Tuesday, October 12, 2010

10/10/10 Reviews: #3 - Ireland

Book Review #3: Ireland by Frank Delaney

Ireland depicts a traveling storyteller and the young man who becomes engrossed in the man and his stories. Along the way, we are treated to Ireland’s history, both fact and legend, and its mystical mythology.

I love historicals in general, but this one is right up at the top of my LOVE-this-book list. Frank Delaney was born in Tipperary, Ireland, and many of his non-fiction books were UK bestsellers. He now lives in the States and Ireland was his first US novel.

This book is not a quick read. In fact, I read it in parts over time, which is quite doable since it is much like a short story series connected by a running plot line. There is so much to absorb, to learn, to revel in while lost in its pages. I ‘met’ St. Patrick and his snakes, Brendan the Navigator, Handel, leprechans, and Sir Walter Scott. I learned that Ireland is the only country whose national symbol is a musical instrument, and read about the separation of the Republic of Ireland from Northern Ireland, as well as the start of the potato famine and its many fights to deter invasions. The fight between Catholics and Protestants is there, with both sides equally represented. The whole story is a presentation of facts mixed with myth, round and full and surrounded by lush scenery and intriguing Irish citizens the boy meets along his journey.

In the midst of all of this is a story about a young man finding himself within his convoluted family history, and many glorious references to the art of Story.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough, as its message goes well beyond Ireland itself and extends to all of us. I have Delaney’s Tipperary here on my shelf waiting. And I look forward to every minute of it.
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Music Review: Public Enemies soundtrack

This was a Christmas gift from my son last year. It’s not the genre of music I would normally buy and so I’ve been surprised at just how much I enjoy it. Like the movie, the music is old-time rough and tumble early twentieth century feel. From Otis Taylor’s “Ten Million Slaves” to Blind Willie Johnson’s “Dark was the Night, Cold was the Ground” along with Billie Holiday and Elliot Goldenthal’s contributions, the soundtrack tells the story of the times. It is lush and vibrant, deep and rich, echoing both despair and resilience. A worthy listen. I often have it in the background while I write.
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Movie Review: Old Dogs (2009)

I knew going in to this movie that it would be fun and easy, a quick entertainment. It was. I enjoy John Travolta and Robin Williams, and Seth Green made a nice third. There are plenty of chuckles and it’s a nice one for the whole family, safe for kids.

That said, I felt like Travolta’s role was pretty much the same character as his Wild Hogs character. It was like they took him from one setting, threw him in another, and said, “Now, repeat that performance with different lines.” Robin Williams was the saving grace of the film. He felt real and it was easy to sympathize with him. The kids did a great job, also, although as often happens in Hollywood now, many of their lines were too advanced for their ages.

Overall, it is a fun watch, nice for kicking back and unwinding when you want escape more than thought.
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Legal Note: the above media was either purchased by or for the reviewer, or rented. No compensation was received for the reviews, nor requested.

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