Saturday, December 19, 2020

Year of Wonder, Jane Smiley, and the Largest Virtual Choir Ever Assembled

 








Generally, I read books, and I like them. Sometimes I read books, and I love them. And, even more rarely, I read books and I enjoy them. Year of Wonder: Classical Music to Enjoy Day-by-Day was a book that I read and I enjoyed. Year of Wonder is a compilation of short writings about classical musical pieces, one for each day of the year. I read the daily essay and then listened on Spotify to the musical selection. And I marked each selection that I especially liked and made a playlist of my own on Spotify. It was a delightful experience.








War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy...98% complete
The Novel Cure: From 751 Books to Cure What Ails You...42% complete
The Salt Path...36% complete






I heard Jane Smiley speak this week with Houston's Brazos Bookstore on Zoom. Happily this completely meshed with the arrival of Jane Smiley's new book, Perestroika in Paris at my house.



I really enjoyed our local book club discussion on Zoom. Everyone liked the book, The Lions of Fifth Avenue. Amazing!




Good Thing #1: 


While I was reading Year of Wonder, I ran across a day in which the featured musical selection was by a composer named Eric Whitacre. I learned that Whitacre started a Virtual Choir Project way before the pandemic, way back in 2010, and that his virtual choirs were on YouTube. I checked him out on YouTube, and ran across an interview with Eric Whitacre on Sunday Morning, a CBS news show, from earlier this year. I found it so lovely that I thought I'd share it with you here. If you'd like to hear the virtual choir for 2020, take a look here.

Good Thing #2:


I joined the FeederWatch project last week. In two days, I saw ten different species of birds, including the goldfinch above.

Good Thing #3:
We've finished our discussions about our favorite fiction picture books from 2020, and we have decided on our Cybils shortlist. I can't reveal anything until January 1st, 2021.




How was your week?





I'm happy you found your way to the Sunday Salon. Sunday Salon is a place for us to link up and to share what we have been doing during the week. It's a great way to visit other blogs and join in the conversations going on there. 

Some of the things we often talk about at the Sunday Salon:
  • What was your week like?
  • Read any good books? Tell us about them.
  • What other bookish things did you do? 
  • What else is going on in your life?

Other places where you may like to link up over the weekend are below. Click on the picture to visit the site.


My linkup for Sunday Salon is below.

61 comments:

  1. Good for you for doing FeederWatch. I've participated for more than ten years although I haven't signed up for this season yet. Too many distractions right now, but I hope to join in a bit later.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for recommending Migrations. I'm reading it now and seem to spend about half my time taking notes and rereading sections. And weeping for all that is lost.

    I hope your holiday season is as merry as the times allow and that we all have a much better 2021.

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    1. It makes me so happy that you are enjoying Migrations so much. I knew you would.

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  2. I don't listen to enough classical music. I'll have to give the playlist a listen.

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  3. The Lions of Fifth Avenue is on my wishlist. That looks like a good one. Your book club Zoom meeting sounds like fun. Hope you have a great week!

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    1. Everyone in our book club enjoyed it. What reader wouldn't enjoy a book set in the New York Public Library?

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  4. I do love some great classical music! I need to listen more often. That sounds like a great book to enjoy and immerse in all year.

    Looks like you are having a great time with your book club. Glad we can still do some of those things even if it's not in person. I look forward to listening to the virtual choir. Thanks for sharing.

    How fun to see so many different birds. I just watched a documentary on the wildlife loss during the Brush fires in Australia. The loss is staggering. So many birds too. I just love birds.

    I see you are almost done with War and Peace! Happy dance!!! I hope you have a wonderful week and Christmas!

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    1. I'm so sad to think about birds lost during the wildfires in Australia.

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  5. Our Bird Count is going to be a bit different this year due to the pandemic, which I am sure is true all over the country. No official groups going out, just individuals calling in what they see on a designated day. I am so excited to see what books are finalists for the CYBILS and to dive in and start reading them!

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    1. Our naturalist group isn't allowed to participate in group bird counts.

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  6. I was just thinking the other day that I need to download more classical music but it's so hard to know where to start. I'll look for Year of Wonder. Speaking of which, have you read Ann Patchett's book of the same name? It's excellent.

    Enjoy your week! Happy holidays!

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    1. I haven't read the Ann Patchett book. Thanks for recommending it.

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    2. I just realized I conflated two books. Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks and State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. I recommend both.

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  7. It's a good way of discovering classical music, I tend to listen to the same pieces and composers. I love watching those virtual choirs and group music on YT, it's usually an easygoing and happy time. Have a great week and merry Christmas !

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    1. The virtual choirs have been a big hit with me during this time. This fellow has been doing them for ten years.

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  8. I love when reading inspires me in different ways!

    I hope you are enjoying The Salt Path. :) I loved it so much.

    And Project Feederwatch looks great! I have gotten two people hooked on birdwatching this year and I feel proud. LOL. My brother and friend's husband are now big time into it. :)

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    1. I am enjoying Salt Path a lot. Thank you for recommending it to me.

