Monday, September 26, 2011

A Glamorously Unglamorous Life

On Saturday, I received my copy in the mail of Julia Albain's self-published book A Glamorously Unglamorous Life. Julia is also associated with Starkid--you'll recognize her as Crabbe and Percy in the Potter musicals and Specs in Starship. I got the book in a similar way to how I got The Bully Book: because I had to if I profess to like any of Starkid's works.

I started reading it that night, not wanting to do schoolwork but also not feeling like watching a movie or anything. I wanted to finish it right then, but saved the second half for the morning. The book is about a hundred pages, composed half of journals from Julia's year in New York and half in reflections back on the time. It's filled with moments of self-doubt, of desire to achieve dreams, or loneliness and friends. Which, all put together, made it the perfect book for me to read two weeks after turning twenty, when I am halfway through college and still not sure of what I am going to "do" afterwards.

This book was inspirational for me; it held encouragement and entertainment both. I don't read a lot of nonfiction, but I do like to hear artists' own voices, and Julia's was no exception. As I read over her concerns, it was hard not to feel or know that despite them, she will achieve her artistic aims (and has already begun to--the timing of the book is about two years ago). I would definitely, then, recommend this to other fans of Starkid: it gives you an appreciation of what kinds of experiences go into their work. (How can you not see the extra depth, anyway, in simple songs like "To Have a Home" and "Days of Summer," performed when the friends were coming back together after time apart?)

Also from a general perspective, this book succeeds. Probably it will be particularly appealing to those with artistic interest of some kind, but it also speaks to the life's struggles we all share--and how we can overcome them. I set it on my bookshelf in between Hayley Westenra's autobiography (for the autobiography side) and A Walk Between Heaven and Earth (for that wonderful, self-searching, expressive quality). Setting it next to the latter book is a high compliment from me, as that is one of the books I list as having had a great impact on me.

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