Oh, Packers. Stupid overtime rules led me to emotionally eat an extra enchilada last night WITH guacamole and cilantro rice. Patches of ice on the path this morning prohibited further dwelling and anything close to zoning out. Every time I stopped paying attention to where I was stepping another strip of black ice would send me sliding. If you’re having trouble “staying present”, I highly recommend an icy morning run.
One last work of music fiction for now. So far my trip to this tiny sub-genre has been underwhelming, first fame hell Audrey, Wait! and then a whiny road trip with The Disenchantments. Good thing I saved the best for last.
Vinyl Princess by Yvonne Prinz uses music not as a cheap plot device but to build the world for this small, but entertaining story about a young music-lover working in a struggling record store in Berkeley, California.
Allie is a self-proclaimed “music junkie” and author of the new Vinyl Princess blog and fanzine dedicated to sharing her love of vinyl records. She works at Bob & Bob’s Records, combs flea markets for gems to add to her collection and lives with her mom and a student they rent a room to. Her tastes are eclectic and obscure, but she’s not a music snob. Maybe she’s a little bit of a music snob, but all she wants to do is introduce people to great music .
This house of worship is open for business. This is the place where people come to find community; they come here to confess their sins and talk to their gods; they come here for validation and understanding; they come here to get their groove on … visit the past, look to the future … search their souls, … stir things up, or live a little.
The writing style feels a lot like reading someone’s personal music blog. Stuff happens, but it’s mostly lifey stuff. Allie has a crush on a mysterious browser who keeps coming by and a series of burglaries have the business neighborhood on edge. Steady doses of music history and tempting food descriptions kept me reading as Allie quickly won me over.
Since Allie is 16-years-old, her love for records doesn’t come from nostalgia. There’s the obligatory declaration that records sound better than digital, and they do, but she also digs into the physicality. A record is something you hold in your hands, admire the cover art while listening to the album. No playlists here. Order of songs means something. Listening is an experience and it’s hard to play the first song without settling in for the entire album.
From the book’s first scene of Allie opening up Bob & Bob’s, I thought the store would play a bigger role in the story, but I didn’t mind that the focus is really Allie’s life at this time of change and growth. Her voice feels authentic. She has a sense of humor and I love the way she writes and talks about music history with love.
Allie reminded me of albums and artists I haven’t listened to in full in a long time, including Billy Bragg & Wilco’s Mermaid Avenue, Marianne Faithful, Patsy Cline, The Kinks and Emmylou Harris. This is a fun, engaging book and its perfect for young readers who love music. Score!