Tag Archives: Biography

Mozart’s Starling (by Lyanda Lynn Haupt)

31932836I came across this book at a book event a few month ago. Not knowing much about Mozart or starling, I started reading not knowing what to expect (except for the fact that the person at the even spoke highly of it).

I usually read non-fictions pretty slowly, but not this time. Mozart’s Starling is a lighthearted charming little book inspired by starlings, the most hated birds among ornithologists since it is considered an aggressive invader to the local species, and the fact that the most well respected composer in the world Mozart had a pet starling during his most productive and turbulent years of his short life. In order to understand the bird and how it is like living with one, Haupt raised a baby starling. This book is a mixture of fun facts, unknown history, and reflection on inspiration, harmony, and the natural world.

Part natural history, part story, Mozart’s Starling will delight readers as they learn about language, music, and the secret world of starlings.

You might also like…

The Urban Bestiary

Crow Planet

The Hidden Life of Trees

Wesley the Owl

Corvus

Mozart

The Thing with Feathers

 

 

Freedom Isn’t Free

book cover of Every Falling StarMy grandfather told me that love burns brighter than any star. – Sungju Lee

Before reading Sungju Lee’s Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea, I didn’t know much about North Korea, much less what it is like to grow up in a country that Lee describes as “a true-to-life dystopian nation.”  Lee’s story begins with his father teaching him war tactics at age six, lessons that will later save his life as he and his friends run from the police.

As a child young Sungju dreams of becoming an army general. His life in the capital city, Pyongyang, is one of relative luxury, with a nice apartment, a good education, and after-school tae kwon do lessons. He is taught to idolize his country’s leader, Kim Il-sung, and to fear South Korea and the United States.

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CHET BAKER: portraits of a tragic artist as an older man

Born to be BlueI was pleased recently, to catch Born to be Blue, the new Chet Baker bio-pic for a couple reasons: [A] I’ve since reconciled my admiration for the cinema of Ethan Hawke and, [B] I’m a big Chet Baker fan.

So first things first, let’s deal with the movie. This might be the perfect time for Hawke to step into a Chet Baker role. Perfect because Hawke’s (now) craggy and weathered look embodies nicely the lived-in-hard features that so defined Baker in his later years. Back in the day, the younger Hawke was certainly fresh and good looking enough to portray the prettier, more iconic Baker of the 1950s. Sure, one might argue that a depiction of Baker’s artistic and personal peaks – when he made the recordings he is most famous for today – would be the ideal period to present. It was only a few short years and Baker was surrounded by giants of jazz. But Born to be Blue chooses instead to give us the older, gaunt, damaged Baker whose fame had by then receded.

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