The Essentials | Spring 2015

I’m becoming more and more amazed that we’re three months (almost four) into 2015. It freaks me out, actually, because I have an irrational terror of waking up old at forty-five and realizing I missed the past twenty years of living. This fear encourages an almost obsession within me to document my experiences and absorb as much interesting material as possible. And since my vanity believes I’m slowly developing good taste in all things, I’m graciously sharing with you my list of intellectual and artistic musts. 

MUSIC

Penny and Sparrow

I’ve been following these guys for a few years, determined to see them live because ONE their harmonies are killer and TWO their harmonies are killer. Hailing from Texas, they finally had a show on the east coast I could go to! I caught them at the Evening Muse in Charlotte and it was worth every second. 

I measure concerts on how aware I am of time during the performance. Sometimes the band gets 30 minutes in and I’m ready for it to be done. To their credit, P&S could have serenaded me for another hour and I STILL would’ve been completely enchanted. The set-up was pretty simple—one led with main vocals and bass and the other with acoustic and harmony, with a guy filling in with various effects in the background. Altogether intimate, honest, and beautiful—more than worth the stressful three-hour drive in a torrential downpour. Side note: John Paul White  is producing their next album.

Favorites: Thunder, Honest Wage, and Brother. 

BOOKS

Station Eleven

Confession time—I don’t like modern fiction. Perhaps I’m just not reading the right stuff, but I often find it too explicit or poorly written. Call me snobby or archaic, but I don’t want to read about detailed sex-scenes with poorly developed characters. 

Anyway—Station Eleven is perfect. I heard about it through an NPR interview with the author, and it sounded so fascinating I took a risk and ordered it. It’s somewhat post-apocalyptic, but unlike the chaos and violence of Hunger Games or Divergent, Station Eleven explores themes of loss, restoration, and remembrance in a society devastated by a flu epidemic. St. John Mandel has a winsome ability to weave truth and reason in a way that is endearing yet thought-provoking. I was so sad when it ended. 

ARTICLES

White America’s racial illiteracy: Why our national conversation is poisoned from the start

If you are a living, breathing human being, you need to read this article. Simply take a look at the current state of race relations in our country (Ferguson, Baltimore, etc.) It is foolish to pretend racism is no longer an issue, and we (including me) are obviously ignorant and naive when it comes to talking about these issues. 

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