*A Collection of Antiquarian Curios & Relics*
"Buffin lost his child-like dreams,
And Mick lost his guitar . . ."
--Mott the Hoople, Ballad of Mott
1) ONE OF THE BOYS . . . There's that moment in your life when you have an epiphany and you realize you've grown old. For some, it's when you become acutely aware that you are beginning to attend more funerals than weddings. For me, in the past few weeks, I have become conscious that the rock 'n' roll musicians I grew up with are starting to die in droves. There was Lemmy and Bowie last week, and this week I learned that Dale 'Buffin' Griffin, the drummer from Mott the Hoople, passed away. [The band name comes from the Willard Manus novel, Mott the Hoople (9780735103788) 9.99.] "While the other kids were rocking around the clock, I was listening to the Mott the Hoople rock." When I was younger my rock 'n' roll idols were overdosing or dying in tragic helicopter crashes, now they are dying from diseases like Alzheimers or cancer. It's sad. Also, I learned that one of the guys in the Eagles is no longer with us. As The Dude once said, "Man, I've had a rough night and I hate the f***ing Eagles!"
2) WHEN MY MIND'S GONE . . . I often semi-jokingly say that there are only three poets that actualy sell: Billy Collins, Mary Oliver, and Seamus Heaney. And Seamus Heaney is dead. However, with the success of Jim Harrison's new collection, Dead Man's Float (9781556594458) 23.00, I may have to re-evaluate my smug little comment. We have already sold out of his title once, and it just came back in today. And it is still selling . . .
3) ROLL AWAY THE STONE . . . Pope Francis seems to be a fairly active writer. He has a new book, The Name of God is Mercy (9780399588631) 26.00, and it has already hit most of the bestseller lists. It's too bad that he can't go on a book tour and sign his books, or even just make an appearance on Good Morning America to promote this title. Hmmm, I wonder how exactly he would sign his books. Would he just write 'The Pope' or something more elaborate?
4) WRATH AND ROLL . . . For some reason, Scholastic thought it was a good idea to bring out a children's book about one of George Washington's slaves, and it portrayed slavery in a very positive light. It's called A Birthday Cake for George Washington (9780545538237) 17.95 by Ranin Ganeshram. The story concerns the President's chef Hercules and his daughter, who are both slaves, baking a birthday cake for their owner. In real life, Hercules would later escape from Mount Vernon and flee North, so it would appear he was not very enamored with being a slave. Scholastic has since done the right thing and pulled this title from the shelves, so I imagine that we will not see it nominated for any of the ALSC Book & Media Awards for 2017 . . .
Odds & Sods
Paul Kalanithi new book, When Breath Becomes Air (9780812988406) 25.00 is getting a lot of buzz. There have been comparisons to Atul Gawande's Being Mortal (9780805095159) 26.00 and Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture (9781401323257) 22.00. It is the true story of a young neurosurgeon who has almost completed his training and then is diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. With the dire circumstances of his own fate hanging in the balance, he decided to write a book that asks, "Is life worth living?" Unfortunately, he was unable to complete it, but his wife, Lucy, finished it for him . . .