Monday, August 31, 2009

Books: Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi

This year marks the forty-year anniversary of the Manson murders. We realized that we didn't know a lot about the classic cult murders, so we picked up the book Helter Skelter, written by the head prosecutor about Charles Manson, his 'Family,' and the atrocities they commited.

This book was really well executed, and we appreciated that the funds went to the lead prosector, rather then a member of Manson's 'Family.' The subject matter was quite mature, but we felt the book approached the violence quite tastefully. We really liked reading about the strange mastermind, his 'Family' of followers, and the trial they underwent.

Quick vote: This book was really well written, and quite interesting. We recommend it to anyone who's interested in the subject, and who has the stomach for a bit of violence.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Music: The Hazards of Love by the Decemberists

We are big fans of the Decemberists. Their lyrics are smart and sophisticated, and their music is great to sing along and listen to. So we were quick to pick up The Hazards of Love. Though there were a couple of good songs, we were pretty disappointed in the collection.

"Gentle leaves, gentle leaves,
Please array a path for me.
The wood's all growing,
Thick and fast around.
Columbine, columbine,
Please alert this love of mine.
Let him know,
His Margaret comes around."
--Won't Want For Love

"All a gallop with Margaret,
Slung rude 'cross withers.
Having clamped,
Her innocent fingers in fetters.
This villian must calculate,
Crossing the wild river."
--The Abduction of Margaret

Quick vote: This is a good album, but not as good as we expected from the Decemberists. If you're looking for some music to buy by these guys, skip The Hazards of Love.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Books: Fruitless Fall by Rowan Jacobsen

Our grandfather has really gotten into beekeeping this year, so we decided to read a book talking about bees. Fruitless Fall: The Collapse of The Honeybee and the Coming Agricultural Crisis turned out to be the best possible book we could have picked up.

Fruitless Fall is a compelling book. It begins discussing the problems that are facing bees and beekeepers today, which includes Colony Collapse Disorder. The book then follows the life of a bee, including the different types of bees, bee dances, pollen collection, and most importantly, honey production.

Quick vote: This is an excellent non-fiction book about bees, nature, and the world behind your flowers and fruit. We highly recommend it to anyone interested in bees or honey.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Music: ReLoad by Metallica

Alright, this is a very different album for us to listen to, but let us explain. Our mother spent a month this summer driving out to Dugway, a base in western Utah with a bunch of boys who loved music like Metallica. While she was out there, this specific album got stuck in her head, so she brought it home for us to listen to.

"Heavy rings hold cigarettes,
Up to lips that time forgets;
While the Hollywood sun sets behind your back.

And can't the band play on?
Just listen, they play my song.
Ash to ash.
Dust to dust.
Fade to black."
--The Memory Remains

"Hit dirt,
Shake tree.
Split sky,
Part sea."
--Carpe Diem Baby

Quick vote: This album is so hardcore it's around the bend and laughable again. We can't help but laughing while we sing along. Ironic music.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Books: Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Our mother and our uncle's book club read this book recently, Robinson Crusoe. Daniel Defoe wrote this book in 1719, and it has been a classic ever since. It is considered the first novel written in the English language, and so it is a little thick. We hadn't read a good aged classic for a few months, so it felt good to sink our teeth into an oldie but a goodie.

Robinson Crusoe is a book about a young man of the same name who sails off into the horizon to meet his destiny, but instead meets hardship and difficulties, eventually being stranded on a deserted island for years. The book is a great adventure tale, but surprisingly has serious religious elements. We really liked it, though it was a bit dry.

Quick vote: Know that it's not a quick and easy read, but we really enjoyed it. Who doesn't like a book with talking birds, cannibals, and inventions?!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Music: Middle Cyclone by Neko Case

An artist we knew mostly from her work in The New Pornographers, we heard an interview by Neko Case on the radio, and it intrigued us enough to pick up an album she released earlier this year, Middle Cyclone. We would describe the album as an indie-rock-alternative-country hybrid. We really like it.

"Magpie comes a calling,
Drops a marble from the sky.
Tin roof sounds alarming,
'Wake up, child
Let this be a warning.'
Say the magpie to the morning,
Don't let this fading summer pass you by."
-Magpie to the Morning

"I have waited with a glacier's patience,
Smashed every transformer with every trailer,
Till nothing was stainding
Sixty-five miles wide.

But still you are nowhere,
Still you are nowhere,
Nowhere in sight.
Come out to meet me,
Run out to meet me,
Come into the light."
-This Tornado Loves You

Quick vote: This is a cool album, we like it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Books: Love's Executioner by Irvin D. Yalom

Following urgings from our father, we picked up the book, Love's Executioner & Other Tales of Psychotherapy by Irvin D. Yalom. The book is a collection of ten stories written by a renown psyochotherapist about some of his most interesting patients. He discusses a variety of problems; grief, death, love, loss, sickness, violence; and the solutions that they search for within the therapist's office.

We found this book very interesting. Dr. Yalom related to each patient in a new and fascinating way, relating the patients problems back to his own life. He wrote about the struggles of man (and dog), describing them in such a plain and insightful way, it caused us to re-examine our own lives and relationships according to his therapist's perspective.

Quick vote: We loved this book. It was different than what we usually read, and we enjoyed the change.