It's not all about music (part 1)
So far, all my blogs have had some relation to music. Just for a change, here's a little information about what I like to do outside of music.
GIVE IT A BREAK
It's safe to say, I spend a lot of time working on music-related projects, whether that's instrument practice; performing recitals and concerts; instrument maintenance; teaching lessons; writing up plans and homework; composing, producing, mixing and mastering; or administration work for uploaded library music and royalty data. When I'm not doing these things, however, aside from keeping up with friends and family, I do find time to do stuff un-related to music.
A GOOD READ
An evening routine I like to be in the habit of doing, is to set aside time for a little reading before going to sleep. In general, I'm terrible at multitasking, which is a weird thing to say coming from a musician who can conduct (just about). It's the same for reading multiple books, I just can't do it as I start to get confused over plots. I'm in the habit, therefore, of reading a book of my favourite genre then, once finished, the next book is of a different genre. When I've finished that one, it's back to my favourite genre and so on and so on, always alternating.
I'm sure some of you won't be surprised to know my favourite book genre is fantasy. I love a good zero-to-hero story (yes, Hercules is my favourite Disney film). I fell in love with fantasy at the age of 8, getting tucked into bed and being read The Hobbit by my mum. I remember then trying to read The Lord Of The Rings on my own not long after and not understanding much of it. Over the years, it took another three read-throughs and a listen to the 1981 BBC radio dramatised version to fully grasp what was going on, enjoying each one. Since then, series I've read include:
- Terry Goodkind's The Sword of Truth
- David Edding's The Belgariad
- Elizabeth Haydon's Symphony of Ages
- Fiona McIntosh's The Quickening
- Sarah Ash's Tears of Artamon
- Trudi Canavan's Kyralia Series
- George R R Martin's A Song Of Ice And Fire and A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms
- Patrick Rothfuss' The Kingkiller Chronicle and The Slow Regard of Silent Things
- J R R Tolkien's The Hobbit, The Lord Of The Rings, and The Children Of Húrin, finished by Christopher Tolkien
- Robert Jordan's The Wheel Of Time (currently reading book 10)
Of all of these, my favourite series has been Goodkind's The Sword of Truth series. The first two books, Wizard's First Rule and Stone Of Tears are fantastic at world-building; creating strong, likeable characters; and are full of intriguing plot points, maintaining interest throughout the chunky books. My third favourite is Faith Of The Fallen where the main character is stripped of his power, made to work as a slave but never loses hope, ultimately giving everyone around him hope as well; it's a satisfying read.
Aside from fantasy, other books I've read vary in genre and more recently include:
- George Orwell's Animal Farm and 1984
- Stephen Fry's Mythos and Heroes
- Arkady and Boris Strugatsky's Roadside Picnic and Hard To Be A God
- Adam Kay's This Is Going To Hurt
- Hanna Jameson's The Last
- Isaac Asimov's I, Robot
- Heather Morris' The Tattooist Of Auschwitz
My favourites of these have been Stephen Fry's Mythos and Heroes. Heroes moreso, since I love reading about the human heroes: the challenges they faced and, for the most part, overcame; the colourful and sometimes deceitful characters they meet on their journeys; their struggles with the Gods, and the creative punishments those Gods dealt. It is fascinating to see where playwrights like Shakespeare took their inspiration from.
If you've read any of these, I'd love to hear your your opinions on them, which ones are your favourites, and any recommendations you have.