Scott D. Parker
I had a couple of great things happen this week. First, Joelle Charbonneau landed here in Houston and had an author event at Murder by the Book. As always, it was fantastic to see her and hear her talk about her book, her writing processes, and the path she took to get there. Among my DSD colleagues, we communicate mostly via email, developing friendships along the way. It's rare, so far, that any of us get to meet and see each other in person. I've met Joelle three times now, and each time is better than the last. Makes me wanna meet all the other folks, too.
I got a real treat at the same event. A friend of mine has a daughter who is an avid reader. Turns out, she--and the mom--both love dystopian stories. A last year's Super Bowl party, I told the mom about Joelle's THE TESTING. The mom read the book and loved it. So did the daughter. And, when I let the mom know about the signing, both mother and daughter made the trip across Houston to attend. What made this wonderful to experience was the daughter's reaction. This is the first author she's met and she was really, really excited. Remember when you were twelve and discovered that book, that author, or that genre that just spoke to you? I know I do (Star Wars does make it easier for me despite the fact that it's a movie and I'm talking books). It was just great to see the pure joy of a young person discovering and meeting an author. Helps me remember that, beyond all the talk about the business, the way things are changing, the need to do all the things one does to prepare a book, when you get right down to it, you are touching people's hearts and emotions. That's what makes it all worthwhile.
Album of the Week
Bruce Springsteen's High Hopes. Seriously, was there ever a question? I went ahead and ordered mine via Amazon because of their limited edition extra DVD of the 2013 concert where the band did the entire Born in the USA album live. As to the new material, I really like it. All the songs are definitely Springsteenian. They're an eclectic bunch, the songs. "The Wall" is a return to Vietnam as a source and is truly a heartbreaking song. The title track has always been one of my favorite non-album tracks from the 1990s (along with "Without You," "Back in Your Arms," and "Happy," among others), but the addition of Tom Morello, guitarist for Rage Against the Machine, as lead guitar, brings a much harder edge to the song. It's still light and frolicky, but just more rock and roll. But the true standout, for me, is the new, full-band version of "The Ghost of Tom Joad." Here, Morello shares lead vocals duties with Springsteen, but his blistering lead guitar work throughout and especially the closing minutes is awesome. I'm a big fan of slow beat/fast solo songs and this version has this in spades. I very much look forward to this tour, especially since the E Street Band skipped Texas last year.