What We Are Reading Today: Janis by Holly George-Warren

Updated 03 December 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Janis by Holly George-Warren

  • Her significance has been muted by the brevity of her career

Over the decades, several books have been written about Janis Joplin. 

Now comes Holly George-Warren’s masterfully researched Janis: Her Life and Music — the significance-establishing project Joplin appreciators have been waiting for. 

Her significance has been muted by the brevity of her career (she died, at 27, in 1970).

“Although the book is full of lovers and almost lovers, and music-world-familiar producers, musicians and compadres, it zeros in on Janis’s singing skill,” Sheila Weller said a review for The New York Times.

Weller said Janis “died in the motel she was staying at in Los Angeles just before her last — and biggest — solo album, Pearl, was released. She had done all of her boundary breaking by the time she was three years shy of 30.”

Janis “was a perfectionist: A passionate, erudite musician who was born with talent but also worked exceptionally hard to develop it. She was a woman who pushed the boundaries of gender long before it was socially acceptable,” said a review in goodreads.com.


What We Are Reading Today: Race of Aces by John R. Bruning

Updated 16 January 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Race of Aces by John R. Bruning

This is the astonishing untold story of the Second World War airmen who risked it all in the deadly race to become the greatest American fighter pilot, according to critics.

John R. Bruning’s story focuses on Richard Bong, Tommy McGuire, Neel Kearby, Charles MacDonald, and Gerald Johnson, who through training, became the deadliest aces during the Pacific War. 

Race of Aces “is an educational, powerful, and intense read, with a behind-the-scenes look at the Southwest Pacific Theater of Operations in the Second World War,” said a review in goodreads.com.

It added: “In the early years of the war, air forces from the US, Australia, and Japan engaged in an unrelenting struggle for superiority in the skies over New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Allied forces were operating under primitive conditions in a largely unknown and noxious physical environment.”

Bruning “explores the technology and tactics, the multi-dimensional battlefield, and the leadership, living conditions, medical challenges, and morale of the combatants,” said the review.