Scream by Michael J. Seidlinger was an interesting book about language and the noises human make! I felt so lucky to get a copy for myself! I have shared on my goodreads, bookstagram, and booktok!
Perfectly fitting a series designed to feature books on subjects you'd never expected to find yourself reading a full volume about, comes the one about the scream. And Beatles audiences never even get mentioned. Still, from roller-coasters to primal therapy, from the anger and anguish of Munch to that woman who dated the bloke in the flat above mine in the summer of 2010, and from Beckett's "Not I" to shonky screamo music, there has been a lot of screaming in our world to consider. This very brief (too brief?) ride starts with the science involved, the physical reaction the brain has to the sound of a scream or shriek or other similar oral blast, before taking us round the houses of it all. Here is a potted history of screaming in music, here the fight or flight response – indeed the whole three score years and ten from the baby's first caterwauling to the opposite end of things.
Three factors always, always influence my opinion on these books. One, did I feel bludgeoned with the woke stick, where every even slightly academic thought is all about race-baiting, pronoun-mangling and all that bollux that makes you wanna – well, you know the James lyric, and if you don't you can guess it. And the answer here is a definitive no – shout it from the rooftops this has missed all such memos, and is wholly contention-free. Two, did I feel the author was secretly giving us a draft of an autobiography in lieu of a non-fiction book? Well, this is very, very full of the author, but from his pre-school days when he would only scream his intent, to a decade later becoming a metal-head screamer himself, and so on, his affinity to the topic does seem to be very much more from experience than from academic reasons.
Thirdly, however, the final question is, did I learn enough to justify the book being in my life for a couple of hours? And I think this is where it's a let-down. With all the autobiography, and all the flashbacks and jumps aside to italicised narratives, it felt both padded out ad absurdum and yet not anything like as full as I assumed. Don't get me wrong, I had no expectations on entering this – the subject you'd never expect to read etc – but I did come out of it feeling I'd taken an almighty small step along whatever road it was taking me down. Two and a half stars, rounded up from politeness – and gratitude for being an ultra-lefty-woke-nonsense-free zone.
Books like this are always good value--they bring to light the relevance and importance of something we've pushed aside as either ordinary, commonplace, or frequent. It's funny that something even as alarming as a scream could fall into this category (context of said scream notwithstanding), but Seidlinger provides a brief but worthy recalibration on why we do it and how it's incorporated into not only our biology, but our culture.
Ever heard of scream therapy? How about the *specifics* of how to get a proper scream going in a metal band? It's sections like this that keep you turning pages here, and the author bridges sections with personal tales and reflections.
It's never too heavy of a read, and it's to the point without being boring. Would definitely check out future works from Seidlinger.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury Academic for the advance read.
Michael Seidlinger's Scream takes the reader through a personal journey, while exploring where in the wider world one might encounter screaming and what psychological effects it has to hear a scream or be the screamer. An honest, engaging and open journey through the folds of the vocal cords.
As with any human life, Seidlinger begins by stating the plain fact that a scream is one of our first actions as a baby, eventually bringing the book full circle to the death rattle. Between these two life stages we learn of Seidlinger's childhood development and how he began to speak for himself. From there we journey through horror movies and their visceral thrills, a history of screaming in music, screaming in military training and combat, primal therapy, Edvard Munch's artwork, the phrase "I'm screaming." and other popular works or practices centered on our including screams.
Unlike other entries in the "Object Lessons" series, this title is focused on a purely auditor sensation. We can see it acted out visually, and Seidlinger speaks to many of these occasions, and also what can happen when our voice fails us,leaving only silence.
This was actually pretty nicely put together, but it just wasn’t my vibe.
The author interjects themselves and their own memories into these essays on screams. I haven’t read any others in the series and really wasn’t expecting that. Some of the examples are definitely cherry picked to their liking.
I thought we might go well into science and I might learn the history of screaming. But..It’s pretty much what you already intrinsically know about screams. It really is. There aren’t any surprises and everything is surface level, casual and introductory.
I think this and maybe the others in the series would be good for middle grade readers. They have that light fun fact bathroom read feel. Not meaty enough for me.
Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Another excellent title from the Object Lessons stable, “Scream” takes a brisk but informative look at the philosophy and physical processes behind why and how we scream. Studying films, music, video games and the internet, author Michael J. Seidlinger turns in an enjoyable book that will make you think.
Scream is an Object Lessons book which explores screaming, combining personal essay elements with a look at the variety of screams in the world, from fear to joy to catharsis. Seidlinger's own music taste and growing up provide ways into some of the discussions, like alternative music and rollercoasters, and other elements focus on pop culture like Munch's The Scream and film screams.
The Object Lessons series always interesting for such short books can combine, in different amounts, personal and analytical, with authors using their own experiences to explore the titular concept in each case. This one definitely appealed to me and it contains some of the things I expected—like the Scream films and fear—but also other elements I wouldn't've guessed. I enjoyed the discussion of musical genres that use screaming, as I remember some of the 2000s fads for nu-metal and screamo and how the screaming element felt divisive, and I learnt about the different styles of scream-related singing. Scream has a lot of personal essay elements and it was very interesting to think about how these various scream-related things could say a lot about feeling out of place or alternative when growing up.
I’m not going to lie, I picked this up entirely based on the cover. I found the concept really intriguing, and the content delivered a wealth of information that has made me more knowledgeable. I enjoyed this piece of non-fiction.
Object Lessons is a wonderful, original and eye-opening series. The author couldn’t talk until he was older and has issues speaking in public, so he really appreciates the value of screams. From horror movies to rollercoasters, this book analyzes why, when and even how we scream. Seidlinger discusses the physical act, the philosophical background and the cathartic effects of howling. He devotes some parts to subjects that I personally have no interest in, like nu metal and video games, but other chapters focus on areas that are fascinating. For example, how the internet adapted to make ALL CAPS the equivalent of screaming. It is a slim volume and a quick, informative, read.
I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. Thank you, #NetGalley/#Bloomsbury Academic!
The author dives into screaming, something I’ve admittedly thought very little about, even though it’s my family’s preferred method of communication.
The writer examines screaming through multiple lenses: its prevalence in the horror genre, as a battle cry, used as a method of performance by metal bands, as political protest and more.
The tone waffled between a research paper and deeply personal essays. It was a fascinating look at screaming that I enjoyed.