Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Stuff You Might Like

You've probably noticed that I try to write one of these after I'm grouchy as hell for a couple of days, just to even things up (a bit).

Gloria gave me Redemption Song: The Ballad Of Joe Strummer for my birthday, and it's terrific. Strummer (John Mellor) was the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for The Clash, and the amount of detail presented in this book is quite extraordinary. If you have any interest in Strummer, The Clash, or that era in music, this is absolutely a must-read.

Strangely, and through a path that I can't fully remember, that led to me picking up Tammy Wynette: Tragic Country Queen. This book would be worth reading just for the detail that it provides about the music business in Nashville in the 1970s, but it's also a fascinating look at Wynette's life, and to call her life "rocky" would be a tremendous understatement. One note: this is written by the same author (Jimmy McDonough) who wrote the outstanding Neil Young biography Shakey (one of my alltime favorite musical biographies). For this book, though, he adopts an almost chatty style that's grating at times, an affectation where he writes letters to Wynette and other personal touches, and these stylistic touches fall absolutely flat, unfortunately. The information he presents, though, is fantastic.

Next is How To Train Your Dragon, and this is one of the rare children's films that I can wholeheartedly recommend to adults. It's extremely intelligent and well-written, it's very funny, and the 3-D is fantastic. I can't think of one single thing to complain about in this film, and Eli 8.8 loved it as well. One note: the dragons are beautifully rendered and sometimes quite fierce, so for kids under 6, I'm guessing it might be a little scary for them.

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