COME SPELLING BEE season, the tiny town of Preston erupts in excitement: the bee is televised, and the hottest ticket in town. This year, an assortment of sixth-grade miscreants is going for the top prize: Jennifer, an overscheduled free spirit whose parents are obsessed with her college applications; Mutual, a previously home-schooled outsider who's enrolled in public school for the first time in order to participate in the bee; Harlan, the class clown who has spectacular plans for making the most of his time in the spotlight; and Chrissie, the constant observer, who suspects something is off at the bee and will stop at nothing to get to the truth. Principal Floren is acting shady to everyone—but, as he insists, “I am not a crook.” From the Hardcover edition.
James Baldwin used to tell Nina Simone, "This is the world you have made for yourself, now you have to live in it." Simone has created for herself a world of magnificent peaks. Often compared to Billie Holiday and Edith Piaf, Simone is known as one of the greatest singers of her generation. She has recorded forty-three albums, ranging from blues to jazz to folk, and her hits like "I Loves You, Porgy," "My Baby Just Cares for Me," "I Put a Spell on You," and "Mississippi Goddam" have confirmed her as an enduring force in popular music. Her song "Young, Gifted, and Black" became the anthem for the Civil Rights Movement and thrust her beyond international stardom into the center of activism. But such worlds as Simone's are not without their grim valleys: disastrous marriages, arrest and the threat of imprisonment, mental breakdown, poverty, and attempted suicide. She has survived these trials and continues to perform throughout Europe and the United States. With undiminished passion and in her unconquerable voice, this is Nina Simone's powerful memoir of her tempestuous life.
In this exquisite, haunting book, John Burnside describes his coming of age from the industrial misery of Cowdenbeath and Corby to the new world of Cambridge. This is a memoir of romance – of lost love and the love of being lost – darkened by threat, illuminated by glamour. The old Scots word ‘glamour’ means magical charm, and the first time he was played I Put a Spell on You, John Burnside thought he had never heard a more beautiful song – it was an enchantment, a fascination that would turn to obsession. Implicit in the song were all the ambiguities that intrigued him – love, possession and danger – and this book is an exploration of the darker side of glamour and attraction. Beginning with memories of a brutal murder, the book follows the author through a series of uncanny encounters with ‘lost girls’, with brilliant digressions on murder ballads, voodoo, acid and insomnia, and a cast that includes Kafka and Narcissus, Diane Arbus and Mel Lyman, The Four Tops and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, and time spent lost in the Arctic Circle, black-and-white films and a mental institution. Ending with the tender summoning of the ghost of his dying mother as she sings along to the radio in her empty kitchen, I Put a Spell on You is a book about memory, about the other side of love: a book of secrets and wonders.
In the annals of rock ‘n’ roll there have been a lot of strange characters, but there probably hasn’t been anyone as bizarre as Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, and this is his story. Known mostly for a single record, I Put A Spell On You, and emerging from a coffin to perform on stage, Screamin’ Jay was a whirlwind performer, lusty singer, prolific songwriter and a man who was total stranger to the truth.
On the eve of her 27th birthday, Josie Goodwin is feeling harassed. Her boyfriend Will has become a donkey-loving hippy and her best friend Lara has baby-brain. She desperately needs to find the perfect location for a film shoot, or her career may implode. Her eccentric grandma has always said that Josie will inherit a book of spells on her birthday, but since she doesn’t believe in magic, nothing will improve; or will it?
Born Eunice Waymon in Tryon, North Carolina, Nina Simone (1933-2003) began her musical life playing classical piano. A child prodigy, she wanted a career on the concert stage, but when the Curtis Institute of Music rejected her, the devastating disappointment compelled her to change direction. She turned to popular music and jazz but never abandoned her classical roots or her intense ambition. By the age of twenty six, Simone had sung at New York City's venerable Town Hall and was on her way. Tapping into newly unearthed material on Simone's family and career, Nadine Cohodas paints a luminous portrait of the singer, highlighting her tumultuous life, her innovative compositions, and the prodigious talent that matched her ambition. With precision and empathy, Cohodas weaves the story of Simone's contentious relationship with audiences and critics, her outspoken support for civil rights, her two marriages and her daughter, and, later, the sense of alienation that drove her to live abroad from 1993 until her death. Alongside these threads runs a more troubling one: Simone's increasing outbursts of rage and pain that signaled mental illness and a lifelong struggle to overcome a deep sense of personal injustice.
Writing The 100 Greatest Rock'n'Roll Songs Ever was a labor of love. Written while on Sabbatical leave from my day job, it is one listener's snapshot of the genre, from the mid-'50's to the present, filtered through my personal life experiences. My purpose for writing this book was to acknowledge the major role that the music has played in my life. My wish for the reader is to stimulate memories of your own favorite songs and of the rock'n'roll vernacular and experiences shared by many of us.
THE STORY: The story follows Mickey and Gi from their meeting in the late summer, 1963, until their parting thirty years later. He is a steel worker who cannot foresee the approaching end of that industry. She, sensing emerging possibilities for wo
These four plays prove The Village Voice's acclaim that Tom Donaghy has "mastered the Chekhovian tactic of having people say everything except what's on their mind." From the story of a young man trying to find order in a world in which he's had an affair with another man days after his wife left him and their infant daughter, to the emotional undercurrents of quiet, hard-working families faced with the reality that the lives they had envisioned for themselves are vastly different than the ones they are living, The Beginning of August and Other Plays showcases Donaghy's exceptional ability to bring to the surface the emotional undercurrents of everyday people. "Tom Donaghy has that marvelous ability to be acutely funny and moving at the same time. Tom Donaghy's plays reveal a truth not only about good writing but why good playwriting reveals a complexity impossible in any other form. These are masterful works." -- Wendy Wasserstein, author of The Heidi Chronicles; "Donaghy is a genius with fragmentation, with details so small that it comes as a shock to discover how sufficient they really are. Like the wiry pins piercing a grenade's shell, his scenes have similar -- and far more dangerous -- energy." -- The Boston Globe; "Tom Donaghy's plays are tender and lyrical: he has an acute eye and a sharp ear. He explores the everyday lives of ordinary Americans and makes them glow. His work is often moving and always beautiful." -- Andre Bishop, Artistic Director, Lincoln Center Theater.