I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.Party of One: A Memoir in 21 Songs by Dave Holmes
Published by Crown/Archetype on June 28, 2016
Genres: Personal Memoirs, Music
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From comedian, Esquire contributor, and former MTV VJ, Dave Holmes, the hilarious coming-of-age memoir of a music geek and perpetual outsider who fumbles his way toward self-acceptance, with the music of the '80s, '90s, and '00s as his soundtrack. Dave Holmes has spent his life on the periphery, nose pressed hopefully against the glass, wanting just one thing: to get inside. Growing up, he was the artsy kid in the sporty family. At his high school and Catholic college, he was the closeted gay kid surrounded by crush-worthy straight guys. And in his twenties, in the middle of a disastrous career in advertising, he accidentally became an MTV VJ overnight when he finished second, naturally, in the Wanna Be a VJ contest, opening the door to fame, fortune, and celebrity--well, almost. But despite all the close calls, or possibly because of them, he just kept trying, whether as the quirky, grown man presiding over the teen pop hurricane, the music geek working at a station less focused on "M" or "V" than on Britney's "T & A," or the overweight guy trying to take on Los Angeles. And if (spoiler alert) he never quite succeeded, at least he got some good stories out of it. In Party of One, Dave tells the hilariously painful and painfully hilarious tales--in the vein of Rob Sheffield, Andy Cohen, Josh Kilmer-Purcell, Paul Feig, and even Augusten Burroughs--of an outsider desperate to get in, of a misfit constantly changing shape, of a guy who finally learns to accept himself. Structured around a mix of hits and deep cuts from the '80s, mostly '90s, and '00s--from Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "Relax" to Wilson Phillips's "Impulsive" to En Vogue's "Free Your Mind" and beyond--this book is for anyone who's ever felt like a square peg, especially those who found their people, as we often do, around a band, an album, or a song. It's a laugh-out-loud funny, deeply nostalgic story about never fitting in, never giving up, and learning to laugh along the way.
Party of One by Dave Holmes is just the type of memoir I love. Full of real emotion and heart, I was able to really connect with the author. I think that also remembering the Wanna Be a VJ contest and seeing Dave on MTV during my formative years helped me to really be able to picture the scenes in my mind as I read. Dave was an unassuming Catholic kid who loved and lived for music and pop culture. After spending a few years in NYC in marketing/advertising he sees an ad for an MTV VJ contest; that marked the beginning of a whole new chapter in his life.
Told as a playlist (with a few interludes) the writing style really resonated with me. As part of the MTV generation (you know, when they still actually played music videos) this book brought me to some great parts of my past. This was the type of memoir that really brings the reader into the story with the author. Holmes is not bragging about his success, but rather wondering on how it happened and what it meant to him and those around him. I also liked how he never trashed anyone in the telling, as some “fame” memoirs do.
Party of One is an honest look at what a few chance encounters can bring and how a life can change in a few instances. Dave Holmes is a relatable narrator who seems like a truly genuine guy. For all of the 90’s kids out there who want to take an insider’s look into what our MTV was, and to read the tale of a nice guy who actually came out ahead after losing, this is the book for you.
Favorite lines – Looking back, I think my family raised me right. There were probably some lessons about decency and fairness and manners in there somewhere—who can remember?—but the main thing my parents and brothers taught me by example was how to appreciate pop culture and music. I want to thank them and also explain to them that I am their fault.
Have you read Party of One, or added it to your TBR?
I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.We Own the Night by Ashley Poston
Published by Bloomsbury Spark on June 28, 2016
Genres: Music, Young Adult
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"Happy midnight, my fellow Niteowls..."
As a candy store employee by day, and mysterious deejay "Niteowl" by night, eighteen-year-old Ingrid North is stuck between rock 'n roll and a hard place. She can't wait to get out of her tiny hometown of Steadfast, Nebraska (population three hundred and forty-seven) to chase her dreams, but small-town troubles keep getting in the way. She can't abandon her grandmother with Alzheimer's, or her best friend Micah--who she may or may not be in love with.
But for one hour each Saturday, she escapes all of that. On air, she isn't timid, ugly-sweater-wearing Ingrid North. She's the funny and daring Niteowl. Every boy's manic pixie dream girl. Fearless. And there is one caller in particular-- Dark and Brooding--whose raspy laugh and snarky humor is just sexy enough to take her mind off Micah. Not that she's in love with Micah or anything. Cause she's not.
As her grandmother slips further away and Micah begins dating a Mean-Girls-worthy nightmare, Ingrid runs to the mysterious Dark and Brooding as a disembodied voice to lean on, only to fall down a rabbit hole of punk rockstars, tabloid headlines, and kisses that taste like bubble tea. But the man behind the voice could be surprising in all the right, and wrong, ways.
And she just might find that her real life begins when Niteowl goes off the air.
We Own the Night by Ashley Poston was so much more than I expected. I was hoping for a decent YA read to shake off the thrillers I had been reading. But, oh happy day, this was instead, a powerhouse of an emotional read. Ingrid North is an unassuming high school senior. She takes care of her grandmother who is suffering from dementia and lives a quite life in a tiny Nebraska town. She has a tight group of three friends, one of whom is the crush of her dreams. But every Saturday night, Iggy turns into Niteowl, a radio deejay who hosts a call-in show. Between dealing with her crush’s new relationship with the school mean girl, a bully and a mysterious caller, Iggy may soon have to come to some hard decisions.
I loved this book! It was full of emotion and heart and even some soul-crushing moments. I really connected with Iggy and felt with her, as her life started to track downwards. Very nuanced and with a nice depth, it was a different kind of YA read. The characters were distinct and I enjoyed their personality interplay’s. The world created was very real and I could easily picture the scenes.
We Own the Night is one of those reads that really makes you feel. I was happy, sad, angry and elated all in short order. Ashley Poston can really craft a tale and I really want to read the companion book (The Sound of Us) now. I can also see at least two more books being possible in this world and I really hope to see those soon. This was a surprising read in the best of ways.
Favorite lines – I close my eyes and revel in the noise. All the noise. Chaos multiplied. A hundred thousand earthquakes. A song no one knows and no one can write the lyrics to. The melody is every sound in unison, an idiosyncratic symphony of vibrations. It pierces straight through me, like a bullet wound, so loud and raw I can’t hear myself anymore. Not my heartbeat or my thoughts . . . only everyone else, screaming. For a moment, I can fool myself into being everyone else. I suck in a breath. Hold it. I can’t help it.
Have you read We Own the Night, or added it to your TBR?
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2016 Diverse Books Reading Challenge
- 2016 New Release Challenge
- Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
- The Goodreads Challenge