George Potter; Author and Magazine Editor.
Fear not, lovers of the well-turned story! With the flood gates thrown open, and the rise of e-books and online retailing, good work is actually easier to spot and find than it ever was.
The modern means of exposure and book promotion, our Social Media, brought to my attention the recently self-published prose fiction of Nick Gerrard. Graffiti Stories, a collection of 13 short stories of fiction, exemplifies both the very best of our English language tradition of storytelling and the New Freedom which self-publishing has promised and is now delivering.
Gerrard is a fine writer. Crisp, succinct prose renders a world few of us would likely visit in the flesh but ingratiates us with its genuine quality. I am reminded in each story of the avant-garde aftertaste of Jack Kerouac as well as the linguistic precision and depth of Ernest Hemingway. Gerrard transports us to the roadways, back alleys, and thread bare abodes of broken people, drug addled misfits, and tempters of dangerous consequences as co-conspirators and welcome guests. Yet, after the burning away of the spirit and soul, this reader cannot help but be captivated by the author’s singular compassion and love for his characters no matter, and perhaps in spite of, what they have done to themselves and to those around them. As much to say their idiosyncratic natures and destructive tendencies are inescapable, so too is their worthiness to be cherished in their extreme states of vulnerability. As with the very best work in literature that exemplifies personal rebellion against tradition, the truest responsibility of art, Mr. Gerrard writes with a keen hand guided by his ancestors: Dylan Thomas, Colm Toibin, and Frank O’Connor. This work of Mr. Gerrard’s should not be missed. It is a work that breathes life into the promise of great literature even during the slow dismantlement of traditional publishing and the inescapable ‘tsunami of crap’ that, ironically, not a single brick and mortar store on the planet can accommodate. In contrast, space should be made on the shelves of every reputable book store still in existence for this volume of short stories and proudly displayed to the lucky few who find themselves confronted by it.
Nick Gerrard’s collection deserves to be read. That is the highest form of compliment I can muster.
Wayne Russell; Writer and magazine Editor
A fantastic in depth look into the world of the underdogs of the world. The slimy underbelly of society never looked so good or sounded so amazing until now! Superb writing Mr. Gerrard, you really captured the moment and were successful in transporting this reader into the stories and poetry within the page's of Graffiti Stories.Bravo!
Travelling for the hell of it
April 28th, 2012 by Jerry Leach Skoobebooks
We have just finished and put into print our latest book, Traveling for the hell of it! by Nick Gerrard.
Nick approached us a few weeks ago with his manuscript which is already available as an eBook. He was broke (and still is I believe) but desperate to get a print version produced and on sale. He didn’t have the skills or the money to work his manuscript up to a print ready file. We looked at the book and decided it was too good to not get into print so we have worked on both the internals and the cover and gave the book an ISBN to get it in print and on sale for him.
A book written from the heart about his experiences and thoughts from his many years of travelling, real passion and makes you want to turn the next page – what a really good book is all about.
I have seen a few other reviews where it is criticised for missing commas and other odd things!! To me a book is about the content. Does it capture me enough to keep reading; to not put the book down? It is not an exam in perfect grammar but an exercise in enjoyment. From what I have seen and read so far this most defiantly captures my attention.
(Also, people need to understand the style it was written in because apart from a few editing errors and punctuation errors, I defend the grammar; cus I know the grammar and therefore choose to not use it! Nick)
Wild tales of all manner of youthful mayhem.
But the stories don't vainly glorify foolish hedonism… deeper in the book Nick starts to discuss some other manners of travel, including, volunteerism and eco-travel..He starts sharing his opinions on these ventures, some good, some unfavourable, and he does it in the best possible manner, offering his opinions and supporting them with examples of why he feels that way. . He doesn't pontificate, or hold himself out as an expert or the sole holder of some great truth. . He has a special distaste for anyone he considers a Kerouac wannabe. There is some irony there, in that Nick and Kerouac seem to have a lot of things in common!
David Blaine: Outsider writers.
Burn your lonely planet!
