Monday, February 16, 2009


A page from the Oliver Sacks book I'm reading now. At first Sacks discusses people who hear music in their heads and are able to write it down and play it on piano, then there's the amnesiac who claims he knows nothing at all about music, but the instant he sits at the piano he can play all sorts of classical music. There's the man with Parkinson's Disease who can't stop his violent jerky shaking until he puts his fingers on the piano--then his entire body calms down and he plays Brahms beautifully. Then there are people who live with too much music in their heads, too loud. It's an interesting read.

Besides watching Book TV and finding more and more news shows giving books reviews and interviewing authors (especially RTE and BBC news programs) I also find a lot of book news in various papers. This caught my eye. A dad who lives far away reading to his kids! I was read aloud to a lot as a child, and one of the memories I have is of being on the lap of the person reading to me. That was part of the experience. This seems so odd to me, but then I hardly ever use Skype myself (except when talking to a friend in the DR who is a technology freak and loves to use Skype.) It is kind of fun to use, but it feels weird too.

I never knew anything about his childhood, or that he was half Irish. This is my fun reading for the week.

I have no idea

I read the Ved Mehta book about building a dream house in Dark Harbor Maine. I found it pretty interesting. It was my first time reading Mehta, and I plan on reading all his memoirs in the future.


Anonymous said...

Avid, Aesop wrote The Frog and the Ox( didn't even have to google that one :) Of course, I don't remember every fable he wrote...

Deborah Godin said...

I hadn't seen that photo of Lennon before, nice one. And I wonder if Sachs has written much about synasthesia, a kind of cross-sensory phenomenon. I sometimes experience music in terms of colors.

R.L. Bourges said...

I'd read the same thing about Tchaikovsky in the excellent book Nina Berberova wrote about him. But that poor boy Sacks writes about- white noise to drown out the music. Sounds like a nightmare.

The daddy reading long-distance makes sense to me as my own grandchildren are thousands of kilometers away. The eldest now shows us the books we've sent her and we 'read' them together so I can well imagine that, some day, we'll get into real reading that way. Although the physical contact would be nice this is clearly better than nothing.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

i had to google to discover the answer, of course I should have realized a reader of ar would have already supplied the answer...however, had i not gone on this quest i would not have learned this from wikipedia, the portal of all knowledge:

Most of what are known as Aesopic fables is a compilation of tales from various sources, many of which originated with authors who lived long before Aesop.

Aesop himself is said to have composed many fables, which were passed down by oral tradition. Socrates was said by Plato in the Phaedo to have spent his time turning Aesop’s fables into verse while he was in prison. Demetrius Phalereus, another Greek philosopher, made the first collection of these fables around 300 BC. This was later translated into Latin by Phaedrus, a slave himself, around 25 BC. The fables from these two collections were soon brought together and were eventually retranslated into Greek by Babrius around A.D. 230. Many additional fables were included, and the collection was in turn translated to Arabic and Hebrew, further enriched by additional fables from these cultures.

Most of Aesop's fables had animals as main characters, such as the Tortoise and the Hare, or the Ant and the Grasshopper.

i wonder how many of fables feature mice....perhaps i should start working on a book collecting mouse tales from all around the world....

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

I love Oliver Sacks' writing and saw Musicophilia in the store the other day - planning to go back and buy it!
Have you read any of his other books?

tut-tut said...

Interestingly, Performance Today's topic was synesthesia, the mixing of two senses. In this case of course, it was sound (music) and color. You can read/listen here

Performance Today

This was a first, using HTML in a comment, so I hope it works.

e said...

I know someone who reads to kids via telephone, but Skype is a great idea...

Another that I thought of from my childhood was a series of LPs of Aesop's Fables and another of Fairy Tales, that I played until the vinyl popped...

Sacks is sounding more interesting by the minute...

Is there any consensus on the first book yet, Avid?

Anonymous said...

I think it is sad to have a long distance relationship with your own toddlers!

Barbara said...

I may have to reclaim Musicophila from my daughter who gave it to me and then borrowed it to read.

Anonymous said...

Reading aloud to children must be one of the greatest pleasures in life :)

Avid Reader said...

The Lennon Book got disappointing after the childhood chapters. Oh well....

Megan said...

I am catching up today as I had no internet most of yesterday...

Bummer about the Lennon book.

My Classic Fiction Book List -Partial List

  • Austen, Jane: (Complete Works)
  • Balzac: Cousin Bette/ Eugenie Grandet / Cousin Pons
  • Best Russian Short Stories
  • Boyle, TC: Short Works
  • Brennan, Maeve : Short Works, 1 Novella
  • Bronte, Emily, Ann, Jane (Complete Works)
  • Brookner, Anita ( Complete Works)
  • Cather, Willa (Complete Works)
  • Chekov: Short Works
  • David Copperfield (Dickens)
  • Dickens:A Tale of Two Cities
  • Dickens:Great Expectations
  • Dickens:Nicholas Nickelby
  • Dickens:Our Mutual Friend
  • Dickens:The Old Curiosity Shop
  • Doyle, Roddy (some novels, memoir)
  • Drabble, Margaret (4 Novels)
  • Drieser, Theodore (Complete Works)
  • Fitzgerald, F.Scott (Most Novels & short works)
  • Hardy, Thomas (Complete Works)
  • Hemingway, Short stories
  • Hemingway: The Old Man in the Sea
  • Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises
  • Hugo: Les Miserables/Hunchback Of ND
  • James, Henry: Daisy Miller
  • James, Henry: In The Cage
  • James, Henry: Portrait of a Lady
  • James, Henry: The Golden Bowl
  • James, Henry: What Maisy Knew
  • James, Henry: Wings of a Dove
  • James, Henry:The Ambassadors
  • James, Henry; The Bostonians
  • Kerouac: Dharma Bums
  • Kerouac: On The Road
  • Kerouac: The Subterraneans
  • Kerouac: Tristessa
  • Lardner,Ring:Short Works
  • Larsen: Quicksand
  • Lewis, Sinclair: Arrowsmith
  • Lewis, Sinclair: Free Air
  • Lewis, Sinclair: Main Street
  • Lewis, Sinclair: The Job
  • MacGill, Patrick (Complete works)
  • Mackin, Walter (novels)
  • Maupassant: Short Works, novels
  • McGahern, John (novels of)
  • McNulty, John (Short Works)
  • Norris, Frank: McTeague
  • O'Brien, Edna (3 Novels)
  • O'Donnell, Paeder : Novels of
  • O. Henry
  • Potok, Chaim (4 novels/1 non fiction)
  • Salinger, JD : Nine Stories
  • Salinger: Franny & Zooey
  • Salinger: Raise High the Roofbeams
  • Salinger: The Catcher in the Rye
  • Sinclair, Lewis: Dodsworth
  • Sinclair, Lewis: Elmer Gantry
  • Sinclair, Upton: King Coal
  • Sinclair, Upton: The Jungle
  • Steinbeck, John: Sweet Thursday
  • Steinbeck: Winter of our Discontent
  • Steinbeck: Cannery Row
  • Steinbeck: East of Eden
  • Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath
  • Theroux, Paul (3 Novels )
  • Toibin, Colm: (Novels of)
  • Tolstoy: Anna Karenina
  • Tolstoy: Short Works
  • Turgenev (2 novels)
  • Twain: T Sawyer, Life on the Mississippi
  • Vonnegut: Early Works (1950s-60s)
  • Wharton, Edith: Novels of/Short Stories
  • Women & Fiction (Edit. Cahill)
  • Zola, Emile ( 10 novels)