Two of my favourite things
Published on 9th March 2021
I love reading and listening to music. Lately I have discovered some musicians who are also gifted writers. Tracey Thorn is a magnificent singer and started out in 1980s indie bands The Marine Girls and Everything But the Girl.
I am just finishing up her book Another Planet: A Teenager in Suburbia In this memoir she revisits her teenage diaries and the suburb outside London where she grew up. Her writing style is beautiful, easy and earthy. The dates and incidences in the diary are woven with immaculately researched facts about post war town planning and astute observations on suburban versus city living. She very cleverly notes the changes in mood of diary entries which convey very well the tumultuous transition from childhood to young adult. For people of a certain age (ahem me) she gently compares the lifestyle differences between growing up in the late 1970’s and 80’s with her own children today. I was very surprised how the book pulled me in and did not disappoint.
Willie Vlautin is best known for his book Lean On Pete which was made into a successful film. Vlautin started out as lead singer and guitarist in American indie rock group Richmond Fontaine. Lean On Pete follows the life of Charley, a teenage boy from an unstable background who is fending for himself and later starts work for a washed-up horse trainer. He forms a deep connection with Lean on Pete, a horse which is about to be euthanised because of a foot injury.
Charley tries to save the horse even though his own life is constantly hanging in the balance as he struggles to feed himself and to just get by. Vlautin’s writing style is sparse and clean, not shining any emotional prism on the events of the story just presenting the cruelty that adults are capable of pouring on helpless animals and on vulnerable people. HIs current music project is The Delines. He writes the songs for the sumptuous voice of Amy Boone. As you can guess, there may not be happy endings but the beautiful country soul arrangements will leave you wanting more.
Another musician turned writer is Patti Smith. The punk poet of the sixties released one of the most influential albums of all times, Horses. However, I prefer her books! Now if you fancy reading any of the books I mentioned they are available on Borrowbox and the authors’ music is available on Freegal which you can use for free once you have a library card and pin.
Freegal is not unlike Apple Music and Spotify as you can create playlists. I have been rooting around on it recently and I am very impressed with the selection available. So I have made a playlist (link?) which you can listen to which contains some tracks by said authors. Enjoy!
Submitted by Eileen in Dolphin's Barn library.