Tag: books

10 Best Music Books of 2012

121211-the-oneJames Brown’s life was as deep and mythic as his celebrated groove. In the magisterial, rollicking biography The One: The Life and Music of James Brown, former SPIN staff writer RJ Smith goes further than anyone ever has in getting to the formidable, often contradictory essence of the Godfather of Soul. Rich with novelistic detail and revealing reporting, the book also serves as a history-text-in-disguise, using Brown’s story as a prism through which to view race, politics, Southern identity, and the music business. Like the man himself, The One encompasses multitudes, and it is SPIN’s pick for Best Music Book of 2012. Read on for our conversation with Smith, as well as the rest of our choices for the year’s top music books.

Did you set out to assert or correct any specific notions about James Brown with The One?
I went in with a pretty clear knowledge that he intimidated lots of writers into either not going in certain directions or only telling part of what they saw, and I wanted to give a fuller picture and put in what Brown was good at keeping out. But I didn’t have a fleshed-out agenda of things I wanted to say.

Given that Brown was so strong-willed about controlling his image, was it hard to get those close to him to share information with you?
That was an ongoing thing. With his family, the problem is that it’s somewhat divided; different children and relatives are not all on the same page about what’s happening with the estate and who’s getting different amounts of money. More or less, there’s one spokesperson for the children, his daughter Deanna, and the rest of the kids defer to her. But Tomi Rae, his last wife, was definitely helpful and very talkative and a very important person for me to speak to. It’s funny: My assumption was that there would be racial issues, because he’s such an icon and a powerful embodiment of blackness. I thought that would be an issue approaching people who didn’t know me. But by far the biggest issue was the Southern thing, which wasn’t about being black or white. It was about going to Augusta, Georgia, or towns in South Carolina, and people who didn’t know me, white or black, not being inclined to speak. I had to go back a few times, and every time I’d go back to a town, people would be a little more likely to talk, and finally they’d sit down, and the third time we’d talk they really started saying interesting stuff. It was a “You’re not from around here” vibe that took time to overcome.

We think of Brown as this almost archetypal American figure. Were you surprised by how central his specifically Southern background was to his identity?
Here’s a guy who was born and died within a half-hour drive of the same spot. He lived a lot of his life within 45 minutes or an hour of the place he was born [in Barnwell, South Carolina]. So the region meant a huge amount to him, and I really had to go there and read a hell of a lot to even begin to understand what it meant to him and means to people there now. I had no idea of the tradition of a very particular kind of violence in South Carolina and Georgia that touched him and touched other people from that region — like Strom Thurmond. There’s a number of really amazing, interesting books and essays and crazy renegade accounts of eye-gougings and street-corner wrestling brawls and duels. Violence touched the lives of anybody who grew up in Brown’s area. CONTINUE READING ARTICLE

News Headlines 10.28.12

For fungal meningitis victim’s family, a dearth of answers
In an outbreak characterized by uncertainty, families of early victims are in a special category of ambiguity. 
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Accusations against generals cast shadow over Army
Cases against senior officials are growing and the screening process is being questioned. 
( by Ernesto Londoño , The Washington Post) 
Sandy poses threat to Chesapeake Bay
Many worry hurricane may cause “a lot of pollution” to hit the body of water. 
( by Darryl Fears , The Washington Post) 
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Traffic accidents reported in three counties
One victim killed in an apparent attempt to catch his dog. 
( by Martin Weil , The Washington Post) 
Hurricane Sandy: Flooding, strong winds expected
The storm has led to some mandatory evacuations of coastal areas and barrier islands. 
( by Paul Schwartzman , The Washington Post) 
Dr. Gridlock’s traffic, transit tips
Sunday’s Marine Corps Marathon will slow traffic on both sides of the Potomac. Metro is a best bet. 
( by Robert Thomson , The Washington Post) 

Pr. William County panel to review police chief candidates
The search for a new police chief for the county has begun in earnest, with officials recently accepting the last applications. 
( by Jeremy Borden , The Washington Post) 
Burden for rebuilding infrastructure may fall to states
Federal funding projected to fall short in repairing roads and bridges and meeting other transportation needs. 
( by Ashley Halsey III , The Washington Post) 

More Post Local: Washington, DC Area News, Traffic, Weather, Sports & More – The Washington Post

(Among Obama supporters) Will you definitely vote for Obama, or is there a chance you could change your mind and vote for Romney? (Among likely voters)

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(Among Obama/Romney supporters) Will you definitely vote for Obama/Romney, or is there a chance you could change your mind and vote for (CANDIDATE NOT NAMED)? (Among likely voters)
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Do you think you’ll (vote in person at your polling place on Election Day), or (vote before Election Day by early voting or mail-in ballot)? (Among registered voters)

