Thursday, November 02, 2006

Science and Music for Dilettantes

I'm still plugging away through Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. It's tremendously fascinating, and of course, it's stirring up all kinds of longings for more science writing now. Hence, my Stephen Jay Gould purchase of the other day. I might start a reading list of good intro books in the sciences for dabbling dilettantes like me. Also, I'd like some suggestions also. Although Bryson's book covers chemistry (biochemistry), physics (astrophysics, geophysics), geology, archaeology, paleontology, biology and other branches of science, I'm most interested in natural history and geology, paleontology, and archaeology. Although, is archaeology a social science and not a physical science because it deals with finding out about civilizations?

Last night I finished teaching my last Wilton class early (I'm quitting due to a variety of reasons: imminent baby, boredom, babysitting issues, the incompetence of the retail world) and so I went to Borders before heading home. (I wanted Mr. Two Year Old to be in bed before I got home also.) Do they have a better selection than Barnes & Noble? I think they do. They seem to have a better backlist (can you say that regarding a bookstore or just a publisher?) whereas Barnes & Noble focuses on the big names that sell. For instance, Borders has a really great 'books on music' section with all kinds of books on music theory, biographies of composers, books about music appreciation, and essays on music. Barnes & Noble has maybe Classical Music 101 and that's it. (But we like to go to B&N anyway because I worked in two of them so I feel attached and Mr. Two likes to ride the escalators and elevator and play with the Thomas the Train set in the children's section.) Anyway, my purchase of the night was Mozart in the Jungle by Blair Tindall.

Now I'm off into the chilly, rainy early November day to the library to pay for my late CDs and get the next ones to listen to in my studies. I'm still on symphonies. I'm getting Mahler, Richard Strauss, Prokofiev, Vaughan Williams, and Elgar this time.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Lazy cow said...

You are so lucky to have B&N and Borders. In Australia Borders really pushes the bestsellers now, whereas when they first opened a few years ago they had stuff other bookstores didn't. It's a shame.
Thanks for vising my blog too!
BTW, I loved Rachel Cusk's A Country Life. It's my favourite of all of hers.

9:13 PM  
Blogger Funky Smith said...

I highly recommend Brahms, Mendelssohn, and Dvorak symphonies if you haven't already.oh and Beethoven. Yes! Prokofiev is very cool and you'll have to let me know how you like it. I think R. Strauss can be boring sometimes, but that is just my opinion.

Also, I'm not sure if this book would pertain to all the interests you mentioned, and I'm not sure if you would APPRECIATE the book, because basically it addresses revisionist history--depends on your outlook. I forget the title but the author is Howard Zinn, and title is something like, "A History of the World." Very neat book.

5:17 PM  
Blogger Camille said...

Oh, I'd probably like the Zinn book. I read his (well, most of his) People's History of the United States and thought it was great.

I have heard Brahms, Mendelssohn, and Dvorak symphonies and loved them all. Especially Dvorak. And Brahms.

5:39 PM  
Blogger Funky Smith said...

Oh, that's the one--People's History--couldn't remember the name. Well nevermind then! I'm still trying to find the time to read more than the first chapter. But I liked it. :)

10:24 PM  

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