Learn more Shop now Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Click Here Shop Kindle Amazon Music Unlimited for Family Shop now Shop Women's Shop Men's
Profile for Roman Totale > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Roman Totale
Top Reviewer Ranking: 89,053
Helpful Votes: 237

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Roman Totale (Wakefield)

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
pixel
The Fact of a Body: A Gripping True Crime Murder Investigation
The Fact of a Body: A Gripping True Crime Murder Investigation
Price: £0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Missing, 21 Aug. 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It became clear about 4/5 of the way in that there was going to be something incomplete about this narrative. The repetition, the sifting and re-sifting, the failure to go beyond a core of facts established in the first half of the book.

In the end we don't get to find out what happened in the crime that is the subject of the book. We don't even get to find out what happened when the author met the accused, which is an astonishing way to end the book. That's a lot of pages after which to be left hanging.

The point is no doubt that there are voids in life and in the law that defy definition and certainty. Sure, but when a book has these it runs the risk of being inchoate and unsatisfactory.

I fear that this assessment is somehow unfair. A terrible story, which is freighted with terrible significance for the author herself, and so one has to admire the rigour and courage of the work. But we are taken in so far, and then left there, confused


This Is Memorial Device
This Is Memorial Device
by David Keenan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.06

7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best novel about music, 17 Feb. 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Don't be deterred by what you might read about 'experimental' structure, multiple forms and narrators, etc. It's a very accessible book, that uses the Airdrie post-punk scene and one (invented) band called Memorial Device in particular as a focus for a range of imperfectly recalled and recounted memories.

Each narrator places him/herself in the scene and you get to see how myth is created by those who fancy themselves part of it. There's a point here about fiction, and one about memory, and one about musical allegiances.

The paratext (discography, index) demonstrates that Memorial Device barely existed. They're an amalgam of what people there and peripherally there wanted to remember and project. A ahem 'memorial device', if you will.

Post-Welsh drug, sex, ultraviolence all present, but the great thing is the way the book conveys the sense of aspiration and exhilaration that music offers. Everyone can be Iggy Pop in Airdrie just by walking around without a shirt.


Set the Boy Free
Set the Boy Free
by Johnny Marr
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.99

11 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Prudence never paid, 6 Nov. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Set the Boy Free (Hardcover)
You read this book and it reaffirms your admiration for Johnny Marr. He's a decent and engaging human being, and he writes about those he encounters generously.

But the book is somewhat slight and superficial. It's a recounting of his story which actually could have been written by anybody. So little is given of his own views of things and people, and really no revelations. The prominence given in all the coverage to the post-split pint and reformation chat with Morrissey demonstrates how little there is in here that's new or surprising.

It all reads quite a lot like a footballer's autobiography. A series of events and engagements that 'I was lucky enough to be asked to do'. It's such a shame because when he does give a view it can be tranchant. Like the comments about some of the widoes and hangers-on that emerged in the 'Madchester' era, faking Manc credentials and blagging stuff rather than bringing to bear the discipline and hard work that JM values
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 7, 2016 2:04 PM GMT


Shine on, Marquee Moon
Shine on, Marquee Moon
by Zoe Howe
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars just scratching the surface, 25 Oct. 2016
This review is from: Shine on, Marquee Moon (Paperback)
for what’s meant to be a novel about rock music by somebody who has seen something of its subject matter, this is an oddly inauthentic-seeming piece of work. the band at the heart of the book, Concierge, is cartoon-like and stereotyped. and the depiction of the narrator’s fiance’s succumbing to heroin addiction is bloodless and perfunctory.

the narration is confusing. first person narrator describes her own experiences (fine) but then at other times describes and narrates (with reported speech) scenes where she is absent.

and the title has nothing to do with the book, in case you like Television and think something of Marquee Moon’s excellence and attitude might have informed the book at all. it’s just a weak pun that then prompts three or four references to that album to be grafted into the narrative.

characterisation is wafer-thin, plotlines predictable, lacks laughs


Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam: The Spooky School
Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam: The Spooky School
by Tracey Corderoy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deadly duo returns, 29 Sept. 2016
My 6-year old and I love these books. Wonderful pictures, really funny and engaging stories. Fun for the grown-up reader too. This one is a great addition to the series.


