It seems just about everybody has read the book "The Help," or at least has seen the movie. I'm sure I'm not the first person to have a problem with the book...but it's probably not the same one others have written about.
Kathryn Stockett's book "The Help" is the story of black maids and the white families they work for, set in Jackson, Mississippi against the backdrop of the civil rights movement. Some crtics have said it's not historically accurate, while others have complained that the author overstepped her bounds in trying to write from the perspective of a black woman of that era.
But that's not what annoyed me. Here's what ignited this reader's flame. Kathryn Stockett doesn't know beans about rock and roll!
In one chapter, which is supposed to be the summer of 1963, one of the white characters hums the Beatles's song "Love Me Do."Â Really, Ms. Stockett? This young white female in the deep south is humming a song that won't be released in the United States until April of the following year?Â The Beatles haven't even been on the Ed Sullivan show yet, and Beatlemania hasn't even really kicked in England yet, but somehow this woman knows the tune, and she's in Mississippi?
I just simmered down enough from that one when that same character is listening to the radio in her car and she hears a song by the new band The Rolling Stones. This was in January, a month before the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan, and four months before the Stones'Â first single was released in the U.S. Simply amazing.
I guess I'm being a bit of a nitpicker (or music snob), but come on. Don't they have editors that double check this kind of stuff? What other stuff did she get wrong? Those blunders really made me wonder.
In another chapter a character changes the channel with a remote control..a Space Command.Â I had to look that up. Was the Zenith space command in use in 1963?
Yes, it was introduced in the 1950's. Okay, she gets a pass on that one.
(And despite all of this...I still really liked the book and recommend it!)
Did you know that Art Garfunkel has a list of every book he's read, starting in 1968, and going all the way through 2009?
He not only has such a list, it's on his website! It starts in June, 1968 with The Confessions, by Jean Jacques Rousseau, and concludes with I Feel Bad About By Neck, by Nora Ephron, in September, 2009.
That got me to thinking, what would my list of books look like, had I kept a list?
I definitely read a lot more when I was younger, went through the Trixie Belden phase, and read just about every mystery that Scholastic Book Service ever published, countless biographies of famous women, and quite a few books about unexplained phenomena.
I went through by Beatle book phase, reading authorized and unauthorized accounts of their rise to fame. (The Stevens Point Public Library had a pretty slim collection on the topic, so it didn't take long).
I read a lot of Victoria Holt gothic novels, my share of Sidney Sheldon and Jackie Collins' bodice rippers, and even a few classics.
The last book I read was Room by Emma Donohue, which was great, albeit dark and disturbing, at least for the first half.
I certainly don't wish I still had all those books..the ones I kept already take up too much space. But I kind of wish I would have kept a list (for my own records, not to bore the world with on the internet.) I have a feeling there would be some surprises on there. AndÂ I'd love toÂ compare and contrast my list with Art Garfunkel's.
We have read some of the same books (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court and The DaVinci Code, for example). But it may be a while before I get around to reading The Art of Courtly Love, or The Strawberry Statement.
Check out Mr. Garfunkel's list here.
There are people who give J.K. Rowling for getting kids interested in reading again. Well, pip, pip cheerio!
I did read the first Harry Potter book when it came out..to see what the hub-bub was about, and I thought it was pretty good. I watched the first movie as well, but while I did get a lightning bolt tattooed on my forehead, I was never swept up into Potter-mania.
When I was a kid I found plenty of books to keep me reading in the days BP (Before Potter), and many of them had some pretty good magical mystical things going on. Here are a few I remember.
1) The Earthsea Trilogy, by Ursula K. Leguin. The way I remembered it, this was kind of like Lord of the Rings Lite. I also liked her time travel book, A Wrinkle In Time, which for a while was my favorite book.
2)The Chronicles of Narnia, by CS Lewis. I had no idea he was manipulating me with a Christian allegory. I just thought they were good stories.
3)Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. This was actually more of a long lesson in wordplay, but I loved it. It was even made into a movie in the early 70's and I was very excited about it.
4)The Egypt Game, The Velvet Room, A Season of Ponies, by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. All her books had an element of magic to them and were excellent. I just looked Snyder up online and found out she kept writing after I stopped hanging out at the elementary school library. She even released a book this year!
5)Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron. I still own my copy of this book, mainly because the cover is very trippy and it looks more like something published by High Times than the Scholastic Book Service.
I get a lot of interesting mail here at the radio station. That includes a lot of books, with the authors and publicists hoping I would be interested in interviewing the author or perhaps reviewing the book on the radio or in my blog.
Well, I certainly got an interesting one the other day. It's called "pat the zombie" and it's a take-off on the kids' book Pat the Bunny.
Now zombies are all the rage and literary zombie books like "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" have been best-sellers. But I'm not really sure what the market would be for a book like this. The press release that came with it boasts, "designed to rattle the funny bones of adults with the same edge of the envelope humor as a blood soaked episode of Family Guy.."
That explains a lot.
It will be in stores April 26th if you need your funny bones rattled in a very inappropriate sort of way.
It's been a while since I've read a book published by Scholastic. While The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsÂ is being marketed to teens and young adults...it seems everybody is becoming addicted to it.
I've been reading about this book and seeing folks mention it on Facebook for a while, and finally picked it up.
I could try explaining it, but it would be easier to show you the official book trailer. (Did you know books have trailers on youtube now?)
The characters are well-drawn...and the plot is filled with lots of surprises.
There's a sequel..which I was forced to buy in hardcover because I demand immediate gratification and can't wait until the paperback comes out.
