3rd Wednesday Book Club Meeting -May – On a Musical Note…

 The National Year of Reading theme for May was Escape, and here at Nowra Library, we escaped through music. It was great to see so many musical reads popping up at our meeting this month!!

Here they are in all their melodious glory:

The Inextinguishable Symphony by Martin Goldsmith
Musicophilia by Olive Sacks
This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession by Daniel J. Levitin
Piano Lessons by Anna Goldsworthy
Reading by Moonlight by Brenda Walker
Inez by Carlos Fuentes
An Equal Music by Vikram Seth
Handel’s Bestiary by Donna Leon
 Adele by Emma Tennant
Bliss by Peter Carey
David Eddings Guardians of the West
The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
My Life by Keith Richards
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louise de Bernieres
Beethoven’s Hair by Russell Martin
Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
The Most Dangerous Man in the World by Andrew Fowler
The Extinction Club by Jeffrey Moore
The Absolutist by John Boyne
Sarah Thornhill by Kate Grenville
Grand Days by Frank Moorhouse
Tuesday’s Gone by Nicci French
The Other Half of Me by Morgan McCarthy
A Woman’s War by Jacqueline & John Dinan

Vedran Smailovic

Non-fiction behind the fiction
The real cellist of Saravejo: Vedran Smailovic  

Vedran Smailović (born November 11, 1956), known as the “Cellist of Sarajevo”, is a musician from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and a former cellist in the Sarajevo String Quartet.

He played in the Sarajevo Opera, the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra, The Symphony Orchestra RTV Sarajevo, and the National Theatre of Sarajevo.

Regularly playing his cello in ruined buildings during the siege of Sarajevo, most notably performing Albinoni‘s Adagio in G Minor, Smailović caught the imagination of people around the world. In his honour, composer David Wilde wrote a piece for solo cello, The Cellist of Sarajevo, which was recorded by Yo Yo Ma. Paul O’Neill described Smailović’s performances as the inspiration for Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24 by Savatage and the Trans Siberian Orchestra. Folk singer John McCutcheon also penned a song in his honour, In the Streets of Sarajevo.

Canadian author Elizabeth Wellburn worked with Smailović to create the children’s book Echoes from the Square (1998). Another Canadian author, Steven Galloway, used Smajlović as a peripheral character in his bestselling 2008 novel, The Cellist of Sarajevo. In the book, Smajlović plays every day at 4:00 pm for 22 days, always at the same time and location, to honour the 22 people killed by a mortar bomb while they queued for bread on May 26, 1992. The account, including the time of the mortar attack (which actually took place at 10.00 a.m.), is fictional.[1] Smailović publicly expressed outrage over the book’s publication. He said, “They steal my name and identity,” and added that he expected damages, an apology and compensation.[2]

Smailović also played at funerals during the siege, even though funerals were often targeted by snipers. He escaped the city in late 1993 and has since been involved in numerous music projects as a performer, composer and conductor.

He lives in Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland.”

(Retrieved from Wikipedia, 25.5.2012)

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres- a beautiful, musical novel.

‘And Pelagia runs down the Venetian steps and out into the sun. She stops and looks back up at me, her eyes welling with tears of rage and bitterness, and I know that she hates me because she loves me, because she loves me and I am a man who lacks the courage to take an evil by the throat and throttle it. I am ashamed. I play a dimished chord because I am diminished. My flirtation and my attempt at charm have exposed me. I am a dishonourable man.

I was so disappointed to catch a cold and miss this month’s book club meeting! I was looking forward to chatting about Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres, one of my favourite books, and one which fitted so perfectly with our reading theme this month. 

I love this book. The writing is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Beautiful rhythms, beautiful phrases, beautiful pauses, beautiful words. Did I mention the writing is beautiful? Good. 
 “Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being “in love” which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.”

See? Beautiful.




The Wild Things Are Weeping: Farewell Maurice Sendak

The literary world has lost a superlative talent with the death of much-loved author and illustrator, Maurice Sendak, at the age of 83. As well as his best known work Where the Wild Things Are – for which he won the Caldecott Medal in 1970 – he illustrated and wrote many other wonderful books such as In the Night Kitchen, Higgledy Piggledy Pop, Chicken Soup With Rice, and the Little Bear series.

This New York Times article is one of many media tributes to Mr Sendak.


Maurice Sendak 1928-2012


And that’s an invitation to make a reservation: May is Escape on a Musical Note

This month’s National Year of Reading theme is Escape. Here at Nowra Library, we think one of the best ways to escape the daily grind is music. That’s why, for the entire month of May, we’re focusing on books about music (and we’re not talking about your old piano books).

Whether it be about Mozart’s love life, a WWII captain’s precious mandolin or the trials of an ageing punk rocker, you can find plenty of musical fiction here at the library to strike a chord with you.  Of course, you might choose to celebrate our musical month by reading the biography or memoir of a famous composer or musician. Ever wondered why the Beatles really broke up (was it really Yoko’s fault?)  or why Keith Richards and Mick Jagger fell out? Is it really true that none of the members of Fleetwood Mac were speaking to each other in any way unrelated to the music when they wrote Rumours, one of the most successful albums of all time? Now might be a great time to find out.

Roll up for the magical mystery (musical) tour this month at Nowra Library! (Yes, that’s an invitation to make a reservation.)

 Musical Reads @ Nowra Library

Mozart’s Ghost by Julia Cameron
Mozart’s Sister by Rita Charbonnier
Bran Nue Dae by Jimmy Chi
Trunk Music by Michael Connelly
Marrying Mozart by Stephanie Cowell

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louise De Bernieres
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Rough Music by Patrick Gale
That’s Why I Wrote This Song by Susannee Gervay
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux 
Soul Music by Terry Pratchett 
Exit Music by Ian Rankin
The Devil’s Music by Jane Rusbridge
An Equal Music by Vikram Seth
The Music Makers by E. V. Thompson
Music and Silence by Rose Tremain
Bumping into Geniuses: My life Inside the Rock’n’Roll Business by Danny Goldberg
Fleetwood Mac: The Definitive History by Mike Evans
Mick & Keith by Chris Salewicz
Madonna by Andrew Morton
John, Paul, George, Ringo & Me: The Real Beatles Story by Tony Barrow
How to Make Gravy by Paul Kelly
Hard Road: the Life and Times of Stevie Wright by Glenn Goldsmith

Staff pick: ‘Life’ by Keith Richards

Inspired by the National Year of Reading, and looking to escape “on a musical note”, I picked up a copy of  “Life” By Keith Richards with James Fox.  Talk about entertaining!  A fabulous read with the bonus of re-discovering the 60’s all over again. Having been a big fan of The Beatles back then, (and yes, I saw them in concert in Sydney in 1964!), it was an eye-opener to read about the birth of the Stones, who were definitely an antidote to the clean cut “Fab Four”.  Keith was instrumental (pardon the pun) in bringing the Stones together and developing their musical style, inspired by their heroes  of the time, who were playing raw blues and rock ‘n roll. Although Keith’s wild side is there warts and all, his knowledge, passion  and dedication to his music is a revelation … a real page-turner! – Kristin