Into It: Suzanne Vega
The songwriter confesses to being on an Edith Wharton kick and recommends a rare record everyone should hear.
I just finished Lady Brooke Astor's autobiography called Footprints. She just passed away at the age of 105. I loved it while I was reading it and I can't wait to reread it. To put it in a nutshell, it's like one of Edith Wharton's heroines come to life. Her life was quite Edwardian, and when she describes her social visits when she was a teen, it really is from another era. She had such an impact in New York. She would go visit the places she gave money to, and it was the poorest neighborhoods. She wrote [her biography] when she was 80, I think, and she was just out there visiting the projects, planning things for them. She had a great life. One that I enjoyed was called Eat, Pray, Love [by Elizabeth Gilbert]. First of all, I'm a fan of any kind of writing about food. I love to read about food – I like to read M.F.K. Fisher – so I was intrigued by the title "Eat, Pray, Love." I thought, wow, those are three really good things to do. The part that I ended up liking best was when she goes to an ashram and just basically prays. It's a very monastic life that she leads there. It's entertaining and at the same time it's instructive. You go on the journey with her. I naturally gravitate toward biographies and classics. I love Dickens and all the Brontës. Only in the last five or 10 years have I been able to read Jane Austen.
... Listening to?
The Amy Winehouse album, which I was not expecting to like, and then just completely fell in love with it. There's one record I love, which is very rare and most people don't know about it – though it is on amazon.com – by a Danish artist called Tim Christensen. The album is called "Honeyburst." It has become like one of my friends. He's a little bit like a Danish Neil Finn. Really good songwriter. Beautiful melodies. It's sort of a suite of songs to a woman that he's breaking up with. They run the gamut from tender to sweet to angry and bitter and bewildered. He covers a whole range of moods. It's a really timeless record. The last Foo Fighters album used to be my getting-out-of-bed music. I like Dave Grohl. Some of his songs seem to have a spiritual struggle behind them, which I like. The Nelly Furtado record, "Loose," was one that I got into. At first I didn't buy it, I just listened to the singles. But there's a couple of songs on there where I think lyrically she's up to something. And I think "Say It Right" is such an intriguing song. I love to go back to Bob Dylan's lyrics and sing them, and Leonard Cohen. Sometimes Lou Reed really hits the nail on the head. I love Laura Veirs. I was listening to her album, "Saltbreakers." I like the way she thinks and the way she expresses herself. There's a real personality there and a real point of view.
I'm still on an Edith Wharton kick. Yesterday we watched The Age of Innocence. The last thing I saw was Live Free or Die Hard. I went with my husband because he's a fan of that kind of movie. It was very entertaining, actually.