Writers are often told to find their ‘voice’ and Nick Gerrard has taken this to heart. I have been pleased to publish several of Nick’s articles over the years and have spent more than a few nights sitting opposite him in a pub over a few beers listening to his often hair-raising travel stories. I can tell you that Nick writes exactly as he talks. He may play fast and loose with grammar but his stories are always fascinating. Nick’s beers are now of the non-alcoholic variety but he will be the first to admit that his experiences, whether they involved gunfights in a Rio favela, building an eco-lodge in Malawi (only to wake up one night with an AK47 in his face), WOOFF-ing in Spain or chef-ing in Paris, were usually accompanied by, and often informed by, alcohol. Nick has a keen eye for sustainable travel (as evidenced by the eco-lodge he now runs with his wife in the Czech Republic) and however haphazard his journeys may appear he has always made a point of seeking out local people, learning about the area he is in, contributing to the local community and avoiding backpackers (about whom he has a lot to say).
If you think your gap-year spent backpacking across Asia was an adventure, read Nick’s book, and burn your Lonely Planet.
Martin Stevenson, Editor Day12 magazine. Author of More than footprints
4.0 out of 5 stars Unflinchingly real, unapologetic, and undeniably entertaining... May 28, 2012
By Ginger Myrick
Let me start this review off with the caveat that if your sensibilities are easily offended by coarse language and licentious behavior, this book is not for you. And if you are looking for a travel book that consists of orderly lists of five-star hotels and restaurants where you can enjoy a leisurely visit to a sleek foreign city without sacrificing any of the comforts and amenities of home, again, this book is not for you.
As Gerrard makes blatantly clear from the very title, TRAVELLING FOR THE HELL OF IT is more an anti-guidebook, a firsthand account chronicling his experiences with various world cultures in a gritty, in-your-face, painfully real way. Teetering on the border of propriety every step of the way (and very often crossing it when describing moments of hedonistic revelry in lurid detail) he keeps his readers riveted and regaled with his irreverence and self-deprecating humor.
But it is not all fun and games and frivolous hilarity. There are also flashes of real brilliance and beauty in his prose. With his effortless writing and hypnotic cadence (which has become a lost art in this new era of self-publishing) he facilely conveys a sense of joy at his unexpected and sometimes revelatory discoveries and outrage at the jaded state of the world. Gerrard makes no concessions and takes no prisoners, even blasting world aid organizations for their bungled handling of resources and hypocritical policies. And although he rants a bit and returns to them repeatedly, he clearly communicates his passion for the subjects of ecotourism, organic farming, and global responsibility.
For those few brave souls who can weather the profanity and invective tone, it is an eye-opening and illuminating read with underlying life lessons to be gleaned. For the rest of you, in the words of the author in his closing paragraph (I will paraphrase here for the sake of the fainthearted) `...write your own darn book!'
4.0 out of 5 stars I recommend this! June 27, 2012
By Margaret (Literary Chanteuse)
For those looking for a travel guide on recommended sites to see and accommodation etc. you are barking up the wrong tree here. If you are looking to hear about someone's personal travel experience in a bio/memoir/journal style then please buy this book. There are some incredible adventures, strong opinions and some graphic details but it is worth the read. The author tells his stories in a manner that make you feel as though you are at a pub or cafe hearing these thinking wow and I dare say learning something along the way. I found myself experiencing the moment remember the sounds and smells of places that I had traveled to in common and those that I have not I began to imagine them. The writing really takes you there. I was always excited to begin a new chapter to find out where the author was going to be next and what was going to happen. There were a few repetitious sections and a little globe trotting where I had thought that country/region/continent was sort of dealt with and then you seem to be brought back there again but otherwise an awesome book. You really feel the passion for travel and culture. Hands down one of my favorite travel books and can think of a dozen personal friends right now that I am going to recommend this book to!
