52 weeks – August 12, 2012

Book

Ghostwritten, by David Mitchell. This was written before his Cloud Atlas (one of the best books I have ever read). Ghostwritten seems like an earlier version of Cloud Atlas: many stories with links and collisions (we even get brief appearances by some of the characters that we will meet later in Cloud Atlas). The major characters this time include a terrorist in Tokyo who reports to a dubious guru; a much-abused woman who keeps a Tea Shack at the base of the Holy Mountain; a physicist who wants to resign from the company she works for after coming to some conclusions about how her work will be used; a late night DJ who gets all the crazies on the phone; and a lawyer in Hong Kong whose lack of ethics has caught up with him. There are cynicism and mysticism, ambition, menace and adventure, and a plethora of spot-on details about life as it is lived in various cities and hamlets in this century and the last. It is breathtaking in scope, fast-paced, and can be confusing. But, all in all, a great read.

Food

The frangipane tart served at the Art Gallery Café in Vancouver. Eaten on the patio while listening to some live music — a blues singer wearing a polka-dotted dress. The dress was not a good choice. The dessert, however, was excellent.

Music

A magnificent concert: Sweelinck and Gesualdo: Masters of the Madrigal sung by the Gesualdo Consort. I was never entirely sure what a madrigal was but I now know it is secular vocal music originating in early 1500s Italy and that polyphonic madrigals are typically unaccompanied.

The purity of the voices and their perfect harmonies made the concert a glorious audio treat. But, shallow as I am, I found almost as much pleasure in looking at the dress worn by Nele Gramss: a simple amethyst silk dress and a gauzy lilac wrap with appliquéd amethyst silk roses. You can only see a glimpse of it in the picture where she’s the one third from the left.

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