Books: I listened to the audiobook “Swing Time” by Zadei Smith. From Goodreads (here):
Two brown girls dream of being dancers--but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, about what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It's a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either.
Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them. Moving from northwest London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.
From the NY Times review (here):
…. In movie musicals, as the narrator notes, the plot is never the point: “The opera-like comings and goings, the reversals of fortune, the outrageous meet cutes and coincidences. . . . To me they were only roads leading to the dance. The story was the price you paid for the rhythm.”
The same could be said of “Swing Time.” The herky-jerky story line functions mostly as a vehicle for Smith’s cadenced digressions and lyrical love letters: to the American songbook, to geniuses of black dance like Jeni LeGon or the Nicholas Brothers or Michael Jackson, to the overcast landscape of London itself. When the narrator heads off to college, readers are treated to a flashback to hip-hop’s golden era, a time when conscious, cool kids rocked natural hair, “big jeans and bomber jackets,” smoked weed in their dorms and “applied high theory to shampoo ads, philosophy to N.W.A. videos.” ….