Monday, September 21, 2009

Bookmarks -- Jazz Notes

Donald Miller calls Jazz Notes a "re-mix" of his bestselling book, Blue Like Jazz. The book is more like a Reader's Digest version which retains the "what happened" and not much of the narrative magic. It is more a collection of anecdotes than stories linked to form a narrative.

Supposedly, the book contains new material, but most of what is added is stuff about the characters since Blue Like Jazz was originally published and a few tidbits about the movie (which I have been looking forward to because of the book and because the director is Steve Taylor). Speaking of which, most of the notes say that things will happen in 2008. So far the film hasn't been completed.

I reviewed Blue Like Jazz a couple years ago, and I liked it very much. Still do. But I cannot figure out what this is supposed to be other than a "gift edition" of the original book. I'd rather give the book itself.

Jazz Notes comes with a CD that I think is Miller reading these excerpts. I'm not sure because the music overpowers the speaking, so the experience is like a bad subliminal tape. I also could find no notes anywhere to tell me who made this music.

Though it captures somewhat the general idea of the original, Jazz Notes was, for me, ultimately a disappointment. It might be a nice book to show your friends to give them a taste. But why leave a couple of bites on a plate when the whole enchilada is so much more appetizing?

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