If I had to pinpoint at least one positive about my recent blogging hiatus it would be that I am absolutely smashing through the books at the moment. Instead of prepping for photos or writing on the weekends I’ve been lounging about with a fabulous book, which could never be frowned upon in my world.
If only I could get away with reading at work…
18 And Life On Skid Row, Sebastian Bach
Goodreads says… In this uncensored, unfiltered memoir, the musician and former front man for Skid Row tells the story of how a choir boy became a mega-successful hair metal god, rode the wave of fame in Heavy Metal’s heyday, and came out alive on the other side when glam rock went the way of the cassette tape and the Walkman.
Sebastian Bach is an iconic rock vocalist who has sold in excess of twenty million records worldwide. Best known for his powerful high vocal range and his flowing blonde locks, he’s been a stand out member of the metal music scene since he was fourteen. From first joining Kid Wikkid, Bach has rocked out with Skid Row, Madam X, The Last Hard Men, The Frogs, and Frameshift, and with famous friends such as Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Soundgarden, Pantera, and Guns ’N Roses.
But eventually the party bus stopped and the rock star grew up. Yet the fun didn’t end. Bach established a successful solo career as an actor, musician, and singer, appearing on numerous television shows and on Broadway. In this no-holds-barred memoir—raw, powerful, wild, funny, and reflective—he charts his unconventional childhood, first in the Bahamas and then in his rise from small-town Canada to the world’s greatest concert stages to the Great White Way and beyond.
There’s the usual sex, drugs, parties, women, hair products, and headbanging rock ‘n’ roll, but there is also a lot more. Here is a rock star who can write, tell a great story, and has kept his career moving forward despite the changing musical landscape. Through it all, this talented artist remained devoted to his craft, and to having a damn good time.
Rosie says… No surprises here that I love me some 80s hair metal stories. I was super excited to read this and delve into the gritty side of Bach and his days in Skid Row having heard about his life of drinking and wild partying. Unfortunately this wasn’t written by a ghost writer, which is usually the case with autobiographies, and it was obvious! This was in desperate need of an editor and a big, fat red pen. Terrible grammar and sentence structure and so many points in the story where he just waffled on!
I love you Sebastian (I’m actually going to see him in October, so I honestly do!) but next time get a real writer on board.
Read this book… only if you’re a fan of 80s hair metal.
Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape, Jenna Miscavige Hill
Goodreads says… Jenna Miscavige was raised to obey. As niece of the Church of Scientology’s leader David Miscavige, she grew up at the centre of this controversial organization. At 21, she made a break, risking everything she’d ever known and loved to leave Scientology once and for all. Now she speaks out about her life, the Church, her escape, going deep inside a religion that, for decades, has been the subject of fierce debate and speculation worldwide.
Piercing the veil of secrecy that has shrouded the world of Scientology, this insider reveals unprecedented firsthand knowledge of the religion, its rituals and its mysterious leader—David Miscavige. From her prolonged separation from her parents as a small child to being indoctrinated to serve the Church, from her lack of personal freedoms to the organization’s emphasis on celebrity recruitment, Jenna goes behind the scenes of Scientology’s oppressive and alienating culture, detailing an environment rooted in control in which the most devoted followers often face the harshest punishments when out of line. Detailing some of the Church’s notorious practices, she also describes a childhood of isolation and neglect—a childhood that, painful as it was, prepared her for a tough life in the Church’s most devoted order, the Sea Org.
Despite this hardship, it’s only when her family approaches dissolution and her world begins to unravel that she’s finally able to see the patterns of stifling conformity and psychological control that have ruled her life. Faced with a heartbreaking choice, she mounts a courageous escape, but not before being put thru the ultimate test of family, faith and love. Captivating and disturbing, Beyond Belief is an exploration of the limits of religion and the lengths to which some went to break free.
Rosie says… Holy shit! I’d always known that the Church of Scientology, and in particular, the Sea Org was hard core, but nowhere near as crazy as Jenna Miscavige’s tale of exploitation and abuse. A lot of times I had to stop and remind myself that this was a TRUE story, even though some of it (OK, ALL of it!) is so absurd. How anyone would voluntarily want to join this organisation is beyond me!
Read this book… if you’re a lover of all things even remotely cult-like.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck, Mark Manson
Goodreads says… In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be “positive” all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.
For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. “F**k positivity,” Mark Manson says. “Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it.” In his wildly popular Internet blog, Mason doesn’t sugar-coat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected American society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.
Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited—”not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault.” Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek.
There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humour, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.
Rosie says… I couldn’t have read this at a more perfect time in my life. For someone who gives way too many fucks about all the wrong things this was a refreshing insight into how I can abandon all of them and only concentrate on what really matters. A lot of what Manson has to say is pretty obvious, but in a world where making sure our lives are “Instagrammable” I sometimes lose the ability to see clearly. This book has fast become my new bible!
Read this book… when you’re fresh out of fucks!
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Gail Honeyman
Goodreads says… Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.
Then everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living–and it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.
Rosie says… Oh dear, Eleanor Oliphant ISN’T anywhere near fine… and I love it! There were so many points in this tale that I could identify with that it scared me. Eleanor is so painfully awkward and broken, yet funny and touching and I tore right through this book.
Read this book… when you’re not feeling emotionally vulnerable.
Read any good books lately?…