It’s probably safer and more accurate to say I Love Books About Literally Anything, but my most recent two books happen to be about music and food, among other things. Book #20 and book #21 of the year are finished. They were, respectively, Girl in a Band by the amazing Kim Gordon and Unprocessed by the also-amazing Megan Kimble. (I bet this is the first time those two were mentioned together in the same blog post.)
So! I knew absolutely nothing about Kim Gordon or Sonic Youth before reading this book, but Kim Gordon is one of the lead singers and the only female in the band. It’s fun to do things out of order, though, like read about a band and hear their “sound” described by a member of that band before hearing any of the music for yourself. Highly recommend.
I was drawn to the cover of Girl in a Band, and I thought the name was cool so I read it. It’s a really great book, and I imagine it would be an even more rewarding read if you were a huge Sonic Youth fan. Sonic Youth, sadly, no longer exists as a band, but based on this book they were a really cool group of outliers.
Kim Gordon was married to the other lead singer in the band, Thurston Moore, until 2013 when they were divorced after almost thirty years. This was obviously a huge contributing factor to the band’s break-up. The book is awesome though because it does not at all feel like an exploitation of her divorce; she obviously mentions it and it’s obviously a painful topic but also such a huge part of her life and the art that she’s gone on to create since then.
What I got from this book more than anything was a sense of how cool Kim Gordon is. Like literally cool, she seems so grounded and centered and collected and all the other admirable qualities that are synonymous with “together.” Her voice is so clear and succinct and I never felt like she was saying things because they were expected of her.
Her husband cheated on her and that’s why their marriage ended; she doesn’t refrain from admonishing him by any means, but she also doesn’t dwell in her hurt feelings and even acknowledges her pity for him at one point. She has a daughter whom she loves so much it seeps out of the pages of the book, and she counted people like Kurt Cobain among her friends.
A lot of the book is her mentioning her close friends who also happen to be huge names in the music and art world, unsurprisingly, but it never feels like namedropping and her sincere care for the people was striking. I’m gushing about Kim Gordon, a lady I didn’t even realize existed two weeks ago. It’s a great book whether or not you like the band. I think everyone should read it, if only in the hopes that some of Kim’s eternal coolness rubs off on them.
Next was Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food. I obviously love reading about food, so I loved this book. It was an informative and fantastic read. Meg Kimble, the author, decides to embark on a personal challenge of removing all processed food from her diet for one year in Tuscon, AZ.
She begins the year seeking to spend her money better; the bigwigs of the food industry, Meg learns, are a very narrow group of people (10 companies control over $1.5 trillion dollars (aka an enormous share) of the food industry) who end up contributing the most to political elections. It’s insane how intertwined things like that are, and probably naive of me to be shocked by all of the revelations in this book.
But really, if you think about it, spending my money at chain grocery stores inadvertently means that I’m throwing my money into this abyss with no real way of finding out where that money is going, or whose election it’s being used to fund (pleasepleaseplease not Trump.)
So anyway, bearing all of this in mind, Megan begins a more mindful, local, unprocessed year. She’s an endearing narrator who reveals all the ups and downs of the year, and doesn’t hold back on her triumphs (making her own flour!) or her failures (cocoa butter instead of chocolate.)
She discusses the frustration of missing out on communal meals with friends, the inevitable first date explanation, the changes (or lack thereof) she sees in her body, and the effect it has on her finances. She completes her unprocessed year while working towards a masters degree in English, and that was clear in her writing.
She weaved stories in with statistics in a way that made me want to be her friend. She met a wide variety of people during the year, who were all contributing to the unprocessed lifestyle in their various fields. It was such an enlightening and refreshing read and I loved it. I recommend you read it if you’re interested in learning more about how buying decisions affect much more than just you.
I think I’m going to read the Divergent series next, it’s long overdue but I’m in a YA dystopian mood. ◊