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review 2017-09-16 06:47
Night Watch
Night Watch - Terry Pratchett,Stephen Briggs

I'm probably not doing this book justice with my rating, but as much as I think the writing is brilliant, it dragged for me badly.

 

I started it thinking it would work for my werewolf square in bingo, and by the time I realised it definitely wasn't (Agula the werewolf is only mentioned and never appears), it was too far in to stop.

 

This is a much deeper, more serious storyline that any of the other Discworld books I've read so far and there's a lot of political philosophy (and a fair amount of quantum physics).  It's brilliant political philosophy, but I was expecting werewolves, so Poli-Phi and string theory was more work than I was prepared for.  (Also, I'm not a fan of time travel plots.)

 

Still, this is Pratchett and as MT said, for a book I was complaining was hard work to get through, I was laughing out loud an awful lot.  Pratchett is a genius at using his words, and the scene involving the ox and the raw ginger had tears coming to my eyes (and likely theirs).  So many laugh out loud moments in this one that even though I'm glad it's over, I'm definitely also glad I've read it. 

 

(Luckily, there are enough other elements in this book that I can use it for the Free Space.)

 

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text 2017-09-15 04:34
Reading progress update: I've read 79 out of 364 pages.
Night Watch - Terry Pratchett,Stephen Briggs

String theory and quantum physics in Discworld.  

 

Okeydokey.

 

 

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review 2017-09-15 03:17
"BLACKOUT" - A WITNESS TO THE UPS & DOWNS OF FM RADIO AND THE MUSIC INDUSTRY OVER 40 YEARS
BLACKOUT: My 40 Years in the Music Business - Paul Porter

Several nights ago, I was channel surfing when I stopped at CSPAN and watched a portion of the book reading and Q&A session with Paul Porter. The more I listened to what Porter was saying about the business of radio and the state of the entertainment (music) industry (based on his 40 year experience in both worlds), the more I wanted to read his story. So, I bought this book. 

Porter spares no punches. He names names and takes the reader through the ups and downs he experienced as one of the top DJs in the business, first in Washington DC with WKYS-FM and WMMJ-FM during the 1980s and later in New York (the No. 1 media market in the country) with WBLS-FM, HOT 97, and KISS-FM in the 1990s and the early 2000s. Along the way, Porter also worked in TV with BET and performed a variety of other roles (e.g. Program Manager) in radio. 


As someone who grew up during the late 1960s and into the 1980s with a deep, abiding love and reverence for R&B music and radio, Porter really opened my eyes to the "dark side" of radio and the music industry and how, over the past 30 years, money and ratings increasingly became the sole metrics by which success and longevity in FM radio were measured. Porter for a time, played into some of this aspect of the business, achieving considerable success in terms of wealth and recognition among his peers until he received one day a note from a little girl in which she complained about a popular song that was receiving a lot of airplay in which the rapper proclaimed "I beat that b--- with a bat (Say what?!)" In the words of the little girl: "They keep playing that song on the radio." "... You just don't understand, Mr. Paul. My mom is in the hospital. My father beat her with a bat, and all the kids are teasing me." Porter later met with the girl at her school in Queens, NY and began to put his career in a completely different direction: to promote positive music in radio while at the same time, fighting against the stream of rap music and music videos promoting violence, misogyny, and negativity. 

In every business, there is good and bad. And Porter lays it all out across 133 pages. "BLACKOUT" I couldn't put down. Besides rock and pop music from the likes of Zeppelin, Cream, The Doors, Peter Frampton, Jethro Tull, the Moody Blues, the Steve Miller Band ("Jet Airliner" is one of my fav songs), the Eagles, Heart, Hall & Oates, Pablo Cruz, Todd Rundgren, Fleetwood Mac, The Doobie Brothers, et. al, I was also especially attuned - via FM radio - to the romantic and positive, uplifting, and inspirational R&B music from the likes of The Ohio Players, The Isley Brothers, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Main Ingredient, The Stylistics, The Dramatics, The Delfonics, The Mighty O'Jays, The Spinners (with Philippe Wynne), Deniece Williams, Minnie Riperton, Chaka Khan & Rufus, Heatwave, The Brothers Johnson, STEVIE WONDER, Chic, LTD (with Jeffrey Osborne), Newbirth, The Whispers, PHYLLIS HYMAN, Blue Magic, Shalamar (their music was part of the soundtrack of my high school years, which ended with my graduation in June 1982), Sister Sledge, and The Jacksons (and Michael, whose "Off The Wall" album from 1979 is one of my top 5 favorites). As well as the funky and highly innovative music from Parliament Funkadelic, Rick James, the Bar Kays, Patrice Rushen, Cameo, the GAP Band, Steely Dan, and PRINCE. All of that wonderful music helped to shape me on so many levels from childhood to young adulthood. But these days, I don't listen to FM radio anymore. Ever since the early 1990s, I have become largely disenchanted with R&B and rap music on the airwaves. So much so, that I stopped listening to R&B (and rap) music on FM radio about 15 years ago. 

Thank you, Paul Porter, for this book. Anyone who has a love for music and radio should read it and share it widely. 

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text 2017-09-12 09:55
Reading progress update: I've read 48 out of 288 pages.
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books - Martin Edwards

I'm struggling a bit for two reasons:  First, the small essays are a bit like reading book reviews, and it's hard to read a lot of them at once without them all blurring together.  Second, if I see a favourite story's essay coming up I don't focus on the current one as closely as I should and I feel like I'm rushing through, so I can see what he says about 'one of mine'.  

 

But neither of those things mean the the book is less than interesting and well written so far, just that patience isn't always my strong suit.  

 

(I am SO mad at myself for not buying Milne's Red House Mystery when I had the chance a few years ago in an out of the way used book shop.)

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text 2017-09-12 05:39
Reading progress update: I've read 25 out of 288 pages.
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books - Martin Edwards

Really just getting started, but hoping to catch up this afternoon.  I didn't make it through the introduction before finding a book to add to the TBR, and of the 3 short essays I've read so far, 1 is a title I already own (several editions of, no less), 1 fails to appeal, and the third is a whole series that has me interested (the Old Man by Baroness Orczy).

 

This doesn't bode well for my shelving issues...

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