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Nadia Sirota's Bookcase

Nadia Sirota (born in New York) is an American viola player. Her father is Robert Sirota, a composer and conductor.

Photo by: Steven Pisano

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George Perle takes us into the composer's workshop as he reevaluates what we call "twentieth-century music"—a term used to refer to new or modern or contemporary music that represents a radical break from the tonal tradition, or "common practice," of the preceding three centuries. He proposes that this music, in the course of breaking with the tonal tradition, presents coherent and definable elements of a new tradition. In spite of the disparity in their styles, idioms, and compositional methods, he argues, what unites Scriabin, Stravinsky, Bartók, and the Viennese circle (Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern) is more important than what separates them.

If we are to understand the connections among these mainstream composers, we also have to understand their connections with the past. Through an extraordinarily comprehensive analysis of a single piece by Varèse, Density 21.5 for unaccompanied flute, Perle shows how these composers refer not only to their contemporaries but also to Wagner, Debussy, and Beethoven.

Perle isolates the years 1909-10 as the moment of revolutionary transformation in the foundational premises of our musical language. He asks: What are the implications of this revolution, not only for the composer, but also for the listener? What are the consequences for the theory and teaching of music today? In his highly original answers, Perle relates the role of intuition in the listening experience to its role in the compositional process.

Perle asserts that the post-Schoenbergian serialists have preoccupied themselves with secondary and superficial aspects of Schoenberg's twelve-tone method that have led it to a dead end but he also exposes the speciousness of current alternatives such as chance music, minimalism, and the so-called return to tonality. He offers a new and more comprehensive definition of "twelve-tone music" and firmly rejects the notion that accessibility to the new music is reserved for a special class of elite listeners.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

In his fifth year at Hogwart's, Harry faces challenges at every turn, from the dark threat of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and the unreliability of the government of the magical world to the rise of Ron Weasley as the keeper of the Gryffindor Quidditch Team. Along the way he learns about the strength of his friends, the fierceness of his enemies, and the meaning of sacrifice.

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The modern fantasy classic that Entertainment Weekly named an “All-Time Greatest Novel” and Newsweek hailed as a “Top 100 Book of All Time.” Philip Pullman takes readers to a world where humans have animal familiars and where parallel universes are within reach.

Lyra is rushing to the cold, far North, where witch clans and armored bears rule. North, where the Gobblers take the children they steal--including her friend Roger. North, where her fearsome uncle Asriel is trying to build a bridge to a parallel world.

Can one small girl make a difference in such great and terrible endeavors? This is Lyra: a savage, a schemer, a liar, and as fierce and true a champion as Roger or Asriel could want.

But what Lyra doesn't know is that to help on of them will be to betray the other...

A masterwork of storytelling and suspense, Philip Pullman's award-winning The Golden Compass is the first in the His Dark Materials series, which continues with The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.

A #1 New York Times Bestseller Winner of the Guardian Prize for Children's Fiction Published in 40 Countries

"Arguably the best juvenile fantasy novel of the past twenty years." --The Washington Post

"Very grand indeed." --The New York Times

"Pullman is quite possibly a genius." --Newsweek

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David Sedaris's beloved holiday collection is new again with six more pieces, including a never before published story. Along with such favorites as the diaries of a Macy's elf and the annals of two very competitive families, are Sedaris's tales of tardy trick-or-treaters ("Us and Them"); the difficulties of explaining the Easter Bunny to the French ("Jesus Shaves"); what to do when you've been locked out in a snowstorm ("Let It Snow"); the puzzling Christmas traditions of other nations ("Six to Eight Black Men"); what Halloween at the medical examiner's looks like ("The Monster Mash"); and a barnyard secret Santa scheme gone awry ("Cow and Turkey").

No matter what your favorite holiday, you won't want to miss celebrating it with the author who has been called "one of the funniest writers alive" (Economist).

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The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Miami Herald • Newsday The Huffington Post • Financial Times • GQ • Slate • Men’s Journal • Washington Examiner • Publishers Weekly • Kirkus Reviews • National Post • The Toronto Star • BookPage • Bookreporter

Before Gabrielle Hamilton opened her acclaimed New York restaurant Prune, she spent twenty hard-living years trying to find purpose and meaning in her life. Blood, Bones & Butter follows an unconventional journey through the many kitchens Hamilton has inhabited through the years: the rural kitchen of her childhood, where her adored mother stood over the six-burner with an oily wooden spoon in hand; the kitchens of France, Greece, and Turkey, where she was often fed by complete strangers and learned the essence of hospitality; Hamilton’s own kitchen at Prune, with its many unexpected challenges; and the kitchen of her Italian mother-in-law, who serves as the link between Hamilton’s idyllic past and her own future family—the result of a prickly marriage that nonetheless yields lasting dividends. By turns epic and intimate, Gabrielle Hamilton’s story is told with uncommon honesty, grit, humor, and passion.

