I was just telling my wonderful husband that my grandparents listened to Joan Baez when my mother was little, and she hated it. Then when she grew up and had kids, she made them (me and my sister) listen to Joan Baez and they hated it. Now I listen to Joan Baez and I don’t hate it. :p This is one of my favorite songs from the 1966 album “Noel.” I hope you like it, and have a great Christmas!!!
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Posted by grace on December 19, 2012
From the spectacular album “Chalk Mark in a Rainstorm.” My mother listened to this all the time when I was a child, and so I really disliked it for a long time. But now that I am older and have given up on hating my parents, I can finally appreciate it.
Posted by grace on June 27, 2012
I have not taken the time to figure out what this song is about (I’m sure it’s profound), but I really like it anyway. My mom was a hippie-ish person when I was growing up, so I was exposed to all of this good stuff. Enjoy
Posted by grace on June 6, 2012
Hello everybody! Now that finals are far behind me, and Christmas is fast approaching, I feel the need to make a rare post. These, as the title suggests, are a couple of my favorite Christmas songs.
The first is Ann Margaret and Al Hirt with “Baby it’s Cold Outside.” This version is the best I have ever heard. It’s super sexy, which is something that is lacking in most Christmas jingles. Sadly, I cannot say the same for Al Hirt (he looks really creepy in this clip), but you know… we can’t all be timeless sex symbols like Ms. Margaret.
Next is a tune from another beautiful redhead. “Holly, Ivy, and Rose” is Tori Amos’ version of the Christmas classic “The Holly and The Ivy.” Amos added lyrics that turn this tune into a love song of sorts, and her little girl, Natashya, contributes the answering vocals. I know the video is kind of cheesy (there is no official one), but just listen to it with your eyes closed.
I hope you guys love these songs as much as I do!
Posted by grace on December 21, 2011
This post is a world away from my last Music Wednesdays post (Snow Patrol)!
Ticks and Leeches is from Tool’s third album, Lateralus. Tool is one of my all-time favorites, and although Lateralus is not my favorite album (that distinction falls to 1996′s AEnima), it is still incredible.
I really don’t know how to explain the absolute awesomeness of this song. I suppose the closest I could get is by quoting one YouTube commenter who stated that the drum solo was an “orgasm of the soul.” That’s about right.
Danny Carey is by far the most technically proficient drummer I have ever heard, and this song (IMHO) is the greatest showcase of his abilities. This is one of those tracks that you can listen to over and over again, and it is so complex that you notice something different every time, and just get pulled in deeper.
I really wanted to post a live version of this song in order to demonstrate Carey’s abilities (which do not diminish in the least in a live setting), but, as many have noted, the concert-goers are extremely loud and annoying, so I just stayed with the album version.
Good speakers are a boon here, and I would recommend turning them up to eleven.
Posted by grace on August 10, 2011
This song is on Up To Now, Snow Patrol’s “greatest hits” album from 2009. I did not get into this band until somewhat recently, and now I listen to them probably too much.
I like the simplicity of this song, the stripped-downedness. Its austerity creates simultaneous tension and stillness, I think, and encourages the listener to really concentrate. It makes one introspective
Posted by grace on August 3, 2011
Hello there! It has been a whole year since I last posted. I am clearly not a huge internet person, but I have honestly had a hard time thinking of things to write, too. So, I thought that I would swim in safe waters. Once again, here is a selection of books that I personally find very agreeable on a lazy summer day. Some are old, some are new, and one is very difficult to find (in fact, I’m not entirely sure where my copy is either!). I hope that someone out there will find something here that agrees with them.
This was my first exposure to Zafon, and it made a huge fan out of me. There is nothing necessarily deep or life-changing in his writing, but if you are looking for a good old-fashioned mystery novel, complete with foggy alleys and trench coats, you cannot get any better than this! This book is what mystery is supposed to be. It takes place in mid-20th century Spain, so the atmosphere is absolutely perfect. It is also a book about books, and all of us book people can’t seem to get enough of that kind of thing.
Zafon’s second book to be published in the U.S. so far. I recommend reading Shadow first, as there are some cameos of characters and places, which will make you appreciate this one more. This is a dark and twisted labyrinth of madness, power, and love, and it is incredible. The link above is for the paperback, but if you are into aesthetics, I would highly suggest looking for the hardcover, because it is a beautiful book.
This is the young adult trilogy that got all of the fundamentalist Christians up in a huff (if any of you are reading this, then sorry, but that’s the truth). I suppose I can see why, with all of the downing on organized religion and everything, but there is actually a deep spirituality to this story, and in the end, it is just fiction. For those of you that saw the ill-fated film version of The Golden Compass, know that the books are much better (as usual). Anyway, this is a good-sized collection, so it should last through many a long afternoon. The link is for the paperback boxed set, but there are a million versions of these books.
I got this book from the bookstore that Wildcat works at. It was an advance, fresh from the box and waiting for reviews. Who Fears… is a “supernatural fantasy” that takes place in future Africa and revolves around a young woman conceived by rape. The hatred surrounding her creation is the spine of the story, and is the very thing that she is trying to destroy. I was extremely impressed by this novel, the first adult title that the award-winning author Okorafor has ever written.
This is the debut work from Skyhorse, a native of Echo Park, which is a neighborhood in LA. The story follows a small cast of Mexican-American characters as their lives intertwine and weave together. I also got this one out of the advance box, and I’m glad that I did. While this is fiction, it certainly reflects the realities of life for many people, as it shows the struggles of assimilation, immigration, and generation gaps. This book is neither for or against immigration – it effectively covers both arguments and does so in a way that emphasizes the human beings involved.
