mollyringle: (Froud - bad faeries)
Can you do something for me, world? Go out there and write a positive review about something you liked, in a place where everyone can see it, or at least where the creator of the thing you liked can see it. Your review could be for a book, a music album, a cool thing you bought on Etsy, you name it. Or, if you’d rather, compliment someone in person for something they did that you appreciate. Positive reviews only, today.

I get the feeling that the collective mood of the world lately is—understandably—stressed and cranky. And this stress seems to be emerging in all kinds of ways, including fault-finding with things (like novels, music, or cool art projects on Etsy) that are not in any way to blame for the state of the world, but people are feeling the need to complain, so they complain about more stuff than they used to.

So today I’m asking you to balance the score by doing the opposite. Go out and say something nice. Leave a good review. Praise those who are creating stuff you enjoy. And make sure you put your words where those creators can see them. Because believe me, it will help. You will make their day, if no one else’s.
mollyringle: (Gutenberg)

Today on writing inspiration, my idea is...

7.     Make a playlist for your story.

Sometimes visuals aren’t enough for inspiration, and you need the help of music. With my stories, I nearly always end up choosing certain songs as the definitive songs that mean this story and these characters. It’s their song, man! Or rather, their songs, plural. Once I’ve decided what those songs are—or, more accurately, once those songs have popped up in my life and self-proclaimed their perfection for my purposes—I put them on a playlist (iTunes, Amazon Prime Music, Spotify…choose your favorite method) and listen to them when going for a walk or doing housework, and daydream about the story. I often find that I can’t listen to them while actually writing, because it’s too distracting, but your mileage may vary.

If you’re the type who can be affected by music (which is most of us), this tip can work magic on your inspiration. However, don’t expect other people to feel the same about the songs you chose for your story. Even if you have a devoted fan base (which most of us don’t, and won’t), readers will likely come up with their own favorite songs they would choose for your work. Similarly, they’ll probably have different casting ideas from yours. But that’s okay. These tips are for getting you to write the story and love it. People get to read the story and love it in their own way, just as we all have, as readers with our favorite books.

That said, if you do want to listen to the playlist I put together for The Chrysomelia Stories (the Persephone trilogy), it’s here.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and I’ll come up with more daily tips for one more week before we’re done!

mollyringle: (parfumerie)

It’s been easy for everyone to bemoan how much 2016 sucked. I don’t need to rehash the more traumatizing parts of the news for you.

Instead I’m going to write a post of things that were good in 2016. For me, at least.

Of my novel-writing projects:
Immortal’s Spring was released in June, and wrapped up my Persephone-myth-based trilogy. By that time I had also finished writing The Goblins of Bellwater, about which you’ll hear more soon, and started writing (rewriting, actually) Boy in Eyeliner, a guy/guy love story in modern day with many a nod to '80s new wave music and fashion. I just finished a complete first draft of that and will be hitting up some beta readers to critique it in a couple of weeks here. I have been completely loving it, proving that immersing myself in a creative project I genuinely dig is the way to save my sanity.

Of music:
The Monkees released a new album, and it was awesome. Yes, I was as surprised about that whole sentence as you are. Such a treat for us lifelong Monkees fans.
A few other groups I’ve discovered this year and adore (not to say they all have new albums this year, just new to me): Bleachers, Børns, Nicole Atkins, Julian Casablancas, Temples.

Of TV:
Grantchester has been a British-murder-mystery delight.
New Girl is appealingly funny so far.
Gilmore Girls ran their revival (discussed in an earlier post).
I’ve watched the first episode of Call the Midwife and am much inspired and will watch more.
New Sherlock underway, hurrah!

Of skin products:
My fussy, sensitive skin is actually liking the routine I give it now, with many of these products being ones I first tried in 2016. None of them cost ridiculous amounts, either, which is good because I’m also fussy about not spending too much on products:
Wash morning and night with CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser (and wash really well, but with fingertips only, no washcloth or other harsh scrubbing)
In morning: simple rosewater as toner (I like the food-grade Cortas brand; comes in cute glass drink bottle, and you can in fact put some in your drinks or cooking too if you want), and follow up with a little bit of Toulon Cellular Defense Face Moisturizer.
In evening: I usually don’t bother with toner, and put on some Oz Natural Super Youth Retinol Moisturizer.
Special treatment for the aging eyes: I like the movie-star trick of dabbing a tiny bit of petroleum jelly around my eyes, morning and night. Also, DON’T RUB YOUR EYES. Yeah, it feels good, but you drag the skin around and cause more wrinkling, bagginess, and discoloration over time. Crow’s feet from smiling, though: I embrace those.