Features a new essay by Gabrielle Hamilton at the back of the book

Look for special features inside. Join the Circle for author chats and more.

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Just Desserts

A tell-all account of the life of the renowned hostess and domestic expert recounts her rise to fame as an author, writer, and television star and uncovers the shocking secrets behind her pristine image. 150,000 first printing."

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A gargantuan, mind-altering comedy about the pursuit of happiness in America. Set in an addicts' halfway house and a tennis academy, and featuring the most endearingly screwed-up family to come along in recent fiction, Infinite Jest explores essential questions about what entertainment is and why it has come to so dominate our lives; about how our desire for entertainment affects our need to connect with other people; and about what the pleasures we choose say about who we are.

Equal parts philosophical quest and screwball comedy, Infinite Jest bends every rule of fiction without sacrificing for a moment its own entertainment value. It is an exuberant, uniquely American exploration of the passions that make us human - and one of those rare books that renew the idea of what a novel can do.

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An Illustrated Novel

On a September night in 1971, a few days after getting busted for dropping two of the 127 hits of acid found in a friend's shoe, a sixteen-year-old who is grounded for a year curls up in the corner of her ratty bedroom, picks up a pen, and begins to write. Once upon a cruddy time on a cruddy street on the side of a cruddy hill in the cruddiest part of a crudded-out town in a cruddy state, country, world, solar system, universe. The cruddy girl named Roberta was writing the cruddy book of her cruddy life and the name of the book was called Cruddy. Now the truth can finally be revealed about the mysterious day long ago when the authorities found a child, calmly walking in the boiling desert, covered with blood. She could not give the authorities any information about why she was the only survivor and everyone else was lying around in hacked-up pieces. Roberta Rohbeson, 1971. Her overblown, drug-induced teenage rant against a world bounded by "the cruddy top bedroom of a cruddy rental house on a very cruddy mud road behind cruddy Black Cat Lumber" soon becomes a detailed account of another story. It is a story about which Roberta has kept silent for five years, until, under the influence of a pale hippie called the Turtle and a drug called Creeper, her tale giddily unspools... Roberta Rohbeson, 1967. The world of Roberta, age eleven, is terrifyingly unbounded, a one-way cross-country road trip fueled by revenge and by greed, a violent, hallucinatory, sometimes funny, more often horrific year of killings, betrayals, arson, and a sinister set of butcher knives, each with its own name. Welcome to Cruddy, Lynda Barry's masterful tale of the two intertwined narratives set five years -- an eternity -- apart, which form the backbone of Roberta's life. Cruddy is a wild ride indeed, a fairy tale-cum-low-budget horror movie populated by a cast of characters that will remain vivid in the reader's mind long after the final page: Roberta's father, a dangerous alcoholic and out-of-work meat cutter in search of his swindled inheritance; the frightening owners of the Knocking Hammer Bar and sometime slaughterhouse; and two charming but quite mad escapees from the Barbara V. Herrmann Home for Adolescent Rest. Written with a teenager's eye for freakish detail and a nervous ability to make the most horrible scenes seem hilarious, Roberta's two stories -- part Easy Rider and part bipolar Wizard of Oz -- painfully but inevitably converge in a surprising denouement in a nightmarish Dreamland in the Nevada desert. By turns terrifying, darkly funny, and resonant with humanity, propelled by all the narrative power of a superior thriller and burnished by the author's pitch-perfect ear for dialogue, Cruddy is a stunning achievement.

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Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991

This is the never-before-told story of the musical revolution that happened right under the nose of the Reagan Eighties--when a small but sprawling network of bands, labels, fanzines, radio stations, and other subversives reenergized American rock with punk rock's do-it-yourself credo and created music that was deeply personal, often brilliant, always challenging, and immensely influential. This sweeping chronicle of music, politics, drugs, fear, loathing, and faith has been recognized as an indie rock classic in its own right.

Among the bands profiled: Mission of Burma, Butthole Surfers, The Minutemen, Sonic Youth, Black Flag, Big Black, Hüsker Dü, Fugazi, Minor Threat, Mudhoney, The Replacements, Beat Happening, and Dinosaur Jr.

