Books, Music, And Other Smiles

Can I be more like Amy?

I don’t have a copy editor for this personal blog. Please send all typos and corrections to Thanks! - A

Thanks for the kind words sent in after I wrote that long and self-serving post about what a shit I was a few years ago. I was scared to ship it. The lovely reaction made it worth the worry.

Let’s talk about something a bit happier this time. Today I want to riff on music and books, the two things that will never let you down.

In fact, Holden Page and I have long had the idea of creating our own book review website. We even had a domain registered a few years ago. Here’s the play:

  1. Launch book review website;

  2. Review books;

  3. Lose money.

It’s foolproof.

But since we both have to pay for things like housing, we haven’t put it online yet. So I intend to imitate greatness, in this case my friend Amy Widdowson (read her here), and simply share some reviews and recommendations on my own pages.

Personal blogs, so far as I can tell, are like other blogs, but you get to be biased as hell and not care what anyone else thinks.


In honor of that freedom, here are some things I’ve had on a lot in the last week, just in case you need something to make you feel good for a minute:

It’s Only Smiles, by Periphery. What happens when one of the finest progressive metal outfits writes something that is very nearly not heavy? This delightful tune.

bad guy, by Billie Eilish. Evidence that the kids are alright, Billie’s new record is just plain good fun. And it’s sad good fun to boot!

Chameleon, by Herbie Hancock. I forget how this got back into my main rotation, but it has lots of bounce and joy and is a good reminder of the power of horns.

You Will Never Be One Of Us, by Nails. This song is precisely what boring people think heavy metal sounds like.


A lot of what I am chewing through at the moment is dull. The Federalist Papers, for example. You’ve already read the four you need to, so let’s let them be.

In happier news I’ve found a new series to fall in love with. Namely the Broken Earth trilogy, by N. K. Jemisin. I’m about halfway through the second text, and I cannot recommend them highly enough.

Unless you don’t enjoy adventure, or creativity, or good writing, or well-considered pacing, of course. It even has a map at the front of each book, what more could you want.

But if fun isn’t your thing, how about something beautiful? I read The Beginning Place by Ursula K. Leguin earlier this year and am still thinking about it. The contrast highlighted between modern life and Man In Nature is made strikingly in the book; as is the idea of going home, and if we can ever escape our time.

It even has a fight scene.

And I guess that’s it? Unlike with news stories you don’t really have to have a kicker in a personal blog, I don’t think. You can just sort of stop?