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Black Sabbath's Master of Reality (33 1/3) Paperback – April 15, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Mention in Harp Magazine (Grayson Currin)

"[T]he focus of Darnielle's fans has always been on hislyrics and the stories contained within them. Now he's stepped off the stage and sat down at is typewriter to deliverMaster of Reality, his first novel and a stunning piece of rock criticism andappreciation.
Readers are likely to come to Master of Reality from avariety of backgrounds. Some will comeas Mountain Goats fans wanting to see Darnielle tackle a novel, others as BlackSabbath fans wanting to read about a favorite album. Some will simply be fans of the cult-popular33 1/3 series, which has now grown to dozens of books, yet kept its level ofquality very high. Hopefully, there willbe others who will pick it up as novel first, because it truly is a first-ratestory, full of moments that will pluck at your heartstrings as you're broughtback to the moment you first fell in love with a piece of music, when an albumprovided not just the soundtrack to your life but also the meaning behindit. If, by some strange chance, none ofthis happens, well, you're probably going to at least dust off your old Sabbathvinyl, and there's nothing wrong with that either." —NewPages.com


"[Darnielle] straightjackets the essence of Black Sabbathwhere 40 years of music musings and cultural damnation have failed." —Raoul Hernandez, Austin Chronicle (Raoul Hernandez)

"Total affection for, and strong identification with, musicis a cross-generational experience, and though the motivation behind the 33 1/3series meshes nicely with a post-Generation X obsession with the minutiae ofpersonal experience, it's also immediately accessible to anyone who's everwritten favorite lyrics on her algebra notebook. While nostalgia runs thick inDarnielle's book (the nature of the series essentially demands this), there's agreater point about music and memory to be found in Roger's story. Indulgencein the memory of intense feelings can be strangely comforting, and perhaps evennecessary. Or, as Roger puts it: 'It doesn't have to mean that to everybody, andit means more no matter what...'"— Thea Brown, The L Magazine (Thea Brown)

"Darnielle, singer and songwriter for the much-loved bandThe Mountain Goats, cuts right to the chase in his short novel, the blunt,direct tone of his adolescent protagonist Richard Painter perfectlyencapsulating the enduring appeal of metal's great progenitors. It's all aboutthe Mighty Riff when it comes to Sabbath; everything else is secondary, andwhile one could easily make a case for at least half a dozen albums thatdeserve the 33 1/3 treatment, the riffs that define this particular album are,to echo young Roger's sentiment, unfuckwithable." —Adrien Begrand, Popmatters.com
(Adrien Begrand)

"Mountain Goat John Darnielle's off-stage literaryproclivities are no secret, which makes us all the more excited for his firstnovel, a paean to Black Sabbath's Master of Reality. The book is the latest in Continuum's 33 1/3series ultrasmart series of elegant, pocket-size appreciations of rock albumsas diverse as the Beatles' Let it Be and My Bloody Valentine's Loveless. Darnielle unpacks the classic, riff-erificalbum as a scrabrous series of diary entries written by a teenager in a Southern California mental institution. Those curious tosee the budding rock critic off-stage or who are simply bonkers for Sabbath areadvised to check out this reading." —Tayt Harlin, New YorkMagazine


"With his short stories masquerading as songs, JohnDarnielle—founding member of the Mountain Goats—has crafted a wide range ofoff-kilter characters. He continues thistradition with Roger, a fifteen-year-old patient in a psychiatric hospital andthe protagonist of Darnielle's first book, a loving diary-style exploration ofBlack Sabbath's Master of Reality, part of Continuum's 33 1/3 series...Inspiredby his real-life experiences as a psychiatric nurse (and love of all thingsmetal), Darnielle's literary debut is a fast, addictive read that also tugs onthe heartstrings of sensitive Ozzy fans." —Exclaim magazine

Interviewed in Philadelphia Weekly

"The Mountain Goats' John Darnielle Is Good At Writing!
People love The Mountain Goats because all their songscontain SAT vocab words and are like little stories. So it's unsurprising that JohnDarnielle can also work up some music-free compositions, like his contributionto Continuum's 33 1/3 series of books inspired by classic albums, a novel aboutBlack Sabbath's 'Master of Reality.' He also recently wrapped up a stint of guest blogging atPowell's excellent blog, which is worth revisiting if you're curious about hisfeelings about heavy metal (he likes it! and is very knowledgable about it!).And if you live in New York,you can come to a reading of the Black Sabbath book next Saturday at HousingWorks and witness his non-singing talents in person." —MediaBistro's Galleycat