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Listening to the Twentieth Century

Winner of the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism A New York Times Book Review Top Ten Book of the Year Time magazine Top Ten Nonfiction Book of 2007 Newsweek Favorite Books of 2007 A Washington Post Book World Best Book of 2007 In this sweeping and dramatic narrative, Alex Ross, music critic for The New Yorker, weaves together the histories of the twentieth century and its music, from Vienna before the First World War to Paris in the twenties; from Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia to downtown New York in the sixties and seventies up to the present. Taking readers into the labyrinth of modern style, Ross draws revelatory connections between the century's most influential composers and the wider culture. The Rest Is Noise is an astonishing history of the twentieth century as told through its music.

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Great Music, it said, and Great Poetry would like quieten Modern Youth down and make Modern Youth more Civilized. Civilized my syphilised yarbles.

A vicious fifteen-year-old droog is the central character of this 1963 classic. In Anthony Burgess's nightmare vision of the future, where the criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, who talks in a brutal invented slang that brilliantly renders his and his friends' social pathology. A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil, and the meaning of human freedom. When the state undertakes to reform Alex to "redeem" him, the novel asks, "At what cost?" This edition includes the controversial last chapter not published in the first edition and Burgess's introduction "A Clockwork Orange Resucked."

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This first book from Chicago author Chris Ware is a pleasantly-decorated view at a lonely and emotionally-impaired "everyman" (Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth), who is provided, at age 36, the opportunity to meet his father for the first time. An improvisatory romance which gingerly deports itself between 1890's Chicago and 1980's small town Michigan, the reader is helped along by thousands of colored illustrations and diagrams, which, when read rapidly in sequence, provide a convincing illusion of life and movement. The bulk of the work is supported by fold-out instructions, an index, paper cut-outs, and a brief apology, all of which concrete to form a rich portrait of a man stunted by a paralyzing fear of being disliked.

From the Hardcover edition.

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A hilarious and original debut novel that skewers our craze for celebrity.

Liza Normal, like a million teenagers before her, wants desperately to be famous. If she can't be famous, she'll settle for infamy. But no Pop Idol contest on earth will ever crown someone like Liza, with her spookily vulgar 'vocal stylings' and her stripper's wardrobe. Her wits addled by celebrity culture, the ashes of failed stardom in her mouth, she decides to turn her back on her tinsel dreams and embrace her outsider status with a ferocious purity.

Colors Insulting to Nature is a brazenly hilarious odyssey through teen humiliation: the crushes who spurn her, the revenges gone wrong, and the dawning realization that life doesn't come with a soundtrack that tells you when to laugh and cry or an audience to applaud at the end. Cintra Wilson is a pyrotechnic wit – the natural heir to Douglas Coupland and the challenger to Dave Eggers. This novel will have readers howling with laughter and writhing with retrospective embarrassment. She is a staggering talent.

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WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE

The beloved, award-winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, a Michael Chabon masterwork, is the American epic of two boy geniuses named Joe Kavalier and Sammy Clay. Now with special bonus material by Michael Chabon.

A “towering, swash-buckling thrill of a book” (Newsweek), hailed as Chabon’s “magnum opus” (The New York Review of Books), The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is a triumph of originality, imagination, and storytelling, an exuberant, irresistible novel that begins in New York City in 1939. A young escape artist and budding magician named Joe Kavalier arrives on the doorstep of his cousin, Sammy Clay. While the long shadow of Hitler falls across Europe, America is happily in thrall to the Golden Age of comic books, and in a distant corner of Brooklyn, Sammy is looking for a way to cash in on the craze. He finds the ideal partner in the aloof, artistically gifted Joe, and together they embark on an adventure that takes them deep into the heart of Manhattan, and the heart of old-fashioned American ambition. From the shared fears, dreams, and desires of two teenage boys, they spin comic book tales of the heroic, fascist-fighting Escapist and the beautiful, mysterious Luna Moth, otherworldly mistress of the night. Climbing from the streets of Brooklyn to the top of the Empire State Building, Joe and Sammy carve out lives, and careers, as vivid as cyan and magenta ink. Spanning continents and eras, this superb book by one of America’s finest writers remains one of the defining novels of our modern American age.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize

Winner of the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award and the New York Society Library Book Award

Named one of the 10 Best Books of the Decade by Entertainment Weekly

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

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