Every so often there's a song or a piece of music that pairs perfectly with the book I'm reading.
For me, Rose Bett's enchanting and poignant song reminded me of the Prisoner of Zenda, a romantic adventure in which true love and duty clash. Published on the eve of World War I, neither the blithe characters nor its readers had any idea of the bloody harvest to come. But all love is like that, isn't it? We're giddy and delighted, even though at any moment it could all be stripped away. Your library system has the eBook (below) and a paper copy.
KCLS has only one copy left of the eerie experimental science fiction collection, The Best of Cordwainer Smith. The godson of Sun Yat-sen, Smith's stories blend Confucian Chinese sensibility with Western SF. My favorite is Alpha Ralpha Boulevard. In it, two lovers decide to discover if their feelings for each other are not programmed, but real. Newly released from the mental and social controls of the Instrumentality, they seek an ancient mechanical oracle to find out the truth.
Read the story and listen to the tune. Did I get it right?
Where is the hand on the harp string, and the red fire glowing?
Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow.
~ Lament for the Rhohirrm.
The quest that begins in The Fellowship of the Ring was doomed from the start. Even if all their hopes were met, nonetheless, all that was old, and strange, and fair would be gone. The author, J.R.R. Tolkien, began writing his epic adventure in the trenches of World War I. The world of The Prisoner of Zenda, Tolkien's England, was about to pass away, even if the Allies won. How to capture that feeling in song? Howard Shore managed it. So for readers the best part of the movies that Peter Jackson made are the soundtracks. I put them on whenever I re-read The Lord of the Rings. Check out the music CDs (below) or use the online hoopla service.
Whenever I find just the right music, hearing it takes me back to the book.