Monday, August 4, 2014

Taking Breaks and Rejuventation

I started this blog to make myself read more. I started reviewing at Black Gate to make myself read even more and force myself to take more care with my writing. I've been doing the former for several years now and the latter for nearly one.

And now I'm taking a short hiatus. By short I mean about a month. That should be enough to catch my breath a little, read some longer books and some I won't review on BG (I can't figure any way to convince John O'Neil that John Le Carre's books are really S&S).

I also want to take some time to line up some specific books to review over the fall. Too often lately, I've been rushing things and just grabbing things almost at random. Sometimes, it's been great, as when I finally read Carole McDonnell's The Constant Tower or Michael Chabon's Gentlemen of the Road. Other times less so, such as with Michael Moorcock's The Eternal Champion. My goal is to expose people to good stuff that due to its age or lack of publicity has slipped under the radar of much of the contemporary readership of S&S and related genres. I want to be more thoughtful about what choices I make so I need to step back a think it through.

I've also got some stuff to take care. Yard work, emptying my late aunt's house of decades of acquisitions, having the nephews visit and watching Captain Blood in the backyard (Exposing my seven year old nephew to the joys of Errol Flynn has been one of the highlights of my life).
When I start up at BG again in September I'll probably start off with something easy, like a Short Story Roundup. From there I've got a few books picked out that I hope people will enjoy reading about enough to try out for themselves. After, I'm hoping this break pays off enough to make my BG reviews continue to be worth wasting a few minutes on each Tuesday morning.

As you can see by the "What I'm Listening To" box down on the right of the blog, I'm listening to the Black Crowes. I bought their first album, Shake Your Money Maker, on the strength of the songs "Jealous Again" and "Hard to Handle" and was happy to find the whole album's a blast. Then I forgot about them for a decade.

A review of By Your Side in (I think) the NY Daily News caught my attention. Seems they had loosened up (and smoke a bunch of dope) and turned on to finding a groove and working it. Not as long-winded or indulgent as a jam band can be but less tightly-focused on verse-chorus-verse-chorus songs as they had been on the first album. I bought it at the late J&R Music and have been hooked ever since. I even bought their album of Zeppelin songs with Jimmy Page, Live at the Greek.

If like the Faces, Mick Taylor-era Stones and a comfortable, relaxed vibe to you music, I highly recommend these guys. Good, good music.


  1. I generally like The Black Crowes but sometimes I find them too groovy. I want some roll with my rock. (and it wasn't just pot, some of them got screwed with hard drugs, too [Marc Ford])

    Anyway, if you like them, I suggest The Steepwater Band, too.

    1. I get your need for a little more rock. And thanx, I'll have to check out the Steepwater Band. Without radio it's
      tough to find good new stuff today.

  2. I understand about needing a break. I'm overdue for one. Enjoy your rest and may it be profitable in all aspects. I appreciate the titles you've reviewed as many of them were ones I wasn't familiar with.

    1. Thanx, Keith. If I can find titles you're unfamiliar with then I know I'm doing things right.