Daily Archives: August 31, 2007

What I Read This August

New Amsterdam by Elizabeth Bear
Nurtured by Love by Shinichi Suzuki
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Nodame Cantabile vol. 10 by Tomoko Ninomiya
The Passion of Artemisia by Susan Vreeland
Falling Angels by Tracey Chevalier
The Prioress’ Tale by Margaret Frazer
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
The Glamour by Christopher Priest
Kushiel’s Scion by Jaqueline Carey
The Players by Stephanie Cowell
Ability Development From Age Zero by Shinichi Suzuki
The Bass Book: A Complete Illustrated History of Bass Guitars by Tony Bacon & Barry Moorhouse
First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde
Ex Libris by Ross King
Midnight Hour Encores by Bruce Brooks (reread)
Author, Author by David Lodge
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (reread)

Random notes:

Is there no genre Elizabeth Bear cannot write well? (I love you with much love, eBear.) New Amsterdam is a linked series of long short stories (oh, probably novelettes, I am tired, okay?) set in an alternate turn-of-the-20th century, featuring good old-fashioned mystery-solving, intrigue, politics, and sharp interpersonal shtuff as well as awesome characters.

Eat Pray Love: Lots of interesting stuff in this that reminded me of the spiritual upheaval and hard work to resettle everything I went through fiveish years ago. Elizabeth Gilbert’s first-person narration of her experience also reminded me that it’s easy to be spiritual when you’re in an environment focused on spirituality, not as easy to keep it up when you’re back in everyday life.

Ability Development From Age Zero by Shinichi Suzuki was pretty much a rehash of the original Nurtured By Love, It was essentially written to convince American mothers of the 1950s that yes, spending time with their children was actually the right way to raise them, and demonstrating that you love music is the plainest way instil a love of music in them. Some of it is dated, some of it sounds a bit condescending, but it’s a translation and also fifty years old. I can see what it’s meant to communicate, but I am not its target audience and didn’t need to be convinced, so other than a couple of interesting statements about how children learn it was useless to me. Nurtured by Love was more interesting to me from a philosophical standpoint, although I didn’t agree with all of it.

The Bass Book was essentially a waste of my time; it gave me a history of electric bass guitars, not the actual development of the instrument from its origins and how it was constructed. There was a lot of focus on Fender and Ampeg (some of the early Ampeg stuff is really interesting), but essentially it’s a highlight of the second half of the twentieth century and the electric bass business, along with the input of certain players that changed the development of the design and so forth. Not uninteresting, just not what I wanted. I won’t ever need to read it again. Pretty pictures, though, and gatefolds of some very lovely basses.

Christopher Priest’s The Glamour was good, but not as good as his The Extremes.

Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora was excellent, but took me a long time to settle into. The style of storytelling wasn’t exactly easy to go with as a reader, but the story itself and the characters were interesting enough that I stuck with it to accustom myself to the style. Once I had, it was enjoyable enough that I found myself chuckling now and again.

This was an insane month for reading, I see. Some of that had to do with periods of insomnia, some with the brevity of the books, some with the un-put-downable-ness of various titles.

Reviving Vivaldi

I am so very glad I delivered the file yesterday; I am terribly sick today with a dreadful head cold. It’s the kind of sick where you’re shivery (I’m bundled in socks and a sweater today), achy and stiff, have zero strength in your limbs, and are generally out of it as well as having all the common oh-so-enjoyable cold bonuses like the sore throat and runny nose and miserable sinuses and the headache. I’m thirsty all the time no matter how much I drink, and when I swallow my ears pop.

I spent the morning reading through the 110 pages I’ve got of Il Maestro e le Figlie di Coro, and it’s not bad. As I read through it though, I could see again what had to happen next, and I still don’t think I’m ready to write it. Come to that, after what comes next the story can go one of two ways, and I still don’t know which way it should go. As I read I tidied some things up, corrected punctuation and phrasing, and made notes to myself in the margins to add information or go back and check things.

Evidently last fall when I wrote this Vivaldi was on the brain of the collective consciousness, because when I did a bit of online research I found two new resources that hadn’t existed in November: the Schola Pietatis Antonio Vivaldi, who together with the BBC filmed a programme called ‘Vivaldi’s Women’ on life in the Ospedale della Pieta that aired in March of 2007, and a novel by Barbara Quick called Vivaldi’s Virgins, published a couple of months ago, which at first alarmed me as possibly being like this YA book I’m almost finished writing but it thankfully it really isn’t. (What is it with this trend of referring to the girls of the Ospedale as belonging to Vivaldi?)

And now somehow it’s one o’clock.

We’re doing a birthday dinner with HRH’s dad tonight when we go to pick up the boy. I hope I’m well enough to enjoy myself.