Of perfumes:
Some tried in 2016 that I loved:

Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel: a “Dad’s aftershave” kind of scent, nice and cheap too, but especially fresh and bracing. Hint of powdery violet in the mix as well.

Agent Provocateur: also nice and cheap. Considering I usually only LIKE rose scents, not love them, I’m surprised how much this has grabbed me. Musky, elegant, reminiscent of red lipstick; reminds me of something Satine in Moulin Rouge might wear.

Gres Cabochard: yet another that’s inexpensive. Handy that way. A lot of similarity to Robert Piguet Bandit (which I also love), in that it’s a strange but captivating green-plus-leather blend. Bad-ass in an old-fashioned way.

Etat Libre d’Orange The Afternoon of a Faun: “vegetal” is a good word for this one. It almost smells like celery sometimes, but in a sweet and earthy way, thanks to the immortelle and other notes. It lingers and stays warm and alluring, and is decidedly unique.

Tauervillle Incense Flash: this is a big YES for those of us who like smoky incense scents. With a suggestion of campfire in this one. Beautiful.

Profumum Roma Audace: vetiver done smooth. Warm and green like an overgrown humid summer riverside.

Solstice Scents Sycamore Chai: warm slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream, drying down to a lovely and non-cloying marshmallow-vanilla.

Solstice Scents Maplewood Inn: sweet mug of chai with a fire burning in the hearth and freshly split pine logs next to it.

Papillon Salome: makes me think of Colette’s stories: a woman's apartment dedicated to shameless sensual luxury; cigarettes and long-slept-in bedsheets, but also fresh pretty flowers brought in daily, and the nicest of soaps in the bath.

...and I'll stop there. For now.

mollyringle: (winters jewels)

While (badly) playing songs on piano tonight from my book of Christmas sheet music, I found myself amused, as I am every year, by the repeated insistence on figgy pudding in "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." I mean, it's the subject of three of the four verses. So I tweeted about that, and got an even more amusing response out of the blue within minutes.




Speaking of holiday carols: as someone slightly more inclined toward paganism than Christianity (though I have a Christmas tree in the house and Christmas music and all that--I count as a "cultural Christian" when it comes to some of the holidays), I have to tip the hat every year to "Deck the Halls," which is possibly the only popular carol that doesn't reference Christmas or Jesus anywhere in it. It's all about Yuletide and greenery and harps and gay apparel and fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la. Also it's ridiculously cheerful.

So, I wish you a merry Christmas, a happy new year, a joyous Yule, a happy Hanukkah, and good times in whatever else you might be up to at the end of this calendar year. And of course I really hope you get figgy pudding. If that's actually any good. I'm not sure I've tried it, to be honest.

mollyringle: (Froud - bad faeries)
This isn't usually one of those pages where I commemorate recently deceased celebrities, but I mean, DAVID BOWIE, people.

I'm someone who's rarely ever been cool (in my own eyes), so I've often pondered the elusive quality of "cool." Most of us would agree we couldn't define it exactly, but we know it when we see it. And I've always felt Bowie embodied it more than just about anyone on the planet. (Or should I say the galaxy?)

He also embodied creativity, which is one of the most important values in human life, certainly in my life. Being cool was really just a side product of how intensely, personally creative he was. And I think the reason Bowie came across as so cool and charming, even at his stylistically weirdest, was because he put creativity first. I get the impression he was always trying new stuff out merely because he wanted to, and he didn't particularly care if anyone else liked it or not.

He managed to be elegant as a duke and bad-ass as a rock star at the same time. He is one of the only people who could have ever made that Labyrinth costume look sexy. He is an LGBTQ hero. I was fascinated with his bicolored eyes and sculpted hair on my older sisters' vinyl record covers. His gorgeous voice and his songs are part of my childhood, and when I hear them on the radio I usually still linger on the station and turn up the volume. The "Changes" greatest hits album was one of the first CDs I ever bought, when I finally got my own CD player (and then later I bought more of his proper albums). He always seemed a bit like he was a fae creature or an alien--his crazy experimental fashions and his fascination with space travel may have reinforced that impression--and therefore it doesn't seem possible that he could have died. But he was a human after all, and can teach us all something about how to be creative mortals.

