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My Goodreads review of Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon

Reblogged from my Goodreads list:

The wry title makes things pretty clear: the book is about Kim Gordon, not the band that made her name, and rightly so.

For sure, Sonic Youth was an enormous part of her life, but she’s as multifaceted as any person, and she doesn’t shy away from her struggles in defining herself as an individual distinct from that all-consuming identity. Identity, image, marketing: between her unconventional adolescence, her complicated relationship with her older brother, and her adult life in the venn diagram of creative worlds, these concepts loom large, constantly intersecting and blurring lines. Gordon’s clear, candid writing cuts through a lot of it, unapologetic as she is about being an artist, a creator, a woman in a man’s world.


Elsewhere: My Goodreads review of The War for Late Night by Bill Carter

Reblogged from my Goodreads list:

I can’t get enough of these behind-the-curtain exposes of the politics of US television, and this one comes with the added dimension of being a clash of cultures, in a fashion, between the established but shopworn success story and the edgier underdog getting his due. Granted I think you’d have to be a fan of Conan – or the machinations of late night TV – to get behind the thrust of what Bill Carter has crafted here, but I am so it’s like catnip to me.

Elsewhere: My Goodreads review of Sex, Lies, and Headlocks by Shaun Assael & Mike Mooneyham

Reblogged from my Goodreads list:

An initially engrossing report of the tawdry goings-on behind the curtain in the big-time pro wrestling business, Sex, Lies and Headlocks is let down by poor copyediting and shoddy fact-checking that undermines even those stories already widely known to be true (or true-ish, at least). Still, as it’s written with the brisk pace typical of experienced newspaper and magazine hands, it passes as pulpy dirt-dishing entertainment for wrestling fans with a suitable appetite.

Elsewhere: My Goodreads review of Voices of Wrestling NJPW 2014 Year in Review

Reblogged from my Goodreads list:

It seems a bit unfair to review what’s essentially a reference guide to and prospectus for New Japan Pro Wrestling. But it would be just as unfair not to recognise the Voices of Wrestling crew for their tireless, quality work in assembling this multi-purpose yearbook, at once a ‘who’s who’ guide for newbies and a deep-dive nerd-out for hardcore fans.

It’s as exhaustive a report on NJPW as you’re gonna find, even if I think applying statistical analysis to wrestling is a bit much (adopts Kevin Nash voice You know this shit’s fake, right?). It only really loses marks for the formatting: a serif font at a standard size (swapping out to a different book requires resizing the text) would be easier to read.

Elsewhere: My Goodreads review of My Life In Wrestling … With A Little Help From My Friends by Gary Hart

Reblogged from my Goodreads list:

“Now – I’m not down on wrestling fans, but fans don’t know what they want. They shouldn’t know. That’s not their job. Their job is to come and be entertained – and hopefully be tricked – so they’re elated with adrenaline rushing through their body.”

Now there’s a distinct whiff of bullshit from many of Gary Hart’s words in this memoir of his life and times as a wrestling manager in the territory days, and later in the Crockett/Turner NWA. It’s impossible to escape the notion that the reader is constantly being worked, as he contradicts himself from page to page as the circumstances demand.

But every now and then there’s a glimpse of wisdom that stands out for its crystal clarity. And it’s those, as well as the general entertainment value of reading Hart tell his stories no matter how much he might be kayfabing you, that make this worth seeking out for any dyed-in-the-wool wrestling fan.

My Goodreads review of Pro Wrestling Through The Power Slam Years: 1994-2014 by Findlay Martin

Reblogged from my Goodreads list:

Power Slam is truly missed – I never missed an issue from number 14 till the end last summer – and this compendium of editor/writer Findlay Martin’s insights on what was happening in wrestling’s major (and almost major) leagues over the last two decades beings back all those fond memories of poring over my monthly mag. I’m not sure if it’s appealing to anyone unfamiliar with Power Slam, as Martin also delves a fair amount into the nuts and bolts of production of the mag, but for me it’s like Christmas come early.

My Goodreads review of Yes!: My Improbable Journey to the Main Event of WrestleMania by Daniel Brian & Craig Tello

Reblogged from my Goodreads list:

Yes! is a curiously slight volume considering Daniel Bryan’s storied career in the pro wrestling business, but being a WWE-sanctioned book it was bound to be fed through their filter, and cast his many years on the indie circuit and in Japan as mere preparatory work before hitting the ‘big time’. Sure, he’s allowed some leeway in his interpretation of events, because otherwise would make the exercise entirely pointless, but he’s an avowedly private and guarded individual, which doesn’t leave much space for a revelatory memoir on a par with Mick Foley’s Have A Nice Day. That’s not helped by a structure that interweaves Bryan’s memories leading up to WrestleMania XXX with WWE.com editor Craig Tello’s laboured ‘PR pretending to be a literary sportswriter’ prose, waffling on the behind-the-scenes happenings at that very event. With a more encouraging editor, there’s a better book in Bryan, I’m sure.