Songs About Life: A Novel About Love and Life


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It helps if you know a lot about music, but it's still amazing if you don't. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. Nice book, if you love music. I read it on a trip to Charlottesville where the story is set , and it transported me back to the 90s The zillion musical references made me want to make mix tapes again! Not a masterpiece novel, but still well written, fun and easy to read, with an emotional side to the story that is almost comparable to a "coming-of-age" at some point.

Rob Sheffield is that most unique of critics. Enjoy the laughs, the cool turns of phrase, and the constant desire to queue up another song from these playlists, but also make sure you keep a few Kleenex on the ready. Recently bought this book and read again after having been introduced to Sheffield by a friend a few years back. It was just as good the second time around. Highly recommended for anyone interested in music and finding their counterpart in life. Rob Sheffield's Love is a Mix Tape is a heart-breaking, uplifting, funny, sad and entirely human memoir about love and loss unified by Sheffield's love of music and his life-long penchant for crafting the mix tape.

Music fans born in the 60's will recognize most of the music and understand why, for example, the eighth grade dance mix tape had to have Free Bird and Stairway to Heaven to end the sides , but I don't think you have to know much about the music he mentions to enjoy this wonderful book because the book simply uses music as a way into his story about Renee. Renee was his wife with whom he shared an intense love and they found love through love of music as well.

Renee died suddenly, tragically at a young age, but somehow Sheffield's engaging personality comes through so well in his writing that he makes this memoir overall an uplifting read, despite the undertones of intense sadness and loss. The love he has for Renee and she for him and the love of music, Sheffield's charming, self-deprecating humor makes this a wonderful read. I recommend this one to all, music-obsessed or not. One person found this helpful. I have to say I would have enjoyed this book even without the deeply personal story of Rob losing his wife. In fact, I may have enjoyed it even more.

I think I could have read an additional pages of Rob reminiscing about the late 80s, early 90s, listing all of the music he and his wife listened to, bands they went to see, parties they attended and guilty pleasure television shows they watched together. What are there like other people in the US who remember and know that Grenadine put out one of the best records of the s????

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(I've Had) The Time of My Life

So for that reason alone, I beg Mr. Sheffield to revise this book and keep it strictly to the good times. Ok and if that isn't actually possible, this is still a fine book, far surpassing my expectations. Did not expect the book to be heartfelt and heart warming. Clearly each mixtape is crafted with great attention, and it translates to us, readers, who will likely be taken to sweet nostalgia as we begin seeing ourselves in each of the chapter written.

It's a pleasing read, and an effortless page turner. A trifecta for a great book. Sheffield's enthusiasm for music is unparalleled. I would highly recommend this book if you are a lover of all things music, have experienced a loss and loved someone so deeply it hurt. I will be looking into his other books shortly. See all reviews.

Most recent customer reviews. Published 4 months ago. Published 5 months ago. Published 8 months ago. Published 10 months ago. Published 11 months ago. Published 1 year ago. Waiting with Queenie are the other dying patients at the hospice and the gentle nuns who care for them. Harold's postcards sent from the road give them all a small measure of hope, that they too can hang on to await his arrival. Where we get Harold's story from his thoughts and encounters along the road, Queenie relates her history in a letter to Harold, since she can no longer speak because of her tumor.

We know from the first book that Harold gets to Queenie just before she dies, but there is a surprising twist at the end regarding her letter. This was a wonderful book with a lot of everyday wisdom that slips up on you as you read, like this passage: We expect our happiness to come with bells and whistles, but it doesn't. Oh, and a special note to Rachel Joyce - I want Finty to have her own book. View all 13 comments. The humor-tinged hardship of hospice life alternates with touching vignettes from her past. Better than the original — more inventive, allusive and intimate.

When I saw Joyce speak at the Hungerford Literary Festival, she mentioned that she wrote Harold Fry and Queenie Hennessy simultaneously, emphasizing the idea that these two characters are journeying side by side. In fact, Joyce revealed that there are plot crossovers between the novels. For instance, towards the end of his walk Harold has to tape his yachting shoes onto his feet; to finish writing her letter, Queenie asks a nun to tape her pencil into her grip. But the past is still inside me, Harold. I have never let it go. See my full review at The Bookbag. View all 7 comments.

Your letter arrived this morning. We were in the dayroom for morning activities. Sister Lucy, who is the youngest nun volunteering in the hospice, asked if anyone would like to help with her new jigsaw. Outside, the winter evergreens flapped and shivered. One lone seagull balanced in the sky. Life is different for me at the hospice. The colors, the smells, the way a day passes.

But I close my eyes and I pretend that the heat of the radiator is the sun on my hands and the smell of lunch is salt in the air.


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I hear the patients cough, and it is only the wind in my garden by the sea. I can imagine all sorts of things, Harold, if I put my mind to it. Sister Catherine strode in with the morning delivery. Sister Catherine passed several brown envelopes, forwarded, to a Scotsman known as Mr. There was a card for the new young woman. One glance and my pulse was flapping. I didn't want this book to end I quite fell in love with Miss Queenie Hennessey and the other residents of the hospice.

