Welcome to the third entry in our blog series 'Lost in the Stacks' - recommendations by Dublin City Libraries staff exploring overlooked gems and helping you find your next read!Our entry today comes from one of our wonderful librarians, Jessica, and looks at some of the best essay collections in our libraries!Essay CollectionsIs there a greater joy than settling comfortably with a beverage of your choice and reading a well-crafted essay?There is a particular form of literary alchemy that takes place in the best essays - the fusion of the personal with social commentary combined with a stylistic elegance. Often offering a unique perspective on a cultural moment or a brief window into another world, a good essay has a habit of staying with you long after the pages have turned and the book is closed.Here is a selection of the very best essay collections for you to enjoy. If you'd like to borrow any of the books discussed below, simply click on the book cover or title to be taken to the reserves page, where you'll need your library card and PIN to request the book.1. Pulphead: dispatches from the other side of America by John Jeremiah SullivanPulphead is a fascinating collection of essays exploring pop culture and subcultures of American life fused with memoir and aspects from the writer’s own life. Written with a gentle wit and probing intelligence, it is hard to resist reading the entire collection in one go.2. Changing my mind: occasional essays by Zadie SmithThis is a fabulous collection of Zadie Smith’s book reviews, film reviews and non-fiction prose. Witty, honest and refreshing, it is a pleasure to dip in and out of.3. Naked by David SedarisDavid Sedaris has cornered the market in humorous memoir based essays. The stories here are sardonic, wry and darkly hilarious with a touch of pathos and just the right amount of hindsight and self-knowledge to balance the comic absurdity.4. Men explain things to me by Rebecca SolnitThe title essay of this book has gained iconic status since it was published but each of the essays in this book are powerful reminders of why we need feminism. Essential reading.5. This is the story of a happy marriage by Ann PatchettAnn Patchett is best known as a novelist but this book collects her earlier non-fiction articles. This is a fabulous collection of personal essays and memoir pieces that explore key moments in her life. Her writing is warm, engaging, and shining through with humour and kindness.
Lou Reed passed away on the 27th of October 2013.He was one of the most influential figures in rock music. His first band The Velvet Underground is probably solely responsible for any "Indie Music" we hear today. However he is most famous for two songs, "Walk on the Wild Side" and Perfect Day". The former was a hit in 1972. A most unusual chart song with sparse arrangement of an infectious backing vocal, two note bass line and spoken styled melody of lyrics about transsexuals and prostitution inspired by characters of the pop artist Andy Warhol's hangout, The Factory. The song surfaced again in 1990 as it's memorable bass line was sampled by A Tribe Called Quest as the backbone of their song "Can I kick it?". The latter was "Perfect Day" (the b side to Walk on the Wild side) which had a resurgence in the film Trainspotting and was released by an all star cast as a charity single in 1997. Both songs were featured on the album Transformer.The Velvet Underground were formed in 1964 and played as the house band in Andy Warhol's Factory. Reed and John Cale were the main composers. Their first Album The Velvet Underground and Nico is so unusual, some tracks sound like Bo Diddley duelling with a violin and other tracks are so achingly beautiful and simple the album is hard to forget. There is no point in me trying to explain it, just listen! It is still one of the most unusual records I have ever heard. When you look back to what was happening in the charts at the time, Nancy and Frank Sinatra, The Doors, the world was not ready for The Velvet Underground.The album only sold 30,000 copies, but as musician Brian Eno said "each one of those people who bought the record started a band".Lou Reed went on to record twenty solo albums after The Velvet Underground disbanded. He died of complications following a liver transplant.His life partner is artist Laurie Anderson.