4.0 out of 5 stars Travelling for the hell of it 29 May 2012
By Darren Rogers
A book of honest, hard hitting and funny anecdotes from an author who has obviously been there, done it and probably stole the T shirt along the way. Opinionated and eye-opening, the diversity of locations and the writers enthusiasm keeps you entertained from start to finish. This book throws up lots of questions but also leaves us with answers too.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read - some crazy stories 29 Jun 2013
By Lindsay Waggitt
Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase
Fantastic read - some crazy stories from eco-tourism to a string of parties...couldn't put it down. Highly recommend it! Enjoy
4.0 out of 5 stars Original, edgy and revealing 23 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
A riotous journey to the darker side of some of the world's great cities and to some of the least travelled ones too. The author lays it all bare - the stories are deeply personal, and all the more enjoyable for it. As a travel guide it provides some interesting insights into places off the radar. As a collection of travel stories -- it's original, fun, and as spiky as the young punk rocker who set off on his travels all those years ago.
Clara rated it 4 of 5 stars Goodreads.
As I read this I kind of knew what I was getting into. I thought I knew what this was all about. Just some random person writing about his travels and his witty and hilarious commentary in between. I got what I thought. I wouldn't say there was anything that really surprised me. I love to travel and sometimes you can't and you live through someone else. That was nice, but I think all travel books are like that. Then again, I shouldn't say that because this is the first of I hope many books about traveling.
I love how Nick Gerrard didn't just say his experiences and made that the main goal. It felt more like an old friend was telling you about his travels and conversing with you. It was easy going and nothing too serious and I think this book came just in time for me, when I was reading a lot of long and well thought out intricate plot twists and I just needed a quick summer read.
I can't say much without giving away a story that should be read from him and not badly explained from me. Though, I did love how he explained the people he met. It was refreshing. This is quite a short review because I don't know what else to say, but if you are looking for an easy read for the summer and you want to experience many places in a hilariously witty way then I think you should read Traveling for the Hell of it. That's why I give Nick Gerrard's travel book though not a guide book a head nods, thumbs up. (4 out of 5)(less)
T.M. Duncan rated it 3 of 5 stars Goodreads.
This was a really good book. There were a few issues, however. It had tons of grammatical errors, lots of ranting, profanities, fighting, and drinking. He explored various parts of Europe and Africa. I appreciated the investigated issues such as African dependence, true travel, organic products, etc. A few stories were repeated verbatim which was annoying. However, I must repeat that this was a good book and recommended for all who travel abroad or plan to do so. Last sentence of the book best summarized it; ...if you don't like it, write your own god-damn book. Stay free, Nick.
How could you not like it?
3.0 out of 5 stars Totally free form May 12, 2013
By Trelani M. Hall
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
That's not totally a bad thing though. I felt like I was reading his journal. Grammatical errors in every paragraph but it didn't take away from the book. It was strictly opinionated, but I learned a lot. It also made me think such as the problems in Africa, organic products, and webbing while on vacay. A few
stories were repeated verbatim which was annoying. Still a good book and recommended read for those who travel abroad and those who plan to.
Reviews for Lyrics without music.
4.0 out of 5 stars This one's a keeper. November 4, 2013
By Amelia Pasch
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
I find this poetry uncompromising ant-hero stuff, yet heroic in its lack of compromise. Griity, real, but romantic at the same time, this is poetry for today, tempered with a touch of yesterday. I will keep returning to it, I find it the kind of poetry I like to read and wish I could write.
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended - honest experience and opinion and feeling spilled across the page May 13, 2013
By Sonya Lano
This collection really stayed with me. No matter what he's writing about, Nick's poems weave vivid images that by turns gripped me by the throat with unleashed emotion or brought a smile at a sweeter turn, or even inspired a few laughs at the quirkier poems. They'll take you from the downtrodden to the rebellious, from violence to love, from the bittersweetness of leaving a home to the joys of being with his son. There's nothing feigned in here; it's all honest experience and opinion and feeling spilled across the page.
I highly recommend it, especially to anyone wanting (or already having) a glimpse into the rawer side of life, the grittier side involving repressed workers, social commentary (one poem even took on the politics or lack thereof of people on Facebook!), broken relationships, surviving ones, and remembered ones.
4.0 out of 5 stars Of its day 8 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
Gritty poetry, some funny yet up to date writing, well written with a good mind to what's happening around us. Well done.
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