Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Yesterday I finished Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone? by Mark Zwonitzer and Charles Hirshberg - the story of the Carter family in American music.

The Carter family, starting with A.P. Carter, his wife Sara and his sister-in-law (and Sara's cousin) Maybelle and continuing with their children, had a pivotal role in bringing music out of the Appalachian Mountains and exposing it to the rest of America. They either wrote or popularized a huge number of songs that make up the traditional folk and bluegrass repertoire as well as defining the tight harmony sound and guitar backup behind traditional country music.

Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone? has been widely praised and deservedly so. It's a great read and really provides a feel for the early music industry as well as the particulars of Appalachian culture.

Amazon Link: Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

I just finished The Swarm by Frank Schatzing. I was given this book by a friend of mine when he visited last year but I'm just getting around to it now. It's a translation of a German bestseller and fits in the techno-thriller category.

The basic plot is that a series of odd incidents start to point to a strange fact - that the ocean's creatures seem to be working together to kill of humanity! If you've read any Michael Crichton, this book will be very familiar - descriptive catastrophes, lots of scientific background noise, some mostly wooden characters, evil government agents and humanity over-stepping it's bounds and getting into trouble.

The plot is mostly fun and the early catastrophes are interesting but the book bogs down a little once people figure out what is going on and the inevitable mixed expedition of scientists and military set out to fix it.

Amazon Link: The Swarm