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Rowena's Reviews

My true loves: Wilkie Collins, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Anais Nin, George Eliot, James Joyce, James Baldwin, George Orwell, Oscar Wilde, bell hooks, Chinua Achebe, Langston Hughes, William Shakespeare... I'm falling for : Italo Calvino, Toni Morrison, Frantz Fanon, Wole Soyinka, Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston, Albert Camus, Margaret Atwood, Somerset Maugham, Junot Diaz, A.S. Byatt... And the lists continue to grow! I will read almost anything, as long as it's well-written. I always love to expand my reading horizons.

Currently reading

Edward W. Said
Infinite Jest
David Foster Wallace
Finnegans Wake (Trade Paperback)
James Joyce
Mo' Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove - Ahmir Questlove Thompson, Ben Greenman “Music has the power to stop time. When I listen to songs, I'm transported back to the moment of their birth, which is sometimes even before the moment of my birth. Old songs, rock or soul or blues, still connect with me because the human emotions in them, whether jealousy or rage or hope, are recognizably similar to the emotions that I'm feeling now. But I'm feeling all of them, all the time, and so the songs act like a chemical process that isolates certain feelings at certain times: maybe one song helps illuminate the jubilation and one helps illuminate the sorrow and one helps illuminate the resignation. Music has the power to stop time. But music also keeps time.” - Questlove, Mo' Meta Blues

I have to admit that I don’t know much about The Roots. I did see one of their former members, Rahzel the Human Beatbox, perform at the University of British Columbia some years ago but I would be hard-pressed to name a Roots song. However, I think that everyone knows Questlove with his easily recognizable afro (which he seems to have had since he was a baby)!

Questlove mentions in the first chapter of this book that he didn’t want this to be a traditional memoir. It definitely does seem to be unique; to me it’s more like a scrapbook filled with playlists, pictures, interviews, conversations, anecdotes, footnotes etc. It's very engaging and for all music lovers it will have you feeling a sense of nostalgia for the good old days of music.

I knew this autobiography was going to be fun. Having finished reading it, I have nothing but admiration for Questlove. He's probably not what one would expect a hip-hop star to be like; I would never have guessed he was quite shy at times, for example. I found him very likeable and wanting to be true to himself. I doubt whether there are many people in the music world that have as much passion, enthusiasm and knowledge about music, hip-hop in particular, as he has. I enjoyed seeing him chronicle not only his development as a musician and a connoisseur of music, but also the historical evolution of music.

Questlove also outlines how music has evolved since the 70s, especially how the acquisition of it has changed due to skype and the internet.It made me reminisce about recording music off the radio during my early teens, though I do not miss having to wind up cassette tapes with loose ribbons!

I like the fact that Questlove talks about how people have been surprised by his eclectic music taste due to his appearance.I find that people do tend to judge a person's music taste based on their appearance, at least this has been my experience. I was glad that he addressed this because after all, music is music:

“And even though people like to furrow their brow like they suspect you’re not being honest about yourself, the truth is that they worry that you’re not serving their idea of you.”

The book is thoughtful and at the same time funny, philosophical and candid. It's clear when reading it that music is Questlove's life. I can't help but admire someone who is so dedicated to his craft. A great book for music lovers.

“And why has society been allowed to accelerate beyond the point where it makes sense to most of its citizens? The quick pace, without regard for the people caught up in it, risks destroying values, whether in food or art or music or human relationships.”