Friday, July 24, 2020

Book Reviews - Blasts from the Past

If I had to come up with a uniting thread for these four reads, I'd say they each have connections to the past. It was a sort of blend of nostalgia in that regard. So, here's what I found my way to this time!

Forever and Ever, Amen: A Memoir of Music, Faith, and Braving the Storms of Life by Randy Travis was the memoir of a musician I grew up listening to. I can remember our summer road trip to Washington D.C. where we alternated his cassette with Alan Jackson's as we drove cross country. That said, I honestly knew zero things about him other than the songs I liked. I saw this on NetGalley and thought I'd see what it was all about. It was really interesting to learn how he came up in the business and worked to stay true to his sound in that process. He also spoke very honestly about two topics - his finances and his struggles with substance use. In talking about finances, he just wasn't aware of what was happening. He put his trust in people, and they just weren't doing what they said they were. Additionally, he's struggled with substance use, and some of those experiences have very much been in the public eye. He was honest about this throughout. He didn't offer excuses, rather he talked about what it was like to struggle. He also talked about his stroke which was a devastating experience, and he's also worked incredibly hard in the rehabilitation process. I appreciate a honest memoir and also know that's a lot to put out into the world. This was a great glimpse into the life of a man who has changed country music.

Babysitters Club Super Special #2: Baby-sitters' Summer Vacation by Ann M. Martin was "source material" I wanted to revisit after watching the new Netflix series. I don't offer "reviews" of BSC books because I'm more in it for the nostalgia. Also, WATCH THE NETFLIX SERIES y'all!!

The Topeka School by Ben Lerner was not for me. Rather than offering a negative review, I'll instead share that the one highlight for me was the mentions of Starlite Skating Center. This is where the skating parties of my childhood were held, so it was the best of nostalgia feels. Other than that - Nope.

I Like To Watch: Arguing My Way through the TV Revolution by Emily Nussbaum was an essay collection by a TV critic. Y'all, as much as I love reading, I also LOVE TV, so this was just totally my jam. What I appreciated was that it wasn't just a collection, but it offered perspective into the "Why?" of her pieces as well as the reception by fans of the show and her readers. Some, er, many of the shows she wrote about I watched. Others were ones I didn't, but I still took so much from her perspective. She also had some great pieces on the creative minds behind shows, and it was interesting to get a window into who these humans are. I'll be honest that I didn't know this author prior to reading this, but I read this collection and felt like I was watching alongside her. This made me remember and reflect on shows I once watched, and it took me back to some of those pop culture moments that mattered - e.g. that freaking Lost finale. This just a delightful and interesting collection. 

Onto the next ones - or TV!