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Journals + Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain + Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Trade; Reissue edition (November 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157322359X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573223591
  • Product Dimensions: 3.4 x 4.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (266 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,905 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

These journal entries by Nirvana front man Cobain record his thoughts from the late 1980s until his suicide in 1994. There are no real answers to his death to be found in this collection of scrawled notes, first drafts of letters, shopping lists, and ballpoint pen drawings, although the nature of Cobain's fame will make it hard for readers not to look for them. At best, a series of intimate portraits emerge: a kid from high school; a cousin and neighbor; a bright, sensitive, fun-loving and morbid punk rocker who became spokesman for a generation he largely detested. Cobain's journals remind fans of how unlikely was his rise to fame: here was a kid from Aberdeen, dreaming of being in the next Meat Puppets, not the next Doors, who signed on with an independent label named SupPop, and ended up changing the course of commercial radio. Cobain's early letters to fellow rockers in the grunge scene also remind readers of how small and close that community was, and of the fairly incendiary politics it had developed through the Reagan years. For a true punk believer like Cobain, the loss of that community was also the loss of himself.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

The question of how to package Cobain's journals (originally contained in more than 20 notebooks) became as important as whether they should be published. Courtney Love, Cobain's widow, ultimately decided to go with Riverhead, and her choice appears to have been a good one. Reproduced here are actual notebook pages, filled with the musician's drawings, thoughts, desires, moods, lists, and declarations, showcasing his many talents, as much as his penchant for morbidity, in an amalgamation of handwritings. While this collection offers another level of intimacy for fans who have already experienced the musician's life via records, news clippings, album art, and several biographies, no one involved with the project provides any context, and this absence is keenly felt. Notes are scattered and applied to things that are of little interest, while other confusing pieces are left without the slightest comment. Given Love's vigilance in all matters Nirvana and Cobain, it is surprising that she was not more hands-on here. Still, Journals remains a good complement to Charles R. Cross's Heavier Than Heaven, which references the notebooks, and a unique addition to popular music collections.
Rachel Collins, "Library Journal"
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 75 people found the following review helpful By :throatrose: on February 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Aside from the obvious questions of the intrusive nature of reading this book, as well as the obvious monitoring of Courtney Love over all of the book's contents, "Journals" is absolutely fascinating. I feel that reading alot of things from Kurt as opposed to a journalist's point of view is very satisfying when pertaining to his art. I believe that, for Kurt, his art was the focal point for the bulk of his life. And I also think that once you understand his art, you begin to understand him. In that respect, I give "Journals" beyond 5 stars.
Within the book, Kurt depicts himself as he was: a sensitive, artistic punk rocker. You read many letters to people such as Dale Crover from "The Melvins" and Mark Lannegan from "Screaming Trees". In a letter to Lannegan, he shamefully admits to copying their album onto a cassette tape. This only enforces the punk rock ethic that Kurt held for most of his life.
The term "punk" for Kurt Cobain didn't necessarily mean pierced nostrils or multi-colored hair. Punk rock meant "freedom". It was back to the roots of musical expression: syphoning yourself through an instrument. It wasn't an image, and it wasn't a trend. There were no blinders towards the audience. It was be-yourself-do-it-yourself. It spoke to many people in an inaudible, enticing scream, and it definitely spoke to Kurt Cobain. It basically offered Kurt his way out from the blantant faccade of machismo and the ignorance of homophobia and sexism that he witnessed constantly. It sparked a flow of creative abandon and artistic defiance in Kurt. That raw, unbridled human emotion is very poignant and refreshing even ten years after his death. And the fact that real emotion is so void in music today, only lures people in to experience it for themselves.
It's impossible to read this book and not get somewhat melancholy over what a sensitive, outspoken, brilliant artist we lost in Kurt Cobain. We have the music, we now have his journals, and we have the memories.
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87 of 99 people found the following review helpful By Eve Nevarre on October 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I'll start right out by telling you that although I am a fan of Nirvana, I never thought too much about Kurt Cobain. I received this book as a gift from a friend who knows that I am a chronic journal-writer and thought I would appreciate reading another journal. I decided to give it a chance and my God, I was blown away. I could not put the book down!
Kurt Cobain was a brilliant genius and I never quite realized that until reading his journals. He was so angry and sad and intelligent. He expresses himself beautifully and you can relate to his emotions as if they were your own emotions. He was so passionate about music and the fact that the average fan just didn't "get it."
This collection of his writings are photo copies of his actual journal pages. Seeing KC's own handwriting, scrawlings, scribblings and sketches add to the emotional experience of reading this book. At times his handwriting is neat and legible, and at other times it is scrawling and barely readable. You can just feel him trying to write as fast as he can to keep up with the thoughts pouring from his tormented head.
One does not have to be a Kurt Cobain fan or even a Nirvana fan to appreciate this book. Just understand the creative process of a genius at work.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Katherine on December 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I'll be the first to admit I was a little uneasy about buying this book,due to the fact I felt reading it could be wrong.However I did buy this book,possibly out of nothing more than pure curiosity. I must say if you are a true heartfelt fan of Kurt Cobain,you should go out and buy this book.If you are not a true fan I will advise you to leave this book alone because as one of the covers states "If you read you'll judge". This book is not written in bland computerized letters,but printed in Kurt's own handwriting,page for page exactly how Kurt wrote it.Much of what is in this book is fascinating.Cobain's cartoons,sketches and doodles,like his music,blend disturbing imagery with humor.Would Kurt Cobain,grunge anti hero,be horrified to see these thoughts published? Nevermind Kurt.Here we are now.Entertain us.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Brian on December 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
When one considered it, there is a certain moral dilemma that goes hand-in-hand with the publishing of someone's journals. These journals are essentially a person's private thoughts, often time things that the author would not have said or done in public. The moral dilemma is increased tenfold when it comes to the release of the journals of... well, frankly, a guy who is dead. We can't tell for sure whether or not that person would have approved at all, and there's also an added element of profit.
Such is the case with Kurt Cobain, perhaps the most recognizable figure in music of the nineties. No image appeared more often on covers of rock and roll periodicals everywhere. And furthermore, no figure of pop culture has been dissected more before or since. He remains a mystery to many, a complex and often brooding man who had several different sides.
The more optimistic would say that the release of Kurt Cobain's journals are an opportunity for everyone to get a glimpse into the mind of a tortured soul. The more cynical, on the other hand, would have you believe that this is Courtney Love cashing in on the fame of her husband. And in all honesty, both viewpoints are pretty much right on. It's hard to imagine Cobain approving the release of his journals, as he was viewed as a man who valued his privacy and didn't want to be shoved into the spotlight when he was.
Throughout his life, Kurt Cobain made a note of writing his thoughts ideas and everything else down in notebooks. By the time his life was tragically ended by a self-inflicted shotgun wound, he had amassed dozens upon dozens of three-ring spiral notebooks, stationary, and loose pieces of paper, all containing his writings on this and that.
Journals is essentially a collection of Kurt's diary.
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