Archives for music

#BookReview ‘A Week in Paris’ #mystery #historical

I really enjoyed this book but can’t help feeling the title did it no favours. A Week in Paris by Rachel Hore is a story of hidden secrets, wartime Paris, resistance, collaboration, bravery and music. Because of the title I was expecting something more cosy and romantic; although there is a romantic strand to the story, this book is worth reading for so much more. The week in Paris in question happens in 1956 when teenager Fay goes on a school trip to Paris. Two significant things happen to her there. She meets a fanciable boy, Adam, and has a strange fainting episode triggered by the ringing of the bells at Notre Dame. Back home, she questions her mother Kitty who denies that Fay has ever been to Paris. But Fay cannot shake off the feelings of familiarity. In 1961 Fay, now a professional violinist, has the chance to go to Paris for a series of performances. However her mother, always emotionally vulnerable, has taken an accidental overdose and is in St Edda’s Hospital. Before she leaves for Paris, Fay visits her mother who tells her to look at the bottom of a locked trunk at home. In it, Fay
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Categories: Book Love.

Book review: The Noise of Time

This Julian Barnes book is about big subjects: creativity and power, moral courage and cowardice, love and fear, autocratic government and political manipulation of the arts. Oh, and music. But I couldn’t work it out. Something didn’t work for me but I struggle to explain why. I started it, got bored, put it aside, picked it up and got through to the end. The subject matter is interesting – Soviet attitudes to art, creativity and music – the writing is eloquent, weighty and thoughtful, this is Julian Barnes after all. There is some drama as the book opens, a man, the Russian composer Dimitri Shostakovich, spends another night by the lift in his apartment building, waiting to be arrested. He is afraid for his life, but that fear seemed flat on the page. Like the reader, Shostakovich is left not knowing what is happening. At times it felt like reading an essay rather than fiction, albeit a fictionalised biography. Perhaps it is this fuzzy genre which is at the root of my inertia. I read on because it is Barnes and because the exploration of music interested me. But I did not care about him. Is this because he was
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Categories: Book Love.

I agree with… Peter Carey

Peter Carey [on the sound of pneumatic drills outside his Manhattan apartment]… It’s been going on for a few days. Actually, I wrote ‘Oscar and Lucinda’ across the street from a construction site, with rock-splitting equipment banging away constantly for months. I can deal with this.” [Peter Carey in an interview with ‘The Bookseller’ magazine September 12, 2014 about the forthcoming publication of ‘Amnesia’] Some writers like noise, others hide from it… Jonathan Franzen famously writes with noise-cancelling earphones. I can pretty much write anywhere, my journalism background I think. When it comes to music though, I prefer classical, non-lyrical music. When it comes to doing my admin, e-mails, filing etc, it is loud rock music. I’m currently re-listening to my collection The Police albums. To read more about Peter Carey and his books, click here for his website. Read this interview with The Paris Review to find out why the young Carey thought it was a good idea to send his unpublished novel to English theatre critic Kenneth Tynan. To read my novel of Carey’s latest novel, Amnesia, click here. ‘Amnesia’ by Peter Carey [UK: Faber] If you agree with Peter Carey, perhaps you will agree with:- Lizzie Enfield
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

How Emma Hooper writes

Emma Hooper “I’ve got an obsessive nature when it comes to the rhythm of the words and I’ll have sentences that are perfectly grammatically correct, but it has to have just the right amount of syllables.” [ in an interview with ‘The Bookseller’ magazine, October 17, 2014] Debut novelist Emma Hooper is also a musician, and this shows, she says in her style of writing. Her first novel, Etta and Otto and Russell and James, was published in January 2015. Some of her chapters are very short, just a paragraph or two on a page with lots of empty white space. “It’s like when you play a symphony or a concerto,” she tells The Bookseller, “or even an album, it’s one long piece, but the white space between the songs or between the movements is very important. You need a minute to digest and then move on.” To read my review of Etta and Otto and Russell and James, click here. Click here to read The Bookseller article in full. See how these other novelists write:- Mary Gaitskill Bill Clegg Anne Tyler ‘Etta and Otto and Russell and James’ by Emma Hooper [UK: Fig Tree] And if you’d like to
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Choosing music for the book trailer

The one element of making Ignoring Gravity‘s book trailer which I thought would be easy turned out to be the most time-consuming. Music. Simple, I thought, something thoughtful, a modern take on classical. This was just before the Oscars and I read an article in the newspaper about the composer who was nominated for the soundtrack to Gravity, Stephen Price who happens to live a few miles from me. So I looked him up on Linked In which immediately informed me that one of my friends knows Stephen. The wonder of online networking! I’ve nothing to lose, I decided, he might win the Oscar and want to help out a local writer. An e-mail exchange later confirmed my friend doesn’t know Stephen Price after all, but does know Gavin Greenaway, another local conductor/composer who might be able to help. It turned out that Gavin’s non-assigned tracks were too ‘bombastic’ for my needs, but he kindly gave me some sound advice about sourcing music online. He pointed me towards Audio Network where you can license a track from the hundreds available for £95 plus VAT. Another friend recommended Sound Cloud. I spent one weekend listening to tracks on both websites and
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Categories: Book Love, Book publicity and On Writing.

If best-selling albums were books instead

This week’s Bookseller magazine has just arrived and there is a gem in Bent’s Notes on the back page. Graphic designer Christophe Gowans has re-made rock and pop albums as if they were classic book jackets. My favourites are:- Patti Smith’s ‘Horses’ as a DK Eyewitness Guide to Horses Level 42’s ‘World Machine’ as Catch-22 Adam and the Ants’ ‘Kings of the Wild Frontier’ as a Wild West book for children ‘What’s the Story Morning Glory’ by Oasis as a religious pamphlet Check out Christophe’s blog. © all photos Christophe Gowans And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: Imagine, if best-selling albums were #books instead: by Christophe Gowans http://wp.me/p5gEM4-4Z via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love.