My review #43 of: Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach

(Christian Encounters Series)

by

Rick MARSCHALL

161 pages

This book counts for

My Dewey Decimal Challenge

and for

The 2011 Non-Fiction Challenge

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK

This book was available for free for review on Booksneeze, and as I had not read anything about musicians for a while, I thought I might give it a try. It is a short book, but actually very interesting; like all books by this publisher, it has a strong Christian orientation, and it focuses a lot on how Lutheran faith intertwined with music in the life of Johann Sebastian Bach. It is well written and documented, with excerpts from several biographies, and will appeal both to musicians and Christians. It has a list of technical musical expressions at the end. The author also touches on many musicians contemporary to Bach, and those he influenced  after as well. If you need a good short refresher on Bach and his music, this is the perfect book.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT

Christian Encounters, a series of biographies from Thomas Nelson Publishers, highlights important lives from all ages and areas of the Church. Some are familiar faces. Others are unexpected guests. But all, through their relationships, struggles, prayers, and desires, uniquely illuminate our shared experience.

Johann Sebastian Bach is generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time. He enriched his generation, and every generation since, with his prolific ability to survey and bring together the principal musical styles, forms, and national traditions. Himself a Lutheran, he left a corpus of sacred music to cover the entire liturgical year, including Latin Masses written for the Catholic Court of Dresden, and spent much of his working life as a church music director in Germany. Though he was a highly respected organist during his lifetime, he wasn’t recognized as a great composer until the early nineteenth century. Today he is considered one of the most influential ever. [Book description]


HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK YET?
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE BIOGRAPHY OF BACH?

DO YOU FEEL LIKE READING THIS BOOK?
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS  IN A COMMENT PLEASE

Resources:

http://booksneeze.com/blogger/resources/9781595551085

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Read in March 2011

March has been flying so quickly, and I thought I had not read much this past month; this probably reflects my frustration when, after my morning online French tutoring, and my afternoon work at the library, I cannot enjoy a good few hours of leisurely reading because I have to work on some major translation contracts. But they bring bread on the table, and books don’t, so the choice is rather limited.

Anyway, it’s good to do a monthly recap, because I discovered I still read 7 books, with a total of 2243 pages, that is an average of 72.35 pages/day! This is my highest monthly average so far for 2011, but it’s kind of cheating, as I finished for instance a book of 597 pages that I started in 2010 – A Distant Mirror, by Barbara Tuchman, on the 14th century.

I have not listened to any audiobook this month, or rather I have started one, but I’m still in process – Atlantic, by Simon Winchester, excellent but very long.

Of the 7 books I read, only 2 were fiction:
All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost, by Lan Samantha Chang – 205 p
The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore, by Benjamin Hale – 576 p. Alas, this is the 1st of the 5 books I have not had time yet to review, so no link for that one.

I don’t think I can select a favorite of these 2, they are both excellent, though very different one from the other – actually with the theme of language at the center of them both.

The 5 non-fiction books I read this month are:
The Band That Played On: The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musicians Who Went Down with the Titanic, by Steve Turner  – 221 p
Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors,  by E. M. Collingham – 257 p –  a food history of India. Review to come soon, hopefully!
I And Thou, by Martin Buber – 168 p. – Philosophy. Review to come soon
The Planet In A Pebble, by Jan Zalasiewicz – 219 p. Geology. Review to come soon
A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century, by Barbara W. Tuchman  – 597 p. Review to come soon

My favorite may be I And Thou; that’s a reread of a book I about fell in love with when I was 16-17, discovering the world of philosophy.

With all these non-fiction books, I have almost completed 3 times already the Dewey Decimal Challenge, which only required 4 books for the top level.
I’m doing good as well for the Non-fiction Challenge, I have even graduated to the top level category: 7-9 books from different categories: Future Jeopardy Champion. See here

What’s next?

Well, expect to see soon 5 reviews!

I have just begun Girl in Translation for fiction books, and for non-fiction, I’m going to try The Worst Hard Time, on the Depression. I have more than 1 religious books going on, because of Lent, I’m about done with the one on the Transfiguration in Theology and Iconography, and will go from there to Being in Communion, by Zizioulas, a reread I’m really looking forward to.

And I’ll post tomorrow 5 titles that could be YOUR next great reads!

 

NOW, HOW WAS YOUR READING THIS MARCH?

ANY GREAT DISCOVERY?

PLEASE SHARE IN A COMMENT

The Band that Played On

The Band that Played On:

The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musicians

Who Went Down with the Titanic

by Steve TURNER

221 pages

ISBN-13: 978-1595552198

(Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson)

 

 

This book counts for

My Dewey Decimal Challenge

and for

The 2011 Non-Fiction Challenge

Many books and documents have been published on the tragedy of the Titanic. But never before this book by Steve Turner has anyone focused exclusively on the 8 musicians who kept playing as the majestic boat was going down and under.

The title promises some very interesting new information.

And yes indeed, the writer seems to have done lots of research. He dedicates a chapter of the book to each player; he tracks where they came from, their family connections and stories,  their education and background, and how they came to be playing on the Titanic. He also tries to find out if they knew each other before the fatal expedition.

Many pages are also dedicated to specifying what they were really playing as they sank, as there has been some kind of possible confusion in previous publications on the topic.

Turner also focuses on reasons and responsibilities for the sinking, with all the financial aspect.

If you are interested in knowing everything about the Titanic, you should certainly read this book; it is full of detailed information.

Unfortunately for the reader, the style is extremely dry and absolutely not elaborate. I may be of the old generation, or is it because I learned English in Europe, but I am still very uncomfortable when I read a non-fiction book where the contraction is used, as “isn’t” instead of “is not.”

The book appears to me as a good first draft where the author collected all his data, but one more step would have made it so much better. He could have written a superb book based on all this information. So my overall impression was disappointment.

Resources:

<http://booksneeze.com/blogger/resources/9781595552198>

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”