Monday is here! Well I had a moderately long list of things to do today, most of which I didn't get done. I did however finally finish The First Circle by Solzhenitsyn. So it was a day off my mark, but nonetheless, I am quite pleased. I've been struggling through it for several months now! It is indeed a long work, but it is by no means boring or difficult to read. But we all know how it can be after working long days, reading a thought-dense book can sometimes become slow or even be put off. When I read, I want to really read, to be active, to think, not just to skim a story, and so for some weeks this 500 or so page volume has gathered dust beside my bed, being read little by little.
Ah these Russians! The way they work the old and new philosophers into the words, thoughts and actions of their characters -- so subtle, so deliberate, so masterfully. The gift is in the embodiment of a philosophy within the character it seems to me. Before you know it you are seeing an application of thought which perhaps before you only knew theoretically. And again you find yourself sympathetic towards a character whose philosophy of life is absolutely contrary to what you know to be true. Here you are convinced of the innate goodness in man, there you feel intensely that man is at heart a selfish creature. And just when you think you might have it all sorted out, can recognize each prisoner by his three or four names, can match tones and skills to each, can perhaps even guess what will come next for each, how their characters will play out, the circle closes and you are shoved unceremoniously out into the snow again and reminded that this "novel" is not quaint and is not fanciful, but a brief glimpse into a reality not that far off. Oi! I'm sort of dying to go through it again with The Inferno by my side to do comparisons, but that shall have to come some other time... for now I have to continue my quest for 35 books. Next up: Poe Short Stories. Supposed to have finished yesterday, but only about halfway; perhaps this evening.
Seeing as it as Monday, however, I remembered that I haven't posted any music here in quite a while. The other day Brandi Carlile came out with a fantastic new album called Bear Creek. The entire album is really quite wonderful -- introspective, melodic, harmonic. Certainly as good if not better than her previous albums which, frankly, at this point, were they on tape I would have worn out by now. There is something so honest and human in her lyrics, it's difficult not to like even if you are not a fan of the folk genre. It also helps that she has one of the most incredible, controlled yet malleable voices I have ever heard. Yeah, I'm a little bit of a fan ;) Here is a little taste of one of the more known tracks off the new album; enjoy!