1) The Promise (audiobook by Jonathan Alter)
The one and only time I've used my mailing list for political purposes was before the 2008 election, when I described why I would be voting for Barack Obama. Well, here's an admission: I feel even more enthusiastic about the president now than I did then. This book brought it home by describing the first-year accomplishments of the Obama white house, many of which which were conspicuously absent from media coverage (for more information, go here). Bonus: I now feel sufficiently well-informed about the Obama presidency to discuss my feelings with any and all of you. If you're one of the 47% of voters who disapprove of Obama's job performance, send me an email or post a comment for some friendly debate.
2) F&!$ You (by Cee Lo Green)
I'd like to say that the entire album, "Lady Killer", got me through the drive, but honestly, it was just this song. I played it loud every time I pulled out of a midwestern town or saw a particularly gorgeous sunset. Holy $@#%, this is a fantastic piece of music.
3) Hadestown (by Anais Mitchell)
Anais Mitchell is one of the best singer/songwriters working today. I've known this, unequivocally, since the release of The Brightness, in 2007. But with Hadestown, Anais has tackled a new and daunting task. She composed a "folk opera" based on the Orpheus myth, cast folk- and indie-giants Ani DiFranco (Persephone), Greg Brown (Hades) and Bon Iver (Orpheus), and recorded this breathtaking marriage of poetry, myth, and music. I can't recommend it highly enough.
In case I wasn't already a bumbling superfan, Anais recently asked me to perform the part of one of the Fates in the "Virginia Sings Hadestown" run of the show in February. I'll be singing with Anais, Devon Sproule, Paul Curreri and the whole crew, in Norfolk, Charlottesville and DC, giddy and squealing at the chance. Go here for information and tickets.