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Holiday-time media

I didn’t get as much time to read this holiday as I usually do. I seem to have spent a great deal of time eating party mix and driving the car. I did get a chance to read Tobias Wolff’s Old School, and particularly enjoyed the Ayn Rand chapter and the novel’s last handful of chapters. The significance of the narrator’s experiences accumulates very subtly, and the story has a nice, graceful arc that sort of took me by surprise.

Although I didn’t get a lot of quiet time to read, I listened to a lot of music, and brought a good chunk of it home with me. A few highlights:

  • Genius, Warren Zevon. This is a great collection, better in both song selection and recording quality than the one that fell out of the truck, along with half a dozen other CDs, somewhere in northern Arizona’s back of beyond.
  • Radio, Chuck Brodsky. Brodsky is a great songwriter, whose songs range from hilarious to quirky to heartbreaking. I first got into Brodsky via his humorous but bittersweet song about Moe Berg, who graduated from Columbia Law School, played for the White Sox, and was a CIA spy.
  • World Without Tears, Lucinda Williams. This was a gift from a friend of Heather’s and it’s great, great music.
  • Poet Game, Greg Brown. Brown, seriously, is just brilliant.
  • Cowboyography, Ian Tyson. How did Nashville co-opt the “western” in “country-western?” There’s a whole lot of west out here, and it’s not the all-hat, no-cattle junk that Country FM wants you to believe. Tyson is the real deal, as long as you don’t have some irrational distrust of genuine Canadian cowboys.
  • Oh Mercy, Bob Dylan. “Most of the Time” and “Shooting Star” are must-haves.