Friday, March 28, 2008

Last night, we saw the Barefoot Nellies and Mighty Crows at the Starry Plough in Berkeley.

I've been friends with members of both bands since before they were in bands, so it is nice to see them developing as bands. The greatest strength of both bands is their singing - they each have a number of strong singers in their band and do a lot of great harmony pieces. And they've both developed good band rhythms over the years. I think the Crows are a little more polished while the Nellies are a little more adventurous in their set, even including a few nice original numbers.

If you like local bluegrass, you owe it to yourself to check out these two bands. And the Nellies even have a live CD for sale now. You can't get it online anywhere yet, so you'll have to show up at a show to get a copy.

This was the first time we've been to the Starry Plough and we'll probaby go back - it seemed like a very nice little venue for seeing local music, and it's only 10 minutes from my house, which is a big plus.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Last night I finished Something Rotten, the fourth book in the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde. I wrote about the third book in the series here.

In Something Rotten, Thursday returns to the real world after having spent most of the time in the previous two books hiding out inside fiction. It is my favourite of Fforde's books, so far, and does a nice job of wrapping up pretty much all of the loose threads from the previous books. So much so, that I thought while reading it that it might be the last in the series but I now see that there is a fifth book, and a planned sixth book forthcoming. It also gets extra marks from me for having less of the meta-fiction devices used, sometimes to excess, in the previous books.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Over the weekend, I finished re-reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

The premise of American Gods is that all gods are real, but are created, and sustained, by belief and worship. When immigrants came to North America, they brought copies of their gods with them but they have not thrived in their new environment. This serves as the backdrop for the main character's interactions with Odin and his schemes.

It's Gaiman's best book so far, and very well written, with enough character development and insight into the human condition to elevate it above a lot of modern fantasy.