1. Boxer by The National
I downloaded a couple of Best of 2007 mixes in December which is how I came across 'Mistaken For Strangers'. I liked the song whenever it popped up on iTunes, but when it began popping in my head of its own accord it starting to take notice. Still, I didn't get around to owning the entire album until about a month ago (after seeing yet another National song on SwissToni's list of earworms). I listened through the album once. Then straight through again. In the first week I listened to it seven times. Now the playcount is pushing twenty. The strength of Boxer is its restraint. Musically and vocally, the tracks are subdued; no track is longer than 4:29 (the terrific closer, ‘Gospel’). Matt Berninger’s lyrics are like the highlights of a conversation or a dream - - every time you listen there's a new gem to notice: (
don’t stay in the lake too long / it lives alone and it barely knows you…). Forgive me if you went through this a year ago, but if you still haven't listened to this album, I highly recommend it. Ada
2. Kurt Vonnegut
I currently have three more KV novels out of the library (Hocus Pocus, Mother Night, and Galapagos). These will take the tally to six read this year. There will come a time when there are no new Vonnegut books for me to read, and I will be sad. He's probably the reason I am putting off re-re-re-starting Novel A... I just can't get close to that voice.
3. 'The Dinner Party' by Joshua Ferris
The term 'New Yorker Short Story' has almost become synonymous with boring, but Ferris' effort manages to entertain (while still staying within conservative boundaries). Has bumped 'And Then We Came To The End' back to the top of my To Be Read pile. After Mother Night and Galapagos of course.
4. BBC's Olympic Coverage
There will be at least three (normally four) freeview channels showing the games at any one time. The coverage has a British focus, which is only fair - - but even if there weren't any Brits in the rowing, I'm sure I'd be able to catch the kiwis step up in the finals (fingers crossed). In a related moan, I can't watch video highlights on TVNZ's website because I'm not in NZ - - something to do with broadcast rights. We all know there's a whole
's worth of Kiwis living abroad, and the internet is probably their only hope of seeing Tall Ferns highlights or whatever. Surely something to sort out before London 2012. New Zealand
5. Candle Hat by Billy Collins
Just now I thought: ‘What about a poem?’, and this was the one that sprung to mind. Questions About Angels is in my recent batch of borrowings from the Scottish Poetry Library... I might have chosen something by Dennis Brutus if more of his poems had titles!