A Thousand Splendid SunsBorrowing a page from John’s playbook, here’s a bit of what’s going on with me right now ((I do not get any money from these if you click them. It’s just something I’m doing for fun)):

Reading: I finished A Thousand Splendid Suns last night. Like Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini’s first novel, Suns is set in Afghanistan, and the author again does an incredible job of inserting the reader into the culture and setting. Indeed, I feel the descriptions of the countryside, villages and cities is rivaled only in his characterization.

Hosseini, time and again, brings his characters to life.

It took me about two days to finish, mostly, I think, because it’s so engaging.

I don’t want to say much more — my mother insisted on giving me the book with no recommendations, saying that she knew I would want to read it because it was the follow up to Kite Runner.

American Doll PosseListening: I’m jamming out to American Doll Posse, an album I picked up when it was released, but haven’t really given much time to. Like Hosseini, Tori Amos is one of those artist/writer/musician types that I’m pretty loyal too — I’ll keep buying her records, because I know there’s always something new and something good waiting for me.

What with all the other good music that’s been coming out lately, I’ve felt bad for Tori, and decided to dust her off in the iTunes library.

Doll Posse is another great Tori album. My favorite Amos album is Scarlet’s Walk, and this one reminds me of that more than The Beekeeper. There’s a great mix of songs here, from the quick “Big Wheel” to the mellow “Girl Disappearing.” Highly recommended.

Speaking of other music, here’s two other CDs I’ve been listening to recently:

Carnavas — Silversun PickupsCarnavas by Silversun Pickups
This is one of my sister’s recommendations, and I’m digging it. Silversun Pickups originated in Los Angleas, and Carnavas is the indie group’s first full-length album.

The rockers get off to a great start with “Melatonin,” and Nikki Monninger’s vocals heat up “Well Thought Out Twinkles,” the second track. The band then puts things on the back burner before really finishing strong.

“Lazy Eye” is the popular track right now, but I’m a fan of “Little Lover’s So Polite” and “Dream at Tempo 119,” some fast moving tracks with great riffs.

Wincing the Night Away — The ShinsWincing the Night Away by The Shins
I liked The Shins without knowing who it was when I heard the Garden State Soundtrack, and their latest has been in my truck’s CD player for the last three weeks. The opening track, “Sleeping Lessons,” had me at hello.

The rest of the album is great as well. “Phantom Limb” is an incredibly fun song, “Black Wave” is haunting, and the way “Girl Sailor” and “A Comet Appears” fade out is incredible.

I might even have to buy some of their earlier stuff too.

Linking: to the National Wildlife Federation’s blog, which has been tracking debate and developments in the Senate Energy Bill:

Two contrasting liquid coal technology amendments will likely be voted on early today. The Bingaman-Testor amendment would subsidize production of liquid coal; liquid coal plants would have to capture and store 75% of the coal’s global warming pollution; and over its “life cycle” (ie. from ground to exhaust pipe), liquid coal would have to pollute 20 percent less than other fuels. The Domenici-Bunning amendment would require at least 6 billion gallons of liquid coal to be produced by 2022, and would have a “life cycle” requirement of 20 percent less carbon pollution than gasoline (a higher initial benchmark). he coal industry supports the Domenici-Bunning amendment. The environmental community is a bit split on the first. NWF supports the Bingaman-Testor amendment as a compromise, but liquid coal is still a carbon intense fuel and will not put us on the path needed to stop global warming.

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