Content Provider: Selected Short Prose Pieces, 2011-2016
Content Provider: Selected Short Prose Pieces, 2011-2016
by Stewart Lee
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BTL, 24 Aug. 2016
The easy grumble is that this is 90+% Observer columns glued together, with minimal commentary or annotation. Kind of thing that the hated Clarkson emits with his Sunday Times stuff. So, not really a book and involving minimal additional authorial effort.

It's fortunate therefore that the quality is high. Notable that the columns are funniest when he is filling in the odd week for someone else. When he gets the gig regularly, like when David Mitchell is on extended leave, they flatten off somewhat. The non-Observer, one-off stuff is also better. Is it because he's best when the audience isn't his? The brainier-than-reader contrarian positioning works best when they're someone else's readers?

He flatters us by including selected BTL from the Guardian website, posted under the pieces when they were published online. 'You guys get me, but these people don't. They're dumber than you/us'.

It's good, although the aghast/WTF take on everything wears somewhat across a whole book, so best taken in small chunks.


I'm Not with the Band: A Writer's Life Lost in Music
I'm Not with the Band: A Writer's Life Lost in Music
by Sylvia Patterson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.89

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars They drink it in the Congo, 26 Jun. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Great on the ethos of the music mags she worked for (Smash Hits, NME) and about their decline. Also really affecting about her upbringing and her mother's illness. And some familar misery for anybody who has tried living in London on a low wage, vividly evoked.

Less enjoyable for much of the middle passage of the book, which becomes in places a rehash of interviews she did with various pop folk. Vital and interesting where there is some point being made about the artist (the Cypress Hill and Eminem sections give some chilling insights into the misogyny and homophobia in hip hop then), but sometimes these seem a bit like filler.


A Little Life: Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2015
A Little Life: Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2015
by Hanya Yanagihara
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Exhausting, 28 April 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Most obviously exhausting because of its colossal length. And within that a density of narrative at the expense of dialogue. And so few of the chapter ends that help a reader navigate such a huge book. The author asks a lot of the reader's time and persistence and I'm not sure wholly persuades that it is merited when much of the length, the heft could surely have been reduced by editorial rigour and authorial restraint.

And it is exhausting because of its subject matter. Death, disability, abuse, paedophilia. The core revelations about the character who emerges as the focus of the novel are gruelling to read.

I think the book works best when it is documenting the four central characters' relationships, and where there is a range of narrative. As the focus narrows the book gets weightier and sometimes leaden. And somehow amidst all this detail and backstory about Jude and Willem you end up not really knowing them. There's an emptiness there, filled with pages of text and awful revelations.

And I agree with the other reviewers that the chronology seems a little out


Uprooted: On the Trail of the Green Man
Uprooted: On the Trail of the Green Man
by Nina Lyon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.43

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A book about writing a book about the green man, 28 Mar. 2016
Not really all that informative about its supposed subject matter. It's a book about writing and researching, and it's about the author herself. It's vaguely diverting. It skitters around between different locations and theories. relies on our being interested in the author and the process of writing this book. I wasn't really, sufficiently.


Jumpin' Jack Flash: David Litvinoff and the Rock'n'Roll Underworld
Jumpin' Jack Flash: David Litvinoff and the Rock'n'Roll Underworld
by Keiron Pim
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.42

0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars meh, 6 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
t's okay but the problem is that litvinoff just isn't a sufficiently substantial figure to sustain a whole book. it carries it while there's stuff about gangland and rockstars, but for the whole second half of the book,, where litvinoff withdraws from london, it is almost wholly uninteresting. and the author doesn't have the iain sinclair knack of making the process of unearthing and writing about spectral figures a thing worth reading in itself.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5