Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Border's Books & Music

I didn't get much for Christmas this year. To whit, I received the following items:

1} A t-shirt of Speedy Gonzalez (the old is now new).
2} A t-shirt of the New England Patriots (fave football team).
3} A official hoody of the New England Patriots (you know, the kind you have to buy at places like Dick's or Modell's).
4} A $25 gift card to Border's (lots of popular formuliac) Books & (very little non-popular non-top 40) Music.
5} A gift set of 4 alarm hot sauce: Jalapeno, Cayenne, Chipolte and Habanera.

#4 is what this particular post is all about.

Prior to Christmas, Joanne (the wife) asked me what kind of gift cards I wanted this year (I am impossible to shop for). Because I wanted to purchase a particularly weighty book edited by particular writer and agent that has been getting rave reviews all over cyber space, I mentioned that a gift card from Barnes & Nobles or Amazon would be greatly appreciated. I also mentioned Borders simply as an afterthought because I figured that she would get me something from the first two and not the third.

Guess what gift card I got this year. Go on, guess. Betcha can't.

Since I can't purchase said weighty book edited by that truly gifted writer and agent at Borders (but mark my word, I will find a way to buy said weighty book just the same), I am left with the thorny problem of what exactly I should buy at Borders.

I haven't gotten my calendar yet, but that's more of a long term mission than anything else (I want to get something that fits my eclectic tastes yet will not get me verbally warned at work for having that type of calendar hanging in my cube). So that leaves me to purchase one each of the following items: A book and a c.d.

This is where you, my very favorite readers, come in to play.

I would like from everyone who happens to stop by today and tomorrow, a suggestion for a book to read and a c.d. to listen to. I only have five rules that must be followed, and they are:

#1 No Young Adult (of any kind).
#2 No Horror (of any kind).
#3 No Country Pop (definition: anyone that you would hear on regular commercial radio or see at the CMA awards)
#4 No Classical (my classical music appreciation has been joyfully corrupted by Carl Stalling).
#5 No E-books (sorry, but I plan on being a luddite until I shrivel up and die...or get published by a company that is heavily involved with e-books)

Beyond that, the solar system is the limit on what you can suggest. I'm willing to experiment with both my music and my reading material, and what better way to usher in 2011 than by expanding my horizons for the written word and the musical note.

I plan on doing my shopping (probably online, since I'm forever getting discount offers for online shopping) on New Year's Day, and I will definitely let everyone know what my final selections will be on January 3rd.

I thank you all in advance for any attention that you may give to my oh-so-fluffy-oh-so-squeezable-and-oh-so-abnormal post.


  1. Book: One of my most favorite books ever is Blue Highways, by William Least Heat Moon. From Wikipedia: "Blue Highways, which spent 34 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list in 1982-83, is a chronicle of a three-month-long road trip that Least Heat Moon took throughout the United States in 1978 after losing his teaching job and separating from his first wife. He traveled 13,000 miles, as much as possible on secondary roads (often drawn on maps in blue, especially in the old-style Rand McNally road atlas) and tried to avoid cities. Living out of the back of his van "Ghost Dancing", he visited small towns such as Nameless, Tennessee; Hachita, New Mexico; and Bagley, Minnesota to find places in America untouched by fast food chains and interstate highways. The book records encounters in roadside cafés as well as his personal soul-searching."

    I've read this book a few times - I've always had a bit of a fantasy to chuck it all and just drive around the country, so that is probably why I liked it so much. :)

    CD: There is an Emmylou Harris CD I love called "Bluebird" - every song on it is good. I would say the anthology of hers, "Heartaches and Highways" - but I remember you said you don't like anthologies.

  2. The Mark Twain bio for book and Kind of Blue by Miles Davis for music.

  3. for a CD, I'd recommend Nightwish, "Dark Chest of Wonder," or a band called "A Pale Horse called Death." For books, Beat to a Pulp round one comes to mind.