This book moved me to tears, made me laugh, made me think about me relationship with my mother, with my grandmothers, with my sons. It made me remember how selfish we are as young adults, so uncertain in ourselves, but so certain that we know so much more than our parents. It brought back memories, both good and painful.

This delightful book is a journey in itself. Queenie has had to move into the hospice to die - she is removed from her beloved house by the sea and her sea garden, her garden of tribute to those she has loved, her garden of memories. Faced by her imminent death, she writes to Harold Fry, her unrequited love, and he sets out to walk the length of England to be with her. Scared that she will not live long enough to see him, she takes up the challenge when a new volunteer at the hospice suggests that Queenie should write again; only this time she must tell Harold everything.

His unlikely pilgrimage captivates the other hospice residents, with whom Queenie - who has kept herself apart since her arrival - slowly makes friends.

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I will be seeking out Rachel Joyce's other works. An unreserved recommendation from me. I own my copy of this book. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. Please refer to my Goodreads. This review and others are also published on my blog sandysbookaday. View all 8 comments. This is my last read of While Harold Fry is walking through England and Queenie is trying to hold on and wait till he arrives before she dies, she writes him a letter confessing secrets hidden for twenty years.

I loved reading about her sea garden. The writing is beautiful, especially the description This is my last read of While Harold Fry is walking through England and Queenie is trying to hold on and wait till he arrives before she dies, she writes him a letter confessing secrets hidden for twenty years. The sun was high and threw stars at the sea. The air shimmered with heat, like a veil of water. This is a book about love and loss, living and dying.

You must live alongside your sorrow. Some of the people in the hospice were certainly characters and the nuns caring for them lovely. But the main impression I was left with after reading this book is, I hope and pray I never have to go into a nursing home or a hospice. It sounds like my idea of hell. The timing of this novel is parallel to that earlier work and it tells of what is happening while Harold walks, the reason he walks, the present life of Queenie and their interlacing history.

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It would be easy to say too much of the story, such as it is, and I do not want to do that. Those who have read of Harold know that Queenie is dying, but here we learn of her living and of her life when she knew Harold and af What a wonderful companion piece to Joyce's The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Those who have read of Harold know that Queenie is dying, but here we learn of her living and of her life when she knew Harold and after and now in the Hospice. There were moments in this story that just spoke so strongly to me.

What might seem like obvious truisms to some, were very meaningful to me. You don't get to a place by constantly moving, even if your journey is only one of sitting still and waiting. Every once in a while you have to stop in your tracks and admire the view, a small cloud and tree outside your window. You have to see what you did not see before. And then you sleep. Joyce has captured this so well. And the following moment of extreme restlessness, whether from physical or emotional discomfort--also is captured so well, so simply.

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I lie still and stillness is too much and I have to get up. But when I am up, that is not right either, Nothing is the thing I am hunting for. For that, I thank her. A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review. Jan 12, Sherri Thacker rated it liked it. This book really tugs at your heartstrings!! I read that book 8 months ago and I now wished I had re-read it before this one to refresh myself with the story.

I preferred the first story over this one and I found myself skimming pages to get through this one. Other than that, this author really knows how to tell a great love story!! View all 3 comments. Jan 07, Susan Johnson rated it it was ok. There will be people who really like this. Unfortunately, I am not one. I found this novel comparable to one by Nicholas Sparks and, yet, he is extremely popular. I found it to be so-so. The characters were cut-out paper dolls and the story was just so slow and plodding.

For people who like this genre, I am sure it will be a good read. This is a companion book to the "Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and tells the story of Miss Queenie, the woman Harold was on the journey to see. Queenie is in There will be people who really like this. Queenie is in a hospice run by nun dying from a tumor in her throat area.

She can no longer talk and writes her story in shorthand that was transcribed by a nun. She wants to give it to Harold when he arrives to explain herself to him. The story meanders between her times with Harold, her "exile" and her current circumstances. When I say meander, I mean meander. I was silently screaming to myself, "Just get on with it". I don't want to go on and on but this was just not my cup of tea. View all 14 comments. After reading thousands of books in my lifetime, I just finished one of most profoundly written and memorable books ever.

Perhaps I should have given more thought to this review before writing it, but I had no idea how emotionally involved I had become with each of the characters in this story, until I was literally sobbing after closing the pages of this book. Joyce for sharing your remarkable talent with the world. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

View all 19 comments. Queenie Hennessy is dying. When she hears that Harold Fry is walking from Devon to Berwick-upon-Tweed to save her, that all she has to do is wait, she is transported back twenty years to Kingsbridge, to the brewery, to her relationship with Harold Fry. As Queenie fills her notebook, the events that led to her departure from Kingsbridge are revealed: Joyce gives the reader a cast of quirky characters: She gives Queenie many words of wisdom: Joyce has, of course, ensured that the events of this novel dovetail perfectly with Harold Fry, and while Queenie Hennessy can be read independently of the earlier book, readers will find that the experience is much enhanced by reading Harold Fry first.

