Over the last few days, I've really dug into July's book, Diamond in the Rough, the new memoir by acclaimed singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin. Knowing virtually nothing about her life beforehand, I'm pretty stunned by her candour in describing her personal struggles with mental health and addiction, and also by the light humour she employs to discuss it all.
Based on her songs, I knew Colvin was a great storyteller with a bit of dark mischief running through her, but to read her recollections about being a Beatles maniac and constantly moving from places as varied as South Dakota, London, Ont. (I had no idea), Illinois, Calif., Texas and New York City (that's where I am in the book now) and the adventures she's had along the way feels almost like prying. I guess that's the nature of a memoir, isn't it?
In our strange TMI landscape of questionable celebrities, these tell-all memoirs are popping up more and more. I'm not naming names here, but every once in a while I hear of someone famous getting a book deal and I'm like, "Why? Who is interested in this person's story? They're 12 years old!" At the same time, artists I love always get a pass because I figure, if their work has spoken to me, it must have come from a compelling, real place. This is what I'm finding with Colvin's book.
Even I was vaguely skeptical, and I picked this book for us. I've had this fleeting paranoia that I chose it based entirely on seeing Colvin on my favourite TV series of all time, The Larry Sanders Show. Still not entirely sure I didn't do that, but no matter. Just as she caught my eye then, I've developed an affection for her by reading Diamond in the Rough.
Congrats if you won a book here in the past two weeks. I still have copies to offer to two people (not employed by the CBC) who check out this excerpt of Diamond in the Rough and post thoughtful questions for Colvin about her book below. I’ll let you know if your question was deemed a winner (you can only win once, BTW), so check back here for a response. If you do win, please send your name (real and blog), mailing address and winning answer to email@example.com with “Shawn of life” in the subject line.
Are you enjoying Shawn Colvin's Diamond in the Rough? Do you feel like there are too many unwarranted memoirs these days? Do you have a favourite? Or have you read a terrible one that you wanna talk about? Otherwise, what'cha readin'?
What'cha Readin'? Diamond in the Rough by Shawn Colvin
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What'cha Readin'? Goodbye Lightfoot, hello Dylan
What’cha Readin’? Thoughts on Writing Gordon Lightfoot by Dave Bidini
on Jul 13, 2012