I'm pretty sure beings in other parts of the galaxy are listening to him right now. Earthlings will love and remember you always, Bowie!

Also this:

mollyringle: (arthur)
I still have SUCH a fandom hangover after the Merlin finale. So I wrote this, to the tune of that one Sinead O'Connor song we all know by heart. I figure anyone who's ever had a fandom hangover can relate, and might smile.

Btw, despite the lyrics, I have in fact started watching Once Upon a Time and I do actually like it so far and will keep watching, in hopes that it will ease me off this angst.

---
It's been seven hours and fifteen days
Since "The Diamond of the Day"
I read fic every night and weep all day
Since "The Diamond of the Day"

Now that it's done I can watch whatever I want
Fill my queue with whatever I choose
I can binge on shows that all my friends are on
But nothing, I said nothing can take away these blues

'Cause nothing compares, nothing compares to you

It's been so lonely without my knights
No more fun in Camelot
Nothing can stop these fangirl tears from flowing
Tell me, Arthur, how is Avalon?

Nothing compares, nothing compares to you

I can Google everything Colin Morgan's done
But it'd only remind me of you
I went onto Facebook and guess what they told me
Guess what they told me
They said girl you better try Once Upon A Time or Robin Hood
But that's no good

'Cause nothing compares, nothing compares to you

All the laughter over donkey ears
From the old days
All died with that final show
I know that hiding magic, Merlin, was sometimes hard
But we're willing to let all the plot holes slide

Nothing compares, nothing compares to you
mollyringle: (angsssty)

Short version: I've broken up with Facebook.

Long version, in the form of a mental conversation held with myself many, many times over the last couple of years:

Me: I need to cut back on all the ways I waste time.

Mind: Such as Facebook?

Me: Maybe, but, you know, other stuff too. All the activities that are mostly just adding to my stress instead of helping me.

Mind: So, Facebook.

Me: Haha, but it's handy to have a login there, in case people need to tag me.

Mind: So that you can come to the site and wind up wasting tons of time on Facebook.

Me: I guess, but also, I mean, the news, I should avoid the news. That's just an endless stream of upsetting stuff.

Mind: So is Facebook. Which also is half advertising and news stories these days.

Me: Well...I could just try avoiding Facebook but going to it sometimes...

Mind: We've tried that. You suck at it. You end up spending as much time there as ever. Pull the plug.

Me: But I have to keep my author page. Marketing says I have to.

Mind: So keep that. Pull the plug on the main one, though. You know it felt good that one time you did it before.

Me: Well...true...but people might forget about me.

Mind: People you've never met, or hardly ever see? You were just complaining about how you wanted more time to yourself, and more time for the people you know in real life.

Me: Hm. Then. Okay. Yes.

Also, I was tired of having snark lobbed at me on my page when I don’t do that on other people’s pages. Tired of people forgetting there are human beings on the other end of the internet. Tired of keeping track of everyone else’s drama. And tired of the clickbait, and the ads, and the hiding of posts, and everything else FB does wrong. I’m sure I do have “issues” to work out (look up "generalized anxiety disorder" and "highly sensitive person" to name two of the major ones), but I would submit that so do lots and lots of my friends list, and they may not even realize how much worse FB is making those issues.

Today in the wake of clicking the "delete" button, I feel drained and still tired, but lighter. Freer. Once I unhook the Pavlovian reaching for social media from my brain ("An interesting thought! I should post it on Facebook!"), I will probably be freer still. Of course, I did come back here, to social media, to discuss it, but LJ has always been better at being a solid and fairly sedate record of life, rather than a snark-comment badminton-match like Facebook. (And lately, like, almost no one is around on LJ anyway.)