  4. Which book? Just curious.

    My local Borders, like yours, has basically gutted the music section, but you can still order just about anything on their web site.

  5. Can't recommend a book but I can definitely recommend an album called "Bud, Sweat & Beers" by Devlin. Not sure you can get it in the States though.

    I think you may have seen one of his videos on my blog. For me it's the best album of the year.

  6. Lynn: I think I read "Blue Highway" back in the early 90's. I remember checking out a book from the library and it was very similar to what you'd just described. Does the book open up with the writer working at a dock to help load fish and earn money for his journey? I'll double check on that just the samee.

    I actually do like some music anthologies, I'm just not a fan of greatest hits collections. I will definitely keep Emmylou Harris in mind because I do enjoy her music.

    David: The hoopla surrounding that book around here locally was something else and the book did garner some good local reviews.

    Miles Davis sounds pretty good as I haven't listen to any jazz in quite some time.

    Charles: Sounds like a decent selection for music. Heavy metal is always good for the soul.

    Alas, "Beat to a Pulp" didn't drop at Borders, otherwise I probaby wouldn't have written this post.

    R: "Beat to a Pulp: Round One". Pulp fiction at its finest.

    I know you can order just about anything for music, but I really don't have any idea on what to get, which is why I wrote this post.

  7. Joe: Thanks for the idea.

    For the longest time, I have not listened to what passes for pop music out here, simply because I thought it wasn't any good.

    But considering I picked up an Alicia Keys c.d. in the past year or so (which I actually like), I'm willing to give that genre a look-see again.

  8. It's unusual, but I like it: a CD called "The Family Jewels (Deluxe Edition)" by Marina and The Diamonds. Check out her videos on YouTube for a sample.

    Non-Fiction - The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan was fascinating and well-written.
    Fiction -
    I'm currently reading Effigy by Alissa York, which is an amazing work of historical fiction.
    My favourite from the past year was Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill, which is modern fiction, poetic and tough at the same time.
    Good luck choosing!

  9. S.R.: Thanks for both the music and book suggestions. I shall check out that group on YouTube just to see what they're about.

    I gotta feeling its gonna be a difficult selection for music and books this weekend.

  10. Our Borders also has a dvd, n great kids toys Dept. I take it you're shopping online? I like walking around in there, to snatch up cheap specials.

    Don't know what to suggest, cause I'd get a dvd plus the next New Jedi Order Star Wars series piece I haven't read... exposes me to alot of different Sci-fi writer styles. Vector Prime by R.A. Salvatore. Borders always has series-

  11. My favorite current group is Metric. As for authors, check out The Lady Matador's Hotel by Cristina Garcia or anything by Oscar Hijuelos and I don't think you'll be disappointed.

  12. Snaggle: I usually walk around Borders whenever I need a break from writing (which I haven't done in a while) or just a break in general. Thing is, this particular Borders really has expanded on certain sections to capitalize on certain faddish trends and constricted on others.

    Yeah, I plan on shopping online this time. Since I have a gift card, I feel a lot more comfortable in doing so.

    R: Thanks for the suggestions. Like I said earlier, this is gonna be a difficult thing to do, as there are quite a lot of excellent suggestions being made.

  13. Mmm...I suggest Bloomability by Sharon Creech. It's middle grade, so that's okay, right? :-) Glad you had a wonderfully SPICY Christmas :-)!

  14. Unfortunately, I've got nothing. I'm scoping everyone else's suggestions!

  15. Jewel: Thanks. I guess MG sort of makes the list. :D

    Mama Z: I know, people have made some great suggestions for music and reading material. It's gonna be tough to choose what to buy this weekend.

  16. G, I wouldn't class Devlin as pop music, he's a Grime/Rap performer.

  17. Joe: Thanks for clearing that up. Shows you how much I listen to the radio (any kind of radio) nowadays.

    I do believe I remember you showing a video clip of him peforming earlier this year.


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