Some Quick Audiobook Reviews…


A quick round-up of six recent audiobook listens. Mostly, very good.

Featuring: Carrie Fisher, Frederick Forsyth, Anna Kendrick, Trevor Noah, Graham Norton, Nikki Sixx

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New Books (October-November)


Featuring: Stefan Ahnhem, Ernesto Assante, Josiah Bancroft, Christopher Bollen, James Brogden, Adam Christopher, John Clarkson, Daniel Cole, E.L. Doctorow, Marc Elsberg, Carrie Fisher, Neil Gaiman, Laura Ann Gilman, Ryan Graudin, Adam Hamdy, Gregg Hurwitz, Dave Hutchinson, Gwyneth Jones, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Laura Lam, Michael Lewis, James Luceno, Josh Malerman, Seanan McGuire, Emma Newman, Chris Ould, James Patterson, Douglas Preston, Bryan Reesman, Matthew Reilly, J.P. Romney & Rebecca Romney, Richard Russo, Lento Salaperainen, Brett Savory, John Scalzi, Chris Smith, Jon Stewart, Hannah Tinti, Ian Tregillis, Thrity Umrigar, Matt Wallace, Weike Wang, Dan Wells, Ronald Wright

Above Artwork: Descender, Vol.02 (crop) by Dustin Nguyen (Image)

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Audio Review: WISHFUL DRINKING by Carrie Fisher (Simon & Schuster/Audible)

FisherC-WishfulDrinkingA bizarre memoir, which doesn’t do what it said on the tin…

In Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher tells the true and intoxicating story of her life with inimitable wit. Born to celebrity parents, she was picked to play a princess in a little movie called Star Wars when only 19 years old. “But it isn’t all sweetness and light sabers.”

Alas, aside from a demanding career and her role as a single mother (not to mention the hyperspace hairdo), Carrie also spends her free time battling addiction, weathering the wild ride of manic depression and lounging around various mental institutions. It’s an incredible tale – from having Elizabeth Taylor as a stepmother, to marrying (and divorcing) Paul Simon, from having the father of her daughter leave her for a man, to ultimately waking up one morning and finding a friend dead beside her in bed.

This is memoir is… rather mad for the most part (certainly the beginning). Not always in a good way, sadly. Wishful Drinking was not what I’d expected, nor as I’d hoped. In some ways, this should have been expected — for the first 20% of the audiobook, Fisher tells us about the ECT she had, which basically destroyed most of her memories. (Which, when you think about it, makes it rather strange, the urge to write a memoir, then…) Fisher basically offers a three-hour, acerbic take on her family and substance abuse. It sometimes veers into glib (rather than risque), and the humour falls flat too often. I really don’t know what to think about this audiobook/memoir. Continue reading

Star Wars in Rolling Stone

RS-198007-SlavesOfTheEmpireWhile perusing Rolling Stone’s website (something I do frequently), I spotted a link for “Star Wars in Rolling Stone”. It’s a collection of the articles from the magazine, beginning with an interview with George Lucas from 1977. They’re presented in reverse-chronology, so I’d start with the final page (linked above) and work from there.

One article in particular jumped out for me – partly because of the title – and that was from the June 12th, 1980 issue of the magazine (pictured): “Slaves to the Empire: The ‘Star Wars’ Kids Talk Back”, by Timothy White. The article is about (according to the standfirst):

“Five actors caught in the paradox of ‘Star Wars’ (the highest-grossing film of all time has done nothing for their careers) talk about their trap, the making of ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and why they still want to be a part of the third installment”

It’s an interesting interview, more about their opinions about the movies, working on them, and where they came from, than about being “trapped” by the films’ success. It’s filled with some great trivia for die-hard Star Wars fans. For example: Carrie Fisher is quite mischievous, and suggests that Leia should have fallen for Chewbacca; Mark Hamill considered Luke to be the “classic thankless role”, confesses that he is a “serious collector” of Star Wars memorabilia, and amusingly bemoans the fact that the Luke dolls have been marked down in price for collectors; Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) explains why the first movie was a “miasma of pain”; Harrison Ford sheepishly admits that he’s “never been much of a film fan” but felt like Empire Strikes Back was “the first time I’ve ever seen anything I’ve done that I’m happy with”.

The piece also addresses Mark Hamill’s car accident, and is actually the first time I’ve read anything about it:

“Hamill’s anxiety about landing choice roles was tragically accelerated when his BMW ran off the freeway in 1977. Star Wars had not yet been released, and his face was sufficiently ravaged that he wondered whether he would be able to retain any part of his angular good looks, let alone fulfill the remainder of his three-picture deal with Lucas. That mental anguish was only intensified when the film proved to be an international smash.”

Reading these articles got me to thinking: has anyone written a book about the making of the movies? Not just big, photo-stuffed Coffee Table books (although, those are really nice, too), but a campaign-biography-style volume about the making of the original movies. I’d definitely read one of those.