Saturday, 19 February 2011

Books and Music

I love books. And I love music. Among other things, of course, but these are two of my passions. And if my genres in literature are somewhat limited, when it comes to music I do listen to a lot of things (although I stay mostly in that wide circle of Rock).

Listening to music while reading is (or at least used to be) pretty much the norm to me, and this can lead to some strange connections between songs or albums and books. For example, while reading Tehanu by Ursula K. Le Guin I was constantly listening to Queens of the Stone Age album Songs For The Deaf, and this album will always remind me of that book (especially the song A song for the Deaf), and the book will make me want to take the CD of its casing and play it really loud.

This does not happen a lot, I tend to listen to mixed music. But whenever I listen to one album in constant loop (or a song in constant loop) and I'm deeply engrossed in the story, what I'm listening to becomes a soundtrack to the book.

And this is not exclusive to proper music. While reading Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Marakumi I discovered a flash game, called Coma. It is actually a pretty good game - you should try it. There is a dreamlike feel to the game, and an amazing song that plays in the background. And you what? I can't help but associate that song (and that game) with Kafka's time in the Forest.

But there are other dimensions to this Literature-Book thing. There is a lot of music around that has been inspired by books (and the other way round too), but it is actually kind of fun when you find such music and you are reading the book.

One of these songs is IAMX's Song of Imaginary Beings (although there is a demo version by Sneaker Pimps, also very good), that takes inspiration from Jorge Luis Borges' Book of Imaginary Beings, and was one of the reasons I started to read it.

Another example is a band that I love, and that uses literature as the main inspiration for most of their albums. I'm talking about Blind Guardian. They have songs inspired by Lord of the Rings, Discworld and Arthurian Legends. But best of all, they have an entire album dedicated to The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien.

I really like Tolkien (and as a Fantasy fan it would be akin to heresy to say I didn't). I like The Lord of the Rings, I love The Hobbit [and Hurray for the upcoming movie!], and I like The Silmarillion (and The Unfinished Tales). So an album dedicated to a book that I love by a band that I love - that was something I had to have. And it is really great to read The Silmarillion while listening to Nightfall In Middle-Earth.

And my last point is about songs that are in itself a story. As far as songwriting goes, there is not set formula. Some say whatever comes to their minds, some write songs full of hidden meanings, others come up with proper storylines.

Recently I've came across a song by the band Rasputina, called the Snow-Hen of Austerlitz. The lyrics of this song are just like a dark fairytale, and it makes me wish for the continuation of the story.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

The Ill-Made Mute by Cecilia Dart-Thornton

A joint review book commentary by Quigui of Spoilers and Nuts and Jen7waters of Cuidado com o Dálmata. We decided to make this review together because a) it would be fun; b) we suffered through this book together and c) I [Quigui] have been recently bitten by a dog, and can join Jen in her warning [and thus be allowed a post in her blog] to beware of the dog [not a Dalmatian in my case, but a tiny, tiny dog that the only thing that he managed to do was to rip my last pair of stockings. Tiny little bastard] Told’ya, but you never listen. BTW, hello everyone! *Jen waves her hand*

Green text means it was written by Jen7waters. Orange means Quigui. Black means common to the both of us (because we’re both mourning some great character). 

The Ill-Made Mute by Cecilia Dart-Thornton (The Spoiler free version)

A book about a foundling that can’t talk and is ugly as hell (therefore being ill-made and mute), that goes on a road trip to cure her disease.

A very long and boring book, with one character that is awesome and doesn’t appear as much as he should.

Unless you are really curious about it, skip it. If you are curious, proceed with care and be prepared to be bored out of your wits.

I have nothing to add. Humph.


The Ill-Made Mute by Cecilia Dart-Thornton (The spoiler version: Beware, Here be Dragons. And Spoilers. And Ranting. And Snark. And we’re sorry. No dogs and nuts in sight, though)

Saturday, 5 February 2011

January Ins And Outs

Since there have been so few updates on this blog (so few that you can hear the owls hooting and the crickets chirping uncomfortably), I've decided to post about the books I've bought/bookmooched/received in any other way and the ones I've read.

Here are the ones for January


Books bought:

On January I bought 6 books.
Two graphic novels: Volume 1 of Rurouni Kenshin and Volume 4 of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (I loved the anime, and I'm slowly completing the manga collection).

Three books were bought on the Festa do Livro [Book Fest] that happened in Porto during January. I went there with my good friend from Cuidado com o Dálmata, choosing the only day in the week that was rainy, and went on to look at old books (and not so old), hoping to find some treasure hidden there. The books where:

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka, which I discovered as a recommendation for Everything is Illuminated
Choke by Chuck Palahniuk, which I've been meaning to read for a while
Varjak Paw by SF Said, mostly because there is a black cat on the cover

After arriving in Spain I bought one book (because honestly I couldn't help myself, seeing so many beautiful editions of books, I had to bring at least one with me!). It is El menor espectáculo del mundo [The smallest show in the world] by Felix J. Palma. After reading The Map of Time, I've wanted more books by this author, so at my first chance I bought this one!

I love Bookmooch, and usually most of my books come through it. But this year, with the uncertainty of dwellings and of reading time, I tried to refrain from mooching (and of course failed). In January 3 books came via Bookmooch:

Life, The Universe and Everything, and So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish by Douglas Adams, so I can continue reading this awesome series.

Nights of Villjamur by Mark Charan Newton, that has been on my wishlist for a while.

Won (Hurray!):
2011 started well, with me winning a giveway on the Booksnob blog. I won The Cigar Maker by Mark Carlos McGinty, signed by the author. Thanks to Laura for the giveaway and to the author for sending this book!


Books read:
This part is a bit humiliating, because it will be very small. January was not very good in terms of reading, I only managed to finish two books:

A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
I read this one in eBook form. I've wanted to read some of the Sherlock Holmes novels for awhile, and after the BBC series and reading A Sabedoria dos Mortos, it seemed that it was about time I got on to it.

I liked this book, especially Part 1. Part 2 leaves you a bit WTH? at the beginning, due to the complete shift in location (and plot), so much that it feels like there was another book being inserted there. Still, the connection to Part 1 eventually becomes clear, and by the end of the book that sense of two separate books disappears.

Rurouni Kenshin, Volume 1 by Nobuhiro Watsuki
What can I say, I adore Kenshin. I've seen the anime countless times, and read the manga before in scanlation form. It was about time I read it again, this time in a proper book.

And that's it! A lot of books acquired, very little read. My TBR pile gained 9 more books in January (10, but one was read right away) and I'm quite sure it will keep on growing. Of the two books that I started reading in January, one was finished today (*does happy dance*),  the other will probably take a bit more time.