Tuesday, July 24, 2012

All the Pleasures of Time and Leisure

Since owning my own laptop I have been introduced to the joys of electronic books, and since I also have a huge selection of music on there as well I have been combining the two for a couple of years now.    It just makes more sense (to me) to combine the two (because there just isn't enough time in a day to do either separately)  though I know that most people do not like to do this claiming that the music or the reading would be too distracting of the other.    I beg to differ.    Admittedly, before I even considered doing such things, there was always music in my head... like my life has it's own soundtrack, wherever I go and whatever I do, if it's just walking early in the morning and watching the sun come up, driving along the highway to and from Terrace (a very beautiful drive any time of the year), working, cleaning, quilting, writing.  It's never really quiet in my head, so I've never had any problems incorporating the two.

Before I even had my laptop I noticed the enhancement of my pleasure  of listening while reading,  my first experience being some Heinlein juveniles, whilst listening to the Flaming Lips' Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robot.   The Rolling Stones were never so good as when I was listening over and over again to Aproaching Pavonis Mons by Balloon.  
I strongly recommend reading some thrilling space opera to the music of The Flaming Lips as their genre, while being stated as alternative is really space music of the finest calibre.

Next to make a great impression was a selection of space music from Hearts of Space, a radio program out of Berkeley, California featuring the best of electronic and classical music with a spacey theme.  One such piece resonated with me while reading book two of Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet (a truly sad story of love and pain in Mormon America).  Adagio to Silence  was so invocative, I could not help but be overwhelmed with sorrow and compassion for the protagonists of this side story with a perfect selection of Mahler, Kitaro, Messiaen, Landowski, Stearns and Tempel.    Have a look at their website... there is lots there to enjoy.  Hearts of Space

 The pairing of Tanya Huff's Blood Books with the last two albums by U.N.K.L.E Where Did the Night Fall and Another Night Out.   A terrific co-operation of Sleepy Sun, Katrina Ford, Gavin Smith, The Black Angels,  Autolux, Gavin Clark and the awesomeness of U.N.K.L.E.    Perfection!

Another  truly significant  and well mated couple is The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov joined with Dmitri Shostakovich's neo-classical string quartets.    I don't think I could ever separate the two now from each other, both being so integral to the power of the story each tell.
Master is a very creepy,  sinister book with a fascinating story within a story within yet another story.   I stongly recommend using this combination of music to story.

This year's serendiptious pairing was The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick being well met with the French electronica band Air's soundtrack  to the Georges Méliès film  Le Voyage Dans Le Lune (the album having the same name).

 As you can see there are quite a lot of choices out there for this kind of reading, and I promise to share some of those perfect combinations that I manage to stumble upon while working through my collections of books and music.  Of course, in the future we will have holographic novels which will have all the senses engaged whilst reading/watching  the story... so this concept really isn't that far off eh?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fahrenheit 451

It has been a pleasure for me this week to re-visit an old favorite by Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451.   It was originally one of those books that scared the living daylights out of me, and firmly entrenched a dedication to the act of reading (and buying books...lots of books 'cos I want to save 'em all!).   

When I was a young girl, high on the joy of reading, I was negatively teased about it by my family.  Though I can't remember far enough back to say with absolute certainty when I first began to read, I can clearly remember the excitement of understanding letters, and being able to string them into words that meant something (the A-ha! moment).  I can also remember the hunger to read more, to read them all, and to never stop reading, ever.  It wasn't an easy thing to do.  It is a difficult concept for me to accept (and believe me today I am still mystified that there can still be such a thing), but there are households out there  in the world that do not read, and mine was one of them.  My mother wanted me to be a secretary or a nurse until I got married.  She wanted me to take Physical Education and Cooking at school, all good subjects to take to support what her expectations of me were (which was to be like herself, or what she had always wanted to be), and having my head in a book did not agree with her image of what I should be. The sad thing is, my mother never had the opportunities that I had, she didn't even finish grade school (my memory is fuzzy on just how much schooling she actually recieved), so she was never able to appreciate the joys of a good book (I don't remember her actually having a book in her hand ever). It took a long time for me to understand that and it wasn't until I was an adult and far removed from my mother that I realized  her ignorance and jealousy was what had fueled her contempt for me and my puzzling interests.  I had this fantasy when I was a teenager about the kind of home I would have when I grew up, and the most noticeable feature was the wall to wall library in every room (plus the really bitchin' stereo and music room!).

When I had my own family, I made sure from the very beginning, that books would be a part of their lives.  All of my children were read to from an early age ( I remember reading to 20-month-old DS1 while cradling 3-week-old DS2 in my lap).  Books were important... perhaps because they were such an issue when I was young.  I have always had that contrary streak that makes me want to do even more the things that other people tell me I cannot do! (Just watch me during Banned Books Week!)  So books have been a major part of my adulthood my children love to read (plus they have always had the freedom to do as they wished in their life and career choices with support from myself and my husband).
So you may understand why Fahrenheit 451 was such a devastating book to read for me as I could understand and sympathise with all of the people who were punished, arrested and forced to watch as their books were burnt in front of them.  No-one should be able to tell you what you can and cannot do, and free thinking of any sort, is a right for every person.  This is why I will always fight against censorship, why I have the best job in the world (in a library), and why I am constantly reading.  Books are life.  Freedom of thought,  full of knowledge, dreams and imagination, books are anything and everything to me.

                               "Through my love of words and my love of ideas and metaphors, I can convince you of the most unlikely things.  That's what a magician does.  He can make an elephant disappear on stage.  I can make an entire world disappear or appear in a story.  Or I can make dinosaurs fall in love with lighthouses.  It's magic!"
                                                                           Ray Bradbury

If you have never read Fahrenheit 451, I recommend that you try to get a hold of the 50th Anniversary Edition, as it has a coda  which was really quite profound and very classic Bradbury waxing poetic about something he is passionate about (censorship!).  And if that is not enough (and I don't see how it could be!) have a look at BRADBURY SPEAKS: Too Soon From The Cave, Too Far From The Stars Essays on the Past, the Future, and Everything in Between.   In that book is a very clear and poignant insight in to the genius  that was Ray Bradbury.