Today I will share what I’ve been reading lately, and hope that you will share back if you have read the books below or if you have recommendations!
-The Witch of Portobello, Paulo Coelho: I am really intrigued by the process of translating books. I know it can’t just be as easy as submitting into a language transcriber- the translator (I think) must have great writing talent as well. In any case, Coelho writes in Portugese- being Brazilian. I found it to be very readable- lovely language and turn of phrase… but I am conflicted about the content. I feel like the ending was a bit of a cop-out, that Coelho couldn’t bear to inflict the consequence he set out from the first page to commit. I hate that- when you as the reader feel betrayed by the conclusion. It clouds my opinion of the entire book, which is thought-provoking and interesting. Maybe someone can help me think otherwise?
-Gathering Blue, Lois Lowry: In this companion book to The Giver, I am again amazed at Lowry’s ability to imagine a new type of existence for life on Earth- without being “too” science-fiction-y. Don’t be put off by the fact that you’ll find her books in the Young Adult section at the book store- this is my favorite place to buy books! I found myself wanting more – I think that’s a mark of a good story.
-She’s Come Undone, Wally Lamb: I read this one after reading I Know This Much Is True- and I liked True better. Some authors can authentically voice a character from the opposite sex, and some just ring hollow. I was really irritated by a lot of Dolores’ obsessions- they just didn’t feel right.
-Sepulchre, Kate Mosse: Although I found the subject and content VERY interesting- in accordance with my interests in the Langue D’Oc and all things Grail related, I was disappointed in Mosse’s repetition of the plot dynamics that she used in Labyrinth, although I was very happy to see an appearance by one of my favorite characters. I was also dismayed that she invented an alternative history to the Berenger Sauniere- Rennes-Les-Chateaux mysteries- the truth is already so interesting!
-Ruby in the Smoke, The Shadow in the North, The Tiger in the Well- The Sally Lockhart Trilogy, Phillip Pullman: I read these many years after His Dark Materials- a personal favorite. They are true to their penny-thriller promise and have good twists and turns. My main beef is: Sally as a Socialist? Really? More than Sally I love 2 characters: Jim and Dan Goldberg. Mmmmm…. I’ll fill you in later on The Tin Princess- this one is taking me much longer than usual.
Posted in books
Tagged gathering blue, His Dark Materials, Kate Mosse, Langue D'Oc, lois lowry, paulo coelho, Phillip Pullman, Sally Lockhart, Sepulchre, she's come undone, the witch of portobello, wally lamb
Musical taste- what a loaded topic. I think the tendency of anyone with a particular pursuit or interest is to make it flashier, maybe more high-brow. This certainly applies to music. For instance, if you were to ask me, best beloved reader, what my top 20 songs are, I am probably going to tell you what I want you to hear… with a motive.
I want you to like me, but I want you to like the me that I portray to you, never the real me.
Instead, I am going to bare my soul- or at least my iTunes top 20 played songs. Thanks to Uncle Stevie’s column at EW for the inspiration.
- 20. At 17 plays: Learn to Fly- The Foo Fighters. Well, all I can say is it’s a shared music library between the H and myself.
- 19. At 17 plays: The Lucky One- Alison Krauss and Union Station. Her voice truly is what one would expect heavenly beings to sound like. And with a jammin’ boot stompin’ band like Union Station, there’s not much room for improvement.
- 18. At 18 plays: Crooked Teeth- Death Cab for Cutie. I do like Death Cab, I didn’t realize I liked this song that much. Maybe we can chalk this one up to a shared library too? It’s catchy, and has a danceable hook for sure.
- 17. At 19 plays: Reptilia- The Strokes. Yes, I first heard this song on Guitar Hero. Does that diminish the quality of the song or my appreciation of it? I defy anyone that doesn’t want to jump up on their couch and start hopping up in down to this one.
- 16. At 19 plays: Down In a Hole- Ryan Adams. I always loved this song – originally Alice In Chains. Ryan Adams occupies me, though, and this version is second to none. Haunting, sad, like a man literally at the bottom of a hole with no way out, it’s chill-inducing.
- 15. At 19 plays: Rehab- Amy Winehouse. Personal life and gossip rags aside, this girl can SING. And this song is funny, and relatable to anyone with personal demons. Here’s hoping she can kick hers and up the ante.
- 14. At 19 plays: Let Me Touch You for a While- Alison Krauss and Union Station. AK+US makes their second appearance on the list, and it’s a doozy. Any song that includes the line “laugh at that cowgirl as she’s walkin’ out the door” deserves a mention for sheer moxie. Plus it includes some great pickin’.
- 13. At 20 plays: My Love for You is Real- Ryan Adams. One of the few love songs from Ryan that don’t overtly involve heartbreak, this one is hopeful and optimistic, with a tinge of neediness, just the way I like it.
