So do you??
Have music playing while you read..
I don't own an Orla Kiely radio, just the plain wooden version, though if anyone wants me to test run one I'll try my hardest, but I may often have Radio 3 tinkling along at very low volume until something very modern or experimental comes on, or worse opera (which, with apologies to the buffs does sadly have the power to set my philistine teeth on edge, akin to fingernails down blackboards). But it was the complimentary CD of Janacek's Sinfionetta which came with my copy of 1Q84, the new Haruki Murakami novel, that has really focused my attention on the background trilling again.
Incidentally, if you are swithering over 1Q84 but fancy something so very completely different, swither no more, get it on the Christmas list. I am having a fairly unique reading experience with it, and had to download it onto my Kindle as well just so that I could carry on reading whilst in London recently. I can pick it up and be immersed in an instant and anywhere, so the Book Room Dowagers and I are now nicely into Volume 2 and this is quite unlike anything else I've read in a very long time.
But 1Q84 renders me incapable of picking up any other fiction at the moment, and I foresee this might have to be the case until I have finished it, which doesn't bode well for next week's Endsleigh Salon remit of the 1970s. I'm hoping I can swing this through by just subtracting five years and plugging the 1984 connection.
And thank you to Erika who very kindly posted me an interview by Sam Anderson with Haruki Murakami from The New York Times Magazine. I hope Haruki knows that I am repaying his statement...
'Concentration is one of the happiest things in my life. If you cannot concentrate, you are not so happy...'
with a vast amount of happy concentration of my own. Considering the book 'held Murakami prisoner for three years' it seems the least I can do. According to Sam Anderson who spent several days in Tokyo with him, this is a writer who has produced,
'three decades of addictive weirdness that falls into an oddly fascinating hole between genres and cultures, a hole that no writer has ever explored before, or at least nowhere this deep...he has produced his longest, most serious book yet'
This is Murakami so expect some explicit content, and if that offends you dreadfully then you might be put off, if you can just accept that it's life and for the way it blends in seamlessly with the whole then proceed. It is the intriguing plot of the book that is taking me into this hypnotic and mesmerising world to the extent that I don't really want to go anywhere else 'made-up' until I emerge blinking into the light again. As to what it's about...eek, well parallel worlds, and normal but at the same time unusual happenings, and two lives glancing off each other with clever connections to try and spot, and worlds which I assume are about to collide, though predicting Murakami probably about as reliable as second-guessing what will win the Booker prize.
So I have a pile of non-fiction on the go when I need a rest from 1Q84, as you'll see over here >>>> and an incredible book on my Kindle, my thanks to Kevin for suggesting The Memory Chalet by Tony Judt at about 11pm one evening, and which I had downloaded and was reading within minutes, and all of which is creating a really vibrant and unusual reading balance for me.
Anyway, where were we...yes, music.
So I have been playing the Janacek and loving it but after about a hundred pages of 1Q84 I was almost subliminally note perfect and needed a change, and having worked my way through quite a few failures it is Bach who now wins the day. Most specifically the Cello Suites which I have on a double CD and played by the inestimable Pablo Casals. Despite its complexities for the musician, and I feel sure Pablo was nurgling his bow to shreds, there is something hauntingly simple and undistracting about the music to my amateur ear, it's like a bass note to my reading and so far I've done two hundred pages-worth and not tired of it. I've dragged a bit more Bach out, usual suspects, Brandenburgs, Goldbergs, a compilation of keyboard favourites and that seems to be the sum total of my Bach collection.
That's a pretty poor show so I'd love some more Bach recommends, and even some more cello recommends beyond Jacqueline Du Pre doing Elgar...oh yes and I've got some YoYo Ma somewhere. But if you listen while you read I'd love to know what you have trilling away in the background... or are you a silence is golden person??
Oh yes, and one more thing, have a safe and happy Guy Fawkes night everyone, the Book Room Dowagers are used to loud bangs, living as we do in the midst of a shooting estate, so I doubt they will be phased, too busy fighting the War of the Vacant Cushion as usual.