to replay or not to replay

Usually when I finish reading a book, and I’m considering how much I liked it, I ask myself if I’d read it again. If a book has a profound impact on me, I’ll say with certainty that I want to reread it one day. (Whether or not I actually get around to rereading it is another matter altogether.)

There are a lot of books that I want to reread, but I never reread a book immediately after finishing it. At most, I might flick back through the book to revisit certain parts, but I know I must move on to another book before restarting the journey. The idea is to leave enough time between readings to allow some forgetting of events so that it can be experienced anew.

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Saint-Saëns

Before I started listening to classical music on the radio, I’d never heard of Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns. I think most people probably don’t know who he was, which is a shame, considering he was a very remarkable composer and musician. I mean, most people know who Beethoven and Mozart were, even if they don’t like or don’t listen to classical music.

I was actually going to publish this post last week, but when I was doing some reading about him, I learnt that his birthday is actually today, so I thought that today would be better. I also learnt that he was a bit of an over-achiever, and was performing concerts by the time he was ten years old. He was also a genius of sight-reading music, and could play the most complicated pieces at first sight (something I could only dream of doing).

Saint-Saëns apparently started composing music around the age of six, but I think his best work (that I have heard so far) was one he completed in his early fifties. Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No. 3 — also known as the “Organ Symphony” — is also one of my favourite pieces of classical music, and almost always catches my attention when it’s played on the radio (provided I’m not too absorbed in some task).

I actually never thought the sound of the organ was particularly pleasant, but I think this symphony would not be as good any other way. Perhaps the problem was that I’d only ever heard the organ on its own, not together with and amongst other instruments.

To me, the Organ Symphony sounds majestic, regal and uplifting, and is something I never get sick of hearing. The first few times I heard it, I thought it sounded like something from a movie — maybe Lord of the Rings or something epic like that. But there’s a certain part of the symphony that’s very distinct, and I realised it is actually used in Babe, that delightful movie about a pig who becomes a sheepdog (or sheep-pig), which you might consider epic in its own way.

If you have time, I think it’s worth a listen. If nothing else, it makes for excellent background music.

dear friend

Last Friday, I went out to buy new running shoes. The reason I needed new running shoes warrants a post of its own, so I’ll leave that for another time. Anyway, as I was already out, I figured I’d stop by at the Lifeline Bookfest. I’d gone the week-end before with a friend, but hadn’t found anything I wanted, so I left empty-handed. This was kind of to make up for that, and I was sure I’d find something.

After much wandering, I found a Russian for Dummies book, which will hopefully be a good introduction to Russian whenever I decide I’m finished with learning Persian and want to move on to Russian; and I also found a decent copy of The Hobbit, which I bought because I’ve been wanting to re-read the Lord of the Rings trilogy for ages, and had started Fellowship of the Ring earlier this year, but stopped after a few pages because I thought I really should re-read The Hobbit first. Continue reading

forests and jungles

A few weeks ago, I was at a friend’s place with a few other friends. After lunch, it was somehow decided that we should watch a horror movie. I think the rationale was that it was broad daylight, and we were in good company, so any horror film was likely to be more tolerable (compared to watching one in other circumstances). A particular friend in the group also seems quite interested in this genre (JS!) Continue reading

’twas the month before Christmas

It’s not even December yet, and the major TV networks have started broadcasting Christmas-themed shows and movies. Well, to be fair, it probably starts – at least – by about this time every year. The shopping malls, etc all had their Christmas decorations up weeks ago, so I suppose TV isn’t really the first to the party anyway.

I only had a half-day at work yesterday, finishing up at midday. I stayed back to have lunch, and went down to the cafeteria to put up more posters for The Compliment Project. I was quite chuffed to see that, of the two I’d put up on Monday, one had had all the tags taken (or I assume so, anyway, since the poster itself was no longer there) and the other had most of the tags taken. There’s also been a good response at my pharmacy (I’d put one up in the staff tearoom) but the one I’m most pleased with is the one I put on my local community noticeboard:  Continue reading

the unexpected tear-jerker

I have this kind of vague, kind of vivid memory about a conversation I had with a friend back in high school. I think it was the last day of grade 8, or the last day of semester in grade 8 or 9; and I remember this because there weren’t really any classes or, at least, we weren’t doing any learning. Instead, in one class, we watched a movie – something sad and poignant like The Notebook but not that.

In this particular conversation, this friend and I (and perhaps a few other friends who were around) were talking about movies that make you cry. The Notebook was one of her suggestions. As for myself, I’d never been moved to tears by a movie. Some time after this, I got around to watching The Notebook, and I didn’t cry. Don’t think I even felt tears welling up in my eyes. I appreciate the beauty of the story and all, and I’m sure I would’ve felt the emotion of the characters, but… no tears.

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