A Beautiful Story for Ugly Children Everywhere

I came across Beautiful Music For Ugly Children by Kristin Cronn-Mills while shelving one day and picked it up because I liked the title. After reading the blurb I was even more interested in the story. As someone who reads a lot of paranormal or dystopian fiction, a story about a transgenered person is not something I normally read. As someone who works in a book store and is often asked by teachers and librarians for books on some of the more difficult topics I was intrigued. After reading the book I am happy to say that I can highly recommend this one to everyone interested in a wonderfully written story.

From the titles of the chapters to the conversations between characters there is humour and wit. There is agony and despair as well as sweetness and light. The story is smoothly written immersing you in the story immediately. It’s a straight forward look at many of the issues a transgendered person has to deal with. From telling your friends and family, to how others perceive you, bullying and hate crimes to living life as yourself they tackle it all.

Liz has finally told her family that she is a boy trapped in a girl’s body. They haven’t taken it well. Her neighbor and friend John (who is like a grandfather to her) has made it possible for her to do a radio show on KZUK a local community station. John shares her love of music and they love to debate all things musical. At the beginning of the book Liz has not yet told John About Gabe. The truth about who she is. In doing the radio show, it is important to be true to himself and so he does it as Gabe.

During the very first airing he gets a fan. The one fan soon grows into a following and Liz starts living more and more as Gabe. This is not a road filled with sunshine and roses. He has to deal with bullies, his feelings towards girls and towards his best friend since kindergarten, Paige.

This is a story that makes you think about how we treat each other. A story that made me wonder, what makes us think we have the right to judge others let alone why we think we have any say in their lives. It reminded me of a t-shirt I had in my 20’s that said
“I M I
U R U
Live and let Live”
I wish we could do that more. That we would remember how it felt when we were teased or left out of things or bullied in what ever way. Though it may not have been as difficult it should make us more aware and considerate and less judgmental of others. We al know what it feels like to be an Ugly Child and should do more to make sure everyone can hear Beautiful Music.

I can not wait to tell others, especially teachers and librarians about this wonderful story. No matter your age I encourage you to read this story and maybe start some open discussion with your friends and loved ones.

I give this book 4 out of 5 reads.

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Turn It UP!!!

 

I have recently discovered Songza! If you have already discovered it then you may understand my excitement and all of the exclamation marks used here. If not then get on over there and find out for yourself the Awesomeness that is Songza.

songza.com

Okay so maybe it’s not that exciting but I love different kinds of music and to find a site with so many varied playlists to share and listen to makes me a little exuberant.

I have only just started using Songza and have already discovered several  ‘New To Me’  artists. It’s great to choose a playlist, press play and either enter a whole new world -which for me is Hip Hop or Dance- or flow into old favourites like 60’s Doo Wop or Today’s Pop.

Even better is when a song I don’t know comes on while I’m blogging or on Facebook I can click over to songza where it will tell me the song title and artist. Then I can search the site for more songs by that artist or similar types of songs.

I think I’ll let some of my favourite authors know about Songza if they don’t already. It would be a great place to post their book playlists.

Bring on the new music and Turn It UP!!!!!

Strange and Unusual and Kind of Funny

At work the other day a colleague was telling me about this video someone had done of Michael Buble’s Just Haven’t Met You Yet where they take his video but change the words of the song to other words.

She posted the video on my wall and I found myself shaking my head in disbelief while laughing at the same time.  It’s silly and not very flattering but I enjoyed it anyway.

Have a look and if you have a favourite similar type video you think I should see, tell me about it!

The Return of Great Canadian Music

In the 80’s there were numerous well known Canadian rock and pop bands. Too many to name here, ok not really, I just don’t feel like doing it.

While watching MuchMusic tonight I realized it’s happening again. Excluding Justin Bieber , which I’m only doing because he’s a phenomenon, in a different league than these other acts. Whether or not he’s good isn’t the point here.

There is a plethora of great talent out there that we should be supporting.

The first that comes to mind in Jesse LaBelle. If you haven’t heard of him I’m not surprised but believe me you will. For awhile he was sort of behind the scenes as a song writer. His second album comes out in August and I love his new single. Sadly no matter how hard I try I can not get the video embedded but follow the link, it’s worth it! Someone tell Jesse to get himself a Vevo channel!

Heartbreak Coverup featuring Alyssa Reid

http://www.muchmusic.com/music/playlist/pid/63921/fresh-videos

My favourite song is Perfect Accident off his first album.

Another of the Great Canadian Groups is Marianas Trench. If you haven’t heard of them by now I don’t know why. Not only is their music great but their videos are done incredibly well. Full of pop culture moments that make them really fun to watch!

