Hello, world. I’m MacDara Conroy, and this is my blog.

Tag: Goodreads

Book review — Art Sex Music, by Cosey Fanni Tutti

I felt like I wasn’t the only one tempted to google ‘Cosey Fanni Tutti transphobia’ after reading this memoir, but aside from this Jezebel interview which raises the question, it doesn’t seem to have provoked much discussion. Perhaps that’s because in this particular instance, the Genesis P-Orridge depicted here is an enormous arsehole who doesn’t deserve the respect of being appropriately gendered, though it still feels like some level of disrespect to the trans community. One would really have to ask trans people how they feel about that. More…

Book review — Titan Shattered, by James Dixon

Despite my comments on this book’s predecessor, my distaste for this narrative (and its intermittent misogynist and homophobic sideswipes) grows with my conviction that all of us, the authors included, got worked. Big time. More…

My Goodreads reviews for 2017

Image from the cover of MASK: Mobile Armored Strike Kommand, Vol 1

My low logging rate on Goodreads for 2017 belies how much I read on a given day; it just doesn’t come from books. That’s not because I’m too distracted for the long form, more that I’ve been having trouble losing myself in the worlds that novels require. (Or wanting to; it’s easier to watch good films or great TV, after all.) So last year’s record, as little as I read in qualifying matter, fairly reflects that. More…

Book review — Choosing Death: The Improbable History of Death Metal and Grindcore, by Albert Mudrian

An easy, breezy read about the biggest bands that defined extreme metal, much of it in their own words. It’s focused on a select few names, which is both good and bad: good in that it doesn’t get bogged down in enyclopaedic details (it doesn’t pretend to be a comprehensive history) but bad in its Euro-American bias, more or less footnoting the contributions of bands and scenes in Asia and South America, not to mention lesser-known acts in the regions it does cover. Perhaps some of that is rectified in the updated edition (I read the original, from 2004) yet in any case, it leaves room for someone else to write that history unwritten here. More…

Book review — Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir, by Carrie Brownstein

Did I enjoy this memoir? Sure; Carrie Brownstein is an engaging storyteller, even if her prose tends to the overwrought. There’s an honesty that shines through as she relates her musical history with the kind of self-deprecation you’d expect from a friend, not a braggart. But again we have a life story that cuts out way before the end; Brownstein’s transmuting into a comedy writer/performer is all but ignored, save for an epilogue that makes fleeting reference to a Portlandia episode. I can imagine reasons for doing this, but they let the book down regardless. More…

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.


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.

My Goodreads review of Andre the Giant: Life and Legend by Box Brown

Reblogged from my Goodreads list:

Box Brown’s remarkable manga-influenced sequential art biography of the wrestling legend lies somewhere at the intersection of the graphic novel as pioneered by Art Spiegelman, the confessional comics of Harvey Pekar and the illustrated reportage of Joe Sacco. Okay, that sounds as grandiose as a wrestling promo, but there’s truth in it. What we have here is a larger-than-life story that could be told in text alone, but it’s a tale that really benefits from being seen sketched out on the page to be believed – even if much of it’s a work in the end.

My Goodreads review of Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Reblogged from my Goodreads list:

Amy Poehler makes it clear from the start of this book that it’s not much of a memoir or autobiography, more a disjointed collection of essays, musings and reminiscences. And that’s exactly how Yes Please should be judged, especially as its later pages see her try to draw a portrait of herself beyond the comedic image that’s naturally earnest but, in my case, not much fun to read. It’s still worth a go anyway, because Poehler is an awesome person. And she doesn’t hold her cards as close to her chest as Tina Fey.

My Goodreads review of The Squared Circle by David Shoemaker

Reblogged from my Goodreads list:

David Shoemaker’s book-length adaptation of his ‘Dead Wrestler of the Week’ column for Deadspin could do with another pass by a copy editor more familiar with the subject matter (I wasn’t even looking out for them but there are at least two glaring timeline botches in the text). It also leans a little too heavily on the Barthes quotes to square a generally low-brow pursuit with a high-brown mindset. Still, as an intro aimed at the curious to explain why long-time fans like me still carry the torch, it does the job. In other words, you don’t need to be into wrestling to read it; in fact, it’s probably better if you aren’t.

My Goodreads review of Hawkeye Vol 3: LA Woman

Reblogged from my Goodreads list:

Kate Bishop’s west coast adventures are a little too sunny, a little too wacky to fit comfortably in the same series as Clint Barton’s relatively serious situation in Brooklyn. Annie Wu’s more conventional art style is fairly jarring compared to David Aja’s stylised look, too. The Kate issues work better separated out in this volume, though it’s far from perfect, with the story arc resolving itself awfully neatly. Still, the writing is witty enough to paper over those cracks for the most part.

My Goodreads review of How I Escaped My Certain Fate by Stewart Lee

Reblogged from my Goodreads list:

Stewart Lee’s autobiography of sorts is part memoir (only a fraction, really, more a summary than an in-depth examination of his life and career), part director’s commentary on three of his own extended stand-up sets (making up the bulk of this tome, and what really makes it worth reading). How you like it of course depends upon how you like his comedy, but I’ve been a fan of his (and of Richard Herring) since the TMWRNJ days so I’ve been primed for more than 15 years.

My GoodReads review of Hatchet Job by Mark Kermode

Reblogged from my GoodReads list:

More a collection of columns loosely connected by Kermode’s overall thesis that film criticism (if not high-calibre criticism in general) is still necessary in this age of media democratisation. I mean I’m obviously sympathetic to that, being a writer on music and film myself and a blogger (on and off) of some 13 years’ standing. I think you have to be on board with that notion to get what he’s doing. Moreover, his structure allows him to meander around and away from the topic at hand to sometimes completely irrelevant places. But his style is fluid and fun for the most part, and some of his apparently scattershot musings do make more sense at the end.