- 12. At 20 plays: Follow The Lights- Ryan Adams. It IS a good song, but I wonder if this one is listened to more because it’s first on the album (of the same name)?
- 11. At 20 plays: Someday You Will Be Loved- Death Cab for Cutie. It’s a good song, and I always get the visual image of a slightly chubby introverted writer wandering the halls of a high school when I listen to this song.
- 10. At 22 plays: Shipbuilding- Elvis Costello and the Attractions. Maybe one of the best anti-war songs ever. And that amazing solo by Chet Baker. But the crowning jewel of this song is Elvis’ amazing vocals, throaty but clear, expansive yet well defined. It’s an ass kicker.
- 9. At 23 plays: What Ever Happened?- The Strokes. Don’t ask. It’s a fun song, but again, I think a winner due to album order.
- 8. At 24 plays: Blue Hotel- Ryan Adams. Ryan wrote this song for Willie Nelson, but I can’t imagine anyone but him singing it… so much so that I have never listened to Willie’s version. I am a purist, I can’t help it… Sample favorite lyric: “and she’s inside me like a secret and I got no one to tell” … The steel guitar in this one edges it up over the top and out like fireworks.
- 7. At 24 plays: Your Heart Is an Empty Room- Death Cab for Cutie. Best beloved reader, you are going to think I disproprtionately worship Death Cab. I DO like them, but this song makes its appearance due the amount of love showered on it by the H. He loves any song that involves fire, dear-hearted pyro that he is. Oh yeah, and it’s a great song about the immediacy of existence when you are a teenager.
- 6. At 26 plays: Alison- Elvis Costello and the Attractions. The H isn’t a big fan, so this one’s all me. God, I love this song. It’s one of those girl songs- you have to be a girl to truly appreciate it. I think that’s because in this song he loves an f-ed up girl unconditionally. Gee, why would girls like that?
- 5. At 27 plays: I Will Follow You into the Dark- Death Cab for Cutie. Seriously, it’s a Grammy winner, and an elegy like none ever set to tunes. I dare you to listen without thinking about your sweetie.
- 4. At 29 plays: Different Names for the Same Thing- Death Cab for Cutie. This song includes the best jamming crescendo, and I eagerly anticipate it every listen… I learned to love this one on a train in a foreign country, so it holds literal veracity in my ears.
- 3. At 31 plays: Soul Meets Body- Death Cab for Cutie. We’re fans. Both of us. The driving strumming on the acoustic keeps you engaged with the sweet harmonies. And really, I would like to live where soul meets body too!
- 2. At 32 plays: Marching Bands of Manhattan- Death Cab. God that name gets long to type. It’s a good one, but I am suspecting that the DC4C plays is due to the oldest owned iTunes… I will! cross reference. I do love the driving repetition and “wall of sound” on this one too. “Sorrow drips into your heart thru a pinhole, just like a faucet that leaks and there is comfort in the sound. But while you debate half-empty or half-full, it slowly rises… your love is gonna drown”
- 1. At 33 plays: Summer Skin- DC4C. This song kinda creeps me out, especially about peeling skin. Yuck. My high-school friend Cooter and I would sunbathe to the point of peeling and would see who could get the biggest chunk. Ralf.
Don’t be a hater. I seriously considered editing this, to show that I like TRULY diverse music, but I think there are real reasons for every song on this list- when driving, working, relaxing or thinking it’s what I listen to.
And you, best beloved reader? Share with us?
Posted in music
Tagged music, top 20
I know already what you’re thinking. “She doesn’t already have enough to say?” It’s true, I love to talk. And, as a side note, I am a writer in my professional life. But that’s why blogging is a natural extension for me. A friend suggested that the only people that write blogs are egotists. Yeah, and?
I decided that a blog would provide an outlet for some of my obsessions; namely, I read non-stop and really crave the ability to discuss the books when I am done. Second, they haven’t invented a 12 step program from musical addictions. My name is Amy, and I am a Musicaholic. I hope no one looks to closely at my iTunes bill. Next up: I love to travel and have stories to share with you people! Finally, I learn everyday to say “thank you” for every gift that is given, and that we’re all in this together.
I also will be blogging in my professional life starting in the next couple of weeks, and will be sure to bore you with my views there, too.
I am really pleased that the H (that’s my Husband and chosen partner) and I got tickets to see Wilco at Booth Amphitheater in August. We drove to Philly to see them in February and man, what an amazing show. I’ll throw up some links in case you want to check them out yourselves. Tweedy looked good – thinner and energetic – and the sets- 2 of them without break- were great. I could do without the Woody Guthrie covers though. I am sure I’ll get some backlash for that- but you can’t convince me otherwise. I hope at the Raleigh show they add “Spiders(Kidsmoke)” to the setlist.