Panama (spwebdesign) wrote,

Book 23

  1. Amis, Martin — London Fields (471 pages)
  2. Morpurgo, Michael — War Horse (182 pages)
  3. Winterson, Jeanette — Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (177 pages)
  4. Robinson, Bruce — Paranoia in the Launderette (43 pages)
  5. Carter, Angela — Heroes and Villains (152 pages)
  6. Burroughs, Edgar Rice — A Princess of Mars (209 pages)
  7. Hill, Susan — The Woman in Black (152 pages)
  8. Fowler, Karen Joy — Sarah Canary (293 pages)
  9. Rennison, Nick — 100 Must-Read Prize Winning Novels (174 pages)
  10. Beresford, David — Ten Men Dead (426 pages)
  11. Freedland, Jonathan — Bring Home the Revolution: The Case for a British Republic (245 pages)
  12. Kierkegaard, Søren — Fear and Trembling (150 pages)
  13. Nothomb, Amélie — Fear and Trembling (132 pages)
  14. Delany, Samuel R. — Babel-17 (194 pages)
  15. Raine, Craig — History: The Home Movie (335 pages)
  16. du Maurier, Daphne — Jamaica Inn (312 pages)
  17. Kurlansky, Mark — The Basque History of the World (361 pages)
  18. Allin, Michael — Zarafa (204 pages)
  19. Cain, James M. — The Postman Always Rings Twice (116 pages)
  20. Brin, David — The Postman (324 pages)
  21. Skármeta, Antonio — El cartero de Neruda (130 pages)
  22. Moers, Walter — The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear (698 pages)
  23. Shostakovich, Dmitri — Testimony (312 pages)
Page count

I'm not sure who to list as the author of this book. The full title is Testimony: The Memoirs of Dmitri Shostakovich as related to and edited by Solomon Volkov. I opted to list the composer, as these are his thoughts.

This past year I took on a big project, the Suite on Words of Michelangelo Buonarroti by Shostakovich. (And it is work on this project that prevented me from reaching 30 books read this year.) As the Suite is considered by many to be Shostakovich's musical testimony, I wanted to learn more about his life and so decided to read this Testimony which he recounted to his friend Solomon Volkov on condition that it not be published until after his death.

The Testimony's authenticity has been called into question and has been a subject for debate, but current scholarship maintains that it is genuine and authentic. And truly, when you read Shostakovich's words, you hear the same energy, the same humour, the same bitterness, the same righteous power that is in his music. I have no doubt whose thoughts are contained within these pages.

Shostakovich, for the most part, only talks about himself indirectly. He was not the sort of person who liked to draw attention to himself. Rather, he talks about various colleagues, mentors, enemies, etc., and about the general situation in the Soviet Union. But it is through these long, rambling discussions touching on a wide variety of important figures and events, relating anecdotes, expressing his feelings on a number of subjects, that his personality truly shines. Testimony is a fascinating book, not just for capturing such an elusive and fascinating personality but for its unique perspective on historical events and persons.

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