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willemite

willemite

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Hieroglyph: Stories and Blueprints for a Better Future
Neal Stephenson
Ukraine: Zbig's Grand Chessboard & How the West Was Checkmated
Natylie Baldwin, Kermit D. Larson
The Girl on the Train: A Novel
Paula Hawkins
Our Souls at Night: A novel
Kent Haruf
Above the Waterfall
Ron Rash
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Stephen King
Designs on Film: A Century of Hollywood Art Direction
Cathy Whitlock
The Homicide Report: Understanding Murder in America
Jill Leovy
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
Erik Larson
The Gods of Mars
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Music Of The Spheres - Jamie James The version I read was published by Copernicus, an imprint of Springer-Verlag. That edition was not available on GR, so I selected this one.

This is clearly a book by an academic. The author is a music critic, and holds a very high opinion of his opinions, which gets very old very fast. Still, there was interesting material in the book, most particularly about the influence (long forgotten) of Pythagoras, as the Renaissance Man before there was a Renaissance, the genius of his day, producing seminal work in a wide range of fields. James looks at the understanding of the universe realized by ancients of the classic period and through to the modern age. All things have a tone, they believed, so why not the heavenly spheres? Music, in fact, was not part of the picture, so much as tonality. James also writes about how music and science were once thought to be coherent, integrated, and how it is only in modern times, with the industrial revolution that science has been forcibly divorced from the arts, and in fact the shift in science from a gentleman’s pastime to a tool of production has made science, ironically, less important to many. James also tells of a cosmic view that had the earth at its center and the universe consisted of greater spheres surrounding it. It is a very interesting trip down that particular scientific memory lane and it introduced notions that were novel for me. But the self-importance of the author was a major turn-off and I did find that I had a bit of a hard time keeping up (and in fact did not) when he wrote of fifths, twelfths, and other musical notions that simply have never taken root in my mental soil. Not recommended for any but those who might have a particular interest in the subjects at hand.