Doc Watson was the best American Folk guitarist that lived. He died on the 29 May 2012 at the age of 89. He was born into a musical family and lost his sight before his first birthday. Although he never had a hit record or was in the American Billboard chart, he was a leader of the American folk music that became commercially popular particularly through the Coen Brothers film, "O Brother Where Art Thou?". His distinctive style was born out of playing fiddle parts in a country swing band. Before that the guitar was a background instrument to the ukulele and fiddle. His lightening quick finger and flat picking style is a pleasure to listen to as it accompanies his mellow voice filled with sincerity.He has won seven Grammy Awards and a Lifetime Achievement Award.The Album Trouble in Mind is a compilation of performances and background of the earliest folk and blues songs that inspired him while growing up.I think if you are new to his music then The Essential Doc Watson Volume 1 is a great place to begin. Both of these titles and more are available in the Music Library. There is also a biography available called Blind But Now I See.If you are a fan of the Robert Plant and Alison Krauss album Raising Sand, then you are familiar with an original Watson song, Your Long Journey. Just go to www.youtube.com, and type his name in, enjoy!
There's some lovely stuff in our new stock, I came across these gems.I'll start with Under the Ivy: The story of Kate Bush. Kate Bush.... need I say more? No, but I will remind you that she was the first female artist ever to have a UK number one with a self penned song at the age of nineteen. This book is a series of interviews with people who worked closely with her throughout her career. To quote the Mojo Magazine (which is held in the Music Library) it's a "compelling examination of her music". Get your boxfresh copy now. Something old and something new for Sandy Denny, who would be to British folk music what Kate would be to British pop. I came across this Sandy Denny Live at the BBC DVD and Cd set in the new stock in the Music Library.The DVD has some spine chilling moments with the great dame performing solo with self accompaniment on guitar and piano. The music CD is such a treat I've been playing it non stop at home. If you would like to find out more about the lady behind the wonderful voice you can check this book out which has been hanging out on our shelves for a few years, No More Sad Refrains: The Life and Times of Sandy Denny. A well written account of a very talented and much too short life.And to round things off I found this little book in the new book section of the Music Library: English and Scottish Ballads by James Child.
Hello again,this Month in Musical Books I have picked a great piece of fiction by Irish writer Claire Kilroy titled 'Tenderwire'.The narrator, Eve Tyne is an Irish solo violinist who's life is turned upside down when she acquires a rare del Guso violin and is possessed by its sound and beauty.The acquisition transforms her career and is almost symbolic of her private life which is spiralling out of control. This is a really well written fast paced read with some clever unexpected twists. Check it out.The other one I've chosen is 'Life' by Keith Richards.I was ill over Christmas and confined to bed so the size of this volume didn't put me off. Also I could not drink and the hardest thing I was consuming was lemsip so at least I could celebrate the festive season by proxy of Keith Richard's hell raising. Apart from the drug and alcohol accounts (which can be pretty boring just reading about someone else's good time) this is an insightful account of how The Rolling Stones started out and just how hard they worked, in one year they had just two days off!Also if you play guitar you will appreciate the detailed information on how he developed his sound. So enjoy this month's picks and let me know what you think!
Biographies can make fascinating reading: one of the better ones around at the moment is George Harrison: living in the material world, available both as a book by Olivia Harrison and as a film by Martin Scorsese. The film in particular is well worth a look, with plenty of archive footage, and contributions from the likes of Eric Clapton, Phil Spector and Eric Idle, and is an in-depth look at probably the most well-rounded, insightful, and interesting of The Beatles. Just kids Patti Smith’s account of her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe, a relationship that started off as teenage boyfriend/girlfriend, but developed over the years into something much deeper and more interesting. Very evocative of the art scene in 70s New York, and a deservedly popular read. Yossarian slept here Writers are notoriously difficult to live with, and Joseph Heller was no exception. Whenever anyone asked him why he hadn’t written anything as good as Catch-22, he would smugly reply ‘Who has?’. This memoir was written by Heller’s daughter, Erica, and is an intimate account of a colourful, volatile family. Life on air David Attenborough joined the BBC in 1950 and since then has had a long and varied television career, both as producer and presenter. This is full of interesting characters, both animal and human; and as well as being a record of environments and customs that are long gone, it’s also a kind of potted history of the development of television. The Fry Chronicles Stephen Fry’s second autobiography continues on from Moab is my washpot, and picks up his story from university onwards, including his comedy beginnings with the Footlights, and is a gloriously entertaining feast of namedropping, showbiz gossip, and luvvies in general.