“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

A Playlist of Meditation Music

A Playlist of Meditation Music Enjoy the meditation music, wipe away the stress and anxiety, find your inner peace and happiness. This list includes guided meditation to destress, lose weight, find motivation for exercise, and self healing. There is also meditation music for yoga, sleep, zen meditation, and more. Guided Meditation 8 Meditations For Optimum Health Andrew Weil, MD New Age   No Effort Weight Loss: Quickly Lose Pounds Subliminal Affirmations & Guided Meditation Hypnosis With Subliminal Threshold Affirmations New Age   Worry-Free: Meditations To Reduce Anxiety And Tension David Jones New Age   Fitness Motivation: Enjoy Exercise More Subliminal Affirmations & Guided Meditation Hypnosis With Re Subliminal Threshold Affirmations New Age   Guided Meditations: Meditations For Self Healing Faye Wenke New Age     Guided Meditation Guided Relaxation & Guided Imagery For The Body And Mind Adrian Conti World   Memory Improvement Light Of Mind Hypnosis Self Help Guided Meditation Relaxation Affirmations NLP Matthew Cohn Mary Fuller Spoken Word Relaxation & Stress Management Subliminal Affirmations & Guided Meditation Hypnosis With Relaxing Mu Subliminal Threshold Affirmations     Sleep Deeply: Stop Insomnia Now Subliminal Affirmations & Guided Meditation Hypnosis With Relaxing M Subliminal Threshold Affirmations New Age   Meditation Music Meditation Music For The Senses Meditation New Age     10 Minute Meditations Meditation World New Age     Music For Zen Meditation And Other Joys Tony Scott Jazz     Sleep Music Sleep Music New Age     The Best Of Meditation Music Meditation Music New Age     Classical Music For Meditation And Yoga London Symphony Orchestra     New Calm Relaxation – Meditation Houseman New Age     Flute Meditations For Yoga & Massage: Calming Spa Music For Relaxation & Sleep Gary Stroutsos New Age   Tibetan Meditation Music Nawang Khechog New Age     -Hongmei, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

A Playlist of Relaxing Music

Listen to a playlist of relaxing music that can help you find tranquility and peace. Relaxing Music with Nature Sounds Relaxing Music Electronic     Quantum Theta Waves: Binaural Beats Music for Meditation, Deep Relaxation & Healing David & Steve Gordon Binaural Beats Research New Age Classical Music for Relaxation Vol.1 Various Artists Ludwig Van Beethoven, Frederic Chopin, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart   Best of Relaxing Music Relaxing Music Easy Listening     Zen Music for Meditation, Relaxation, Yoga, Massage and Restful Sleep Zen Easy Listening   Ambient Music For Therapy Deep Sleep, Meditation, Spa, Healing, Relaxation Ambient New Age   Sleep Music: The Best of Sleep Music Sleep Music Easy Listening adult contemporaryrelaxationnew age   Relax & Meditate Meditation Music New Age     Calm: Blissful Relaxing Music Celtic Spirit Classical Sculptures, Mellow Magic, Julienne Taylor, Solace a Tu, Dreamland Easy Listening Easy Listening Favorites Montmartre Strings Easy Listening     Deep Sleep, Spa, New Age, Relaxation, Meditation, Healing, Reiki, Massage, Yoga & Zen Relaxation Therapy New Age   Most Relaxing MOVIE Music in the Universe Various Artists Ilmar Lapinsch, Libor Pesek, Sergei Skripka, Yevgeny Svetlanov, Frank Shipway, Leone Magiera,  et. al. Classical    Music for Relaxation, Spa Music, Music Therapy, Meditation, Deep Sleep, Study, Massage, Baby Sleep Relaxation Music Easy Listening   Yoga Music: Natural Self with Nature Sounds Yoga Music New Age     Positive Attitude Subliminal Affirmations & Guided Meditation Hypnosis with Relaxing Music & Nature Subliminal Threshold Affirmations New Age   Spa Relaxation Music: Soothing Spa Sounds for Serenity Spa Relaxation Music New Age   -Hongmei, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

