I LOVE to visit McKay’s Used Book Store in Chattanooga, Tn. The large two-story warehouse is full of a satisfying assortment of books, movies and music.
On my last visit I picked up a couple of treasures in the form of vinyl: Rick Springfield’s “Working Class Dog” (1980) and Bryan Adams’ “Reckless” (1984). I hadn’t purchased albums there before because I haven’t had a record player in ages, but was gifted an awesome stereo system for Christmas. As I browsed through the selections and was ushered willingly through a trip down memory lane.
When WAS the last time I listened to Springfield? My sister, Angela, and I used to quote lyrics from the dude’s discography as part of our regular conversation. Once upon a time, when she lived in Raleigh, we talked on the phone a lot.
“How’s life in the big city?” I often began our long-distance dialogue.
“The competition’s tough,” she would reply. “Every man’s an actor and every girl is pretty.”
If you don’t get me, YouTube “Don’t Talk to Strangers.”
I have had fun with Springfield since he re-entered my life. Especially Side A: “I’ve Done Everything for You,” being my favorite. Also, “Hole in My Heart,” “Love is Alright Tonite,” and “Jessie’s Girl.” I’ll be honest; Side B doesn’t do much for me BUT Side A more than makes up for it.
My memories of Bryan Adams began with my first love, a boy in high school who played a little guitar and believed he looked like Adams. I guess he kind-of did. Because HE liked this particular rocker, I listened – and ended up liking the artist based on his own merit, and not just because someone else did.
Bringing “Reckless” back home with me has been a bit of a pleasure. Not just for me, but also maybe a little for my teenage bohemians. Although Lexi and Aaron haven’t exactly SAID they like the record, they haven’t complained either. Translation: I think they like it. As for Adam, my own little guitar player, a wide grin formed on his handsome face when “Summer of ’69” spun. He related.
“I did that too; Remember, Madre?” he asked.
“I do,” I answered, not having to ask what he was talking about. He was speaking lyrics: “Got my first 6-string… played it ’til my fingers bled…”
Just like older Adams, young Adam had indeed played his first guitar ’til his fingers bled.
I’m most enjoying, from Side A: “Run to You,” “One Night Love Affair,” “Somebody,” and “Heaven.” From Side B: “It’s Only Love,” “Long Gone,” and “Ain’t Gonna Cry.”
At any given time I am reading several books. A work of fiction, a biography, a self-help (I’m not ashamed), something educational, and the Bible. I keep my “in progress” selections beside my bed so that when I retire to my nightly reading I can grab whatever I’m in the mood for.
I just finished reading the last biography I picked up at McKay’s last month.
Published in 2011 by Henry Holt, “Stories I Only Tell My Friends, an Autobiography by Rob Lowe” is a book I recommend.
When I first saw Lowe’s book on the shelf, I paused but didn’t grab. I paused, nostalgically remembering the poster I had on my bedroom wall of him playing the saxophone (I guess I’ve always been into musicians). Words, movie titles and phrases bounced around my brain: About Last Night. The Outsiders. 80s videotape sex scandal. West Wing. St. Elmo’s Fire. Brat Pack. Austin Powers. Wayne’s World…. I’ll be honest, I put the hardback in my cart based on the title: Stories I Only Tell My Friends. I figured the book would likely satisfy my morbid fascination for gossip. With any luck I’d find out what REALLY happened in that Atlanta Hotel Room.
Instead, what I got was a look into the life of a very creative, intelligent artist.
The behind-the-scenes stories Lowe shared were funny, interesting, but never malicious. I like that. He talks about growing up in a broken home, feeling like an outcast, falling in love with the stage and eventually with the camera, meeting his idols, breaking into the business, friendships, romantic relationships, addiction, politics, writing, meeting his soul mate, and fatherhood.
The book is well written, attention-holding, and entertaining. At no time was it boring; as autobiographies CAN be. Rob Lowe is able to expertly develop the character (of himself) in a way that left me rooting for him.
A favorite quote from the book: “By pushing through my comfort zone, I was able to train an emotional muscle that serves me well today. All of us on a daily basis have the opportunity to move forward or backward or stay put. Today, I know to move forward.”
The other book I’m raving on is part 1 of a trilogy written by Nora Roberts. Roberts is the goddess of romance and suspense. Within the first few pages of “Jewels of the Sun,” I was hooked.
This book, picked up at Barnes and Noble the day after Christmas, first came out in 1999 but reads as if it could have made shelf last week.
Set in Ireland, Roberts introduces us to an American woman, Jude, who leaves the security of her job, family, home, and country to reboot following a drop-the-bottom-from-under-her divorce. Jude, a hopelessly practical type, surprises herself by moving to the little town her grandmother grew up in and of which Jude grew up hearing stories of.
Turns out her family cottage – set on a fairie hill – is haunted by the ghost of a maiden centuries dead. Additionally, Jude has conversations with a stranger she learns is a fairie prince, in love with Jude’s resident ghost.
Within walking distance is a pub, ran by a sexy Irishman named Aidan. Sparks fly. Jude reluctantly falls in love with Aidan, and I half-way do too. Aidan’s brother and sister also works at the pub – I’m looking forward to reading more about them in parts 2 and 3 of this trilogy.
Before all is read and done, Jude and Aidan lock into place the first part of a three-piece puzzle that, when complete, will reunite the maiden ghost and her fairie prince.
In “Jewels of the Sun” Nora Roberts crafts characters you’ll quickly come to love and shows you an Ireland you’ll want to visit. The dialogue is witty and engaging. If fantasy and romance is your bag, put this book in it, snuggle up and enjoy.