“Harmonious” Reads: Music Themed Fiction

Reading and listening to music can offer immense joy and solace anytime, but especially so during these stress filled times. Music and books are major cultural touchstones, and if the two are well combined, the results can make for harmonious reading! Some works of fiction are influenced by the lives of famous musicians and in others, a great musical composition or score may play an important role in the plot; and, musical instruments can play a starring role in some stories. Novelist Rebeccal Kauffman writes: “ Music can reach us, surprise us, and offer a story of its own in the most unexpected places. The ways in which writers employ music vary immensely, from an entire work chronicling the life of a virtuoso to a single song serving as strategic backdrop to a scene. They may use works that already exist, reimagine or recontextualise them, or create them anew.” Here are some music themed works of fiction available in ebook or audiobook form that can add some melody to your reads: And After the Fire by Lauren Belfer A powerful and passionate novel—inspired by historical events—about two women, one European and one American, and the mysterious choral masterpiece by Johann Sebastian Bach that changes both their lives. In the ruins of Germany in 1945, at the end of World War II, American soldier Henry Sachs takes a souvenir, an old music manuscript, from a seemingly deserted mansion and mistakenly kills the girl who tries to stop him. In America in 2010, Henry’s niece, Susanna Kessler, struggles to rebuild her life after she experiences a devastating act of violence on the streets of New York City. When Henry dies soon after, she uncovers the long-hidden music manuscript. She becomes determined to discover what it is and to return it to its rightful owner, a journey that will challenge her preconceptions about herself and her family’s history—and also offer her an opportunity to finally make peace with the past. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett A bestselling novel that balances themes of love and crisis as disparate characters learn that music is their only common language.  Terrorists raid a party held in honour of a wealthy and powerful Japanese businessman, where a renowned soprano has been hired to perform. The story, with Stockholm syndrome at its core, accelerates at a surprising clip while offering wonderful insights and lines about music: “Never had he thought, never once, that such a woman existed, one who stood so close to God that God’s own voice poured from her.” The Ensemble by Aja Gabel The addictive novel about four young friends navigating the cutthroat world of classical music and their complex relationships with each other, as ambition, passion, and love intertwine over the course of their lives. Brit is the second violinist, a beautiful and quiet orphan; on the viola is Henry, a prodigy who’s always had it easy; the cellist is Daniel, the oldest and an angry skeptic who sleeps around; and on first violin is Jana, their flinty, resilient leader. Together, they are the Van Ness Quartet. After the group’s youthful, rocky start, they experience devastating failure and wild success, heartbreak and marriage, triumph and loss, betrayal and enduring loyalty. The Gunners by Rebecca Kauffman & Michael David Axtell- Audiobook Music appears in various contexts in this novel. Classical music enthusiast Mikey Callahan is losing his vision and has begun to assign specific pieces of music to cherished images he wants to remember with as much clarity as possible – such as the faces of his childhood friends, a group called “The Gunners”, around whom the novel is based. Another character, a pianist, attended a conservatory in Manhattan on a full scholarship until her career was devastated by a mysterious injury. Various pieces of music performed by characters in scenes throughout the book are intended to evoke a particular atmosphere and inspire the characters along a certain line of thinking or towards a sense of togetherness. The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce & Steven Hartley-Audiobook It is 1988. On a dead-end street in a run-down suburb there is a music shop that stands small and brightly lit, jam-packed with records of every kind. Like a beacon, the shop attracts the lonely, the sleepless, and the adrift; Frank, the shop’s owner, has a way of connecting his customers with just the piece of music they need. Then, one day, into his shop comes a beautiful young woman, Ilse Brauchmann, who asks Frank to teach her about music. Terrified of real closeness, Frank feels compelled to turn and run, yet he is drawn to this strangely still, mysterious woman with eyes as black as vinyl. But Ilse is not what she seems, and Frank has old wounds that threaten to reopen, as well as a past it seems he will never leave behind. The journey that these two quirky, wonderful characters make in order to overcome their emotional baggage speaks to the healing power of music—and love—in this poignant, ultimately joyful work of fiction. Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall by Kazuo Ishiguro With the clarity and precision that have become his trademarks, Ishiguro interlocks five short pieces of fiction to create a world that resonates with emotion, heartbreak, and humor. Here is a fragile, once famous singer, turning his back on the one thing he loves; a music junky with little else to offer his friends but opinion; a songwriter who inadvertently breaks up a marriage; a jazz musician who thinks the answer to his career lies in changing his physical appearance; and a young cellist whose tutor has devised a remarkable way to foster his talent. For each, music is a central part of their lives and, in one way or another, delivers them to an epiphany. The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes A compact masterpiece dedicated to the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich: In 1936, Shostakovich, just thirty, fears for his livelihood and his life. Stalin, hitherto a distant figure, has taken

