1.I am a sucker for semi-acoustic songs, with sparse arrangements and a storyline. Right now, I can’t get enough of Tom Waits’ Kiss Me and James Vincent McMorrow’s We Can’t Eat. If Tom Waits needs no introduction while James Vincent McMorrow is a newcomer who wrote, played and produced his album “Early in the Morning. It’s all good but ”We Can’t Eat” is the track that stole my heart.
2. It’s been so dry and cold lately, with the Santa Anas blowing and the temperatures dipping into the 30’s at night that my battered and extremely un-manicured hands are worse off than usual, their skin is so dry and chapped to the point of pain. My saviour has been Khiel’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve. $20 for the tube go a very long way.
3. The former Yugoslavia is yielding some amazing literary talents. Aleksandar Hemon is one of my current favourites. His most notable book is The Lazarus Project but his non fiction is equally excellent. Born and raised in Bosnia, “trapped” in Chicago while the war in his native country broke out, Hemon, who didn’t really speak English when he first came to the U.S., writes so beautifully he makes me green with envy. The piece he wrote for the New Yorker about the death of his infant daughter had me reach for a box of Kleenex, despite the lack of sentimentality. It was his precise, concise and to the point writing that did it.
Serbia is the home country of Tea Obreht, the young author of The Tiger’s Wife. I just started this debut novel and I can’t put it down. Stories from her homeland and memories of her grandfather are weaved into a tight and fantastical plot that makes crave for a rainy day and time on the couch.