By far my favorite author (and really, who doesn't love Kurt), I finally got around to reading another of his books thanks to this lovely job. Mother Night blew my expectations of the way Kurt Vonnegut writes. Most of his books that I have read so far have been black satire with a twist of science fiction. This one takes a different turn on his usual (or maybe not usual since I don't have too many of his books under my belt yet) style of writing. In this captivating book, Kurt tells the tale of a Nazi propagandist, a radio show host who said some of the worst things about the Jews and the enemies of Germany during the war, being hel in an Israeli prison for his war crimes. The thing is, Howard J. Campbell Jr. was an American spy who transmitted secret messages through his speeches to some of the most important people involved in the war. Where does the line end, however? What exactly can he be considered guilty of? His own identity is torn between different worlds and he struggles as he writes the story of his life from the war to the present day. The story is more than just a political satire. It is a beautiful love story, a story about how art is more important the lot of human advancements and how one man's identity can be skewed into fragments. The whole theme of multiple identities can be found in many characters from the soldiers of the war to the ones closest to him. I highyl reccomend this novel to all fans of the Vonnegut way. It isn't as hilariously dark as some of the others, but it may be one of his most meaningful and touching stories he has ever written. Also, this was made into a movie in 1996 starring Nick Nolte. I will be checking that out as soon as possible.
In other news, there are a lot of great albums out there these days and new additives to my list from previous are pending and already out. As of now, here are two quickie reviews for two of the years finest albums. These are sure to make the end of year list so definitely pick these beasts up.
Cursive- Happy Hollow
Thanks to Kevner, I was introduced to their seminole album The Ugly Organ a few years back and after a few listens was totally on board for how amazing it was. The new release is pretty unbelievably good. With a tweaked sound adding a ridiculous horn section and more jazz influenced guitar parts, Happy Hollow goes above and beyond the call fo duty of rock albums. The albums lyrics are also some of the most meaningful of the year. Remember when I asked for a soundtrack to the "Sickness"? Here it is. With lyrics questioning God, human nature and all the other goodies I have tried to blog about, this nails it straight against the Church doors Martin Luther style. Definitely worth checking out for any fan of good rock music with a heart.
Bob Dylan's- Modern Times
You really can't go too wrong with Dylan. He's had his ups and downs, but his downs were as low as some bands best works and his ups usually soar high above some of the best in music recording history. On Modern Times, the soaring is pretty high, but not so high that makes it an isntant classic. Where this album takes the cake is in Bob's old salty voice. He's always had that distinct vocal sound, but in his old age, it takes on a new personality all its own. He also delves into some awesoem rockabilly licks that seem to be almost dead in our new age of music. Rockabilly bands are few and far between, but Dylan does the classic sound justice. Also, although many people complain about it, Dyaln's deal with iTunes is sweet. you get a bunch of video performances of Dylan. I was almost totally excited when I noticed one was the performance on the Oscars when Soy Bomb trapsed onto the stage, but after viewing, it looks like they edited him out somehow. That makes me angry, but the song is still worth seeing performed.
Now, since I didn't want to spend money on anything else but food, drink and vinyl this weekend, I decided that my next book will be In Cold Blood followed by The Things They Carried. Your suggestions on reading have been noted and will be added to the queue. If I see you and you want to lend me the books, I'd appreciate that very much.
Until then, It's Capote time!