Record Store Day!

So tomorrow is Record Store Day, where a bunch of people basically cash mob record stores.  There are all sorts of limited editions and fancy stuff that is only available on that day — some people like it, some people hate it.  I don’t care about limited editions, because I don’t really know any modern bands, and I’m not a collector. But I like the whole idea of Record Store Day because I love people coming together and shopping in record stores, places that were once staples and now thanks to the internet and iTunes, are struggling much like bookstores.

Last year I happened to be in Birmingham, Alabama and went to Charlemagne Records, where I always go when I’m there. (I always buy a used George Shearing record.  It’s my souvenir, and they always have a ton. And the songs and covers are so great!) There are usually two other people in the store, max — usually it’s just me, poking in the bins. But on Record Store Day, it was packed! Everyone was having a good time, and it was fabulous.  (I bought a George Shearing record, of course.  And a Keely Smith for good measure.)

So if you’re lucky enough to still have a record store in your town, go show them some love.  And may I suggest one of my all-time favorite records?


I swear, this album makes me feel glad to be alive.  And makes me want to sip a cocktail in a smoky nightclub, circa 1962.  SO good!

Go give your local record store — or any independent local store — some love tomorrow.  I wish we didn’t have to have things like Record Store Day or Bookstore Day to keep these businesses going — as far as I’m concerned, every day should be Record Store Day.  But at least there’s a day to celebrate, right?  Viva la Vinyl!

Day 10: A Book I Like (Number 1)

I’ve really been enjoying this 100 Day Project, and updating my website every day.  I’m proud of myself!  And I find myself thinking of things to write, what I think you might like to read, trying to write short, quick pieces instead of my usual long winded ones, which is actually a challenge.  It’s been fun!

And I keep thinking about structure.  I know it doesn’t matter — it’s my website and I can do whatever I want — but I like the thought.  So I’ll be doing HOT TOPIC call-outs on Wednesdays (I got THEE best suggestion today and I’m thrilled) and posting the finished piece on Saturdays.  I like the whole Throwback Thursday thing, a few free days, and on Wednesdays I want to do a regular “A Book I Like.”

I’m not very good at writing book reviews or copy, but I love recommending books and love it when people enjoy my recommendations. It’s one of my favorite things in the world.  I was a great bookseller! (Well, I still am to a degree on Sunday mornings at The Bookmark, so come on in!) So I’m not going to write lengthy reviews or pithy blurbs — just know if I post it here I think it’s worth going to the bookstore and picking it up.  (And yes, go to a bookstore.  They need your love.)

So tonight I’ll start with the two books I’ve read for the two book clubs I’m in this week, since they are still fresh in my mind. (As I’ve gotten older, I’m starting to forget details and plots of books I’ve read, but can remember storylines and mostly how I felt when I was through. And I do read a lot of books  It’s just that now some of them have fallen out of my head.)

The first one is Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson:


Now, I know some of you will say, “But it’s a kid’s book!”  Stop right there.  So many Young Adult books are better than many adult books these days.  I’m constantly thrilled by this genre, which just keeps getting better and better with talented, lovely writers.  This one is the cream of the crop — it’s absolutely wonderful.  And if you say, “But it’s poetry!” I’ll stop you again.  I normally prefer prose, but good poetry — its use of beautiful language and a story to tell — makes me marvel.  I marveled at this.  Five stars.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan


This one is fun — a quick read, but you think about it afterwards.  I was especially interested because of the tech vs “OK” (“Old Knowledge” = pre-internet = print books ) aspect and I love the bookstore setting.  The beginning is charming, and momentum is quick, and I liked the overall message a lot.  I’ll admit, I wanted it to be quirkier — I guess I was expecting more Tales of the City than a literary DaVinci Code, but I enjoyed that part about it, too.  Perfect airplane reading, which I appreciate the most. And bonus: the cover glows in the dark! Three stars.

Go get them and enjoy!

New Idea: HOT TOPIC!


Okay, I had an idea! So you don’t have to only read about celebrity birthdays or watch Xanadu videos on this here website, I thought I’d spice things up a bit and have a Reader’s Choice Day — where YOU, dear readers, give me a HOT TOPIC (within reason!) and I’ll write something short and sweet about that, or take a photo or video, or write a haiku.  I’ll do it weekly (and pray for takers), and “publish” it on Friday.

Sound good?  Aaaaaaand GO!

Happy Birthday, Loretta Lynn!

A few years ago, my friend and I took one of the most epic road trips you can possibly take — we went to Mecca.  No, not the “Holy City,” but rather the Holy Estate of The King:  Graceland.  Oh, it was fantastic.  We stayed at The Heartbreak Hotel across the street, along with German Elvis impersonators in wheelchairs.  We made many friends in the elevator, because we were all there for a common purpose: our love of Elvis Aron Presley.  (Though no one freaked out as hard as we did when they saw The Jungle Room. Had we not lost our nerve, we would have crawled over the barrier and been arrested.  It would have been our second run-in with the law in Memphis, but that’s another story for another time.)  It was RAPTUROUS.

We started the trip in Nashville (Cooter’s and The Willie Nelson General Store are MUST SEEs, FYI), and made our way to Memphis after having the biscuit sampler at The Loveless Cafe, of course.  And on the way there we made the greatest pit stop of all time — Loretta Lynn’s Hurricane Mills!

I really, really wish we’d spent more time there — we really only got to stop and eat some deliciously decadent chocolate pecan pie, buy my husband some Loretta Lynn Hot Sauce (for some reason we bought him hot sauce as a souvenir everywhere we went, and he was sort of confused by that), and take in the beauty of this portrait of Loretta with her baby sister, Crystal.


There was also a glamorous tapestry:


And crafts made in a holler (Butcher Holler?) somewhere:


We also witnessed two waitresses and the manager get into a terrible fight, and one of them stormed out while everyone else talked about what a skank she was.  I doubt she works there anymore, but you never know.  That was kind of my favorite part of the whole stop. It was ALMOST Fist City!

All in all, it was really great.  Next time (and there WILL be a next time), I’m going to check out The Dude Ranch, too!  And I will make sure I get a cookbook.  I’m really sad I didn’t get a cookbook, so I NEED to go back.  I need one of those hillbilly cell phones, too.  (What was I thinking, not buying one for everyone I know?  We could have had the friends and family plan!)

But I did get a magnet, so every day when I open my refrigerator, I see Loretta smiling at me in her understanding way and I love her.  Happy Birthday, Coal Miner’s Daughter!