Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid [Book Review]

Did I get roped into buying this from all the beautiful photos and wonderful reviews over on bookstagram?

Yes, yes I did.

But I don’t regret it.


Summary

Daisy Jones & The Six is one of the most unique books I’ve read in a very long time. Set in the 1970’s, amidst the height of rock ‘n’ roll, it follows the journey of six bandmates (The Six) and the singer Daisy Jones. It’s written purely in dialogue – the truth lies only in the words which have been spoken – as the reader is thrown into a world of music, heartbreak, desire and ambition. Tell me it’s not real, I dare you. These characters light up the stage of the page in a way that really does make you believe in their souls.

My Thoughts

One of the most disappointing feelings as a reader is going into a book with such high expectations and then having them fall flat. I half expected this to happen with Daisy Jones & The Six but it really did take me by surprise.

I’ve never read a book written purely in dialogue and I think naturally I had some questions going into it. Would I feel too detached from the inner worlds of the characters? How is the plot going to formulate? Would I simply get bored? However, as soon as I started reading, none of these questions even mattered – I didn’t need to think about them at all.

Daisy Jones & The Six is a success, I think, because it doesn’t try to be something its not. It allows itself to be character-driven without trying too hard to make a plot out of it. And it’s believable – so believable. From the very first page I felt like I was watching a documentary play out before my eyes. Dialogue was interspersed cleverly to keep everything relevant, and yet each character had its own style, its own life and its own sub-plot.

I don’t often give books 5 stars – only if I feel I connected to the book in some way. And when I’m reading a book about rock ‘n’ roll in the 1970’s, before I was even born, it’s easy to think, well, how can I relate to any of this? But there were so many stripped back, beautiful moments in this book, which felt like those vulnerable moments in a documentary when a singular person is talking to the camera and they just bare their soul. And in those moments, as a reader, you see these characters as flawed human beings – behind the parties, the drugs and the commotion, they are facing a universal struggle.

As someone who loves both music and writing, I was particularly interested in the way these two elements were brought together for the songwriting scenes of the book. The power of music, of writing, of putting a chunk of your own heart and soul into these art forms is what this book is all about – and how sometimes the most important of words are never spoken, or never needed to be. Whilst I couldn’t relate to the characters on a surface-level, their deeper thoughts, the way they placed themselves within their art, resonated with me. I so wanted the band to be real. Honestly. I still do. I wish the songs were real.

Daisy Jones & The Six may look like an exciting, thrill of a ride – and it is, most definitely. But it also places a much deeper emphasis on relationships, art, choices and trust. It has that extra layer that any reader surely looks for in a book. And that’s what makes it so great.

If these wonderful quotes (my favourite quotes from the book) are anything to go by…

“These people from a different country, people I’d never met in my life, I felt connected to them in a way that I hadn’t felt connected to anyone before. It is what I have always loved about music. Not the sounds or the crowds or the good times as much as the words – the emotions, and the stories, the truth – that you can let flow right out of your mouth. Music can dig, you know? It can take a shovel to your chest and just start digging until it hits something.”

Daisy Jones

“She had written something that felt like I could have written it, except I knew I couldn’t have. I wouldn’t have come up with something like that. Which is what we all want from art, isn’t it? When someone pins down something that feels like it lives inside us? Takes a piece of your heart out and shows it to you? It’s like they are introducing you to a part of yourself.”

Billy

Have you read Daisy Jones & The Six?

I’d love to know what you thought in the comments below!


When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön [Book Review]

When Things Fall Apart is a non-fiction book all about Buddhist teachings. I am personally not religious myself, but it’s one of those books that is applicable to anyone, whatever life choices they have made.

It’s so hard to sum up this book because it has so much raw and honest wisdom within it. You kind of go on your own journey of reflective thoughts throughout it, finding yourself as you find your way through the book.

The overall message of the book is how, as humans, we often see pain as fundamentally bad. We hate it, we ignore it, we distract ourselves from it. We do everything we can to feel pleasure, thinking that feeling bad is a result of unfairness or failing in the world.

What if feeling pain is simply a sign of wisdom, of change, of stepping further down the path to the best life we can ever lead?

In this book, meditation is used as an example to practice feeling pain. Instead of running from it, we must let ourselves connect with those deepest parts of ourselves. Only then, can we accept our emotions, and learn to overcome the baggage they store inside of ourselves.

