Whatcha Readin’ and Listenin’ To Wednesday: November 12, 2008
I appreciate your response to this new feature. It’s been great to see what’s getting your attention, and it’s given me a few ideas for future readings and listenings. Don’t worry—this Wednesday thing will not supplant all other posts here; despite a crazy couple of weeks, I’ll have a “traditional” rant post up later this week.
I’ve finally wrapped up Thomas Friedman’s Hot, Flat, and Crowded. (Trust me, listening to a book read over 17 CDs is no easy feat.) A couple of books have had me spending ample time tiring my eyes, as you’ll see below, but it’s a musical highlight I’ll share with you this week.
For more years than I care to count, I’ve admired and respected the music of Steve Hackett, so much so that I planned a trip to London a few years ago around the chance to see his triumphant acoustic concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.
Hackett was the lead guitarist in Genesis back in the classic days of the band—when Peter Gabriel sang, before pop trumped progressive for the group’s soul. His catalog since he left the band in 1977 has included some aural brilliance, including one of my featured CDs this week, Spectral Mornings (1979). The title track, in particular, is a moving instrumental piece that this week—like in many occasions before—brought tears to my ears upon a focused listen.
I don’t care what flavor of music you enjoy the most—pop, rock, classical, metal, you name it—get this song from iTunes. Then grab a glass of your favorite wine, turn the lights down, breathe deeply, and bask in the pure emotion he brings out of his guitar.
The Road, Cormac McCarthy: I bought this a while back when it first came out in paperback. But I only just got around to reading it, spurred on by a blurb about the forthcoming movie adaptation, starring Viggo Mortensen. The last time I saw a movie without having read the book upon which it was based (The Golden Compass, based on Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights) I vowed to read the book first. It’s sparsely written and dark—it is McCarthy, after all—but hard to put down.
Death By Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandaries, Neil deGrasse Tyson: The most publicity-savvy astronomer of our generation explores aspects of space and our place in it—including what would happen to you if you fell into a black hole. Often repetitive, but greatly entertaining.
Steve Hackett, Spectral Mornings
Finger Eleven, The Greyest of Blue Skies
Frameshift, Unweaving the Rainbow
Anthrax, Persistence of Time
Don Henley, Building the Perfect Beast
The Who, Who’s Next