The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

Until I picked up The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce, I had been spending a lot of my reading time with suspenseful, gripping psychological thrillers -you know, all the “girl,” “wife,” or “woman” books-The Girl on The Train, The Wife Between Us, The Woman in Cabin Ten.  But this charming novel set in 1980s suburban London was a welcome change of pace-like a cool breeze after an intense thunderstorm.

The character-driven story kept me interested and intrigued, yet at the same time, soothed my soul. In addition to the music shop and its quirky inhabitants, there are the other shops on the street and their quirky owners.  At the center of the story is the music shop’s owner, Frank, a lonely middle-aged man who only wants to sell vinyl,despite the growing pressure to sell CDs. Frank has a gift for “hearing” what ails his customers and knowing what records they need to heal them, often prescribing them specific tracks and artists. There is also Father Anthony, a former priest who sells religious trinkets, Maud the tattooist who is in love with Frank, and the mildly peculiar twin brothers who run the local funeral parlor. And there is a pub of course, where they all gather.

Joyce fleshes out her characters fully enough that I really cared for each of them and their rag-tag community that fights the good fight against 1980s commercialism and gentrification.

Reading this hopeful and human story made me feel as though Joyce invited me in to her parlor for a cup of tea while she told me love stories: stories of new love, of long-lost love; stories of unrequited, unpursued, and unspoken love.

The Music Shop is not only a love story about two lonely musicphiles, it is also a love story about music. Throughout the tales of her likeable and misfit characters, Joyce weaves tidbits about musicians: their loves, their lives; their triumphs and their tragedies.  I learned a lot about music- from Beethoven and Berlioz, to the early days of punk rock and the Sex Pistols. For me, this was the icing on an already yummy cake.

If you are in need of a light but engaging escape filled with hope and humanity, The Music Shop may be just what the doctor ordered.

No Time to Read Book Club Celebrates Mother’s Day

After I graduated from college and moved out on my own, my mom would call me every year on my birthday. During the work week she got up at 6:00 in the morning. That is when she would call me because she said she wanted to be the first one to wish me a Happy Birthday.

On the few occasions this area got snow, ice, or other inclement weather, she would call and tell me to not to go to work because of the bad weather or because the roads were too bad. I would joke with her that I did not think a note from my mom would work with my employer.

My mom has been gone for years and I still miss those calls.

Mother’s Day is in May and in celebration the No Time to Read Book Club will be listening to audio selections from NPR’s Driveway Moments: Moms.  Come listen to short tales for and about moms, some heartfelt and others just plain funny.cover image of NPR's Driveway Moments Mom

What are Driveway Moments?  They are those moments when you are listening to a story on the radio and you just have to hear the end of it, even if you have arrived at your destination…even if you are sitting in your own driveway.

The No Time to Read Book Club is for those who want to be part of a book club but for whatever reason do not have time to read.  They just want to come and listen.

If you like, bring your favorite quiet time activity to work on while you listen.  You can knit, crochet, color, and even balance your checkbook. Of course, you can always just sit and listen.

We will have a short discussion following the selections where you can share your own mom memories or stories.  Participation in the discussion is purely optional!

Meanwhile, please feel free to share your own mom stories here, whether they are about your mom or your mom memories with your own children.

What: The No Time to Read Book Club

When: Tuesday, May 8, 2018    2:30 – 4:00 p.m.

Where: Major Hillard Library