Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Book Review for The Disenchantments

 The Disenchantments 
  by Nina LaCour

Here's the description if you missed it in my last post:

Colby and Bev have a long-standing pact: graduate, hit the road with Bev's band, and then spend the year wandering around Europe. But moments after the tour kicks off, Bev makes a shocking announcement: she's abandoning their plans - and Colby - to start college in the fall.

But the show must go on and The Disenchantments weave through the Pacific Northwest, playing in small towns and dingy venues, while roadie- Colby struggles to deal with Bev's already-growing distance and the most important question of all: what's next?

Morris Award–finalist Nina LaCour draws together the beauty and influences of music and art to brilliantly capture a group of friends on the brink of the rest of their lives.

Review

 Wow, I loved this book.  A book about friends, first love, regrets, and how the decisions you make without understanding why, begin to shape who you are.  The role of art in our daily lives fuels this story in a quiet way and is used as a tool to understand the complex characters in the book.  Tattoos, graffiti, 80s music, drawings, tiny wood sculptures, photography, an intimate and quirky note left in an unexpected place are all woven into this story about growing up.

I laughed out loud at funny and interesting characters and conversations so real and relatable it was like remembering my own friends.  It touches on the ache and confusion of an identity crisis when life brings the unexpected, the crushing weight of secrets too long kept, and the losing of self while searching for something you had all along.

I'm not sure I've ever left a young adult book feeling like I knew a character as thoroughly as I knew Colby by the end and the whole thing is so easy to read and unaffected.  It was not a predictable teenage love story nor a campy road trip adventure, and when you come to the beautiful ending you see the author had no hidden agenda or message to preach other than expressing the pain and joy of trying to find your place in the world.

Conclusion:  An easy read with substance and gorgeous writing that will hit pretty close to home in some places especially for those in their late teens and twenties.  It won't bring you down though, as this lovely coming of age story carefully guides you toward an ending full of hope and wonder at all the world has to offer.  This is a book to watch in the coming year and an author to keep an eye on.  I would give it a 5 out 5 star review and you get an awesome cover to boot.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Dawning Horror and Breakfast Plates

I did some major cleaning today.  I can't believe I let it get so bad.  Ugh, you know when you are just so behind in everything that cleaning the house just seems overwhelming so you just keep ignoring it....and it keeps getting worse....

The in-laws came into town unexpectedly to eat with us, I was at work and didn't even know they were in town, so my husband went with them and then they surprised me at work.

And when I saw them my first thought was this dawning horror that they'd stopped by the house first and saw my clean laundry strewn on the love seat we never use, and all of my art supplies scattered half way to our living room, and that morning's breakfast bowl (and maybe the morning before that's breakfast plate...don't judge) all dried and crusty on the kitchen counter.

All of these images are flashing through my mind like those scenes in a movie where someone is about to die and those small seemingly insignificant moments flash before their eyes and they're all amazed because they don't think about big events but things like that time they taught their kid how to tie a shoe and stuff.
Right?
So I'm not thinking about the suitcase full of dirty clothes from our trip in the living room but things like the layer of dust and um, when was they last time I swept the entry hall? etc.

If you're panicking right now don't worry.  My husband saw all of these things flash through my face when I looked at him completely panicked like "you did NOT let them inside the house right?  RIGHT!?!?" (cue crazy eyes with veins popping).  But no, he hadn't.  We've been married almost three years now and he's got it figured out.   That weird sense of pride women get in a clean home the moment they're married that I personally could have cared less about when living with my best friend/roommate for two and half years. 

Which brings me to how glad I am that I took today to clean my home so it's an enjoyable and peaceful space to come home to.  Why did I avoid cleaning it again?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mind Your Manners

I love this old cover.  Plus I think I need to the read its contents. (It starts with, "Everyday you meet situations in which you are unsure of yourself"....um..yes.  I feel that describes me.)  Wouldn't it be great if we were still concerned with things like "do you keep your gloves on when you shake hands?" and "the right and wrong  way to make a speech, talk to your boss, and write to the Queen?"

 



Mind Your Manners A Complete Dictionary of Etiquette for Canadians
by Claire Wallace; edited by Joy Brown.
 

Published 1953 by Harlequin Books in Toronto, ON

Saturday, February 25, 2012

New Book

Ran to Hastings to peruse the books (despite the fact that I do not need to buy ANY more books, but oops...) and before I made it inside I was stopped by those cute, eager faces and braids known as the Girl Scouts.  I was just going to buy one box, but after looking into the pleading eyes of one weary mom I succumbed and bought three boxes of Samoas.  (These are the sorts of sacrifices I feel I have to make to support today's youth.)

So then I finally made it inside Hastings and fell in love with the cover and description for this book:


Description:

"Colby and Bev have a long-standing pact: graduate, hit the road with Bev's band, and then spend the year wandering around Europe. But moments after the tour kicks off, Bev makes a shocking announcement: she's abandoning their plans - and Colby - to start college in the fall.

But the show must go on and The Disenchantments weave through the Pacific Northwest, playing in small towns and dingy venues, while roadie- Colby struggles to deal with Bev's already-growing distance and the most important question of all: what's next?