Marianas Trench has a new video for Desperate Measures

but one of my faves is Celbrity Status

The third band on the list is not one that I listen to a lot.  I have listed them here because they are a big selling act.   Hedley is a band with many fans and even though I am not typically one of them I do really enjoy their song Invincible

Finally, I present to you Shawn Hook, a performer I’ve only recently discovered, again thanks to MuchMusic.

and for everyone who remembers We’re Not Going To Take It or You Gotta Fight For your Right (To Party) listen to Shawn’s song Middle Finger.

I’ve shared some of great Canadian Talent faves with you now it’s your turn to share some with me. Let me knowwhich acts you think I should check out next.

Northern Girl and Damn Proud Of It

For years I’ve wondered why we here in  Canada didn’t have as much Patriotic paraphanelia as the US.  Their country singers croon about it, the stores are full of  USA apparel and of course it’s spouted on every tv show you see.

And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that  I just wondered why we in Canada, also very patriotic and proud, weren’t afforded the same chance to express it.

A  few years ago I started to see dribs and drabs of Canadian apparel in stores then came the Vancouver Winter Olympics  and FINALLY  we got our patriotism on!  The theme song for the Olympics was I Believe sung by Nikki Yanofsky.

It seemed to rouse something in our national physche.

Today while listening to Country FX 101.9 I heard Canadian Girl  by Dean Brody

Now despite the fact that I do not watch hockey, shocking  to some I know that a Canadian doesn’t watch hockey but take a deep breath and relax,  the world is still spinning.  I consider myself to be a very proud Canadian Girl.  I am even more proud that we now  have  so many ways to express it.

From Terri Clark’s Northern Girl

to Classified’s Oh…. Canada

we can sing it loud and proud.

Now if we could stop selling off some of our greatest assets to the States (se Zellers and Molson just to name two) we could still be ranting I Am Canadian!

Follow Me to Livin’ The Dream

A few years ago I heard Follow Me by Uncle Kracker on the radio and was instantly hooked. I loved  the sound of his voice, the words of the song and the melody.

That doesn’t always happen. Sometimes I prefer the lyrics, sometimes it’s the beat that attracts me and sometimes it’s the singer themselves.  Some songs I like instantly, while others grow on me over time but the ones I like best are the ones I still enjoy even when they’ve been overplayed on the radio.

In the case of Uncle Kracker after Follow Me I heard Drift Away and then No Stranger to Shame. Since I really liked these two songs I bought the album of the same name and was HOOKED.  Thunderhead Hawkins and Memphis Soul Song are two of my favourites but the whole album is a rockin’ soulful good time. So I went back and bought his first album Double Wide. Have to say that Follow Me is the only song on the album that I enjoy.

Along came 72 and Sunny and I was blown away by each and every song. I remember thinking that it just got better with each new cd. I just couldn’t get enough of Rescue and Last Night Again. The southern soul sound grabs me at my core.

With his newest album – Happy Hour- I wouldn’t say I was disappointed but 72 and Sunny remains the album I enjoy the most. On Happy Hour I heard Smile and immediately had to request it on the radio station I listen to.

I love to hear it while getting ready for work in the morning. It’s upbeat and fanciful without being too dancey.  It also has the added bonus of being a song that I share with N.3-B  (my youngest niece). I enjoy the humour of My Girlfriend as well as I Hate California and the down home Mellencamp like tune, Main Street.  Another Love Song always has me singing along . I highly recommend it for any road trip playlist.

The one I love the best though surprised me.  I am not normally a fan of remixes, remakes, or sampled songs but Uncle Kracker’s  Livin’ The Dream just feels so right! It is such a smooth blend of old and new you almost don’t notice it’s a different song.

Whether the mood calls for mellow or rockin’  Uncle Kracker has a song for you. I wish he would come North. More specifically I wish he would come play in Halifax, preferably at the Rebecca Cohn a nice smaller venue with great acoustics. I guess I’ll just have to keep living that dream.

Easy Listening June 3, 2012

After a full and busy week/weekend Sunday was a lazy easy listening kind of day. Since I was house sitting I took the opportunity to do some laundry and catch up on those Zynga Facebook games. I was inspired by Much Music’s previously mentioned British Invasion to have my own British/Irish Invasion. Don’t you just love the Ipod?  All that music stored on one little device.

I started with the new stuff: The Wanted, One Direction, Conor Maynard and Karmin. Because they were all on the show the other night. Turns out Karmin is American not British but hey good stuff anyway.

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Then moved on to Old School with: Westlife, Five, Steps, S Club7, Boyzone, Ronan Keating, A1, Billie, The Coors, Blue and so on.

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All in all it was lovely to spend the day listening to some new and old favourites. Listening to The Wanted, One Direction and Karmin I kept thinking that would be a great song for the Chaos Walking Trilogy Soundtrack.  I do that often, hear a song and think it would be perfect for certain moments in a book. Guess that’s why so many authors to playlists now. What song fits your favourite book scene?