Stuff I'm doing and enjoying instead: Amazon Prime's music library is pretty sweet. That has supplied me with a delightful soundtrack of all kinds of stuff the last few days. And I've been watching "Merlin" on Netflix, and am now in the early episodes of season 4. Adorable Arthuriana angst and sparkly magic and all-too-easy slash potential! Yay! And of course, loads more time for reading and writing. (The reading lately is book 2 of Cinda Williams Chima's Seven Realms series - fun mostly-teen high fantasy with a refreshing Native-American-like slant to some of the tribes.)

This weekend I plan to spend more time outdoors, sitting under leafy trees, gazing at Puget Sound, picking flowers, that kind of thing. May you be fortunate enough to do similar. Cheers!

mollyringle: (Monkees - b&w)
Things I don't particularly miss about the '80s and '90s, music industry edition:

1. Having to phone the radio station and ask the DJ in order to find out the name of the song and artist. And then having no way to hear it again that day unless you went to the record store. And even then they might not have it. You kids these days with your YouTube and your Spotify, you're lucky.

2. Having to do a somewhat involved math problem in order to best arrange the songs on a 90-minute mix tape.

3. "Hidden tracks" that took the form of a 14-minute track at the end of a CD: a 4-minute song, then 5 minutes of silence, then the hidden track. Srsly, who told them people would like that?

Link salad

Jun. 16th, 2014 12:39 pm
mollyringle: (Buffy - drive like a spaz)
Some things that have made me laugh lately:

Two medieval monks invent maps.
MONK #1: wait remind me of what Asia looks like when you put it all together at once
MONK #2: a big horse with wings that’s about to eat Europe
MONK #1: right right thanks
MONK #2: no problem

Similarly, Western Art History: 500 Years of Women Ignoring Men.

A Benedict Cumberbatch coloring book that just got released on Amazon. "This colouring in activity book celebrates Mr Cumberbatch with a series of black and white drawings for you to colour in. All you need is some colour pencils, felt tip pens, good old crayons… or would watercolours suit this posh poster boy better?"
We're almost through season 3 of "Sherlock" (finally, belatedly), so, good timing.

The guy whose video went deservedly viral; the one in which he lip-synched to Celine Dion's "All By Myself" when stuck overnight in the Las Vegas airport.

Flight of the Conchords, the HBO show that ran for two seasons, featuring two lovable, silly, highly parody-talented musicians from New Zealand. I adore pretty much all of it that I've seen so far. Available to stream free on Amazon Prime if you have that.
mollyringle: (winters jewels)
FINALLY, I saw Les Misérables, the latest film installment. It only took this long because I have kids, and arranging the sitter and coaxing my husband to use our precious date night for this, well, these things take time. (Thank you for being coaxed, dear husband.)

Thoughts in random order!

Evidently, when someone says, "Who goes there?", you should not answer, "French revolution." Doesn't go over well.

Extreme close-ups during singing: a few too many of them. It was like Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U" video, over and over. Mind you, it was impressive to know we were hearing the actual singing the actors were doing during those takes. And I found it reassuring that famous beautiful people have pores and little brown spots and other skin imperfections too. Thank heavens.

Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway both deserve their Oscar nods. Russell Crowe wasn't as bad as I expected; in fact, he made Javert more endearing than I usually find him. (The bit with the medal he pins on someone else who shall remain spoiler-free-nameless was a very moving addition, though that gesture isn't in the book.)

I love Gavroche, and Daniel Huttlestone did a great job, but must they always have him do an Artful Dodger accent? We are in *France* here, you know. Not London.

You know what I'm going to say I disliked, if you've read my Les Mis thoughts before. Yeah, that's right: the way they condense down the gorgeous, lengthy, super-romantic Cosette-and-Marius relationship from the book into, literally, one day. No one is going to buy it, their being "in love" when they just met a second ago. Why the hell couldn't the filmmakers give them a montage, Marius sneaking in night after night to sit and talk with Cosette in the garden, the way the book has it? In the book, it's Cosette--not Eponine--he's buddies with, Cosette (not Eponine) he sees regularly and talks for hours with and knows really well after a month or so of such meetings. In the book, he talks to Eponine a couple of times. She's obviously into him, and he's awkward about it, and he uses her to get Cosette's address because she's willing, but that's about it. But in the musical, oh no, it isn't enough that they give Eponine the most gorgeous songs; they also have to rob Cosette and Marius of any real, actual interaction that any sane person would feel sympathy for. ARGH. Don't get me started. Whoops, too late.

