James Brown, 1933-2006

funky-christmas.jpgIt’s worth taking a moment to break from our largely literary focus today, I think. Christmas just isn’t the same without James Brown—oh, I’ve still got my recordings of “Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto,” and the incomparable “Hey America (It’s Christmas Time),” but knowing that he won’t be singing them live for some audience somewhere…and that’s before we even begin to get into the rest of what made the Godfather of Soul an icon of what 20th-century America was all about.

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25 December 2006 | obituaries |

Holiday Gift Ideas from MacAdam/Cage Authors

I’ve been very busy over at my other blog, keeping up-to-date with everything that’s been going on in the Judith Regan scandal, but fortunately my friends at the independent publishing house MacAdam/Cage had some last-minute gift ideas for those of you who haven’t figured out what books to get for your friends and loved ones in the days ahead…

frank-hollon.jpgFrank Turner Hollon (Blood & Circumstance): I’ve never been one of those people who likes to watch the same movie over and over. Until recently, I wasn’t the type of person to read a book more than once. It seemed a waste of time. Time better spent reading something new.

But now, at age 43, with three kids, a full-time job, and the good fortune of six published novels, time constraints have made me choose—and strangely, I have chosen the past over the present, going back to read again novels that made such an impression upon me so many years ago. Is it the particular novel alone that makes the impression, or is it the unique combination of the certain moment in your life and the novel that fits the moment perfectly?

The Last Gentleman, by Walker Percy, still affects me as it did twenty years ago, sending me back to my time as a college student in New Orleans, barefoot, reading in the streetcar on the way to school, the expectation of a world ahead. Who could ask for a better gift ?

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21 December 2006 | gift ideas |

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