Morris Award–finalist Nina LaCour draws together the beauty and influences of music and art to brilliantly capture a group of friends on the brink of the rest of their lives."


I'm starting it today so I'll give a review once I've read it.  A hot cup of tea, a good book, some Samoa cookies...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


"If one woman told the whole truth about her life, the world would split open."
– Muriel Ruykheyser

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The 54th Annual Grammy Awards


LL Cool J started the 54th Annual Grammy Awards with a prayer for Whitney Houston, making a somber beginning to a night of several great performances from the likes of Adele, Coldplay, Rihanna, Foo Fighters, Bruno Mars, Paul McCartney, Katy Perry, Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band, Taylor Swift, Tony Bennett and Carrie Underwood, Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt; and several others.

It was also a night of pointed messages at the Grammys, with Taylor Swift singing “Mean” and giving all her critics the proverbial middle finger (with wide, lit up blue eyes and a button nose that made us forget that’s what she was doing).  Katy Perry interrupted her own performance of “E.T.” for a fierce performance of a new single, telling Russell Brand that basically he can say what he wants but he can’t take away the fact that she will continue to amass millions in revenue with her songs, tours, perfume, and anything else she puts her name on.  And a gorgeous Adele who sang her hit single for the first time since her vocal cord surgery proving that she is back with a voice as thick and heart-wrenching as ever.  It was nice to see her face as the crowd stood in thunderous applause because after all of her success both critical and commercial you could see she was stunned and overwhelmed by the enthusiastic welcome back.  

I was glad to see The Civil Wars sneak in a short but soulful performance just before Taylor Swift’s, and really surprised but thrilled to see Bon Iver receive the Grammy for Best New Artist.  The Foo Fighters received quite a bit of Grammy love as well and Dave Grohl gave a terrific acceptance speech about what it takes to make a great rock album.  Jennifer Hudson sang a beautiful and heartfelt tribute to Whitney Houston that had me riveted to the TV and perhaps a teensy bit misty eyed.  
  
I also must mention Nicki Minaj’s performance which was….um….
Sorry.
I just don’t have the words.  
 My ears were bleeding, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the theatrical clash of a scene from an exorcism movie and her “performance” on stage.  (My husband’s comment after a moment of silence where we were clearly trying to process what we just saw, “Well!  That’s what happens when artists are given too much freedom.”)   I’ll turn “SuperBass” up in the car and pretend like I can rap just as much as the next girl who would never admit to that, but wow.  

Anyways.
Adele really stole the show, winning in every category she was nominated for, making a total of six Grammy awards .  The girl deserved all her awards and her tearful thank you at the end for her Album of the Year award was refreshingly genuine and heartfelt (with a reference to her snot and a thanks to her “Mum” and “all of you lot”.  She’ll be a music legend, she’s gorgeous and elegant but so endearingly unrefined and unpretentious).  


 The tragic death of Whitney Houston and the personal lives of the artists definitely cast a shadow over this Grammy Awards but all in all it was really a great show.  I don’t watch the Grammys every year but I’m glad I caught this one.  In case you missed it and you care to know, the winners are as follows:

Record of the Year: "Rolling in the Deep" Adele, Paul Epworth, Tom Elmhirst & Marc Rankin
Album of the Year: 21 Adele, Paul Epworth & Tom Elmhirst
Song of the Year: "Rolling in the Deep" Adele & Paul Epworth
New Artist: Bon Iver
Pop Vocal Album: 21 Adele
Pop Duo/Group Performance: "Body & Soul" Tony Bennett & Amy Winehouse 
Rock Album: Wasting Light Foo Fighters
R&B Album: F.A.M.E. Chris Brown
Rap Album: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Kanye West
Country Album: Own the Night Lady Antebellum
R&B Performance: "Is This Love" Corinne Baily Rae
Pop Solo Performance: "Someone Like You" Adele
Rock Song: "Walk" Foo Fighters
Rock Performance: "Walk" Foo Fighters
Dance Recording: "Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites" Skrillex
Rap Collaboration: "All of the Lights" Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi and Fergie
Rap Performance: "Otis" Jay-Z and Kanye West
Rap Song: "All of the Lights" Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi and Fergie
Country Song: “Mean” Taylor Swift
Country Solo Performance: “Mean” Taylor Swift
Blues Album: Revelator Tedeschi Trucks Band
Latin Pop, Rock or Urban Album: Drama Y Luz Mana
Folk Album: Barton Hollow The Civil Wars
Jazz Vocal Album: The Mosaic Project Terri Lyne Carrington & Various Artists
Gospel Album: Hello Fear Kirk Franklin
Alternative Music Album: Bon Iver Bon Iver
Short Form Music Video: "Rolling in the Deep" Adele
Long Form Music Video: "Foo Fighters: Back and Forth" Foo Fighters

Friday, February 10, 2012

New Music



This is a great band (The Middle East) and I love this video featuring dreamy folk art style imagery (reminds me of a Chagall painting*).  If you don't feel like watching the whole thing skip to the middle and watch the end where the song picks up and there are explosions of patterns and color.  The song is on the Crazy Stupid Love soundtrack but their album I want that you are always happy is a good one.


Happ y Friday!

 
*Marc Chagall, The Bridal Pair, 1918
 See what I mean?