Interviewed by Gothamist

Entry on Brooklyn Vegan about reading

"Just like Black Sabbath throws big rocks at subtlety andRoger's manifesto-journal channels anger towards the mental healthestablishment, Darnielle's book obliterates the sterility of music criticism. Iimagine him reading reviews of his work and building up all of this disdain,deciding finally that he's going to do it better. Ultimately, Master of Realitycritiques criticism itself, an institution that encourages us to thrash apartthe art of others — without offering any blood of our own." — Tiny Mix Tapes


Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) }!— /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal{mso-style-parent:"";margin-bottom:.0001pt;mso-pagination:widow-orphan;mso-fareast-}@page Section1{size:8.5in 11.0in;mso-header-mso-footer-mso-paper-source:0;}div.Section1{page:Section1;}—> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;mso-style-noshow:yes;mso-style-parent:"";mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;mso-para-mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;mso-pagination:widow-orphan;mso-ansi-language:#0400;mso-fareast-language:#0400;mso-bidi-language:#0400;}"John Darnielle is the single constant behind the group theMountain Goats and arguably the most rewarding lyricist working today. Takinginto account his prolific wordsmithery ("Laugh lines on our faces / scalemaps of the ocean floor") and affinity for horror both cinematic andliterary ("Heretic Pride," the most recent Mountain Goats album, hassong titles naming Fu Manchu creator Sax Rohmer and H.P. Lovecraft), itshouldn't come as a surprise that he'd contribute to Continuum's "331/3" series of short books pegged to iconic albums. But "Master ofReality" departs brilliantly from the typical "33 1/3" format,not just by choosing fiction over criticism or recording history, but in itsstructural gambits and unwavering sense of purpose." —Los Angeles Times (Ed Parks)

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) }!— /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal{mso-style-parent:"";margin-bottom:.0001pt;mso-pagination:widow-orphan;mso-fareast-}@page Section1{size:8.5in 11.0in;mso-header-mso-footer-mso-paper-source:0;}div.Section1{page:Section1;}—> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;mso-style-noshow:yes;mso-style-parent:"";mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;mso-para-mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;mso-pagination:widow-orphan;mso-ansi-language:#0400;mso-fareast-language:#0400;mso-bidi-language:#0400;}"I'd like to give a special shout-out to John Darnielle'sbook about Black Sabbath's Master of Reality, published as part of Continuum's33 1/3 series of album-themed books...If you like the band,you'll like this book. If you like intense young-adult takes like The Perks ofBeing a Wallflower, you'll like this book. No matter what, by the end, you'llbe racing to purchase Master of Reality, which is a beautiful thing." —USA Today,PopCandy


Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) }!— /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal{mso-style-parent:"";margin-bottom:.0001pt;mso-pagination:widow-orphan;mso-fareast-}@page Section1{size:8.5in 11.0in;mso-header-mso-footer-mso-paper-source:0;}div.Section1{page:Section1;}—> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;mso-style-noshow:yes;mso-style-parent:"";mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;mso-para-mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;mso-pagination:widow-orphan;mso-ansi-language:#0400;mso-fareast-language:#0400;mso-bidi-language:#0400;}"Forget the other 33 1/3s, this belongs next to The Catcherin the Rye." —DecibelMagazine

"Darnielle's novella is not only a touchstone in the series,it is a powerful and potent book in its own right. Utterly compelling."-Community Care, UK

(David Hemingway)

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 !— /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal{mso-style-parent:"";margin-bottom:.0001pt;mso-pagination:widow-orphan;mso-fareast-}@page Section1{size:8.5in 11.0in;mso-header-mso-footer-mso-paper-source:0;}div.Section1{page:Section1;}—> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;mso-style-noshow:yes;mso-style-parent:"";mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;mso-para-mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;mso-pagination:widow-orphan;mso-ansi-language:#0400;mso-fareast-language:#0400;mso-bidi-language:#0400;}"This is a masterly look at the corrosive emotion of youth, and the invaluablesolace that music gives. Read it, even if you'd rather stick knitting needlesin your ears than listen to the album in question. Because its about you." —TheBig Takeover magazine
(James Mann, author of About Face: A History of America's Curious Relationship with China, from Nixon to Clinton)