Give me a second while I calm down from that rant. Seethe. Deep breath. Okay.

Eddie Redmayne at least did save the part of Marius from what all too often becomes blandness and idiocy in many versions. He had the dorky, stammering, happy-in-love thing down, but also showed his noble revolutionary side well.

Favorite surprise-cutie revolutionary: Grantaire, played by George Blagden. Hel-lo! Also, much love for the book-faithful moment in which he opts to die next to Enjolras. (Spoiler there. Sorry. Whatever; no one reads LiveJournal.)

Aaron Tveit as Enjolras was, of course, beautiful. Highly well cast. And I'm so glad they did away with his Adam-Ant gold-barred jacket from the stage version in favor of a basic red one.

Impressive barricade, guys! Coffin in front, looked like. Really sends the message, "Pretty much everyone here is going to die." Oh, but I loved how one of the Friends of the ABC got the tavern mistress's chair by hauling her off it in a big long kiss. There weren't enough smooches in this film, really.

The Thenardiers were almost too lovable. Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter, despite looking ridiculous, pulled off the parts with surprising subtlety and humor, to the degree that I was glad to see them whenever they showed up. That's not the case in the book; the Thenardiers *are* a bit humorous, but the general reaction of most readers is, "OMFG, I hate these people." But that's okay. The movie benefited from the comic relief.

Elephant statue! Another book-faithful detail. Hurrah.

I managed not to cry in the cinema. I'm good at being stoic in public that way. But if I had this at home on DVD, there would have been waterworks.

"Bring Him Home," from the viewpoint of the book reader, doesn't make a lot of sense. Valjean kind of hates Marius at that point, but he is risking his life to save Marius anyway because it would make Cosette happy. This whole "he's like the son I might have known" stuff doesn't really wash for me, this early on in their acquaintance.

That said, 2 hours and 37 minutes is really not enough to do justice to a story of this depth and breadth. The music is wonderful, and the costumes and scenery were breathtaking, and I'm so glad this movie version exists. But someone needs to do a perfect, lengthy miniseries someday. With all the RIGHT Cosette-Marius-Eponine dynamics, dammit. Shoujo Cosette is doing a fairly good job so far actually, but it's, you know, anime. For innocent kids. With way more giggles and fluffy puppies than Victor Hugo intended.

And may I remind you that I summed up The Brick (that is, the unabridged novel version of Les Mis) with my own attempt at condensing things, so you can see what the musical changed, if you wish.

VIVE LA FRANCE. Au revoir.
mollyringle: (Buffet of victims)
Good couple of days for my fandoms lately.

We have of course the newer, longer Hobbit trailer...



...in which I found myself unexpectedly thinking, "Dang, there are some hot dwarves in that bunch." (Particularly Kili, though Thorin is handsome as well.) If it looks as though we're in for some broad, slightly dumb humor--well, let's be fair; that was kind of canon for The Hobbit as a novel. Drunk carousing elves and plate-chucking dwarves are part of what Tolkien gave us to work with. Can't expect Peter Jackson to just leave that lying on the table, can you?

Incidentally, as [livejournal.com profile] serai1 and I were discussing yesterday, Martin Freeman looks perfect as Bilbo, partially because he's already proven himself a great Arthur Dent--and, if we think about it, Arthur Dent kind of is Bilbo. They're both grumpy homebodies hauled at great reluctance from their houses to go on a grand perilous adventure, and spend most of the time wishing they had their tea. Or handkerchiefs. Hey, I can completely relate.

Switching gears, we also got an extended preview/trailer/thing for the new Les Misérables:



The more I see of it, the more I dare think they're getting Hugo's story as right as they can. They're adding book-faithful details that weren't in the stage show, such as the elephant statue inside which Gavroche sleeps. And the cast's voices sound awesome so far.

But if that's too heart-wrenching for you, and you want something funny, enjoy Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segel breaking into an impromptu version of Javert and Valjean's confrontation song:



I LOL'd. Now I want Neil Patrick Harris to be in a production of Les Mis. He'd be a great Javert, but honestly he could be any part he wanted. Enjolras, Fantine, Eponine--whatever. He'd rock it.
mollyringle: (Monkees - b&w)
What is your favorite but lesser-known song by a well-known group? For me, with U2, it's "Ultraviolet (Light My Way)."