Once again, the illustrations by Andrew Davidson are truly charming. Fans of Harold Fry will not be disappointed: View all 9 comments. Feb 17, Camie rated it really liked it. In the first book Harold is trekking cross country to visit Queenie Hennesey a former coworker in an English brewery after she sends him a letter from a hospice bidding him farewell. In this one, we get the story from Queenie's side learning how she comes to write both the letter that starts his journey, and a confessional letter about her life to give to him as she awaits his arrival.

Both stories are full of life's lessons, happy and sad, these being elderly folks who are looking back on their lives. Queenie's story is probably the more poignant as she's been secretly in love with Harold a married man her entire adult life. These two books have made Rachel Joyce a very popular author.

I recommend reading them in close proximity which darn it, I failed to do for maximum enjoyment!! Twenty years while she tended her beloved sea garden and thought daily of Harold and her deep love for him.

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Unable to speak, she had her notebook and pencil with her always. As she deteriorated, she decided to write a short letter to Harold to let him know she was dying; but when she received a reply from him stating he was walking to her and she was to wait, she and the rest of the residents were astounded. Sister Mary Inconnue, a French nun, gently suggested to Queenie that she write a letter to Harold; one which he would read when he arrived at the hospice, and one in which Queenie would tell all the secrets that she felt she had withheld from Harold — confessing was good for the soul Sister Mary told her.

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So Queenie wrote; she wrote pages and pages in her notebook while she and the other residents waited; sometimes patiently, sometimes impatiently for Harold… The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy is a sweet, at times laugh aloud funny novel which is the parallel book to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. As Queenie writes her thoughts in her notebook, we learn the depth of her feeling for Harold; the story of her years working with him, and of her regrets. I certainly enjoyed The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry more, but would still recommend this one to others.

With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my copy to read and review. Jan 15, Esil rated it really liked it Shelves: I knew nothing about Joyce or her book, but was absolutely delighted by the quirky heart felt story. And I enjoyed Joyce's new book just as much but for different reasons.

The stories are very much connected and I have trouble imagining re Thank you so much to Random House and Netgalley for an opportunity to read an advance copy of The Love Song of Queenie Hennessy. The stories are very much connected and I have trouble imagining reading Queenie's story without having first read Harold's. But in many ways, the books are oddly different thematically. Queenie's story is told in the form of a long letter to Harold in which she slowly confesses the source of 20 years of feeling guilty for Harold's misfortune.

The letter is written while Queenie is in a palliative care hospital dying of cancer as Harold makes his unlikely pilgrimage toward her. Queenie's "confession" is very readable, but for me by far the best parts of the books were the one's in which Queenie depicts her life in the hospital. It's an oddly unmelodramatic -- yet sad and empathetic -- view of dying amongst a group of people who all know their deaths are imminent.

Joyce also gives Queenie the odd brilliant insight.

For example, Queenie describes her parents' relationship as an old coat that her mother keeps meaning to throw out and that her father keeps meaning to mend. Enjoy the writing and feel of both books. Sep 21, Kevin Ansbro rated it it was amazing Shelves: I know it is a long time since we last met, but recently I have been thinking about the past. Death" shows the author at her most powerful and poetical. A true case, then, of cherchez la femme. Wroe conceives of Orpheus not only as a creator of magical song, but as the maker of an entire theogony, conjuring gods out of the spirit of music: The Song of Life is a book of wonders, learned, playful and passionate.

There are passages in it where one will feel lost in the author's elusive wake, and seem to be stumbling blindly through the golden dust of an Attic glade, yet the music is always captivating. For all her studies, her wide reading, her historical diligence, Wroe's method is instinctive, as she searches for inspirations and connections across the millennia. Her Orpheus sings on at the very heart of our culture, roaming western civilisation "much as balladeers, hurdy-gurdy men, pipers and storytellers used to travel the back roads of America and Europe.

He has no certain roots, but keeps returning, as if he has something urgent to transmit to us. Now, suddenly, this winter morning at his standing-desk he felt himself set on by the very spirit of poetry, and there began to pour out of him, not another of the elegies, as he had expected, but a sonnet, ready-made, so it seemed, the rhythms and rhymes already in place: Da stieg ein Baum. A tree rises there. Biography books Poetry reviews. Order by newest oldest recommendations.

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Songs About Life: A Novel About Love and Life Songs About Life: A Novel About Love and Life
Songs About Life: A Novel About Love and Life Songs About Life: A Novel About Love and Life
Songs About Life: A Novel About Love and Life Songs About Life: A Novel About Love and Life
Songs About Life: A Novel About Love and Life Songs About Life: A Novel About Love and Life
Songs About Life: A Novel About Love and Life Songs About Life: A Novel About Love and Life
Songs About Life: A Novel About Love and Life Songs About Life: A Novel About Love and Life

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