06 April 2008

#15 and #16

The 100 books in a year ain't going as well as I had hoped - by March I should have read 25 books, I was 11 books off the pace.  But yesterday I finished two and who knows what may happen by the end of April.

#15  The Lighthouse at the End of the World, by Stephen Marlowe.  I checked this out after reading about it in Marlowe's obituary in the NY Times.  I also have had a secret admiration for Poe,  mainly due to the legend that is told about an old boarding house in my hometown where - supposedly - Poe stayed one night and wrote the Raven.  (I do not believe the legend, for one think I have never seen a raven in there and second there were plenty of other boarding houses between the train depot and the legendary house).  Furthermore, the first lesson I ever taught as a student teacher (at one time I was going to be a high school history teacher) was on the Pen and Pendulum.  

The Lighthouse at the End of the World is an imaginative look at Edgar Allan Poe's last five days before dying in a Baltimore hospital.  The book took me nearly a month to read.  I kept getting bogged down in the opium induced sections of Poe's subconscious.  

Go here for a read of Poe's literary corpus.

#16  The Violin Maker: Finding Centuries-Old Tradition in a Brooklyn Workshop by John Marchese.  I cannot for the life of me recall where I saw this book, but I put it on a future to-read list last Fall.  What a great book, I read it in two days.  On Friday the VOR brought home a bag of books from the library, instantly #1 and #2 and #3 when at it reading and looking at them on the couch.  I too was sitting on the floor having a go at this book.  

I think the major thing I gleaned from it was a deeper appreciation of my fiddle, The Gaylus - the one my grandfather made in 1925-26, particularly the "bumblebee stingerette" (as called by Sam Zygmuntowicz).  I was never took the time to notice the purfling, placed in the gouge are two pieces of black dyed wood with poplar in between.  My grandfather did not miter the corners but I think they are beautiful nonetheless.
 Now I just need the recordings of the Emerson Quartet I requested to come in and I can hear what the Zygmuntowicz fiddles sound like!

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