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This is a captivating bio of Tom Petty. Zanes does a wonderful job in crafting an intimate portrait of a rather shy artist who mostly let his music doThis is a captivating bio of Tom Petty. Zanes does a wonderful job in crafting an intimate portrait of a rather shy artist who mostly let his music do the talking. Growing up in an abusive home in Gainesville, Florida, Petty wanted to escape the physical and emotional toil exacted by his alcoholic father. Zanes takes us through the early days of Mudcrutch, the formation of the Heartbreakers, and the highs and lows that followed. Some highlights that stood out to me were how Stan Lynch created so much tension for Petty and the band, how Howie Epstein slipped away from addiction while Petty was fighting his own battle with heroin, and how Stevie Nicks was determined to befriend and collaborate with Petty. It's also wonderful to learn about how important the mid-80's tour with Bob Dylan (as his backing band) was, how George Harrison formed such a bond with Petty, and how Petty regretted letting Mike Campbell's music track for "The Boys of Summer" slip away and land in Don Henley's hands.
Alongside sharing Petty's struggles with heroin and the day-to-day of keeping a band of strong headed musicians together, Zanes also reveals how Petty left one abusive relationship (his father, who hit Petty up for money at the funeral of Petty's mother) for another (his first wife Jane, who was physically and verbally abusive to him, and who suffered from mental illness and addiction).
Petty poured his pain into his music and the beneficiaries of that pain are his fans. His music is wistful, humorous, and hopeful, and the stories behind those songs also help form the backbone of this book.
Petty's death left a huge hole in the music world, but this books helps us understand that, more than a gifted musical artist, Petty was a man struggling to find happiness, a man who was always learning to fly....more
Listening to Herbie Hancock tell his story on the audiobook edition of "Possibilities" is a treat. His prose and his narration are both incredibly conListening to Herbie Hancock tell his story on the audiobook edition of "Possibilities" is a treat. His prose and his narration are both incredibly conversational, so it feels like having a cup of coffee with this jazz master, rather than laboring through a chronology of accomplishments.
Most rewarding for me was learning how remarkably stable he's been in a field that has taken down more than its fair share of talents. He certainly experimented with drugs, but got away from them quickly (though crack cocaine comes into his life in the 90's for a brief and transformative time). He's been married to his wife Gigi for decades. He is aware of his place in the jazz pantheon but maintains an admirable level of humility and seems genuinely gracious anytime he's acknowledged by his peers or fans.
A good deal of this book deals with Herbie's deep devotion to Nichiren Buddhism and his reliance on it as a spiritual path throughout his adult life. He and Wayne Shorter are both practicing Buddhists and their practice has anchored their journeys through the world of music and their personal lives. As a Buddhist myself (though from a different tradition), it was wonderful to hear how transformative Mr. Hancock's devotion has been for him.
Of course, then there's the music. "Watermelon Man", "Cantaloupe Island", "Rockit", his Grammy winning work on "River: The Joni Letters". His work with the legendary Miles Davis Quintet, The Headhunters, and Mwandishi, and all the stories of his friendships with jazz legends and other musical artists.
Finally, there's Herbie's rich curiosity, which led him to study technology and become an early adopter of a variety of techniques that changed his sound and put him on the forefront as a true musical innovator.
This is a book that any jazz fan will cherish. It's also a book that many Buddhists will appreciate. While a hard copy is always agreeable, this is one of the rare self-narrated books by a musician that holds up as you listen. Herbie's humor, heart, and ease with who he is comes through as he tells his story. ...more
Ms. Walker's poetry is as timely as it is powerful. This collection of verse includes tributes to Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter, The Dalai Lama, Gaby GiffoMs. Walker's poetry is as timely as it is powerful. This collection of verse includes tributes to Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter, The Dalai Lama, Gaby Giffords, Gloria Steinem, Miriam Mikeba, Bob Marley, Walker's own flock of chickens, and others.
More importantly, it features poems that meet us, as a nation, where we are and dares to raise our spirits, our aspirations, and ambitions. Hope is a recurrent theme here, and I, more times than I could count, eagerly looked for a highlighter so I could capture a line or verse. Sadly, this is a library copy and I can't mark it up. But the language is so poignant, so buoyant and wise, I will likely seek out a copy to own, to share, and to highlight the hell out of.
Ms. Walker makes me want to read poetry, write poetry, and live poetry. Her insights and wisdom have only ripened with age. ...more
This is a remarkable collection of stories, poems, and real life experiences, written by the men and women incarcerated in the world's most populous pThis is a remarkable collection of stories, poems, and real life experiences, written by the men and women incarcerated in the world's most populous penal system: United States prisons.
Each year, the PEN American Center welcomes submissions for prisoners: short stories, essays, poetry, and prose. Over 25 years of winning entries make up this book, which runs the gamut from coarse to majestic. The subject matter is, at turns, heartbreaking and haunting, infuriating and insightful.
The collection is broken into thematic sections, focusing on such topics as Race, Family, Getting Out, Prison Work, Routines, Prison Initiations, and Death Row. Each section is teed up with an introductory preface that frames up the topics and the subsequent writings. This made it easy to take the book in smaller bites, which is good because at times the stories became a bit overwhelming and I needed a bit of a break before reengaging.
This book will - I believe - give you a much stronger sense of what life inside the razor wire is like. I came to empathize with many of the men and women who shared their stories, be the writings fact or fiction. These stories humanize those often marginalized as inhuman. They put you inside the walls and allow you to feel the frustration, fear, rage, grace, hope, and hopelessness that accompany inmates each moment of every day.
This collection is a rough ride - no punches are pulled about how violent, dehumanizing, or profane prison life can be. But it's a rewarding read, with writing that relies on authenticity as a cornerstone. Whether terse or elegant, these stories and poems feel as if they come from the heart: hardened hearts, broken hearts, open hearts. ...more