"This is not the first time Darnielle explores these dark waters. In fact the text is a retelling, if not an extension of " The Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton," the first track on the Mountain Goats' 2002 album, All Hail West Texas. As both the text and the song are meditations on the redemptive aspects of heavy metal, the depravity of institutional authority and the refusal to forgive, the reader who is familiar with either Darnielle's musical work or Black Sabbath will find the text particularly rewarding." - Christian, http://enoughcowbell.com
(Christian)

"written keenly and with great generosity"Reviewed in
Idolator , 24 december 2008

"Darnielle— who worked as a nurse in a mental hospital and presumably met quite a few smart, lost kids like Roger— speaks to the soul-damaging aspects of locking up problem teens and offers a piece of music criticism that illuminates the edifying qualities of heavy metal."-Pitchfork feature "Our 60 Favorite Music Books"

Mention in Harp Magazine (Sanford Lakoff)

“[T]he focus of Darnielle’s fans has always been on hislyrics and the stories contained within them. Now he’s stepped off the stage and sat down at is typewriter to deliverMaster of Reality, his first novel and a stunning piece of rock criticism andappreciation.
Readers are likely to come to Master of Reality from avariety of backgrounds. Some will comeas Mountain Goats fans wanting to see Darnielle tackle a novel, others as BlackSabbath fans wanting to read about a favorite album. Some will simply be fans of the cult-popular33 1/3 series, which has now grown to dozens of books, yet kept its level ofquality very high. Hopefully, there willbe others who will pick it up as novel first, because it truly is a first-ratestory, full of moments that will pluck at your heartstrings as you’re broughtback to the moment you first fell in love with a piece of music, when an albumprovided not just the soundtrack to your life but also the meaning behindit. If, by some strange chance, none ofthis happens, well, you’re probably going to at least dust off your old Sabbathvinyl, and there’s nothing wrong with that either.” –NewPages.com


“[Darnielle] straightjackets the essence of Black Sabbathwhere 40 years of music musings and cultural damnation have failed.” –Raoul Hernandez, Austin Chronicle (Sanford Lakoff)

“Total affection for, and strong identification with, musicis a cross-generational experience, and though the motivation behind the 33 1/3series meshes nicely with a post-Generation X obsession with the minutiae ofpersonal experience, it’s also immediately accessible to anyone who’s everwritten favorite lyrics on her algebra notebook. While nostalgia runs thick inDarnielle’s book (the nature of the series essentially demands this), there’s agreater point about music and memory to be found in Roger’s story. Indulgencein the memory of intense feelings can be strangely comforting, and perhaps evennecessary. Or, as Roger puts it: 'It doesn’t have to mean that to everybody, andit means more no matter what…’”   — Thea Brown, The L Magazine (Sanford Lakoff)

“Darnielle, singer and songwriter for the much-loved bandThe Mountain Goats, cuts right to the chase in his short novel, the blunt,direct tone of his adolescent protagonist Richard Painter perfectlyencapsulating the enduring appeal of metal’s great progenitors. It’s all aboutthe Mighty Riff when it comes to Sabbath; everything else is secondary, andwhile one could easily make a case for at least half a dozen albums thatdeserve the 33 1/3 treatment, the riffs that define this particular album are,to echo young Roger’s sentiment, unfuckwithable.” –Adrien Begrand, Popmatters.com
(Sanford Lakoff)

“Mountain Goat John Darnielle’s off-stage literaryproclivities are no secret, which makes us all the more excited for his firstnovel, a paean to Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality. The book is the latest in Continuum’s 33 1/3series ultrasmart series of elegant, pocket-size appreciations of rock albumsas diverse as the Beatles’ Let it Be and My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless. Darnielle unpacks the classic, riff-erificalbum as a scrabrous series of diary entries written by a teenager in a Southern California mental institution. Those curious tosee the budding rock critic off-stage or who are simply bonkers for Sabbath areadvised to check out this reading.” –Tayt Harlin, New YorkMagazine


“With his short stories masquerading as songs, JohnDarnielle—founding member of the Mountain Goats—has crafted a wide range ofoff-kilter characters. He continues thistradition with Roger, a fifteen-year-old patient in a psychiatric hospital andthe protagonist of Darnielle’s first book, a loving diary-style exploration ofBlack Sabbath’s Master of Reality, part of Continuum’s 33 1/3 series…Inspiredby his real-life experiences as a psychiatric nurse (and love of all thingsmetal), Darnielle’s literary debut is a fast, addictive read that also tugs onthe heartstrings of sensitive Ozzy fans.” –Exclaim magazine

