Saturday, August 29, 2009

It Feels Worse When I Stop

In my previous post about Joe Pernice's new novel, I referred to the book's title in terms of how a runner might feel upon the completion of a workout. In the case of our recently passed weather situation, sometimes it's the opposite. That is, the weather seems bearable, or at least you rationalize that it's "not that bad." Then, you stop moving and, all of a sudden, the perspiration starts running off you like Multnomah Falls.

Of course, the production of sweat is the human body's method of regulating its temperature. So, although it makes you feel uncomfortable, perspiration actually is cooling you off. But, this isn't intended to be a science lesson. Instead, I'm really just looking for a seque way to revisiting my discussion of It Feels So Good When I Stop.

In reality, the title of the book is in reference to a joke about a guy who, when asked why he keeps hitting himself over the head with a hammer, responds "because it feels so good when I stop."

Pernice's first novel combines the understated brilliance of some of his lyrics—although I thought "contemplating suicide or a graduate degree" would have really fit—with a slacker-like flair for the Hornbyesque. One of the reviews I read complains that it "...ambles in no discernable direction," and I really can't disagree. But, if you're a fan of Pernice's music and/or Hornby's style, it's definitely worth the read.

The book's "soundtrack" is really enjoyable as well. It's one that I would call a "grower," in that it falls into the category of albums that seem to get better with each subsequent listen. Of course, I've already mentioned how much I like his covers of Dream Syndicate's "Tell Me When It's Over," Penn & Oldham's "I'm Your Puppet," and Tom T. Hall's "That's How I Got to Memphis." The album also includes an unremarkable version of Todd Rundgren's "Hello It's Me" and the questionable inclusion of "Chim Cheree" from Mary Poppins. Beyond that, it's all good, with other highlights including Plush's "I Found a Little Baby," Del Shannon's "I Go to Pieces," and—believe it or not—Sebadoh’s "Soul and Fire."

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