More later. But I'm currently in the process of moving out of my apartment and was packing my books away and stumbled across Michael Parker's If You Want Me To Stay (excerpt, scroll down a bit). For me, it's a Summer book with the syntax of a soul song along with gorgeous glimpses of place, all from the perspective of a 12 year old. Also, it's got me listening to soul music while I move...
"I heard it in their very voices as they spilled out of our boxy console stereo, drifted from the busted and staticky speakers of the pickup. Heartache, shame, regret, devil telling you turn this way, whiskey, everybody's woman but your own, poverty, betrayal, belt-wielding, scripture-quoting daddys, people telling you over and over how you're nothing but sorry, or maybe even worse, telling you you're the greatest thing who ever walked, I heard all that and I knew where it would take you. I knew that their pain was somehow setting me free. I knew their hard lives were allowing me to live with my daddy and not blame my run-off mama and even better than just living with them it was letting me love them in all their sorriness, waste, and neglect."
"Some would maybe say he'd ruined us or at least me by depriving us of television and video games and all the latest high-tech toys and instead spinning records that were a good, some of them, thirty or forty years old if they were a day, black-washing us into believing that white boys from England might could master a twelve-bar blues (though mostly they just turned their amplifiers up real loud) but the true sound track of our lives rose out of the very land we tread upon, the fields we passed on our way to school each day, swarming now with kindly Mexicans but once tended entirely by the forebears of the singers we treasured, and the churches, half-finished or unadorned, heated with nothing but sheet-metal trash burners, you'd see back in the pine groves, and of course the county jail and the low-ceilinged, no-windowed cinder-block jukes that fed that jailhouse, sprinkled throughout the county and down the side streets of town, two to three for every church."
-from If You Want Me to Stay by Michael Parker
(Algonquin Books, 2005)