“The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle Is Good At Writing!
People love The Mountain Goats because all their songscontain SAT vocab words and are like little stories. So it's unsurprising that JohnDarnielle can also work up some music-free compositions, like his contributionto Continuum's 33 1/3 series of books inspired by classic albums, a novel aboutBlack Sabbath's 'Master of Reality.' He also recently wrapped up a stint of guest blogging atPowell's excellent blog, which is worth revisiting if you're curious about hisfeelings about heavy metal (he likes it! and is very knowledgable about it!).And if you live in New York,you can come to a reading of the Black Sabbath book next Saturday at HousingWorks and witness his non-singing talents in person.” –MediaBistro’s Galleycat


“Just like Black Sabbath throws big rocks at subtlety andRoger’s manifesto-journal channels anger towards the mental healthestablishment, Darnielle’s book obliterates the sterility of music criticism. Iimagine him reading reviews of his work and building up all of this disdain,deciding finally that he’s going to do it better. Ultimately, Master of Realitycritiques criticism itself, an institution that encourages us to thrash apartthe art of others — without offering any blood of our own.” – Tiny Mix Tapes


Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;mso-style-noshow:yes;mso-style-parent:"";mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;mso-para-mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;mso-pagination:widow-orphan;mso-ansi-language:#0400;mso-fareast-language:#0400;mso-bidi-language:#0400;}“John Darnielle is the single constant behind the group theMountain Goats and arguably the most rewarding lyricist working today. Takinginto account his prolific wordsmithery ("Laugh lines on our faces / scalemaps of the ocean floor") and affinity for horror both cinematic andliterary ("Heretic Pride," the most recent Mountain Goats album, hassong titles naming Fu Manchu creator Sax Rohmer and H.P. Lovecraft), itshouldn't come as a surprise that he'd contribute to Continuum's "331/3" series of short books pegged to iconic albums. But "Master ofReality" departs brilliantly from the typical "33 1/3" format,not just by choosing fiction over criticism or recording history, but in itsstructural gambits and unwavering sense of purpose.” –Los Angeles Times (Sanford Lakoff)

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;mso-style-noshow:yes;mso-style-parent:"";mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;mso-para-mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;mso-pagination:widow-orphan;mso-ansi-language:#0400;mso-fareast-language:#0400;mso-bidi-language:#0400;}“I’d like to give a special shout-out to John Darnielle’sbook about Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality, published as part of Continuum’s33 1/3 series of album-themed books...If you like the band,you’ll like this book. If you like intense young-adult takes like The Perks ofBeing a Wallflower, you’ll like this book. No matter what, by the end, you’llbe racing to purchase Master of Reality, which is a beautiful thing.” –USA Today,PopCandy


Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;mso-style-noshow:yes;mso-style-parent:"";mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;mso-para-mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;mso-pagination:widow-orphan;mso-ansi-language:#0400;mso-fareast-language:#0400;mso-bidi-language:#0400;}“Forget the other 33 1/3s, this belongs next to The Catcherin the Rye.” –DecibelMagazine

"Darnielle's novella is not only a touchstone in the series,it is a powerful and potent book in its own right. Utterly compelling."-Community Care, UK

(Sanford Lakoff)

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;mso-style-noshow:yes;mso-style-parent:"";mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;mso-para-mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;mso-pagination:widow-orphan;mso-ansi-language:#0400;mso-fareast-language:#0400;mso-bidi-language:#0400;}"This is a masterly look at the corrosive emotion of youth, and the invaluablesolace that music gives. Read it, even if you’d rather stick knitting needlesin your ears than listen to the album in question. Because its about you.” –TheBig Takeover magazine
(Sanford Lakoff)

"This is not the first time Darnielle explores these dark waters.  In fact the text is a retelling, if not an extension of " The Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton,"  the first track on the Mountain Goats' 2002 album, All Hail West Texas.  As both the text and the song are meditations on the redemptive aspects of heavy metal, the depravity of institutional authority and the refusal to forgive, the reader who is familiar with either Darnielle's musical work or Black Sabbath will find the text particularly rewarding." - Christian, http://enoughcowbell.com
(Sanford Lakoff)

About the Author

John Darnielle is the singer and songwriter otherwise known as the Mountain Goats.
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Continuum; 0 edition (April 15, 2008)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 112 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0826428991
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0826428998
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 3.88 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 4.75 x 0.25 x 6.5 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 141 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
141 global ratings

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