Saturday, 24 January 2009

Heavy Stuff

Having just finished the Kurt Cobain biography 'Heavier Than Heaven', by Charles R. Cross, I feel a little bit melancholy. Cross is a superb writer and from reading this book I have gained so much more knowledge about a man that created some of the musical compositions I most adore. While I've watched countless documentaries and read plenty of articles which report on the amazing - albeit short - life of Kurt Cobain and his illustrious career with Nirvana, Heavier Than Heaven has far more depth than any other source I've encountered thus far.

I feel that I've gained more from this brilliant secondary source than indeed Kurt Cobain's Journals, and I say this because in Kurt's journals - despite being straight from the heart - he portrayed himself and his band as what he desired, rather than what he may have been. Cross mentions this in the book, not necessarily about the way Kurt illustrates himself in his journals, but the way in which he would depict himself to the media. One example that is constantly drawn upon in the book is the way he bitched in the media about MTV playing his videos far too much - acting the punk rock, alt-rock, reluctant rockstar the world knew and loved - whereas, in secret he would complain to his managers about them not being played often enough.

Regardless of this character issue and the array of problems he faced in his life, I still adore Kurt Cobain and his music, even if the man may have abhorred me for it.

I've been reading alot lately, fiction and non-fiction. Last year I believe I read 9 books, which is indeed the largest quantity of books I've ever read. So far - in the first month of the year - I have already read two.

I love making lists - perhaps it's an obsessive compulsion - and so here is one of the novels and other texts I have had the pleasure of reading over the past twelve months... and a short description of it, which no doubt you'll probably find excruciatingly boring:

  1. "Rock Chicks" by Allison Stieven-Taylor (A biography of the most influential women in rock music over the past four decades) - Jan '08
  2. "A New Tomorrow: The Silverchair Story" by Jeff Apter (A biography of the band Silverchair from their formation up to the release of their most recent album, Young Modern - which went on sale in April 2007) - Feb ' 08
  3. "The Thorn Birds" by Colleen McCullough (A saga which spans over six decades, The Thorn Birds tells the story of Meggie Cleary and her life, her loves and those of her immediate family, including her own children, and the harsh Australian land they live off. Truly a masterpiece.) - Oct '08
  4. "90 Day Geisha" by Chelsea Haywood (A true story in which the author recounts the three months she spent working as a hostess in Tokyo, Japan) - Nov '08
  5. "Twilight" by Stephenie Meyer (If you don't know what it's about by know, please, Google it and then buy it. First book in the Twilight series) - Nov '08
  6. "New Moon" by Stephenie Meyer (Second book in the Twilight series) - Nov '08
  7. "Eclipse" by Stephenie Meyer (Third book in the Twilight series) - Nov '08
  8. "Breaking Dawn" by Stephenie Meyer (Fourth and final book in the Twilight series) - Nov '08
  9. "Perfume" by Patrick Suskind (The chilling tale of a misanthropic French boy gifted with an incredible sense of smell, but lacks his own individual scent which disturbs many people. He becomes the apprentice of a perfumer and then travels through France, living for the sole purpose of obtaining and making perfumes from the most beautiful, potent smells he can find. A truly incredible novel, but it's not for the faint of heart. The Nirvana song "Scentless Apprentice" was written about this book, and Kurt Cobain often cited it as one of his favourite literary works.) - Dec '08
  10. "An Affair Before Christmas" by Eloisa James (A romantic novel set in the eighteenth century, the book is written about a conservative Duchess who finds herself falling out of love with her husband and thus lives with her free-spirited friend who is also a fellow Duchess, seeking advice and changing her views on marriage) - Jan '09
  11. "Heavier Than Heaven" by Charles R. Cross (Just read way above) - '09
The next book I'll be reading will be "Naked Lunch," by William S. Burroughs, who was one of Kurt's idols. Kurt even recorded a song with the man, which was titled, "The Priest, They Called Him".
After Naked Lunch, I still have two novels on my bookshelf to devour, which are "The Host" by Stephenie Meyer (I bought it promptly after I was midway through the Twilight series and haven't yet laid my eyes on its pages), and "The Independance of Miss Mary Bennet" by Colleen McCullough, which illustrates the life of Mary Bennet of Pride and Prejudice 20 years after the end of Jane Austen's novel.
I'd also really love to purchase the rest of the series of Eloisa James novels which I believe is called the Desperate Duchesses series. That and an English translation of the French novel Dangerous Liaisons, which is actually my favourite film of all time... so far.

I really have caught the reading bug... and it's true... there really is nothing better than curling up with a good book! Well, except perhaps writing my own :)

1 comment:

  1. Ohhhh I read this about a year ago! It was incredible-the end was pretty tear worthy. That was SAD. Of course, I knew how the book would end-but still. It's like reliving it or something.

    I did hear that a LOT of that book is straight from Courtney though, and that some of it is her opinion portrayed as fact. I don't know. I've just heard that she's got Charles Cross wrapped around her finger. haha.