Monday, April 29, 2013

April: Week Four

Books Bought:
  • Ideas and Styles in the Western Musical Tradition (Douglass Seaton)

Books Read:
  • The Best of Us (Sarah Pekkanen)
  • Of Mice and Men (John Steinbeck)

As of tomorrow, my semester is basically over, which means I finally get to read whatever I want, whenever I want! I have a list of musicology books to read over the summer that either relate to my thesis or are just for my personal edification, but I'm also going to read plenty of fiction...I can't wait. 

I've been on the lookout for a cheap copy of Dr. Seaton's music history textbook for a while now, and finally found one new for $25. I've been told that this book is a great resource for studying for masters comps, which I will be taking next spring, but I'm also really interested in reading it after hearing him talk about why he wrote it in my Intro to Historical Musicology class last semester. 

I read Sarah Pekkanen's first book, The Opposite of Me, last year on the way to a grad school interview and really enjoyed it. However, since then I've read her second and third books and really didn't like them very much. The Best of Us was pretty predictable, but I enjoyed it more than the last two. I flew through it in two days, though - I just broke up with my boyfriend and needed "chick lit" therapy (although I still hate that label; I find it a little derogatory).

Last night I finally reread Of Mice and Men - I'm so glad I did because I enjoyed it a lot more than I did in high school. Back then I was so distraught by the ending that I found it impossible to appreciate the writing. Since I knew what was coming this time around, it was much easier to enjoy. I'd be interested to see the original film adaptation with the score by Aaron Copland. 

Happy end of the semester!

Monday, April 22, 2013

April: Week Three

Books Bought:
  • Modern Music and After (Paul Griffiths)

Books Read:
  • Music and the Skillful Listener: American Women Compose the Natural World (Denise Von Glahn)

Finished reading my last required book of the semester! This book was probably the best one I've read for school this semester - I might be biased, because Dr. Von Glahn is my advisor and she's wonderful, but I think I would have loved the book even if I didn't already love her. Women composers (and let's face it, that term stinks) aren't written about enough, and this book is wonderful because it celebrates composers for being composers and for being women, but not for being women composers. Composers covered in the book: Amy Beach, Marion Bauer, Louise Talma, Pauline Oliveros, Joan Tower, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Victoria Bond, Libby Larsen, and Emily Doolittle. I had only heard of three of those before I took Dr. Von Glahn's seminar, but now after reading about them and becoming familiar with their music, I can highly recommend all of them! Curious? Here are my three favorites and where to find them:
  1. Joan Tower - Sequoia (Naxos Music Library)
  2. Victoria Bond - Peculiar Plants (Naxos Music Library)
  3. Libby Larsen - Symphony: Water Music (her website)
Enjoy! My number one favorite piece discussed in the book was actually Ellen Zwilich's Symphony No. 4, but I can't find that online anywhere, so check your school's library (FSU has it)!

Modern Music and After is for the theory class I'm taking this summer (Music after WWII). I might be crazy, but I think it's going to be really interesting. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

April: Week Two

Books Read:
  • Leaving Everything Most Loved (Jacqueline Winspear)

Ok, I couldn't wait until school was out to start reading this book. I started it last Monday night with the intention of reading ONLY ONE chapter a night...because I was really going to stick to that. Except I did, until Friday night. Reading this book took up a pretty good chunk of my weekend that could have been spent writing papers, but it was really worth it, especially since the Elegy for Eddie was fresh in my mind. I really think this is one of the best yet in the series, which is a good sign when it's the tenth book - if Winspear can keep the series this original and engaging for another ten books, I will be really impressed (and happy! because I adore this series). 

It's really hard to discuss plot points of the tenth book of a mystery series, so if you are interested, go back to my November post when I talked about reading the first books in the Maisie Dobbs series. 

Two weeks from today, I'll be completely done with the semester! 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

April: Week One

I didn't buy OR finish reading any books, so this week's list will have to be entitled...

Currently Reading:
  • Music and the Skillful Listener: American Women Compose the Natural World (Denise Von Glahn)
  • Elegy for Eddie (Jacqueline Winspear)

The first book is for my Music & Nature seminar (and was written by my professor). I've read a third of it, and it's wonderful. If you are interested in American women composers and/or music inspired by nature, definitely pick up this book (or ask your local or school library to purchase it - it's quite a pricey buy). 

I should actually finish Elegy for Eddie tonight, so I probably won't include it on my "Books Read" list next week. This was the first Maisie Dobbs book I read (it's also the ninth...doing things in order is overrated sometimes), and I decided to refresh my memory before I picked up the tenth book (see previous week's entry) - not because I don't remember what happened (I read it back in August), but because now that I've read the other eight books, I thought I might pick up on more subtleties that I might have missed before.  

I'll say this: I love my degree and the classes I'm taking this semester, but I hope the next three weeks fly me, summer means being able to read whatever I want whenever I want - and there is nothing I love more!