I picked up The Holy or the Broken a few years ago, at my favourite (now closed) local bookshop. The reason, Leonard Cohen‘s Hallelujah is my favourite song, and has been for quite a few years. So, when I saw Alan Light‘s book in the discount section I didn’t think twice about picking it up.
Light, one must assume, is also a fan of the song and so wanted to pay some kind of homage to the Choen’s masterpiece. However, instead of taking much time talking about the song he gives the reader a historical account of the songs assent into the realm of the everyday. As he goes through the history he compares the song to the first two records of the piece. The first, which didn’t really get much recognition until much later in his life, Leonard Cohen’s original. Jeff Buckley’s take on the song, the one I believe Light holds in the highest regard. Below is Buckley’s rendition of the song.
Overall I enjoyed the account of the history of the song, and how each rendition influenced popular culture. With that said I must also note that there were two aspects of the book that bothered me. First, Alan Light has no issues mentioning when he helped influence the world with this song. This was as an editor of a magazine I didn’t even know existed, but I’m also no one to read magazines on the subject of music. The other issue I have with the book is that it doesn’t really talk about the song itself, and what it says to the general population. It touches on this but doesn’t spend the time on it I would have liked.
Finally, I will say Light does talk about the importance of two other versions of this song. Cohen’s original and the other by a noted Canadian during the opening cerimonies of the Vancouver Olympics, k.d. lang. These are my favourite versions of the song. So, I’ve added them below for you enjoyment.
Unfortunately today the world says goodbye to an author who has touched many lives, and doing it all with one book. I’m sure everyone could say how the book has touched them, and if you’re one of the few that hasn’t read To Kill A Mockingbird I’m sure you’re familiar with the film.
Harper Lee has given us a lot to think about in her debut novel, and her second set the world abuzz. Giving us even more to think about. Thank you Ms. Lee for your literary work. It has touched many, and will continue long after we say our goodbyes.
Jenny Lawson’s second book Furiously Happy was the first book I read in 2016! It was exactly what I needed to get back into my reading, and blogging, groove again. I have yet to read Lawson’s first book Let’s Pretent this Never Happend (A Mostly True Memoir) but my wife gave it to me for my birthday this year so I’ll be opening this one up sometime soon.
Two things make Furiously Happy an exceptional book:
1. It will make any ready laugh, and make others wonder what you’re reading
2. Lawson deals with some serious issues
On a number of occasions Emily asked me what I was doing because I was laughing so hard at what Lawson put to the page. Her writing is really sarcastic, at times quite biting. Rather than talking about others and their issues Lawson dives into her own issues, poking fun at herself and her many, many, many mental disorders. If you’ve read anything by David Sedaris you’ll have a good idea of Lawson’s writing style.
While finding yourself laughing you’ll also realize Jenny Lawson has you thinking and dealing with some of the issues society has labeled as taboo. She isn’t concerned about dealing with mental disorders, particularly the ones she lives with daily. Talking about mental disorders has become less taboo over the years thanks to #bellletstalk.
This is one book that I’ve found myself reading large portions to Emily, so we could both share in the laughter and the issues brought up by Larson. It’s also a book we have booth been recommending to others, and have a list of folks that want to borrow my copy. Pick it up and give it a read, you will not regret it!
I have fallen away from reading in the last number of years, well since I’ve moved back to Canada really. I haven’t taken the time to immerse myself into books again. Since 2016 is a new year I’ve decided to set aside more time to read and to get back to this blog. I’ve already read a few books and have started reading my fourth book for the year. So, I thought it was time to get back into writing here again.
I hope that I can help share my love of books and theatre. Most of the time on here will be used to talk about the books I’ve read or the books I’m currently reading. You’ll also find links to purchase the books, and a compendium of all the books I’ve read throughout the year. I hope that I can build on the following I had when I first started this blog. It was great being a part of a group of avid readers.
So, you’ll soon see a post on the first book I read this year. Furiously Happy was given to me by my wife for Christmas, so I dove right into this treasure. Look forward to my post about this book in the next day or so.