There are so many beautiful and inspiring quotes in the book that I would love to share with you all:

“Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.”

“The point is not to try to get rid of thoughts, but rather to see their true nature. Thoughts will run us around in circles if we buy into them, but really they are like dream images. They are like an illusion – not really all that solid. They are, as we say, just thinking.”

“… we have a lot of opinions, and we tend to take them as truth. But actually they aren’t the truth. They are just our opinions. We have a lot of emotional backup for these opinions. They are often judgemental or critical… Opinions are opinions, nothing more or less.”

“We don’t experience the world fully unless we are willing to give everything away. Samaya means not holding anything back, not preparing our escape route, not looking for alternatives, not thinking that there is ample time to do things later.”

“Sometimes we meet someone who seems to have a great sense of wellbeing, and we wonder how that person got that way. We would like to be that way. That wellbeing is often a result of having been brave enough to be fully alive and awake to every moment of life, including all the lack of cheer, all the dark times, all the times when the clouds cover the sun.”

Doesn’t Pema Chödrön just have a way with words?

The only reason why I was hesitant to give this book five stars is because, at times, it can get a little heavy. If you don’t know much about Buddhist teachings, it can be a little too overwhelming to learn, but I think if you are willing to sit down and think, rather than pace through, you will be fine. It can get a little repetitive, but stick with it. I think the overall message is something we can all learn from.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of 5

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Have you read When Things Fall Apart?

Let me know below!

 

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‘Outline’ by Rachel Cusk [Book Review]

‘… he doesn’t recognise himself in those stories any more, though he remembers the bursting feeling of writing them, something in himself massing and pushing irresistibly to be born. He hasn’t had that feeling since; he almost thinks that to remain a writer he’d have to become one all over again…’

Outline is one of those books that you either love or you hate. For me, it’s one of my favourite books I’ve read.

What makes Outline so unique is the fact that it has a plot, but it in no way relies on it. The whole book revolves around 10 conversations  – a woman who travels to Athens to teach a writing course and converses with different people along the way. This includes the man next to her on the plane, her old friend, the people in her writing class, etc. It’s like a series of snapshots into different people’s lives.

I would sum up Outline by saying: it is a book of all the things we would say in a conversation if we weren’t afraid, or if we knew someone was really listening. 

It felt surprising and almost wrong to hear all these inner thoughts of the characters said out loud but it also felt comforting and raw. It reminded me of something that I learnt a couple years ago – people have more in common than you think. It’s easy to feel like you’re alone in your thoughts, but it isn’t until you open up to others and they share their vulnerabilities with you that you realise, at heart, we’re all the same. I felt like Outline perfectly encapsulated this feeling – that, despite all our differences and idiosyncrasies, our lives all weave in and out of each other’s and at times they meet up at the same place, not always at the same time, where we feel the same thing.

I actually found myself reading just more than three quarters of the book in one day because it was so easy to lose track of time and get lost in the conversations – it drives you forward in an unthinkable and surprising manner. I hadn’t read any of Rachel Cusk’s work before but she writes with so much depth and understanding of the human condition and I just loved the honesty behind all of it. It’s writing that makes you stop, and reread, and think… for a long time.

 

Here are a few quotes that I thought were particularly interesting and thoughtful:

‘It is interesting how keen people are for you to do something they would never dream of doing themselves, how enthusiastically they drive you to your own destruction… Perhaps, he said, we are all like animals in the zoo, and once we see that one of us has got out of the enclosure we shout at him to run like mad, even though it will only result in him becoming lost.’

‘…your failures keep returning to you, while your successes are something you always have to convince yourself of.’

‘The human capacity for self-delusion is apparently infinite – and if that is the case, how are we ever meant to know, except by existing in a state of absolute pessimism, that once again we are fooling ourselves? I had thought there was nothing, having lived my whole life in this tragic country, about which I could any longer deceive myself, but as you have so unhappily pointed out, it is the very thing you don’t see, the thing you take for granted, that deceives you. And how can you even know you have taken something for granted until it is no longer there?’

‘…perhaps, he said, the best way to confront our fears is to put them in costume, so to speak; to translate them, for the simple act of translation very often renders things harmless.’

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of 5

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Outline is the first book of a trilogy so I’m looking forward to reading the next two books!

Have you read Outline?

Let me know your thoughts below!

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