Archive for April, 2012

The musical merits are better discussed over cigarettes and cough syrup, but arguing Van Zandt’s greatness isn’t Atkinson’s goal here. Neither is biography. Nor is I’ll Be Here in the Morning the place for the uninitiated to start. That would be 2004’s Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt, or Live at the Old Quarter. This book is a little more like a public wake.

Read the rest of my review of Brian Atkinson’s I’ll Be Here in the Morning: The Songwriting Legacy of Towns Van Zandt in the April issue of the Texas Observer.

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freedom, at last

I took the occasion of my recent cross-country move, by truck, to listen to the audibles version of Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom. I’m slow, but I usually get there.

And I admit, I’ve come to enjoy the time-passing qualities of audiobooks, though I require long spans to enjoy them. It’s not reading, I know, but I can’t read and drive at the same time, and I hardly ever seem to have the kind of sustained cross-country-style downtime to read at that length anymore anyhow. I rate listening to audibles better than reading on a phone and worse than reading a book, with compensatory allowances for particularly good reader/actors.

Ian Frazier, for instance, should not read his own stuff. Ian Frazier should pay someone to read it for him. Also, if you’re doing audible, suck it up and wait out the highest-quality download time. The shorter ones echo, and nobody can listen to 18 hours of echoey Ian Frazier, no matter how good Travels in Siberia is.

As for Freedom, I’m starting to wish that Jonathan Feanzen would stop trying so hard to cram the entirety of the contemporary American experience up one family’s butt. Plus, I’m trying to get into birding, and Walter Berglund’s example isn’t helping.

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