It's rarely tagged as anyone's favorite U2 song, but it might be mine. (However, like most girls, I do love "With or Without You.") I rediscovered "Ultraviolet" recently while looking at songs starting with U on my iPod, in search of "Under Pressure" by Queen and Bowie--because, as everyone *does* know, that's one of the best rock songs ever. Happy to find this U2 treasure instead, though.
mollyringle: (Monkeemen)
If you've known me long enough, you already know I've been a Monkees fan since I discovered them in middle school on those Nickelodeon re-runs. (Look! One of my oldest LJ icons is a Monkees icon.) And because I was so young and tender when discovering them, I kind of imprinted upon them; I can't view them unsentimentally or objectively, much as you wouldn't be able to view objectively the dog you grew up with. Therefore it goes without saying that I'm stunned and, mostly, very very sad about the death of Davy Jones.

He was my first crush in the band, and a crush at that age sticks with you as part of what makes up your fabric. I'll always be fond of Davy, even if, had we all been the same age and not born tragically thirty years apart, I would have broken up with him eventually and tried for Mike (or "Nez" as the true fans say)--perhaps after a two-week summer fling with Micky. But I don't know; Davy's English accent might have kept me around a while.

Now, obviously he was cute, ready-made to be the TV heartthrob of 14-year-old girls in the '60s...



On the goofy, weird TV show invented to advertise the band, whenever they needed one of the boys to fall instantly in love with some girl and snog her on screen, Davy got the job nine times out of ten. Girls screamed and cried and had seizures for him in real life, nearly to the same degree as any Beatle ever enjoyed. Not bad for a bloke who stood 5'3" (in boots, he clarified with a grin once--and we know how high boot heels could be in the sixties).

Some of the songs they gave him to sing were the absolute sappiest, so gloppy and sticky-sweet you wanted to pour them over your pancakes. (Witness "The Day We Fall in Love," "I'll Be True to You (Yes I Will)" or "I Want to Be Free.") However, he was fully capable at singing, dancing, and acting--he was stage-trained and was nominated for a Tony in his youth--and clearly had fun at it. I highly recommend you have a look at this Rolling Stone tribute, as it gives several great, amusing examples of Davy Moments from the Monkees era.

Another great link from right here in Seattle: the excellent radio station KEXP serves up Monkees songs in their original state, and as covered by others; as well as vice-versa sometimes.

And a beautiful blog entry, complete with videos, from a fan about my age who clearly gets it.

I feel almost as sad as if one of my own uncles or cousins had died. But the somber news today has at least revived the good times I had listening to this band, watching them on cable TV, and playing air guitar to their songs with my little sister on our front porch.

Should you care, these are from my own journal archives:

A brief list of my favorite Monkees songs, split into categories like "cute and catchy Davy songs" and "psychedelia."
A short and very silly piece of fanfic in which Davy meets Legolas, which I totally forgot I had written, until today.
mollyringle: (kickin yr dog)
My older son (age 5) was humming along with that "Pumped-Up Kicks" song in the car today, and sang part of it as "...better run, better run, faster than my brother." It was very cute, especially given that his little brother was in fact in the car with us. So I didn't have the heart to tell him the real lyrics. ("Bullets," not "brother.")

I mean, if they're really talking about a school shooting, that's pretty creepy. But as countless numbers of us have done for decades with The Evil Rock Music, I'll just ignore the disturbing lyrics and focus on the catchy beat.

Mix CD

Aug. 17th, 2011 04:08 pm
mollyringle: (moon over ocean)
I made a CD of pop songs I suspected my wee kids would like. Given the following playlist, evidently I think my kids will enjoy a lot of '80s synthesizer. (And some occasional catchy '60s guitar.) Because, hey, that's what *I* like.



And track 15 is by The Monkees, of course. Silly iTunes and its failure to shrink long titles so they're readable.

The kids *love* a couple of Vampire Weekend tracks from a previous mix CD, and I attribute that to the bouncy strings riff, so I'm hoping they can relate to a similar sound in keyboards.

And let me know if you need a copy of this CD too. ;)
mollyringle: (Default)
I recently read The Hambledown Dream by Dean Mayes, and typed up this review for Amazon and Goodreads. Am sharing it here too, in the hopes of making this book find additional happy readers!

