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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Joking Apart by Donncha O Callaghan

If you’re a fan of Munster Rugby, Irish Rugby, Donncha O Callaghan himself or any body that’s remotely interested in sport I think you’ll love this book. I am not a huge fan of autobiographies and the only biographies I’ve read previously to this are Britney Spears and JK Rowlings’. I enjoyed those because I am obviously huge fans of both people for surprisingly similar reasons. They are both women who went through hard times in their life but came out the other side with a whole lot to show for it.

Donncha is different. He is a man obviously but also he is not a celebrity in the normal use of the word. He is just a very talented sportsperson who has become very successful because of that. He’s also not as hugely rich and famous as JK and Britney have become so it was a different kind of read in that way as he’s a lot more relatable. I absolutely loved hearing his story and how he struggled to break into the forefront of professional Irish rugby. As a rugby fan, you never really think of how a player gets to where he is. At least I didn’t until now anyway. You just accept their place on the team and you don’t really question it. It was a shock to me to see how much competition there really is between players in a team environment. I am not a hugely sporty person myself, I’m more of a spectator, and have never played on any sports team so I suppose I was even more unaware than most people of how much a player has to fight to gain his starting spot and then how much they have to fight to keep it.

Donncha tells his story right from his beginning where he started out playing for Cork Con and then Munster and then eventually the Irish team and the Lions. It was not an easy road for him in any way and he struggled to break through for many years. For a man who we now see as a certainty in Munster and Irish rugby it is hard to imagine he was once looked over by management. I loved reading about his relationships with both team members and the different management he’s worked with over the years as you see all these people on the pitch and in interviews and you think you know what they would be like in ‘real life’ but some were a lot different to what I had envisioned.

Donncha is kind of portrayed as the joker of the team and I always presumed he loved that image and that was true to his personality but in this book you really see that he has struggled with that image over the years. It has held him back in many ways as management don’t take him as seriously as they could and referees immediately blacklist him before he’s done anything wrong. It was so surprising to me that this was something that bothered him so much but when I sat back and thought about it for a while I realised how annoying it must truly be to be boxed into that stereotype and therefore never considered for captaincy or his leadership qualities that he clearly does have.

This is a good autobiography and I read it quickly and found myself entertained the whole way through. You definitely have to be interested in rugby and especially the Irish rugby format to enjoy it properly but if you are then it’s definitely worth the investment. I saw a new side to Donncha after reading this book and I’ll be shouting for him a little louder at the next Munster match I attend!

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2012 in Book Review

 

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Work! Consume! Die! by Frankie Boyle

Okaaaay…. so this is definitely not a book that everyone or even a huge amount of people will enjoy. It’s not an autobiography of any kind even though I suppose you do gain a slight insight into the mind of Frankie Boyle which to be honest isn’t all that pleasant a vast majority of the time! It’s more like his weird and strong opinions on huge amounts of random issues ranging from the war in Iraq to Wayne Rooney’s hair transplant.

Now I will say that I am a fan of comedy and I’m not easily offended. I take what comedians say with a pinch of salt, of course some are going to be controversial, it’s their job. An Irish comedian, Tommy Tiernan, is one of the most controversial comedians in the Britain and Ireland circuit and he’s for sure Ireland’s most controversial but he’s also definitely one of our most successful comics. There’s a reason for this people. Comics are supposed to shock you. Yes, sometimes, you may feel they have gone too far but really, who can decide what’s too far and what isn’t? Frankie Boyle takes the biscuit, however. He will shock you. There’s no he may or he may not, he will. And he probably hopes he’ll offend you too. If he doesn’t I would think that he considers it a bad night all round.

He purposely tries to offend as much as is humanely possible. And ultimately he’s quite successful at this. I presume this book was written after he’d been dropped from the Mock the Week panel show as he barely mentions it. He made a remark about Jordan, a British glamour model’s, disabled child and the BBC just couldn’t find it in their hearts to let it go so they let him go instead. I haven’t watched Mock the Week since even though I am a huge Dara O Briain fan. It’s not that I’m purposely boycotting it either. It’s just that it’s not good any more…

Now someones disabled child may be too far, I admit. And I can see where the BBC, a family TV network, were coming from but…. he was joking? Jokes aren’t meant to be taken seriously, that’s kind of the whole point. Ultimately I don’t know whether he was right or wrong to be honest but I do know that I find Frankie Boyle utterly hilarious most of the time. Yes, sometimes I find some of his jokes a little too vulgar or just a bit too completely insane but I don’t hold that one joke against him for the rest of his life. I just move onto the next one and hope I enjoy that one more.

If you’re easily offended or if you’re not a Frankie Boyle fan why are you even reading this review because there isn’t a hope in hell you’ll enjoy this book. If you love Frankie and you’re a more open-minded, easy-going type person then give it a go. Don’t expect to love every minute of it, I didn’t, but do expect to have more than a few times where you find yourself genuinely laughing out loud and running to your partner, friend, family member saying ‘You have to listen to this one!!’

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2012 in Book Review

 

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Death Message by Mark Billingham (Tom Thorne #7)

This may have been one of my most favourite crime/thriller books I’ve ever read. This genre is one of my constants throughout the years. I’ve always enjoyed a good crime thriller and when I stumbled upon Billingham I was delighted to find a good cop series based in Britain that I really enjoyed. Even though I’m Irish the British police force and judicial system are obviously slightly more similar and familiar to me than the American version so I just found myself more easily drawn to these books and their characters. Billingham faltered a little along the way with Burning Girl which I didn’t enjoy as much as all the other books but it has done one positive thing and that is made me appreciate all the more when he gets it so brilliantly right and here’s a good case in point.

Death Message was great from the very beginning. It had an original storyline, the characters were written fantastically, and it was just excellently paced. Basically Thorne is dealing with a man who has recently been released from prison, and following the murder by hit and run of his wife and child, is embarking on a killing spree of anyone who he thinks is even remotely involved. He gets Thorne involved by sending him messages in various forms, pictures, videos and texts, of the dead or soon-to-be dead victim. Obviously this immediately makes Thorne feel intimately involved and soon he becomes all the more so.

I won’t give away too much of the plot as it is just too good to give away but suffice to say it is very exciting all the way through and we meet some old and new characters along the way, some we loved and some we loved to hate. There is a part near the end where we once again see Thorne stray a bit over the line of good cop, bad cop but in this novel as opposed to previous ones, I feel like what he does is justified. I do see Thorne becoming more ‘bent’ as the series progresses but like Thorne I think the readers will also struggle to see what is truly considered justice and I for one am beginning to accept his slightly vigilante ways.

Also I want to take a minute to talk about his romance with Louise. God am I rooting for this to work out and for her and Thorne to remain together through future instalments. I really like the way he shows his more vulnerable side around her and how she loves him but yet knows not to take any of his shit either. The ending gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside let’s just leave it at that.

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2012 in Book Review

 

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