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  9. Hi Debs! If I do feeder watch, I'll watch the cats more to make sure they don't ty to "feed" too. That virtual choir is amazing yes. I've actually watched it a couple of times already as our principal send it to our teacher group.

    Hope you will have the most wonderful and blessed Christmas Debbie. Sure we will talk again before Friday, but I sure don't want to miss wishing you a very merry Christmas! You are a wonderful and dear "virtual" friend.

    Lots of love,

    Mareli & Elza

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    1. That's the reason I can't have cats anymore! I love cats so much!

      Merry Christmas, Mareli! I am happy we are friends.

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  10. Year of Wonder appeals to me. How cool that you made that playlist. I used to listen to classical music but not as much these days. Enjoy your reading week!

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  11. My comment seemed to disappear.
    As I read your post I "popped" over to the library and bookmarked a couple of Jane Smiley's books, don't think I've read her. Also tagged The Lions.
    I always save your post for Sunday morning with my coffee.

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    1. I love to read your post on Sunday morning over coffee, too.

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  12. I love the idea of a virtual choir. The newest thing I've heard on zoom is 'the most horrible ZOOM meeting' . You may be interested in meetup.com where they do Murder Mystery fun with other zoom indviduals.

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  13. Hi Deb, Good on you for participating in the FeederWatch project. My husband and I put out food for the birds every winter where we see chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, juncos, redpolls, grosbeaks, ruffed grouse AND a mischievous squirrel. Happy holidays!

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    1. Of the birds you have listed, all are new to me except chickadees and woodpeckers.

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  14. I always love reading your good things! The FeederWatch project sounds fun, I wouldn't recognize many birds but we do have some in our garden.
    Happy holidays, Deb!

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  16. Feederwatch project sounds fun. What a fun way to get a look at different birds.

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    1. Anyone can join in. I'm surprised to find that I can actually identify several birds now.

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  17. Our birds were all confused as it had been very mild here in New England, the robins were still around, but, the 10" of snow during the week and flurries again today - I feel bad for them and homeless animals of New England. Zoom Book Club resumes here end of January - off for Nov and December. Have a great Christmas week Deb

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    1. I always wonder what happens to the birds in the harsh weather.

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  18. As soon as the Seahawks game is done I want ot listen to your spotify list as I peruse other Sunday Salon posts.

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  19. I love the sound of your book club. Looks fun! :)

    Hope you have a magical merry Christmas!!!

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  20. A virtual choir sounds very interesting! I'll have to listen to it. I like the idea of reading daily books though I am yet to find one that I like. Year of Wonder sounds like something to check out! Happy holidays and hope you have a fabulous week!

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    1. I hope I can find a book I like for 2021. I enjoyed doing the daily reads in the drawing book and the classical music book, plus War and Peace.

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  21. Cute bird! We have birdfeeders too. I mostly see mountain chickadees, mourning doves, blue jays, and squirrels. Lots and lots of squirrels. Have a great week!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. We have those birds, too, though our chickadees are Carolina chickadees.

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  22. Year of Wonder will make the perfect gift for my parents, I’m going to see if I can get my hands on a copy before Christmas, thank you!

    Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas, and a great reading week.

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    1. I was hoping the author had done a sequel, but when I searched online, all I saw was the book in translation.

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  23. I have enjoyed some Jane Smiley books. My favorite was A Thousand Acres.

    I am curious about the new one.

    I loved reading Rodham this week. I hope you have a great reading week...and fabulous holidays.

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  24. I tried to read War and Peace about 20 years ago. I got about halfway through and finally came up. It's just so dense in its subject matter and writing style. Good luck!

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  25. Sounds like a great week! You are so close to the finish with War and Peace. I admire your persistence. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

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  26. Congrats on almost finishing War and Peace, and love that your book club liked The Lions of Fifth Avenue, its one I'd like to read. Have a great Christmas and enjoy it along with good music.

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  27. War and Peace is a beast of a book but it's one I want to read someday! Have you seen the BBC TV adaptation? I thought it was absolutely wonderful and visually stunning.

    I hope you have a wonderful week and a merry Christmas!

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  28. I'm impressed that you are almost finished with War and Peace. I'm working on Middlemarch and I think it will be a while before I read another chunkster classic!

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  29. Oh the goldfinch, nice! I'll wait to hear what you think of the new Jane Smiley book. If it's a good animal story I'll get to it. Merry Christmas.

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    1. I'd say pass on the Jane Smiley. But maybe that's just me.

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  30. Feederwatch sounds fun! We just spent 6 months living on the 10th floor in the middle of the city and the only birds I saw were pigeons. I realized how much I missed the variety we usually get at home and have been so glad to see the birds again. I love classical music but haven't really sat down to figure out just who and what I like and don't. I really should. Hope you're having a great week.

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  31. I enjoyed this post so much and enjoyed your faves of 2020. I could not do such a post because I liked so many books so much!

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  32. FeederWatch project sounds super interesting. I have no clue about them at all. I love your best 2020 post. Merry Christmas!

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I love to hear what you think.