* * *

From darkness to light, utter ruin to the highest joy, worthlessness to triumph--Dean Mayes' novel takes us through the biggest transformations a protagonist can undergo, and displays sheer beauty throughout. It's the kind of story that had me almost jumping up and down in excitement by the end, eager to cheer the characters on to their certain reunion.

Plotwise, it's a bit like, say, the film Sleepless in Seattle,* where the main question isn't "Will they get together?" so much as "Will they ever meet?"--or rather, "Surely they'll meet eventually, but when, and how will it go?" For Baltimore and Seattle, however, substitute Chicago and a small, gorgeous seaside town (Hambledown) in Australia. Plus, introduce a paranormal element. Andy, the young drug addict barely scraping by in Chicago, gets a wake-up call in the form of a near-death overdose, from which he wakes up with the distinct feeling that another soul has taken up residence in his mind. Indeed it has, and as the two souls become one, Andy turns his life around 180 degrees, and brings joy back into not only his own family but also to a heartbroken young Australian woman who's mourning her dead lover. Or is he really gone? Guess who that extra soul just might be...

Mayes writes addictive prose, fast-paced and even brutal during the action sequences (Andy knows some rough characters in his drug days), but lyrical and enchanting when the subject turns to love--or music. This is decidedly one of those novels that you long to have a soundtrack for, so you can hear Andy play that guitar with ever-increasing skill and emotion. Luckily Dean has taken care of that on his blog, giving us a playlist and YouTube clips to listen to. :)

Love is stronger than death, as yet another music group once put it, and Dean's novel explores that theme in beautiful ways that brought tears to my eyes more than once, and left me bubbling over with happiness at the end. Looking forward to more from this author, definitely!

* Another film it kind of reminded me of is August Rush. The guitar/music theme as well as the long-lost lovers made me think of it--but, strange as it may sound, Mayes' is less weird and actually makes more sense.
mollyringle: (sepia)
Things I've given up in recent years that I don't particularly miss:

Most of my hair products
Getting into arguments online (yes, email counts)
Cute but uncomfortable shoes
Seeing movies in the cinema
Watching violent or depressing movies
Keeping up with the news

I could also make a list of things I've given up that I do miss and hope to have again someday, but I'm focusing on the positive here. Comfort and simplicity are of the good.

Humor, meanwhile, is always good. So enjoy this inspired blend of Weird Al and Doctor Who, in which it is proven that David Tennant's Doctor is, indeed, white and nerdy. No wonder I loved him!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-4_kvxPBYY
mollyringle: (Dr Who - animated Fireplace kiss)
http://di-br.livejournal.com/232363.html - This one for those who fancy the Doctor most (features Nine and Ten)...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KD9elxsc5sY - ...and this one for those who fancy the Master.

Both are to Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" (which I've always liked inordinately much), and fit the song's grandiose quality quite well. Also, though I haven't caught up to the newest Who yet, these are totally making me want to!
mollyringle: (Monkeemen)
Vignette on how the times have changed:

Scene: Steve and I are listening to a CD collection of British Invasion hits from the '60s--Dusty Springfield, Donovan, Tom Jones, etc.

Steve: These all have an "insurance commercial" type of feel.
Me: I was thinking "granola commercial."
Steve: Yeah. Same thing, basically.

But don't be offended. It'll happen to our generation too. In another 30 years, they'll be playing Death Cab for Cutie and the Arcade Fire as the background music for insurance and granola commercials.
mollyringle: (iPod)
Let's have an open forum: name a musical group (or composer) you think everyone should hear. This can be a longtime love, a recent obsession, or a personal advertisement; whatever you wish. A little bit of description of what kind of music they make would be helpful too.

Then I, and others reading this, can rush out to our libraries and record stores, or at least the Amazon.com "listen to samples" features, and find some new tunes.

My own recommendations? Well, lately I'm working my slow way through the works of Rufus Wainwright (theatrical-style singer/songwriter), and I am enjoying that. Also have discovered Bell X1 (Irish pop) recently, and they've got some delightfully catchy stuff. And naturally I think everyone should look up The Cure and Pulp from the '80s and '90s if not every other era...

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