Hank Williams Jr. once said of his father, “My daddy, he was somewhere between God and John Wayne.” And it’s still true. Hank Williams is considered the be-all, end-all, heartbroken drifter of country. Hank’s past is full of hard work, substance abuse and some of the best country music ever made. This pattern would be repeated by his son, Hank Williams Jr., and his grandson, Hank III. In Family Tradition: Three Generations of Hank Williams, Susan Masino tells the history of one the most well-known families in American music. Fans of Hank III will be especially pleased by Masino’s access to his never-been-told side of the story.
Archive for July, 2011
For more than twenty years, Jim Woodring’s elegantly wordless “Frank” comics have immersed readers in a dreamlike, richly allegorical milieu which is equal parts unsettling and whimsical. 2010’s Weathercraft is Woodring’s first long-form work and possibly his best-realized. It follows one character’s ascension from total debasement into a kind of unexpected nobility.
Sister Mary Joseph Praise gives birth to twin boys, slightly joined at the skull, Shiva and Marion. Horrorstruck, the father vanishes. Bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as 1950s Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution. It will be their passion for the same woman that will tear them apart and force Marion, fresh out of medical school, to flee his homeland and find refuge as an intern at a New York City hospital. When the past catches up to him, Marion must entrust his life to the two men he thought he trusted least in the world: the father who abandoned him and the brother who betrayed him. The medical detail is stunning in this unforgettable story.
Respected inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil wants to live forever. He doesn’t think that this is so out of the question. With the right diet, supplements and…machinery. He’s a technological optimist. In The Singularity Is Near, Kurzweil examines the merging of human biology with “GNR” (genetics, nanotechnology and robotics). Think of the Borg mixed with The Matrix and then add about twelve thousand percent more thoughtful research. This is not an “easy read.” It’s about 700 pages and it will make you think. Should humans live forever? What’re the ethical ramifications? What about the environmental outcomes of an extended lifespan? Kurzweil definitely brings up more questions than he answers, but his visions of the future are intriguing and disarmingly plausible.
If summer puts you in the mood for romance, snuggle up to one of the new winners of the 2011 RITA Awards. Given by the Romance Writers of America, the RITA Awards celebrate outstanding published works in diverse categories of the romance genre. Among this year’s honorees:
Best Regency Historical Romance – The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig
Best Inspirational Romance – In Harm’s Way by Irene Hannon
Best Young Adult Romance – The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Best Romantic Suspense – Silent Scream by Karen Rose
Best First Book – Pieces of Sky by Kaki Warner
Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements - Welcome to Harmony by Jodi Thomas
Ryan Gosling’s heart of hearts is filled with dancing skeletons, expansive melodies, butterfly knives and a children’s choir. I know this from listening to his (and Zach Shields’) first self titled album, Dead Man’s Bones. Don’t think gothic, camp showtunes are your thing? Maybe a video will turn your mood…
Picnics, state fairs, and long trips on back roads. Summer brings out the country flavor in all of us. If your soundtrack needs more music with both down-home charm and an extra splash of energy, give SHeDAISY a try. Known best for rich harmonies that blur country and pop, this sister trio belts out bold, cheerful songs with playful lyrics, all delivered with a wink and a grin. Even when they slow it down with more heartfelt themes, the entertainment doesn’t lessen. Fans of Sugarland and the Dixie Chicks will appreciate the sweet and sassy nature of SHeDAISY’s appeal. Try Sweet Right Here or Knock On the Sky.