Music speaks a special language, a language beyond words. It soothes; it inspires; it brings us together and guides us to our innermost selves. This month, our Lucky Stars e-books sing out loud with personal stories about the power of singing together and finding the music in ourselves, in our histories — and in wild birds. All for less than $2.99 each throughout May — plus you’ll get a free preview of bestselling author Ari Goldman’s upcoming memoir, The Late Starters Orchestra, when you buy Imperfect Harmony and Hold Me Tight & Tango Me Home.
Imperfect Harmony by Stacy Horn: For Stacy Horn, regardless of what is going on in the world or her life, singing in an amateur choir—the Choral Society of Grace Church in New York—never fails to take her to a place where hope reigns and everything good is possible.
She’s not particularly religious, and her voice is not exceptional (so she says), but like the 32.5 million other chorus members throughout this country, singing makes her happy. Horn brings us along as she sings some of the greatest music humanity has ever produced, delves into the dramatic stories of conductors and composers, unearths the fascinating history of group singing, and explores remarkable discoveries from the new science of singing, including all the unexpected health benefits.
Imperfect Harmony is the story of one woman who has found joy and strength in the weekly ritual of singing and in the irresistible power of song.
You can buy the Imperfect Harmony e-book for $2.99 throughout May. Plus a free preview of bestselling author Ari Goldman’s upcoming memoir, Late Starter’s Orchestra.
The Music Teacher byBarbara Hall: In this penetrating and richly entertaining look into the heart and mind of a woman who has failed both as an artist and as a wife, Barbara Hall, award-winning creator and writer of such hit television series as Judging Amy and Joan of Arcadia, tells the story of a violinist who has accepted the limitations of her talent and looks for the casual satisfaction of trying to instill her passion for music in others. She gets more than she bargains for, however, when a young girl named Hallie enters her life. For here at last is the real thing: someone with the talent and potential to be truly great. In her drive to shape this young girl into the artist the teacher could never be, she makes one terrible mistake. As a result she is forced to reevaluate her whole life and come to terms with her future. Hall has crafted a thoroughly engrossing novel that examines the pitfalls of failure and holds up a mirror to the face of a culture that places success and achievement above all else.
The Music of Wild Birds byJudy Pelikan: One hundred years ago, F. Schuyler Mathews, an erudite naturalist and birder, theorized that birds sing first for love of music, and second for love of the lady. To expand on his theory, he actually scored the songs of birds in the wild. His charming text and bird-by-bird annotations were compiled into a guide called Field Book of Wild Birds and Their Music. This extraordinary work has now been lavishly illustrated and adapted for a new audience.Each bird is meticulously rendered by artist Judy Pelikan in full-color illustrations that feature not only the birds, but also their nests, eggs, and feathers. And every song is represented by its written musical score, which Mathews expertly explains in a way that both musicians and non-musicians can enjoy.As Mathews points out, the music of wild birds is everywhere–in poems, children’s nursery songs, as well as in the works of the great composers: the Black-billed Cuckoo’s call appears near the close of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony; the Nashville Warbler’s song is found in the opening bars of Rossini’s Carovale, and the Meadowlark’s song is remarkably like the first two bars of Alfredo’s song in La Traviata.He reveals how a bird’s character is reflected in its song: the Baltimore Oriole is a sharp-billed, sharp-witted character, and his remarks are as incisive and crisp as the toots of a steam whistle. And he reminds us of the words of our great poets–Wordsworth, Emerson, Sir Walter Scott–and their descriptions of the very same birds and their music.This classic, useful, and completely original guide will put a song into the heart of novice and experienced birder alike.