I was given this one, again as an advance, by a friend who owns an online anime store. Originally written in Japanese, this is the story of a girl and her motorcycle as they roam over a fictional land. This is an understated and quiet book that has moral and philosophical thoughts to spare, and a few unnecessary illustrations. There were supposed to be more in this series, I guess, but that didn’t seem to happen. Finding one of these is now rather difficult (that is why there is no link), and new ones from third parties can be quite expensive, but if you are looking for something to do, then the hunt just might be fun!
I know that a lot of people have already read this book, or watched the rip-off television program, but I still wanted to mention it. If you have no idea what I am talking about, then let me tell you. This non-fiction book is about exactly what you think it is about. I personally found it to be rather meditative and uplifting. I have read some reviews that said it was depressing, and “why would someone want to write a book about that?” To be honest, the world presented here sounds like a lovely place without all of us loud, stinky people. It is comforting to know that the harm we are doing will eventually heal itself once we are gone.
Alright, another list done. Hopefully I will be able to write more posts before next summer, but I can’t be sure. Have a great summer everyone, and as usual, please support your local bookseller. The links above are to Wildcat’s store, where you can order the books and have them shipped anywhere in the world (all without getting Amazon involved. Grrrrrr).
Posted by grace on May 16, 2010
Okay, here goes my first post… ever. With finals behind me and a vast summer approaching, I have been eagerly perusing my bookshelves. And while I have some specific reads in mind, there may be some individuals out there who are floundering in the uncertainty of book selection. So I thought I would list some suggestions. These are titles that I have read and can confidently recommend as satisfying summer literature.
The Greek Passion, by Nikos Kazantzakis
Not currently in print, try used.
This is the first Kazantzakis book that I read, and is still my favorite. Kazantzakis was Greek and all of his novels are set in Greece, with incredibly rich, lusty, and intense characters and emotions. These people are real, often damaged, and never idealized. This gritty story follows an entire village through a passion play (a reenactment of Christ’s last days). I know that the subject matter may turn some people off, but this is not the usual treatment. Though Kazantzakis was a religious man, he did not pull his punches when it came to critiquing his own faith.
American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman is one of the best fiction authors I have ever read, and American Gods is his best book. It is fairly long (588 pages), which is perfect for those long, hot, summer days. It reads like an epic, with a huge cast of characters and lots of mystery and intrigue. As its title suggests, this book pertains to gods (American ones, to be specific). Not a terribly philosophical novel, just good, thick, entertainment.
The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
Roc Trade, 978-0451450524
One of the modern classics of fantasy writing. Beautiful, often poetic, and occasionally hilarious. I read this first when I was very young and I loved it. Re-reading it as an adult, I was able to grasp the subtlety and emotion of it. I am sure that most people have already read this book, but if you haven’t, then you should.
Foucault’s Pendulum, by Umberto Eco
Mariner Books, 978-0156032971
Another long one (533 pages), and wow, this book is hard on one’s brain. Not necessarily a casual read, this book requires a couple of foreign language dictionaries and a few encyclopedias. The premise is hard to explain, but it involves the Knights Templar, ancient codes, religion, mythology, Jesuits, physics, mathematics, the occult, and well… just about everything. Anyway, this an very dense read and it has a tendency to cause headaches. I also recommend Eco’s novel The Name Of The Rose, which also creates some cranial pain. But, either way, you will definitely learn something.
Flatland, by Edwin A. Abbott
There are so many editions of this book… just pick one
Flatland is a wonderful read that I think of as a sort of mental exercise. It’s a trip to get your mind around. The amazing part is that it was written way back in 1884. Yep, that’s right, this book is ancient. This is a really fun book, and it has some social significance to boot. Just remember, before anyone gets offended, it was written in 1884.
Einstein’s Dreams, by Alan Lightman
Random House, 9781400077809
A slim book, with short chapters that are actually more like individual stories. It is very philosophical and it invites much reflection. Beautiful thoughts on the nature and varieties of time.
The Lucifer Effect, by Philip Zimbardo
Random House, 9780812974447
This book had a real impact on me. It deals with some really tough topics, and can be emotionally difficult at times, but it offers a completely unique perspective on human behavior. Dr. Zimbardo led the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment in 1971, which is discussed (among other things) in this book. Eye-opening and fascinating.
Bonk, by Mary Roach
Norton, W.W., and Co., Inc.,9780393334791
Sex, sex, sex… Yeah, this is a good book. One of humanity’s favorite topics is dealt with in a funny yet informative way. this book will make you laugh until your sides hurt, give you some useful ideas, and probably make you scrunch your nose in disgust a few times. I don’t recommend reading it in public places…especially you guys out there.
What We Believe But Can Not Prove, by John Brockman
I really like this book. It is full of illuminating ideas and thought-provoking suggestions from more than one hundred prominent scientists. Yes, even scientists can put value in faith, feeling, and belief sometimes.
Cosmos, by Carl Sagan
Random House, 9780345331359
This book changed my life, literally. It is a rare gem indeed. Although it is a bit dated now, it still shines with the most optimism and wonder that I have ever encountered in a book. It will leave you awestruck with the wonders of the universe and all that is in it. I know that sounds awfully mushy, but it’s true. The old hardcover is much better, as it has lots of pictures, and we all like those. Oh, by the way… I have four copies of this book.
So, there it is. I hope someone, somewhere, found my little list useful. And please, support your local independent bookseller, because, honestly, Amazon only wants your soul. Oh, and if anybody has books that they would add to this list, then by all means, let me know.
Posted by grace on June 2, 2009