Among my must reads are the Sunday New York Times Book Review and other book reviews I come across in various media outlets. There are too many books being published that I would love to read, but just don’t have the time. So, I rely on reading book reviews as one way of keeping in touch with what’s being written. Here are my picks from this week’s books.
It’s not unusual to hear someone rapping about clothes — and how expensive theirs are — on the radio these days. Consider Jay Z and Kanye West’s collaboration “Otis,” where Jay Z belts, “Photo-shoot fresh, looking like wealth / I'm 'bout to call the paparazzi on myself.”
And if you don’t hear about their diamond studded jewelry and designer clothes, some rappers aren’t shy about showing them off in music videos.
But Seattle-based hip hop group Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, who recently hit number one on the iTunes album charts and stopped by D.C.’s 9:30 club on Nov. 13, chose a different approach to the whole clothing concept and, for the most part, hip hop in general.
If you were overwhelmed by all that election business, you might have forgotten that October just happened, and with it came a new release from one of my personal favorite musicians, Andrew Bird.
Hands of Glory, Andrew Bird’s latest record and companion to March’s Break it Yourself, is the product of a pair of recording sessions prompted by an immense response to Bird’s “old-time” sets on recent tours.
Reinterpreting songs from Break It Yourself and featuring covers of classic country tunes, these “old-time” performances find Bird and his full band playing to a single microphone with an entirely acoustic setup.
Drawing inspiration from these sets, Hands of Glory features two brand new original tracks, a new interpretation of “Orpheo Looks Back” from Break It Yourself and covers of Van Zandt, the Handsome Family, Alpha Consumer and others.
Once there was a crowd of about 2,000 shoppers gathered for the early morning opening of a local Wal-Mart.
It was the morning after Thanksgiving Day in Valley Stream, New York, an occasion commonly known as “Black Friday” throughout the United States.
As the opening hour of operation approached, the crowd grew quickly in size, but it also increased with anxiety and anger, as many had waited throughout the cold and dark night, some as long as eight hours. The masses were more than ready to move into the warmth, brightness, and seasonal buying bliss of their neighborhood Wal-Mart.
When the store manager finally unlocked the front entrance, the massive and eager crowd erupted with energy and passionately pushed into the store like a tidal wave. In doing so, through the sheer physical force of mass purchasing power, the swarm of shoppers broke through – and eventually broke down – the Wal-Mart doors.
Abraham Lincoln was a storyteller, so it’s fitting that his story has been hashed out on the silver screen — without vampires.
And to say that it simply was “hashed out” would be an injustice to director Stephen Spielberg and everyone who contributed to Lincoln, a film that will be remembered as much for its beauty as the iconic character from which it gets its name.
I’m not going to lie (pun intended), even though Lincoln is one of the most important figures in American history, I was hesitant about seeing a movie with the potential to be a two-and-a-half hour history class.
But I was more than pleasantly surprised.
Despite its length, the film drew me in and held my attention — even as a millennial growing up with the Internet, which I’m convinced has significantly chipped away at the already small attention span I have.
Among my must reads are the Sunday New York Times Book Review and other book reviews I come across in various media outlets. There are too many books being published that I would love to read, but just don’t have the time. So, I rely on reading book reviews as one way of keeping in touch with what’s being written.
Our CultureWatch lead story for the December 2012 issue of Sojourners, “Singing the Stories Untold,” by Silas House, provides an in-depth look at the brutally honest musical stylings of Caroline Herring. With simplicity and grace, Caroline sings about the stories of the South and the rich and complex journeys of its people. Her modern, yet folksy sound and lyrical storytelling arguably make her “the social justice singer-songwriter of her generation,” according to House.
Learn more about Caroline Herring and her music here. Check out the videos below featuring some of the songs profiled in House’s article.
“Paper Gown” A song about Susan Smith, the young mother who drowned her two children in 1994 and blamed it on a fictitious African-American man.
“Camilla” A song about Marion King, an African-American woman who was beaten unconscious by police officers in Camilla, Ga., in 1962 and subsequently suffered a miscarriage.
“Black Mountain Lullaby” A song about 3-year-old Jeremy Davidson, a boy who was crushed to death by a massive boulder that dislodged from a mountaintop removal site.
“Maiden Voyage” A song that recounts Caroline’s experience of traveling with her daughter to Washington, D.C., for President Obama’s inauguration in January 2009.
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