Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Book About Swedish-Finnish Folk Music

A book about Swedish-Finnish folk music by Niklas Niqvist came to my attention when I looked up a folk music song title on the internet. The focus of the book is on the collectors who brought together the folk songs for publication and preservation in the early twentieth century. This book was published in 2008. Close to the end of the book is a summary in English. Songs from this books were a part of the performances of the Runeberg Choir.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Books at 12:10 Discusses Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris

At Books at 12:10 four people discussed Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris. We used some discussion to place the story in 2001. I had sought reference in Dictionary of the Future, by Faith Popcorn, from 2001. We discussed her term, presenteeism: the novel's characters were influenced, by many firings in the company, not to stress-induced illness and absenteeism, but to a sometimes inappropriate presence at the work place. The book is told mostly in first person plural, with episodes of third person. An opinion about this point was that one character's extreme experience separated her, referred to as she, from the others in the story, the others referred to as we. A question came forward about whether we had favorites among the characters. One liked Carl Garbedian, married to Marilyn, who was an oncologist. Two episodes which portray Marilyn dropping Carl outside the building are retold at different points in the story. I liked children who appeared briefly in the story: when Benny Shassburger inherits a totem pole and visits the totem pole's neighborhood, a child is jumping on a trampoline in the next yard. Benny imagines more neighborhood children walking past the totem pole admiringly. In a bio about Joshua Ferris we learn his childhood home until the age of ten was the Chicago area, and in ways I think his Chicago is a reference to those years. The leader, who works at the library, admitted that she chose to have no favorites among the characters, but thought of them, like people she works with, as all contributing what they brought. We shared a story of a gradual entry into the novel, with an earned appreciation of the story as we continued with it. I felt the title invited a study attitude, a look at the ending first and a skim. We discussed the ending, in which only two are left, you and me, which is mysterious.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Added Link to Photos

Am adding a link to photos of Tacoma in the 1970's, one that also includes photos of the Alaska State Fair in the 1970's. Cysewski, the photographer, has posted a very large number of photos on line. These were linked to another web site which is not available now.