- Matheson, Richard — I Am Legend (161 pages)
- McCarthy, Cormac — No Country for Old Men (307 pages)
- Dexter, Gary — Why Not Catch 21?: The Stories Behind the Titles (213 pages)
- Ryman, Geoff — 253 (366 pages)
- Wyndham, John — The Day of the Triffids (267 pages)
- Kurkov, Andrey — Death and the Penguin (228 pages)
- Chesterton, G.K. — Orthodoxy (183 pages)
- Gibbs, Christopher H., ed. — The Cambridge Companion to Schubert (334 pages)
Page count: 2059.
My concert singing diploma course focused on Schubert lieder for several weeks in January and February, culminating in a Schubertiade or all-Schubert recital (in which I sang "Nachtstück" and brought down the house with "Erlkönig"). I decided to enhance my preparation by reading critical material on Schubert and his music. The choices at the Barbican Library consisted of The Cambridge Companion to Schubert and… well, there is no 'and'. Though it has taken me until now to slog through this, I did manage to finish the sections most relevant to me before the recital.
I have nothing particularly insightful to say. This is simply a collection of essays by various experts which effectively gives an introduction to Schubert and his environment, reception, music, performance practices, and so on without delving too deeply into any one issue. I found the essays on the history of Vienna during Schubert's lifetime and his social milieu (particularly his association with various poets) most interesting. Conversely, the essays which presented formal analysis of his music were tiresome. (I recognize the value of theory and analysis, but I feel anaylizing every little note or chord adds absolutely nothing to performance. I have an instinctual understanding of what is occurring in a piece without needing to know the dry technical jargon.) Nonetheless, this little volume fulfilled its purpose by improving my understanding of Schubert and his music.