Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

Silver SparrowSilver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story starts off with, "My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist." It's told in two parts, first by Dana, who is the daughter in James' secret/illegal marriage. The second part is told by his other daugheter, Chaurisse, from his first marriage. Dana and her mother know the situation, Chaurisse and her mother do not. James is the only character that I didn't care for. I cared about, and pulled for all the others.

Tayari Jones is a wonderful writer who really draws you in to each character's life. It got to a point where I really didn't want to put the book down. The only reason I didn't give it five stars is because the final chapter felt rushed and the story left a lot of questions unanswered. I would love to know more about what happened to these characters' lives.

I also enjoyed reading the interview with the author at the end of the book.  Knowing why she wrote the book the way she did and how she was influenced, made me appreciate the story all the more.

I do look forward to reading other works by Ms. Jones.

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Random Idol post

I haven't posted much about American Idol this season, other than to say I was watching it again thanks to Mr. Harry Connick, Jr.  I don't watch the show religiously and tend to let several episodes build up before I watch, so I'm always a bit behind.  After seeing last week's show (the theme was The 80's) and this week's show, I have a few comments and some advice for some of the contestants.

I like Jessica and Jena's voices, but I don't like their personalities.  When you see them in group shots where they're sitting on the couch with other contestants, both of them are always scowling and looking like they hate the world.  I could be competely wrong, but I think they resent it when other contestants get great comments from the judges.  They never seem happy for any other contestant that does well.

My advice is for Jessica and Sam.  LOOSEN UP.  Sam's too young, but maybe Jessica can use this advice that I saw on Facebook recently:

Last week's performance when she did Blondie's "Call Me," just made me uncomfortable.  It was very clear that she was trying desperately to use the advice given by David Cook (it was great to see him back!) to use the cameras, but it was just so awkward and you could tell she was uncomfortable and thinking too hard.  Okay, maybe alcohol isn't the answer, but she needs something to loosen up. Oh wait, as I'm watching this week's show, Harry just told her to put on some funk or hip-hop music and just dance and watch herself in the mirror.  He's getting at the same point I'm making.  She needs to find the groove and find the beat.

Same goes for Sam.  During Caleb's performance this week, they showed a shot of the other contestants on the couch and most were clapping and dancing.  But poor Sam had his hands shoved in his pockets and he looked extremely awkward.  He reminded me of myself when we first used to go to clubs to go dancing.  I was awkward and uncomfortable for sure, but hey, after a drink or two, I did loosen up and went for it.  Vodka told me I could do it.

And speaking of Caleb.  WOW.  He hasn't had a bad performance yet, and I LOVED last week's performance of Journey's "Faithfully."  He's not the type of performer I'd typically be interested in with the whole ROCK thing, but he just knocks it out every week.  I think he's got the best voice on the show. 

Just a few more weeks to go...it'll be interesting to see how the voting goes.


Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Where'd You Go, BernadetteWhere'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After reading two pretty heavy books, I needed something fun, and Where'd You Go, Bernadette fit the bill. The story is told through emails, faxes, and other correspondence as young Bee tries to figure out why her mother disappeared. I laughed out loud several times, and zipped through the book in a couple of days. I wished for more with the ending, but overall, I enjoyed this book a lot.

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Misheard lyrics -- say what?!

When I'm with my sister and she happens to be singing a song, 7 times out of 10, I'll have to correct her on some of the lyrics.  This is a running joke between us--she gets lyrics wrong all the time, and couldn't care less.

Tonight on the radio they were talking about misheard lyrcis.  The host raised the question (I'm paraphrasing): What song did you butcher for years before you realized what the real lyrics were?

The first guy that called in said that he always had to correct his friend when he was singing Tupac's California Love.  The caller said: "Yeah, you know how in California Love he says, 'California...knows how to party?'  Well, my friend always sings, 'California....no doubt about it.'  And I'm like, what are doing, man?  It's "knows how to party"! 

So, I was sitting there in the car thinking, IT IS?!!  Because, well, I've been singing "no doubt about it" FOR YEARSSSSSSSS.  I checked the lyrics online and sure enough, "knows how to party."  Then I played the song, and I could hear it clear as day.  How did I miss that all this time?!  Oops.

My sister's going to get a kick out of this.

Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

Twelve Years a SlaveTwelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A difficult but important read. There were so many times where I found myself just shaking my head at the injustice and cruelty of slavery. What else could I do? It's just astonishing that human beings were treated this way. This personal account of the slavery system was truly disturbing, but also enlightening.

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