Musical Storytime Favorites

Reading picture books with young children is way more fun when music is involved! Here are some books that have proven to be audience favorites in our Musical Storytime program. Abiyoyo – Pete Seeger; illustrated by Michael Hays Legendary folk singer Pete Seeger adapted this South African folktale about a boy who uses his ukulele to take down a monstrous giant. It’s definitely my favorite book to read in storytime, and it often inspires children to borrow ukuleles from our collection of toolkits. Drum Dream Girl – Margarita Engle; illustrated by Rafael López Based on the childhood of Cuban percussionist Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, this book is an empowering story of perseverance against gender inequality. It may also encourage children to make their own music by imitating Millo’s various drumming styles.  I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! – Karen Beaumont; illustrated by David Catrow This humorous story of a child who can’t stop painting the walls of their house– and eventually their body– is made extra-fun when it’s sung to the tune of the folk song “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More.” I Got the Rhythm – Connie Schofield-Morrison; illustrated by Frank Morrison A girl walks around her city and becomes entranced by the various rhythms, both musical and non-musical, that she hears throughout the day. Children will love snapping, clapping, and tapping along with the main character, and they may come away with a new appreciation for the music of everyday life.  Kat Writes a Song – Greg Foley A cat named Kat spends the day writing a song, and then sharing it with her neighbors. Kat’s song is incredibly catchy– even though the lyrics are just “Meow meow meow”– and by the end of the book, kids can’t help but sing along with it. Little People, Big Dreams: David Bowie – María Isabel Sánchez Vegara; illustrated by Ana Albero Even if they’ve never heard any of David Bowie’s music, children can appreciate his alien-like persona, and this book’s theme of being true to yourself, no matter how weird it may seem to others. I like to read this one in storytime while accompanied by some of the cosmic instrumental tracks on Bowie’s Low album. Pokko and the Drum – Matthew Forsythe A young frog receives a drum from her parents, and soon she’s leading a boisterous animal orchestra through the woods. On top of showing kids the value of following their creative muses, this book will have them laughing out loud more than once. The Wheels on the Tuk Tuk – Surishtha Sehgal & Kabir Sehgal; illustrated by Jess Golden Using “The Wheels on the Bus” as its basis, this book takes us on a ride through the streets of a city in India. Everyone enjoys dancing along to this one, while learning about daily life in a place that may be unfamiliar to them. There Was a Tree – Rachel Isadora This one also brings a familiar song to a new setting, transposing the Appalachian folk song “The Green Grass Grows All Around” to an African savanna. Cumulative songs are always crowd-pleasers in storytime, especially when kids can try to guess what might come next.  We’re Going to Be Friends – Jack White; illustrated by Elinor Blake The White Stripes made rock n’ roll that both kids and adults can dig, so I love closing every storytime with their song “We’re Going to Be Friends.” I also love that they made this picture book adaptation of the song, with charmingly retro artwork by Elinor Blake.   – Joe O’Brien, Adult Services Librarian / Musical Storytime programmer

Holiday Music on Hoopla

Did you know that with your Livingston Library card you can borrow music?  That’s right! From pop to rock and songs for little ears to adults, there’s something for everyone no commercials, fees, or waiting required. Looking for something to add to your holiday playlist?  Hoopla also has an extensive collection of holiday songs.  The best part?  You can shuffle songs from borrowed albums to create your own playlist! Happy listening! -Jessica, Adult Services Librarian  

Message from the Director: Where Words Fail, Music Speaks

Hans Christian Andersen once said, “Where words fail, music speaks.” So why not take a break from the written word that fills our bookshelves and experience an enchanting musical concert? I am excited to invite the community to the Livingston Public Library on Sunday, March 31 at 3:30 PM for  “An Afternoon of Classical Favorites” as performed by the PEL Piano Trio.  The PEL Piano Trio is made up of three musicians,  Patricia Brady-Danzig who will play the piano, Nancy Lederer who will  play the violin, and Sariah Mourik Johnson who will play the cello.  The trio will be playing Beethoven’s Piano Number 1, Haydn Piano trio Number 6, and Light Classics.  Sometimes music itself is exactly what we need to hear. All the best, Amy

Rock On! Musical Story Times with Guitar Joe

If you have attended a live performance of Guitar Joe’s Musical Story Time, then you know how lucky we are to have him at the Livingston Public Library! Joe O’Brien’s love of rock music started at an early age; he began playing guitar when he was only 12 years old.  Over the years, he has been in many bands, playing the usual NYC circuit.  He also performs in Brooklyn with his wife Ashley in the Dottie Parkers – Joe plays ukulele while Ashley sings. Look for the next session of Guitar Joe’s Musical Story Time starting up again in February, 2019.  Until then, here’s a clip of Joe performing We’re Going to Be Friends at the library. Rock on! -Gina Vaccaro, Youth Services Librarian