Thursday, May 15, 2014

Music to read Orfeo by...

I just finished reading Richard Powers' Orfeo.  No, I wasn't hugely impressed.  (Maybe you can find my Goodreads review here.)  What struck me most of all was all the music he kept referencing that I wasn't really that familiar with, which got me thinking: this book needs a soundtrack.  I will do my best to provide one:

This is the piece that inspires the young Peter Els to his whole music career.

Peter bonds with Clara over this one.
Peter's breathless reaction alienates him from his peers.
It's Bob Dylan.
Peter's roommates engage him in one of several force-feedings with this one.
Most affecting historical interlude featuring musicians in the clutches of Nazis.
Song that fascinates the young Madolyn.
Serves as the link to Peter's meeting Richard Bonner.
Peter experiments with this song.
Peter does the same with this one.
Ringtone to Klaudia Kohlmann's phone.
Gets Peter interested in music again.
The follow-up to the above.
Music as public treason.
More music with a depressing backstory.
Nothing depressing associated with this one!
Music to end a journey with.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Things I've Been Reading

As always, I remind you that I have a Goodreads profile that will keep you more up-to-date than this blog has since...about a year ago.  But here's some of what I've been reading since last fall:

  • Fated by S.G. Browne - Amusing but not as interesting as it thought it was.
  • How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu - Brilliant.
  • Monsieur Pain by Roberto Bolano - Fine sketch of a detective novel.
  • The Skating Rink by Roberto Bolano - Jumped to the top of Bolano canon.
  • The Insufferable Gaucho by Roberto Bolano - A collection of essays and sketches.
  • The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano - Brilliant.
  • Between Parenthesis by Roberto Bolano - Essays and speeches.
  • Call for the Dead by John le Carre - Excellent detective fiction.
  • A Murder of Quality by John le Carre - More excellent detective fiction.
  • The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carre - Superior spy fiction.
  • A Most Wanted Man by John le Carre - Superior terrorism fiction.
  • The Cuckoo's Calling by J.K. Rowling - Brilliant.
  • Holy Bible Revised Standard Version - First time I've read the complete book (thoughts here).
  • Amulet by Roberto Bolano - Fine sketch of a novel.
  • The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio - Prototypical Canterbury Tales is...not as fascinating.
  • I Am Abraham by Jerome Charyn - Genius reworking of Lincoln mythology.
  • The Harry and Sylvia Stories by Welch Everman - Collection from an old college professor.
  • Little Demon in the City of Light by Steve Levingston - Superior version of Devil in the White City.
  • Song of Spider-Man by Glen Berger - What's billed as the inside story of Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark is perhaps better read as an early sketch of U2 and/or Bono's biography.
  • The Guts by Roddy Doyle - Excellent slice of life.
  • You Can Date Boys When You're Forty by Dave Barry - Proof that Dave has more hilarity in him.
  • The Boston Rob Rulebook by Rob Mariano - The Survivor alum shares nuggets of wisdom.
  • The Seventh Babe by Jerome Charyn - My favorite Charyn is constantly shifting whenever I read another one; this is currently my pick.
  • The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson by Jerome Charyn - The typical Charyn inverted.
  • Stan by Richard Wold - A huge waste of time, the kind of bad writing that is itself based on bad writing (in this case, bad horror movies).
  • The Ghosts of Nagasaki by Daniel Clausen - Brilliant.
  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt - Started brilliant, but degenerated into nonsense.
  • Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson - Promising prose debut.
I'm currently reading Orfeo by Richard Powers.
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