Oh..it's going to be a movie too.Â Jennifer Lawrence will be play the lead role of Katniss Everdeen. She was on the cast of the TBS sitcom The Bill Engvall Show and was on the movie Winter's Bone.
There's no official trailer for the movie as it isn't scheduled to be released until 2012. Quite a few fans of the book have made their own trailers, and they're all quite horrible. Don't waste your time watching them..just go buy the book.
And then call me so we can talk about it!
Will you be getting beer in your stocking this year?
Personally, I think beer is a great Christmas gift. But it does present some challenges. You might not know what variety your friend or relative might like. Lagers? Ales? Dark beers? Light beers?
It can also be tough to wrap.
So here's the next best thing. A book about beer that includes FREE BEER. My recommendation is a book called Wisconsin's Best Beer Guide by Madisonian Kevin Revolinski. It's a new edition of a book that came out a couple of years ago that I used heavily.
It gives you great info about all the breweries in Wisconsin..different varieties of beer that may be available there, and other things to do in the area. A few years ago Mike and I went on vacation and hit a whole bunch of the brewpubs and had an absolute blast.
But what about the free beer? Most of the breweries that are listed in the book offer some kind of free deal when you visit..like a free pint of beer, a tour or some other kind of doo-dad like a bumper sticker.
Find out more about it here.
Any one who knows me I love free beer (if it's good beer). And you'll be guided to plenty of good beer, some of it free, if you pick up a copy of the newest edition of "Wisconsin's Best Beer Guide," byÂ Kevin Revolinski.
It's an updated version of a book he put out a couple of years ago..a book Mike and I put to use during our many beer tours of Wisconsin. The book includes entries on all the breweries, micro-breweries, and brewpubs in the state. And since a few have closed and many have opened since the last edition of the book, you really need to pick this one up.
The book gives you all the skinny about the different brews available, food options...and even other tourist-y things to do nearby.
Some interesting things you'll learn in this edition:
*Which microbrewery isn't allowed to picture bovine animals in its advertising
*Which brewpub is so green it's heated with solar panels
*which microbrewery is located in a campground
You'll also find out tidbits like alternative uses for beer cans (I actually own one of those crocheted Point Beer hats), the difference between ales and lagers, and beer history going back to the formation of the glaciers.
What about the free beer? Many of the breweries have special offers when you show them your copy of the book (like a free pint of beer or a free tour).
I highly recommend this book for beer aficionados who like to venture beyond the ordinary. It's well written, thorough, and often funny. But I do have one warning for you. It will make you thirsty.
Find out more about the book and the author here, or go see Kevin Friday (July 16th) at the Capital Brewery in Middleton.Â He'll be selling (and signing) copies of his book there, while you listen to bluegrass from Salt Creek.
I really had no intention of reading Mackenzie Phillips' memoir, but am afraid I couldn't resist after a co-worker dropped a copy of High On Arrival on my desk at work.
When the book came out a couple of weeks ago, it got a lot of publicity because of the revelations that Mackenzie had a long term incestuous relationship with her father, John Phillips of the Mamas and Papas. Turns out that was just one part of a very messed up life.
I've read a lot of celebrity autobiographies and memoirs, and the best ones have lots of anecdotes that are either humorous or provide insight into how they do their creating..whether it's acting, songwriting, or performing. They should also weave a good story. With this book, I got that..and then some. Mackenzie Phillips did have a co-writer for the book..and I think they did a great job. The writing was excellent, and it was presented in such a way that it really sucked me in and kept me turning the pages to find out what would happen next...and how much darker her life could get.
I watched "One Day At A Time" when I was a kid, and remember liking it because it was the closest show I'd seen that portrayed teenagers at least somewhat realistically. So in a way I feel like I could have grown up with Julie Cooper and her sister Barbara.
But Mackenzie Phillips' world was absolutely insane, and NOTHING like mine. Of course she was the daughter of a very rich man, who had a big drug problem. He thought nothing of making her official joint roller for his groupÂ of friends.Â He thought nothing of leaving syringes all over the place, or saying "not now honey, Daddy's shooting up," when his little girl knocked on the bathroom door.
Mackenzie writes about her dad sending for her..and then not picking her up at the airport. Or the time he and Michelle promised to take her and her brother to Disney Land, and they were just dropped off with money and picked up later. (They were 7 and 5 at the time).
The book made it seem almost inevitable that Mackenzie's life would be filled with drug use and bad choices, but she doesn't lay the blame on any one but herself.Â We learn in detail about her instantaneous stardom from American Graffitti, hitting the bars on Sunset Strip at 13, and losing control of her life, over and over and over again.
While the book is very very dark..it's not completely devoid of hope.Â Once I stopped seeing syringes every time I closed my eyes, the message I got was that if she could survive all that's she's been through, I guess I should be able to muddle through my daily trials and tribulations with no difficulties at all.
How many words would it take to tell the story of your love life?
How about six? There's a new book out that tells 500 love stories in just 130 pages..and the font is really big! The editors of the on-line magazine at www.smithmag.net asked people to send in their stories, based on the fact that Ernest Hemingway said he could tell a whole story in just six words. (For sale: baby shoes, never worn."
The result is a book called Six Word Memoirs on Love & Heartbreak By Writers Famous & Obscure.Â Thanks to every one who called us with great ones.Â
This is what I came up with for me: "Loves guitars and me, almost equally."
And I made some up for celebrities. See if you can guess who they are.
1. "Looked for love, found a Friend."
2. "Newman's own, before the salad dressing."
3. "Maybe my kids will love me."
Answers: John Mayer, Joanne Woodward, the Octo-Mom Nadya Suleman
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