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Book or music suggestions anyone?

Within the past few 6 weeks, my habits for passing the time have gone through a dramatic upheaval. As you can tell from my post on new TV shows, there was a stretch there where I was getting far into watching TV. And it wasn’t anything educational or helpful in any way…just a mind-numbing, stupifying escape. One day my wife described me as “couchy”, which I didn’t like…but didn’t necessarily set out to change right away…

Without any kind of resolution or goal setting, all of the sudden I’ve reached my satiation point with TV, and have been hitting the books. But not just crime-thrillers, which I have gobbled up in the past and honestly can’t remember one from the other,  I’ve been trying to sink my teeth into quality books.

The first I tackled was “Pillars of the Earth”

This is a book that most of my reader friends had recommended at one time or another. I’m not going to give a full book review, it’s been done ad nauseum. But I will say this, I was blown away by Follett’s ability to weave so many characters together, with their own changes, feuds, jealousies, passions, love, and revenge.  When I write my little stories, I can barely keep track of my own character development, let alone about a dozen. Overall, a great book.

Next, I decided to tackle “The Glass Castle”, a memoir by Jeannette Walls.

I actually bought this book for my wife for Christmas, after her friend strongly recommended it. After Pillars, I decided to pick it up. I don’t often read memoirs. After reading Walls’, I may have to change that. This book gripped me from beginning to end, as it told the story of the upbringing of Jeannette Walls and her 3 siblings, carted from town to town by her care-free, irresponsible and artistic mother, and her alcoholic but brilliant father. All I can say is this: Any complaint you have ever made about feeling poor is nothing. Do you have more than one pair of shoes? Do you have a TV? Do you have electricity? Do you have at least one meal a day without digging through trash barrels? If you answered yes to these questions,  then you don’t know poverty like the Walls kids. Holy crap. I will do my darndest to never complain again.

But the story isn’t about poverty as it is about the triumph of the human spirit, and the strength we gain through adversity, and through bonds we have with others.

The other thing to change has been my choice of music.

Almost overnight, I got sick of my playlist and went searching for something more inspiring. I started loving classical music. So I borrowed a bunch of my dad’s CDs, and have started tackling them one by one, most recently listening to Yo-Yo Ma’s cello solos of Bach’s music. For some reason Suite 1, which has been played a bazillian times in movies, commercials, and probably ring-tones, puts me at ease and calms my soul after a stressful day of work. If you don’t know it by name, I’m positive you’ll recognize the sound. Here’s a youtube clip:

I’m also looking for other artists that are just different…  On Spotify, I’m listening to M83 right now (so obviously, I don’t ALWAYS listen to classical) who might be old to most of you, but I’ve never listened to them. Good stuff so far. Also, I’ve been listening to that song “Sail” by Awolnation…which I KNOW has been overplayed, but because it’s unique sound, and the fact that my barely crawling son loves it when I play it because he loves how we “dance” to it, I’ve been playing it endlessly.


So I’m on the search, for great books and unique music.  Any recommendations?

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  1. Have you read “1491” yet? I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. Also, check out “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt” by Edmund Morris. It’ll cure you of your inclination to be “couchy” pretty quick like.

    For fiction, especially if you like a lot of characters and plots at once, try Steven Erickson. Start with “Gardens of the Moon.”

    “Heroes” by Robert Cormier is a one-sitting read (or maybe two) that’ll yank at your heart-strings and pop your mind.

    Last, I reread “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” last year, and I enjoyed the bite size tales about the original mystery prototype.

    • Craig

       /  February 13, 2012

      Dan, I will check those books out. You seem to have similar tastes in some books that I read, so I’ll give those a try. I also recently read the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and enjoyed it, but was disappointed there was no cage fighting.

  2. Your sis

     /  February 7, 2012

    Knew you’d like Pillars of the Earth!

    The cello piece is called “Unaccompanied Cello Suite #1” by J.S. Bach. It’s my favorite to play too.

    • Craig

       /  February 13, 2012

      Yes, I borrowed the Yo-Yo Ma version of that Suite from Bach…LOVE it. I think you should play it live at our next FHE.


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