Rev Up With Sales

Turning that interest in a product (or service) into a yes! clinched deal — a sale — is a major, and all important move.  This step is what increases a business’s raw revenues… with numerous completed sales revving things way way up.  And goodness, it’s a herculean effort, particularly for the low-key, shy, and quiet ones (guess who’s in this group?) in charge of sales.  But it’s got to be done!  Else, all that marketing magic will go poof, if good sales work is not a hand. Here then is a sampling of our Library’s resources for shaping the determined into the greatest salesperson in the world: To find these resources, here are some search words suggestions: sales skills, sales improvement, how to improve/increase/do sales, how to sell, sales techniques, sales (+) business, communication for sales, persuasion skills, influencing skills, listening skills, storytelling, negotiation, closing a sale, and “how to sell __”, among others. Universal Class presents titles like Mastering Sales Skills 101, Creating an Effective Sales Team, Persuasion Techniques, Negotiation Skills, Listening Skills 101, Mastering Conversation Skills, Interpersonal Communication, Assertiveness Training, Cross-Cultural Communication, and Communication with Diplomacy and Tact, to name a few. Gale Courses offers Effective Selling, Professional Sales Skills, Keys to Effective Communication, Mastering Public Speaking, and Interpersonal Communication. Online courses on popular sales support tools, such as Powerpoint, Publisher, Photoshop, Excel, Access, and Google Sheets, among many others, are also available, both in Universal Class, and in Gale Courses. In addition to the above, our digital borrowing collections lists these gems in the form of ebooks, or audiobooks: Overdrive offers: Getting to Yes by Robert Fisher Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success by Colleen Stanley Stories That Stick by Kindre Hall The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation by Brent Adamson Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss How To Win Friends and People in the Digital Age by Dale Carnegie Hoopla offers: Succeed Without Selling by Diane Helbig Ask!: The Bridge From Your Dreams To Your Destiny by Mark Victor Hansen Start From Zero: Build Your Own Business, Experience True Freedom by Dane Maxwell Little Red Book of Sales Answers by Jeff Gitomer The Introvert’s Edge: How the Quiet and Shy Can Outsell Anyone by Matthew Owen Pollard Secrets of Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar Objections: The Ultimate Guide for Mastering the Art and Science of Getting Past No by Jeb Blount Exploding Your Sales Like A Boss by Bane Torm SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham SNAP Selling by Jill Konrath The Go Giver: A Little Story About A Powerful Business Idea by Bob Blurg More Sales, Less Time by Jill Konrath guides to “To Sell Is Human by Daniel Pink” Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies by Chet Holmes When you google “best sales books 2020”, most of these titles (classics, or recently published) consistently appear on the search results lists.  To access more, when regular borrowing resumes, use the catalog search bar on our library’s website:  www.livingstonlibrary.org. On top of our digital and regular collections, business owners (i.e. NJ library cardholders) can use Business Source Elite to look for recently published, and peer-reviewed works in trade publications that fit your exact line of business.  If you need help navigating these databases, reach out to our Reference librarians for more information. There are plenty of free online resources available to get you going.  The Small Business Reference Center, and the Legal Reference Information Center, can provide templates,  business basics, and a variety of information on running a business.  Another tool is ReferenceUSA, a popular database used by sales and marketing people. Last but not the least, if you need to learn or brush up on a language in order to do your sales responsibilities, your Livingston Library card provides access to Mango Languages, and Rosetta Stone. May your business revenues increase, and your business knowledge flourish, with new skills and ideas you can gain from our Library’s reserves of databases, information, reading, and learning materials.  (See more from our Keep On Learning blog post on Marketing Your Business.) — Janea Agbayani, Technology Department Library Specialist For more information, vist:   www.livingstonlibrary.org/resources-az/ For other topics, themes, and resources suggested for lifelong learning pursuits, visit our blog under the tag:  Keep On Learning.