I had read it a few years ago when things in the US weren’t quite so openly depressing but alas I read it now and it hurt my heart so much.
Dark Town is a mystery and an unflinching look at race relations in the not so long ago past. Even worse, much of it is depressingly still very relevant today. It takes place in the 1940’s when segregation and racism was on full awful display. And if today’s news gets you down, reading this book right now sure won’t help your state of mind. There is so much prejudice and hatefulness in this story that it will make you angry and sad. This is not a book you want to pick up thinking you’ll escape into.
A murder occurs and the author delves deep into everyone involved in the situation. What is uncovered is a whole lot of cover ups, corruption, and other assorted ugliness. It’s very well written and the descriptive language is so very excellent.
"A harsh word would knock him over"& "He hit the door like it owed him money."
You should definitely read it if you enjoy a good gritty historical murder mystery. But I’m warning you, it’s probably going to make your blood boil.