Friday, July 26, 2013

Show & Tell Friday: Books, Music, Babies & Weddings

Well, it has been about the rainiest July I can remember here in Western North Carolina. The rivers are moving into the flood plains, hiking trails turning into creeks, sugar ants invading the kitchen, mosquitoes buzzing around in relentless packs, and paddlers all around these parts downright rejoicing. We expect the everyday afternoon thunderstorm in the mountains, but this is just silly.

At least some days, like today, we’ve had sun. I hope you are enjoying the summer sun wherever you may be!

Some good stuff to share today:

1.) The Lone Ranger soundtrack:

Love it or hate it (and the critics, of course, hate it) the new Lone Ranger movie has an absolutely incredible score. I saw the movie Saturday night, when my husband took pity on me after a particularly tough week of mama-ing the 3 year-old and the infant (remember: it rained and didn’t stop), so I went by myself. Have you ever been to a movie by yourself? Sitting alone in the pitch dark, drinking a Coke without having to share, and just soaking it in? It’s glorious. And it’s one of my favorite things to do. Everyone should give going to a movie alone a try.

Anyway, back to the music. Hans Zimmer composed the score. His stellar resume also includes Rain Man, Driving Miss DaisyGladiator, and many more. I used to watch old black and white reruns of The Lone Ranger on TCM when I was a kid. Sitting in the theatre Saturday, totally caught up in Disney’s raucous escapism, I almost leapt from my seat when the Lone Ranger theme music burst out. Seriously, I looked around for my horse.

2.) What I’m reading right now (and just finished reading):

So I’ve got three books on my bedside table right now. More in-depth detail on these to come, but for now a wee breakdown. First, Raising Your Spirited Child: A guide for parents whose child is more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent, and energetic by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. It was given to me by a friend. Since my almost four year-old is all of the above, it’s been pertinent and incredibly helpful.

Second, A Trail of Fire by Diana Gabaldon. This one includes
four Outlander tales–basically stories involving different characters from her wildly popular Outlander novels. (Outlander is coming to the movie channel Starz as a mini-series in September 2014. If you haven’t read the novels or know who Gabaldon is, and you dig historical fiction, get thee to a library or bookstore forthwith.)

Lastly, there’s The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling, which I finished last week and is already past due to the library. I have mixed emotions about this one, and I’d love to hear what you all have to say about it if you’ve read it. Besides the fact that it’s a novel for adults, and involves no magic, of course, it does touch on some of the same themes–mainly the existential and often cruel nature of modern life–as does the Harry Potter novels. And it’s dark. Really, really dark.

3.)  A truly Southern wedding announcement

My mother-in-law sent me a copy of this wedding announcement that a friend sent to her. The wedding took place on Fenwick Island, South Carolina, and boy if this announcement doesn’t shed a little light on just how particular in our tastes (and a bit nuts) we Southerners are, I don’t know what does.

Here’s a quick sample: “As evening fell, youngsters played in the yard and a canine guest swiped a piece of wedding cake.”

Check the announcement out in its entirety here.

4.) “Keep Your Heart Young”

I can no longer deny my love for singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile. She’s awesome. This is her new music video for a song on her Bear Creek album called “Keep Your Heart Young.” She asked fans to send in home videos that she could add to her own, and apparently quite a few did.

I absolutely love this song, and my oldest daughter and I belt it out in the car whenever we get the chance.

5.) Willa, 12 weeks old

I know, I’m shameless. I can’t help it. I’m completely enamored with my new baby girl.

Hope y’all have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

My Appearance Schedule at the Carolina Mountains Lit Festival

Hey, all. Hope you’re having a lovely Thursday so far! It’s a bright, sunny day here in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Hard to believe it’s not raining, as we’ve had monsoon-like rain (or least it’s felt like it) these past several weeks.

Just wanted to share my appearance schedule for the 2013 Carolina Mountains Literary Festival in Burnsville, NC, coming up September 12 – 14. I’m thrilled about being part of this festival, as it’s got a wonderful tradition of truly bringing readers, writers, history lovers, and fans of Appalachian history and culture together. Not to mention the lauded authors who’ve participated over the years, including Ron Rash, Tommy Hays, Robert Morgan, Lee Smith, and so many more. This year I’ll be joining Elizabeth Kostova (the Keynote Speaker and author of The Historian and The Swan Thieves), Keith Flynn, Fred Bahnson, Stephanie Powell Watts, Abigail DeWitt, Dale Neal, and many more.

The full schedule will be available at the festival website on August 1st. But for now, here’s the information regarding my appearances:

Friday, Sept. 13
2:00 – 2:45 p.m. “Off the Beaten Path” SESSION 1
5:00 – 5:30 p.m. Town Center Legacy Room – BOOK SIGNING
7:00 p.m. Town Center Legacy Room – ART & THE STORIES BEHIND IT

Saturday, Sept. 14
2:00 – 2:45 p.m. “Off the Beaten Path” SESSION 2
5:00 – 5:30 p.m. Town Center Legacy Room – BOOK SIGNING
7:00 p.m. Banquet with Elizabeth Kostova

Other than these scheduled events, I’ll be attending sessions and readings, and hearing from the authors and historians that I admire.

Can’t wait! I hope you’ll join me: this truly is a fabulous festival.