Items tagged with WestportREADS


Posted by on Wednesday, Dec 5, 2007 - 5:37 PM

This is hardly the moral of the story, but it does indicate how L. Frank Baum chose to portray the triumph of good over evil in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Baum stated that his book “aspires to being a modern fairy tale, in which the wonderment and joy are retained and the heartaches and nightmares are left out.” You may be apprehensive about the flying monkeys, but you know that good, and not evil, will prevail. read more

"The Magic Box"

Posted by on Thursday, Mar 29, 2007 - 3:54 PM

In 1690, Stradivari changed the length of his violins by about one quarter of an inch.In the world of violin makers, this was an historic event! After eight years, he returned to the previous size. To the world at large, this seems insignificant. Not so!read more

Music! Intangible and eternal!

Posted by on Tuesday, Mar 27, 2007 - 9:28 AM

Music travels through time across the centuries, out-living its creators! What a wonder!
Have you considered the simple elements that make up the instruments ? How does that sound come out of that wood and metal? What a confluence of craftsmanship, intent, creativity and skill!

If you share my enthusiasm, come to hear author John Marchese read more

Grace Notes: Violin, Violon, Violine, Violino

Posted by MargieF on Monday, Mar 26, 2007 - 3:10 PM

violin.jpgAs anyone who has attended a classical music concert or seen pictures of a full symphony orchestra, the violin is the smallest of the family of stringed instruments and creates the highest pitches. Its innate acoustics give it enormous versatility in producing beautiful, sustained tones and pathos similar to the human voice while simultaneously giving the player enormous potential for flashy and scintillating sound effects and dramatic techniques. Its range of more than four octaves and the ability to play chords has made it ubiquitous in all kinds of music and cultures.

The evolution of violin making reached its apex in Brescia and Cremona Italy in the seventeenth century by Antonio, Girolamo, and Nicolò Amati, Antonio Stradivari, and Andrea and Giuseppe Guarneri. The instruments by these distinguished craftsmen have been prized and sought after by generations of artists, collectors, and musicians.

In celebration of WestportREADS, the Library will be featuring John Marchese, author of The Violin Maker: Finding a Centuries-Old Tradition in a Brooklyn Workshop. He will speak about his new book and introduce Sam Zygmuntowicz, the violin maker portrayed in the book. This program will take place on Wednesday, March 28, 2007 at 7:30 p.m. in the McManus Room.

To learn more about the history of the violin and its creators, be sure to look at Toby Faber's Stradivari's Genius: Five Violins, One Cello and Three Centuries of Enduring Perfection, Edward Heron-Allen's Violin Making, As It Was and Is: Being a Historical, Theoretical, and Practical and Karel Jalovec's Beautiful Italian Violins. Some of the violinists in our compact disc collection include Jascha Heifetz, Itzhak Perlman, and Isaac Stern.


Posted by on Friday, Mar 23, 2007 - 12:48 PM

What is perfection? When is life "good enough?" Does the drive for perfection lead to achievement? or paralysis? If we expect to attain perfection, are our disappointments especially harsh? The narrator of The Soloist by Mark Salzman seems unable to be present in the moment, except when he is lost in music. Soon that escape eludes him, when his search for perfection interferes with his cello playing.

On Sunday March 25 at 2 pm in the McManus Room, Dr. Mark Schenker will explore the dilemma of the search for perfection and how it is portrayed in The Soloist. Associate Dean at Yale College, Schenker is a frequent Library speaker known for his incisive analyses of literature.

WestportREADS discussion question:
Is perfection possible? Do unfulfilled dreams have a harsher impact on those with special gifts?

One question: many answers

Posted by on Monday, Mar 19, 2007 - 3:54 PM

Today's WestportREADS discussion question has a multitude of possible answers.
Here it is:
To what degree are parents responsible for their children's successes or failures?

Do you know how your offspring would respond to this question ?

Some people have told me how much they dislike Renne in The Soloist; others have commented that he was the way he was because of his mother. Do you think her control of his young life led to his successes or his failures?
How about Kyung -hee? How did his parents' attitudes affect his probable success or failure?
And what about the defendant, Philip Weber?
No definitive answers, but an intergenerational conversation might reveal some interesting opinions!

WestportREADS The Soloist

Posted by on Thursday, Mar 15, 2007 - 3:47 PM

I assume you are all "talking amongst yourselves" about WestportREADS and The Soloist by Mark Salzman. We would love to get an online conversation started, so just click "Comments" to share your opinions.
The discussion question today: Renne was mentor or pupil depending on the relationship. Which times did he switch from mentor to pupil?
When in the story did Renne learn something new about life or himself? Who were his teachers?

WestportREADS Discussion Question on The Soloist

Posted by on Monday, Mar 12, 2007 - 2:12 PM

Do you agree that in life, one must show both strength and gentleness?
How did these traits show up in the story?

You are invited to commentread more

Finding insight on the path...

Posted by on Sunday, Mar 11, 2007 - 2:51 PM

"Sit quietly, doing nothing, spring comes and the grass grows by itself."

This Zen saying reminds us to "pause" and "refresh" and although these words have been snatched up by the technologies of our lives, in Buddhism we are talking about people, not PCs.
Did you wonder about Buddhism, when you read about the murder trial in The Soloist ? Come to the Library on Monday March 12th at 7:30 pm in the McManus Room to meet Tibetan monk Geshe Lobsang Dhargey. Find out what it means to practice Buddhism and participate in meditation and a chant for world peace.

Someone mentioned A.O. Scott's review of the film, "Into Great Silence" as reminding them of Buddhism. Scott says, " I hesitate, given the early date and project's modesty, to call "Into Great Silence," one of the best films of the year. I prefer to think of it as the antidote to all of the others."

In the conflicts and stresses of our world, Buddhism may be the antidote that all of us need to sample.

A fair trial?

Posted by on Wednesday, Mar 7, 2007 - 12:18 PM

Much of The Soloist by Mark Salzman revolves around the murder trial for which the narrator Renne is a member of the jury. During the trial, Renne reports: "Mr. Graham created a pause in the testimony by going over to his desk and picking up a thick sheaf of papers. It was a short delay, but the break in the rhythm got everyone's attention. It reminded me of how, just before playing a cadenza, I would freeze for a beat...and people in the audience would be on the edge of their seats, anticipating..."

Have you served on a jury? I wonder about the role of non-verbal communication in the courtroom. How much does the appearance of the lawyers and witnesses affect the jury's decision? On Thursday March 8th at 7:30 pm in McManus Room, The Honorable Alan H. Nevas, District Judge will speak on the jury system and how it is portrayed in The Soloist.

WestportREADS discussion question:
Should the mentally ill pay for their crimes? Did justice prevail in the trial?