The Essential Klezmer by Seth Rogovoy: You can hear it in the hottest clubs in New York, the hippest rooms in New Orleans, Chicago, and San Francisco, and in top concert halls around the world. It’s a joyous sound that echoes the past. It’s Old World meets New World. It’s secular and sacred. It’s traditional and experimental. It’s played by classical violinist Itzhak Perlman (his all-klezmer album in his all-time best-seller!), the hypno-pop band Yo La Tengo, and avant-gardist John Zorn. It made the late great Benny Goodman’s clarinet wail. It’s klezmer and it’s hot! The Essential Klezmer is the definitive introduction to a musical form in the midst of a renaissance. It documents the history of klezmer from its roots in the Jewish communities of medieval Eastern Europe to its current revival in Europe and America. It includes detailed information about the music’s social, cultural, and political roots as well as vivid descriptions of the instruments, their unique sounds, and the players who’ve kept those sounds alive through the ages. Music journalist Seth Rogovoy skillfully conveys the emotional intensity and uplifting power of klezmer and the reasons for its ever widening popularity among Jews and Gentiles, Hasidim and club kids, grandparents and their grandkids. A comprehensive discography presents the “Essential Klezmer Library,” extensive lists of recordings, artists, and styles, as well as an up-to-the-minute resource of music retailers, festivals, workshops, and klezmer Web sites. The Essential Klezmer is as entertaining as it is enlightening.
Rock On by Dan Kennedy: How do you land a sweet six-figure marketing gig at the hallowed record label known for having signed everyone from Led Zeppelin to Stone Temple Pilots? You start with a resume like Dan Kennedy’s:
• Dressed up as a member of Kiss every Halloween
• Memorized Led Zeppelin IV at age ten
• Fronted a lip-sync band in junior high
• Worked as a college DJ while he was a college drop-out
In his outrageous memoir, McSweeney’s contributor Kennedy chronicles his misadventures at a major record label. Whether he’s directing a gangsta rapper’s commercial or battling his punk roots to create an ad campaign celebrating the love songs of Phil Collins, Kennedy’s in way over his head. And from the looks of those sitting around the boardroom, he’s not alone. Egomaniacs, wackos, incompetents, and executive assistants who know more than their seven-figure bosses round out this power-ballad to office life and rock and roll.
Hold Me Tight & Tango Me Home byMaria Finn: Maria Finn’s husband was cheating. First she threw him out. Then she cried. Then she signed up for tango lessons. It turns out that tango has a lot to teach about understanding love and loss, about learning how to follow and how to lead, how to live with style and flair, take risks, and sort out what it is you really want. As Maria’s world begins to revolve around the friendships she makes in dance class and the milongas (social dances) she attends regularly in New York City, we discover with her the fascinating culture, history, music, moves, and beauty of the Argentine tango. With each new dance step she learns—the embrace, the walk, the sweep, the exit—she is one step closer to returning to the world of the living. Eventually Maria travels to Buenos Aires, the birthplace of tango, and finds the confidence to try romance again.
You can buy the Hold Me Tight and Tango Me Home e-book for $1.99 throughout May. Plus a free preview of bestselling author Ari Goldman’s upcoming memoir, Late Starter’s Orchestra.
Meeting Luciano by Anna Esaki Smith: To Hanako Shimoda, recently divorced, Luciano Pavarotti is a god. To her daughter, Emily, this fixation on Pavarotti is a harmless fantasy, the byproduct of loneliness. Meeting Luciano is the story of what happens when Hanako acts on her fantasy and invites opera star Pavarotti to dinner in their Westchester County home. Emily, with no real career plan, has gone back after college to work at her old summer job – waiting tables at the local Japanese steakhouse. Even worse than wearing a fake kimono and obi is that she’s living at home with her mother. At first, her mom seems pretty much her old self – still reliving her Japanese childhood; still affecting the airs of a European sophisticate; still brewing espresso, cooking Italian, and singing arias from Rigoletto while she cleans; still idolizing Luciano Pavarotti. But when Hanako hires Alex, a handsome Greek, to renovate the kitchen, Emily begins to worry. And when Alex, who seems to be getting very cozy with her mother, spills the secret that the renovation is in preparation for a visit from Pavarotti, Emily is thrown into a wonderfully familiar quandary: how to deal with a parent who might be losing it. First-time novelist Anna Esaki-Smith has a wry, understated approach to the themes of assimilation, growing up, striking out on shaky ground, finding yourself – and loving your mother. Like a reflecting pool in a Japanese garden, Meeting Luciano gradually reveals the beauty of its subtle design.