Underdog With A Mighty Good Leader. Audio Adrenaline was yet another of those groups that provided a voice for an Autistic kid’s teenage years as he transitioned from innocent trailer park kid to… not so innocent… young adult that grew up in the American Church. Seeing the story of its founding lead singer was very interesting, as was seeing the stories behind so many of their biggest hits and how so often they came out of what was going on in Stuart’s life at the time. With a poetic and evocative prose that displays his songwriting talent well, Stuart lays bare the story of his own life, its tragedies and its moutaintops – and the time the mountaintop literally crumbled before his eyes in Haiti. He speaks seemingly candidly about his struggles in his marriage to TobyMac’s sister and how very much TobyMac himself did for Audio Adrenaline over the years, particularly at the beginning. He mentions signing Jennifer Knapp, but only spends a couple of brief paragraphs talking about her debut and Kansas before moving on, gently sideswiping that particular bit of CCM drama over the last decade or so (but which Knapp herself lays bare in her 2014 work Facing The Music). And through it all, we get the story of the rise and fall (and rise again) of Audio Adrenaline, one of the major acts in Christian Music through the 1990s and early 2000s, as seen through the eyes of its lead singer at the time. Great for music fans, great for Audio A fans, and even great for those just looking for a solid story with maybe a bit of hope to it. Very much recommended.
Unapologetic – In all the best ways. In Facing the Music, former contemporary christian music star Jennifer Knapp tells her story, from her earliest memories growing up as a twin in rural Kansas through college into her public years as a turn-of-the-Millenium CCM star to her retreat from that life and its special hell of a rat race and ending with her triumphant yet messy return. And through it all, she maintains her honesty and integrity. Utterly captivating and soulful, just like her music. And in the end in particular, resonating very much with where this reviewer is himself right now. If you like memoirs generally, musician memoirs a bit more specifically, or were around the CCM scene at the turn of the Millenium in any capacity – or even just a generic Christian now- you’ll want to read this book. Knapp has a very powerful message that we all need to hear.
September 2018 turned out to be all about trilogies – from starting the month reading a book about movies in pop culture that frequently cited Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy to following it with a romance trilogy to ending the month with a trilogy about zombie dinosaurs and a ‘trilogy’ of some of the remaining nonfiction books on the #2018TBR project.
The highlight of the month was the surprise announcement of the LONG anticipated sequel to Steven Savile’s 2011 book SILVER, GOLD, at the beginning of the month and its release just two weeks later. Which contained the most horrifically beautiful scene I have ever seen in a book.
Overall, I read 15 books in September 2018, per Goodreads. Five of them in just the last four days of the month. I now stand at 105 books read on the year, with at least five ARCs still outstanding. Of the 15 books this month, there were three series – Jamie Beck’s St James trilogy, Rick Chesler and David Sakmyster’s Jurassic Dead trilogy, and DJ Jamison’s Real Estate Relations series. There were three nonfiction books, Nate Silver’s 2012 The Signal and The Noise, Brendan McDonough’s Granite Mountain/ My Lost Brothers, which the 2017 movie Only the Brave was based on, and Jennifer Knapp’s Facing the Music. Overall, this month featured ten books from the #2018TBR project and just five review copies – four of them ARCs. I also read my first Century Book near the end of the month, crossing 100 books on the year for the first time in my life.
The 15 books combined for 4542 pages according to Goodreads, for an average of 302.8 pages per book – and took the single longest novel and nonfiction books off the #2018TBR stack.
Best series of the month goes to the Jurassic Dead trilogy by Rick Chesler and David Sakmyster. Because zombie dinosaurs. Do I really need to say more there? Ok, well, in book 2 the zombie dinosaurs attack Washington, DC. There. Now you have to read the trilogy. 🙂
Most interesting book of the month goes to The Signal and The Noise by Nate Silver, as it was an astounding and needed look at applied probabilistic statistics and how they can help us make informed choices in a wide range of situations.
There really wasn’t any humor to be had in this month’s books for the most part, so I’ll go with most tear jerking book instead – and that is without a doubt Granite Mountain/ My Lost Brothers by Brendan McDonough. I watched Only the Brave last year, the movie based on this book, without knowing anything about the story. While on a Caribbean vacation. Yeah, that ending was very unexpected. Then. I knew what I was getting into reading the book, so I listened to the Audible. And still bawled my eyes out in the later chapters, which included a few scenes of the aftermath that I don’t remember making it into the movie. I almost challenge anyone to read this book via text form, as I don’t really think it is possible due to all the crying in those sections.
Overall book of the month? Has to go to the one I waited SIX YEARS for and spent literally YEARS begging for – Steven Savile’s GOLD. It was absolutely worth the wait.
As is traditional here, the full list, in date completed order, with links to Goodreads reviews of all:
Continue reading “A Month of Reading: September 2018: Trilogies!”