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I’d like you to rate the chances that you will vote in the presidential election in November: (Among registered voters)

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How closely are you following the 2012 presidential race: very closely, somewhat closely, not so closely, or not closely at all? (Among registered voters)
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Where to turn to help a depressed friend
A friend is displaying suicidal/self-destructive behavior. What to do now? 
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Were fire-sale bank mergers worth it?
Purchases of crippled firms, urged by government, have left some Wall Street buyers with remorse. 
( by Danielle Douglas , The Washington Post) 
A novel Idea
Whether you’re writing a novel or an essay, this app helps you keep track of ideas and link them together in a storyboard-like menu. 
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Case in point: NGO endowments
Outsourcing the management of their endowments might help nonprofits better focus on their core missions. 
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Pearlstein: A hot new model in outsourcing
A broad outsourcing trend seeks to take advantage of economies of scale, turn fixed costs into variable costs, and turn manufacturing firms into service companies while shifting pricing risks from downstream customers to upstream suppliers. 
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The high-profile mayor has persuaded investors and donors to bet on still-struggling Newark. 
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Giants take a commanding 3-0 lead
WORLD SERIES | San Francisco’s pitching puts it on the brink of eliminating Detroit and winning it all. 
( by Barry Svrluga , The Washington Post) 
TV and radio listings: Oct. 28 

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Allen leads Landon <br> to upset of Bullis
Myles Allen rushed for a pair of second-half touchdowns to help the Bears past the 20th-ranked Bulldogs. 
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Wizards a work <br> in progress
As preseason closes, the team is still trying to determine just who it is. Its calling cards appear to be scrappiness and resilience. 
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Japan turns pessimistic
After two decades of stagnation, few believe the once-thriving island nation will rise again. 
( by Chico Harlan , The Washington Post) 
Accusations against generals cast shadow over Army
Cases against senior officials are growing and the screening process is being questioned. 
( by Ernesto Londoño , The Washington Post) 

Sanction-tested Iran looks inward
Leaders strive to boost production while changing the habits of a society accustomed to imports. 
( by Jason Rezaian in TEHRAN , The Washington Post) 
Russia detains Putin foes
Three opposition leaders were held as they protested against torture and repression near the Lubyanka. 
( by Kathy Lally , The Washington Post) 
Hezbollah straddles tenuous line between Syria and Lebanon
Increasing tensions inside Lebanon underscore Shiite group’s obstacles to balancing allegiances to both countries. 
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Superpower lite
The presidential candidates promise global influence without cost. 
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Protecting our boys
The Boys Scouts must prove children’s welfare comes first. 
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3 books on Frankenstein
These three books revive Mary Shelley’s original monster. 
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“The Mortal Sea”
Fishing the Atlantic in the age of sail 
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“Who Stole the American Dream?”
Hedrick Smith explores the causes of the decline of the middle class. 
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Summer Reading List

The Big Fight: My Life In and Out of the Ring by Sugar Ray Leonard with Michael Arkush—For the first time, boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard gives an account of his life outside of the ring in this introspective biography. Leonard candidly shares his struggles with drug addiction, depression and rage as he fought his way to the top of the boxing world. Poignant and honest, it offers another interesting glimpse into the life of a legend.

The Maintenance Man II by Michael Baisden– Whoo boy, those of us who were swept away in the maelstrom that the Maintenance Man created have been patiently waiting for author turned radio host, Michael Baisden to release a follow up. This summer, he’s answered your request. After years of being out of the gigolo lifestyle, Malcom has to rebuild his list of contacts and clientele. But when he and one high-end client, Alex Nelson, the wife of a corrupt U.S. Senator are suspected of knowing too much about a billion-dollar business deal, Malcolm needs his military training and street smarts to get his life back. Shaft meets the Bourne Identity in this breezy beach read.

Disappearing Acts by Terry McMillan—A modern classic by one of the most distinctive voices of this generation, Terry McMillan’s make-up, break-up relationship novel Disappearing Act is one of her best, most definitive works to date. Focusing on Zora Banks and Franklin Swift and their love story, which is emotionally abusive at its worse and unconditionally loving at its best, the novel takes a peek into the real life dramas that surround and define relationships that are not always fairytale. You probably won’t be able to put this one down until you’re finished, so make sure you slather on the suntan lotion before heading to the beach for a “quick” read.

READ MORE: http://www.upscalemagazine.com/entertainment/books/item/177-summer-reading-list.html