Small Business & Indies First Saturday 2014!

Tomorrow, Saturday, November 29, 2014 is “Small Business Saturday” and “Indies First Day,” in which authors and book lovers are being encouraged (including by an open letter from Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman) to support their local independent bookshops. I once again encourage all local bookworms to visit Charleston, WV’s only independent bookstore, Taylor Books, on that day or any day. You can also order books and ebooks/epubs from Taylors online, but it’s worth the trip for the bookshop’s atmosphere.

Taylors is my favorite bookstore on this side of the Atlantic and has the best coffee in Charleston. If you don’t like books or coffee, I really don’t know how you live.

If you do like books and are looking for recommendations for Indies First Day, my personal favorite books of all time are: Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut and pretty much everything else written by Kurt Vonnegut or Edith Wharton. More modern favorites have been Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, The Book Thief and anything by Brian Morton, Kate Morton, Maggie O’Farrell, Samanatha Harvey and Victoria Hislop.

I also highly recommend the more modern classic The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, which is now being adapted for a movie. You can read my rave review of it here. I first heard about the Guernsey book from a former manager of Taylors and it was a longtime staff pick on the shelves there. I’ve since given copies of the book to several friends, all of whom loved it as much as I did.

Other favorite bookstores of mine on both sides of the Atlantic: Empire Books in Huntington, WV; Two Sisters bookery, Old Books on Front Street and Pomegranate Books in Wilmington, NC; and The Winding Stair, Hodges Figgis and Chapters in Dublin, Ireland.

It would be very nice if independent bookstores get the kind of support from Indies First/Small Business Saturday that Record Store Day brings to indie music shops.


Allison Crowe: New Video & Album Announcement!

I’m used to keeping secrets for Allison Crowe, but this one was especially difficult not to shout from the hills. I drove everyone (online & off) crazy with my enthusiastic love for Allison’s traditional folk album, Newfoundland Vinyl. So you can imagine how excited I was to learn she will release Newfoundland Vinyl II on December 2nd!!!! Ahhhh!!! And here’s the first taste of the album, a lyric video for the traditional folk song about the 1875 shipwreck of a vessel called “The Water Witch.”


Buy @ Amazon (available Dec. 2nd)

Allison Crowe Officia Site

Muruch Allison Crowe Posts


Miss Saigon 25th Anniversar​y Special

By: Brendan

I was privileged to witness Lea Salonga and Will Chase in the starring roles of Miss Saigon during its initial Broadway run in 1999 while visiting New York City from Ireland. So it’s a little weird to find myself now, a naturalized US citizen approaching my 15th year in America, watching Will Chase play a country singer on ABC’s Nashville and awaiting footage from Lea Salonga’s triumphant return to the company of Miss Saigon for its 25th Anniversary Gala. Highlights from the finale of that performance include Filipino powerhouses Salonga and Rachelle Ann Go dueting on “Movie in my Mind” and original Engineer Jonathan Pryce singing again of “The American Dream.” The Special has already aired in the U.K. on BBC, now let’s hope PBS brings it to America soon.


Throwback Thursday: “Weak” by Skunk Anansie

Buy Mp3 @ Amazon


Vast & Harker: “Nirbhaya” (Anti-Rape Anthem feat. Rita Morar)

Producing duo Vast & Harker‘s new song “Nirbhaya” features vocals by British Indian singer Rita Morar. Inspired by a horrific sexual assault in India and violence against women in general, a portion of the song’s proceeds will be donated to the women’s rights charity Breakthrough. It’s a dark, lovely song on a sadly topical subject which benefits a very worthy cause.

Buy @ Bandcamp

Vast Official Site