This time, I have one book and one music review. Out of curiosity, do you prefer it when I combine these reviews, or when I make a separate post for each one? I think I generally prefer the latter, but when I have several things to review at the same time, I feel that combining them is the economical thing to do.
The Annotated Brothers Grimm, edited by Maria Tatar – This isn’t a complete collection of the Grimms’ stories, but it includes the more famous ones, as well as some fairly obscure tales. There’s also a section called “Tales for Adults,” featuring, well, the grimmest of the Grimm, including stories about children dying and a Jew being tortured for no real reason. It’s interesting to note that the Grimms’ versions of classic fairy tales are now often considered inappropriate for children, when they were actually some of the first to try to tone the stories down for young audiences. There’s no accounting for taste, I suppose. Modern audiences just don’t have an appreciation for strangulation, women cutting up their own feet, queens dancing in red-hot iron shoes, and princes’ eyes being gouged out. Anyway, the annotations are interesting, and the book collects cool illustrations by various artists.
David Lowery, The Palace Guards – The leading man of Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker goes solo with a record of nine songs that apparently didn’t fit with either band’s work. I have to say I quite enjoy them, and find some of them to incorporate a clever sense of humor (not too surprisingly, considering that it’s David Lowery we’re talking about). The first song, “Raise ‘Em Up on Honey,” is a country number that reflects David’s fascination with weird rural lifestyles, and includes the lyric, “Homeschool the children, give ’em weapons training, just in case the DEA comes snoopin’ ’round again.” Other favorites of mine are the title track and the amusing and violin-heavy “I Sold the Arabs the Moon.” Also, I feel I should mention that the beginning of “Big Life” reminds me of “I Need Better Friends,” although that could just be because they both start with the words “I was.”