Caitlin Moran’s How to Build A Girl is a wonderful read.

Caitlin Moran.jpg

I love tales of teenage angst and this was one of the best. I can completely see why this book is a bestseller, it is wonderful and it deserves to be. It follows Johanna Morrigan as she comes of age in the early nineties and reinvents herself as Dolly Wilde, indie rock journalist, and then reinvents herself again as a less cynical individual. I love this book because I love music, even though my own preferred genre of heavy metal receives a couple of criticisms from the protagonist;

“He has greasy black hair and is wearing a Sepultura t-shirt – which I can tell, merely from the logo, is an internationally recognised sign that he kills and eats women”

Johanna’s family are poor in money but rich in integrity. The book tackles issues of class and sexual double standards with humour and portrays the bleakness and narrowing of experience that is caused by poverty. It’s a warm book with a satisfying ending.

I think Cleo Howard and Dolly Wilde/Johanna Morrigan have a lot in common. They would like each other. They would josh each other good naturedly about taste in music but both would recognise the passion for it that they share.


You might be a metalhead…


I read this charming book recently and I can confirm that both I and Heavy Metal Panda are indeed metalheads.

At 81 pages long this is shorter than most books, however, we metalheads know from listening to Napalm Death that things can be fast and wonderful. It has some great cartoons. I like the one that reads “If Highway to Hell was your wedding song” (then you might be a metalhead). My wedding songs were AC/DC’s “Up To My Neck In You”, Keel’s cover of “Because the Night” and The Ramones “Baby I love you”, so close enough!

There were a couple of things I needed to look up, since I’m a British reader. These were Yoo Hoo (a chocolate beverage) and Quinceañera (a party for fifteen-year-old girls traditional in some parts of Latin America). I nodded my head and uh-huh-ed along with this book as I’m sure other metalheads will.

You can buy this book from Amazon

For those who prefer a smaller bookseller it is available here


Meeting other authors is very inspiring

Mick WallI met two awesome heavy metal authors this week; Mick Wall and Joel McIver. Both were at Blackwells in Oxford (my favourite bookshop) where Mick was talking to Joel McIver (and us, the audience) about his book about Lemmy. I’ll write a lengthy and emotional post about what Lemmy means to me at some point but for now be assured that he was a hero of mine.

Mick Wall very kindly agreed to be photographed with Heavy Metal Panda, the mascot for the Eviscerated Panda series. I bought Mick’s autobiography and I’m looking forward to reading about him putting himself about a bit in the eighties, to a soundtrack of music I love. I also bought his AC/DC biography as a gift for my sister (a love of music clearly runs in our family. My Mum is partially deaf and likes Cliff Richard so make of that what you will).

I had an interesting chat with Joel McIver about one of his most recent titles about Dave Ellefson and bought both that and his book about Black Sabbath the minute I got home. One of the best treats in the world is new books.


Mick Wall’s Amazon author page is

Joel McIver’s Amazon author page is

Go on, treat yourself to a heavy read!