Sunday, December 22, 2013

December, Part 1

Part One of what I've read in December covers from the last week of classes until when I left for Texas.

Books Bought:
  • Thousand Mile Song: Whale Music in a Sea of Sound (David Rothenberg)

Books Read:
  • Music as Social Life: The Politics of Participation (Thomas Turino)
  • Ender's Shadow (Orson Scott Card)
  • The Principles of Uncertainty (Maira Kalman)
  • Sisterland (Curtis Sittenfeld)

I bought Thousand Mile Song because a good chunk of one of my thesis chapters is about whales. David Rothenberg writes a lot about music and nature, but his books aren't always the most scientifically accurate. He also seems a little spacey, but I don't mind that. I read Music as Social Life for my intro to ethnomusicology class and enjoyed it. It's aimed at undergraduate non-musicians, but it's still a great read that explores some interesting ideas about the different roles music can play in societies.

I reread Ender's Shadow and enjoyed it as much as the first time I read it. I'm working on the rest of the Shadow series now. 

The Principles of Uncertainty is another quick read. Maira Kalman is known for her quirky paintings (she illustrated Daniel Handler's Why We Broke Up, which I read back in January and loved). This book is basically a collection of her paintings with her thoughts about her daily life written around them. It's a beautiful book. Sisterland got some interesting reviews when it came out in June, so I checked it out from the library. I flew through it pretty quickly once finals week was over, and for the most part I enjoyed it. It wasn't necessarily what I expected - the blurb describes two sisters' psychic powers; one sister uses her powers and ends up warning a city about an upcoming earthquake, the other sister rejects her powers in favor of a more "normal" life. Psychic powers aside, though, it's really a novel about the relationship between sisters as they grow up. I really didn't care for the ending - I thought it was melodramatic, unbelievable, and unsatisfying.