Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Books part 1: What I have recently finished

I have been meaning to do this for a while. This past year or so has really been the first time in many years that I have been able to read, just to read. For fun even. So here are the books I have recently finished. In blogs to follow will be the books I am currently reading and books waiting to be read.

Where is Joe Merchant?

by Jimmy Buffett
Synopsis: Five years ago, the rock star Joe Merchant committed suicide, yet he keeps popping back into the tabloid headlines like a piece of toast. Spotted everywhere from Cincinnati to Atlanta, the dead guitarist is now more famous than ever. Could he actually be alive?

Where is Joe Merchant? For Frank Bama, the quest to find him is just one more excuse to flee Key West and change latitudes. For Trevor Kane, the hemorrhoid-ointment heiress, it is an attempt to unravel the mystery of her brother's death. For Desdemona, Joe Merchant is another missing link in her communication with space aliens as she tries to build a rocket ship, and for yellow journalist Rudy Breno, Joe Merchant makes better headlines than Elvis.

This was a really fun book! I was sad to finish it! The setting kept me warm through this past winters never ending snow and the story kept me completely entertained. The characters were really colorful and it always felt like I was watching a movie in my brain as I read along. Buffett talked once about turning this book into a movie. In a way, I hope they do. It could be really fun! I would totally recommend this one if you enjoy "cat and mouse" stories set against a tropical background.

The Knot Complete Guide to Weddings in the Real World
by Carley Roney
Synopsis: Planning for the big day? Here are the most up-to-date answers to all of your questions in the book from the editors of the acclaimed wedding website, The Knot. Overwhelmed by the countless questions and details your wedding entails? Don’t despair! The Knot Complete Guide to Weddings in the Real World takes you step-by-step from your engagement to the big day, from the reception to the honeymoon. Inside you’ll find checklists, worksheets, insider advice, and in-depth sections on: How to personalize your wedding, updated wedding etiquette, Creating a realistic budget, Sneaky cost-cutting tips, Dress shopping advice, Tips for working with florists, caterers, officiants, and others, Invitation wording, Vows and ceremony details, and Unique wedding customs.

I let myself buy one book for the wedding. After an hour in Borders I picked this one for the sheer amount of information that was in it. It has been a good investment, as I have gone back to it many times for advice since I read it front to back in January. I call it my "wedding manual" and it is consulted often. It was a fun read with lots of good information for a variety of people with different taste and budgets. Good book for anyone who is planning to take the plunge.

A Pirate Looks at Fifty
by Jimmy Buffett
Synopsis: In this intensely personal book, popular singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett leaves his barstool in Margaritaville and does some soul searching. The result is a hilarious account of the funny, adventurous odyssey of Buffet's life.

Yet another biography. I was on a bio kick there for a while (I also read George Harrison's bio a year a go). I am a huge Jimmy fan, so this was a nice read for me. I really enjoyed his tales and stories. It was fun to see the winding trail that has been his life. I started this book a year ago and did not finish it until December. It was interrupted by field work and the two books below. It was (luckily for me) the kind of book you could pick up, read a chapter, and then wait a week (or more) before you pick it up again, and not miss a beat. The book was written during his big 50th birthday trip bouncing around the Caribbean and parts of South America, so there are many characters and plenty of flash backs that fill in his past. It was a good read, and I appreciated its form (perfect for the reader with limited time). My favorite memory of reading this book was while sitting on the beach in Negril, it was warm, the ocean was in front of me, and I the sky was blue. It was a perfect moment.

Clapton: The Autobiography
by Eric Clapton
Synopsis: With striking intimacy and candor, Eric Clapton tells the story of his eventful and inspiring life in this poignant and honest autobiography. More than a rock star, he is an icon, a living embodiment of the history of rock music. Well known for his reserve in a profession marked by self-promotion, flamboyance, and spin, he now chronicles, for the first time, his remarkable personal and professional journeys. Clapton is the powerfully written story of a survivor, a man who has achieved the pinnacle of success despite extraordinary demons. It is one of the most compelling memoirs of our time.

Ya. I don't like Clapton as a person much anymore. I appreciate his candor in the book, but this is a guy who has some issues. Sure, I feel bad that his mom (who he thought was his sister growing up) did not let him call her mom. And sure, he had some rough patches and he is an alcoholic and all. But when it comes down to it the guy is a dog. He treated the women around him like crap, especially his wife who he had fought so hard to get. And the story about how he met his current wife (he dated her AND her friend for a while, at the same time) is just bewildering to me. He might be a musical genus, but he is not a common sense genus. He is kind of an clueless, selfish asshole in his personal life, for someone who claims to be shy and reserved! But I give him credit for writing the book himself and facing the wrong he has done. If you love his music, it is worth your time to read (if your into bios). I am glad he seems to be coming to his senses with age.

Wonderful Tonight: An Autobiography
by Pattie Boyd
Synopsis: An iconic figure of the 1960s and ’70s, Pattie Boyd breaks a forty-year silence in Wonderful Tonight, and tells the story of how she found herself bound to two of the most addictive, promiscuous musical geniuses of the twentieth century and became the most famous muse in the history of rock and roll. For the first time Pattie Boyd, former wife of both George Harrison and Eric Clapton, a high-profile model whose face epitomized the swinging London scene of the 1960s, a woman who inspired Harrison’s song“Something” and Clapton’s anthem “Layla,” has decided to write a book that is rich and raw, funny and heartbreaking—and totally honest and open and breathtaking. Here is the truth, here is what happened, here is the story you’ve been waiting for.

I did not really know who Pattie Boyd was until I read George Harrison's bio. I really did not know THE story about the Harrison-Pattie-Clapton love triangle until last summer to even begin with. Then I was curious and her book came out right after I finished his so I just moved right along into it. I was sort of hesitant to read it, thinking it might just be alot of dirt and smut on George Harrison and Eric Clapton; a groupie book. However, it is a really good book from Boyd's perspective of the events going on around her while also reminding one how important it is to not loose one's self in a relationship. How awesome would it be to go through life knowing that you inspired songs like "Something" and "Layla." I thought it was funny to find out that "Wonderful Tonight" was written when Eric was frustrated with her taking to long to get ready for a party. After that I have new lyrics that always go through my head when I hear the song now.

She led an interesting young life in Africa only to move to England as a teenager. She rubbed shoulders with alot of interesting people and I got a nice history lesson on 60s and 70s fashion and music that I did not know that much about before.
The lowdown is that 1) she never stopped loving Harrison and should have stayed with him, 2) she felt bad that she let Clapton seduce her, and 3) alcoholics are bad people to be around. I wish she would have talked more about her time with George, but the book is dominated by her time with Eric and their troubles. It was a very good read and I would suggest it to anyone who might be curious.

All images are from Barnes & Check out their fast and free delivery! (please don't sure me B&N)

No comments: