We begin this week with a shout of thanks to Sandy and Jim D for the beautiful floral tribute. No need to apologize that it wasn't taffy or fudge! Just seeing that lovely arrangement can make one forget all about taffy and fudge! We thank you and so do our pants! While I continue to bemoan the fact that summer has left us, The SoNo Loft has moved on and is celebrating the change of season with the message of ‘Leaf on the Wind’. What this means is anyone’s guess. This week we have Rock & Roll, some potential frustration, Dublin, a power couple, Detroit, New York City, and some love. Playlist? Of course!
Let us begin!
Abby has just finished watching 20 Feet From Stardom. “This is a case of better late than never. I finally watched the Academy Award winning documentary 20 Feet From Stardom. The film introduces us to the voices we grew up listening to and singing along with but we never knew the people behind them. The storytelling is helped along by some of the biggest stars in Rock & Roll who share their appreciation for the backup singers who add layers of complexity and feeling to their work. One of the highlights for me was learning the story of Merry Clayton, the woman who sang the haunting background on the Rolling Stones hit Gimme Shelter. Watching Merry sit in the studio listening to a playback of her part is a wonder. I already knew some of Darlene Love’s story. Learning how her career as a solo artist was sabotaged was heartbreaking but her realization that she was meant to sing reclaimed her career. As one of the singers said, when people sing along, they sing OUR parts. Get ready to get some great music stuck in your head.”
John is looking forward to starting something new. “I have started a behemoth of a fantasy series The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson. I may have set myself up for frustration, however, because with only two of ten planned books written, I’m going to have a hard time sitting on my hands, waiting for the next installment (due sometime in 2015). The first book, The Way of Kings weighs in at 1007 pages, but the story is so immersive that the time goes by quickly. I’m on to the second book now, Words of Radiance which, at 1087 pages, is no less captivating. Sanderson is a master world-builder, and while Game of Thrones fans will undoubtedly think his writing significantly less gritty than they are used to, they may find the pace and storyline compelling enough to break into this series.”
Sweet Ann loves The Secret Place by Tana French. “This is the fifth novel by Ms. French concerning crimes that the Dublin Murder Squad tries to solve. Her writing is wonderful and her descriptions transport you to the locales she mentions, whether it is the grittiness of the squad room, or the lush beautiful grounds of a girls' school. This story tells about the death of a sixteen-year-old student at the nearby boys' school whose bludgeoned body was discovered on the grounds of a girls' school. The murder occurred a year ago and there has been no progress on the case until a picture of the victim appears with the words ‘I know who killed him’ written on it. The Secret Place is another great mystery by Tana French.”
Pat T is keeping her latest obsession alive. “Last week many of us watched the highly acclaimed PBS TV series The Roosevelt's: an Intimate History. Now that it is over, I am going through withdrawal, so I decided to listen to the audio book Franklin and Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage by Hazel Rowley and narrated by one of my favorite narrators, Tavia Gilbert. Just like the Kennedy's and the Clinton's, there has been much speculation about the Roosevelt's marriage, and the author gives us a glimpse into the Roosevelt's unconventional marriage. These two people created a partnership according to their own ambitions and needs, yet at the same time supporting and encouraging one another. Hazel Rowley refers to Eleanor Roosevelt's biography, This Is My Story, so I will add this book to my reading pile too!”
Miss Elisabeth of the CL did some very adult reading with the latest by Lauren Beukes. “I enjoyed reading Broken Monsters but I wouldn’t ever read it again! It’s a very, very dark book. It starts out as a crime thriller: Detroit Homicide Detective Gabriella Versado has caught a particularly gruesome case. A young boy was murdered, cut in half, attached to the bottom of a fawn, and then left in an abandoned tunnel. Soon another body, also horribly disfigured, is found. As Verdosa begins to piece together the madness behind the crimes, we also follow the stories of a failed reporter newly arrived in Detroit, Verdosa’s 15-year-old daughter, Layla and her tragic best friend Cass, a reformed criminal named TK, and an artist named Clayton at the end of his rope. The stories begin to come together with the introduction of a seriously disturbing supernatural element. The writing is beautiful, and the author, who is South African, speaks with surprising authority on the decay of Detroit. Still, the end is SO CREEPY. Shudders all around.”
Virginia the Tall Cool Texan is back this week! What up VA? “This week, I got my greedy little hands on an advanced copy of the sequel to one of my favorite books of all time, The Rosie Project. Author Graeme Simsion brings back Don Tillman in all of his pathologically, micro-managed, organized glory. In The Rosie Effect, Don and Rosie are newly married and have left Australia to live in New York. Just as they are adjusting to being newlyweds, (Don has created a schedule and menu to his liking), they find out Rosie is pregnant. This is where the book falls off course for me. The natural assumption would be for Simsion to focus on Don and Rosie’s relationship and how they adjust to the idea of being pregnant and becoming parents. However, Rosie’s character fades to the background, and Simsion chooses to focus on Don, his conflicting emotions about the pregnancy and his growing relationship with his buddies. In fact, in a lot of ways, this book is more of a bromance than a romance. This was unfortunate, because I found the magic of The Rosie Project to be the important dynamic between Rosie and Don. She provided a good balance to him, making the reader see his personality quirks as more lovable than annoying. Let’s just say in The Rosie Effect, you don’t have the luxury of this buffer. As with most sequels, I didn’t find The Rosie Effect to have the same charm as the original but it was still an enjoyable read.
Thomas S aka My Son is here and is celebrating his freedom to read whatever he pleases. Makes a Mom proud actually, or at least this Mom. “In August of 1998, the recently reunited mid-western emo band Mineral released their single, &Serenading on Crank! Records. The b-side of that single was a totally awesome cover of a song by the band, The Psychedelic Furs. In my own honest opinion, this cover of Love My Way is vastly superior to the original version. You can judge for yourself by clicking here. Continuing the theme of loving your own way, and in honor of Banned Book Week, I have decided to talk about Nancy Garden's Annie on My Mind. First published in July of 1982, this book is groundbreaking because it was really the first novel to explore these themes in a positive light, as opposed to the majority of LGBTQ subjects that were being presented negatively in pulp novels. I will admit, some elements of the story are a bit dated, but that should help paint a clearer picture for the reader as to how important this work of fiction truly was. This book broke all the rules set for presenting homosexual characters. I guarantee that anyone who reads this will walk away thinking about how beautifully the romance was presented. I think it's this reason that the book was banned in the first place. If you choose to pick this up, remember that you don't know everyone around you 100%, and it's this reason that you should never condemn something that makes someone else happy and doesn't harm the people around them.”
DJ Jazzy Patty Mcc is back this week and feeling much better thank you. Here’s what she musing about. “A new season is here that brings us gourds-a-plenty, DIY apple picking, hayrides, apple cider, doughnuts and hours spent wandering lost in giant corn mazes. The cooler temperatures, the new light that filters everything with a soft glow, the changing colors of the leaves all signal a sweet gradual change that will gently ease us into the slumber of winter. We’ve enjoyed some really lovely weather here in my fine state and I’m happy to report everyone is well again. So this week I invite you all to curl up with a book, a steaming mug of something yummy and relish your freedom to read what you want when you want. I can guarantee that this prescription is sure to cure all ills. “