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Journals Paperback – November 4, 2003

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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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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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books; Reissue edition (November 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157322359X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573223591
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.9 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (323 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

96 of 102 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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105 of 118 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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46 of 54 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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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By R. Welch on April 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Okay, let's save the speech about me being a young black chick who's only exposure to rock in the early 90's, was using my brother's Green Day "Dookie" cd for a coaster. But you know what? I say...something must have sent me to the library on that fateful day a decade or so after his death. The day that I saw this book. Something drew me to it.

Reading someone's diary is so intimate, don't you think? It makes you feel like you are right inside the most private place in the world: their head. Needless to say, I picked this book up for the pure curiousity. I didn't know I would soon get sucked into the soul of the most brilliant individual I've come to know about in the past few years.

After finishing this book, I was stumped, like...Kurt thought he was worthless and uneducated, but he wrote some of the best stuff, unadulterated and raw, that mine eyes have read in a long time. The book was filled with his thoughts on society and love, drugs, success, rough-drafts (mainly letters to friends and bios on the band) and song lyrics. The man was a genius. And a prolific artist. There was one page where he chronicled his drug usage. He started heavily into it, when he developed a rare stomach stomach condition, where the lining of the stomach is inflamed, or something like that. He said after talking to various doctors and taking about 50 different medications that did very little to help, he started using heroine to take the pain away. I usually don't condone drug usage, but I understand how some people are drawn toward it. Especially in this case. He said his stomach condition got worse when he began the rise toward fame, being as he wasn't eating or sleeping properly.
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