19 December 2013

So I Review Books Now?

I love writing about literature, and I did a bunch in junior high. HA HA. Junior High. Remember that? Take a moment. You okay? Now we're back. I finished this book right before my 2:00 AM toast today, and I just felt like it deserved a post. I've been amiably and aggressively encouraged to delve into each of John Green's novels for about three years now, so I finally began. An acquaintance of mine also said I look like the girl on the cover so I should start with this one. I don't really see it, but I suppose it's difficult to determine such a thing when you've never really seen yourself from an external source. This was actually just the only one my library had in.

Paper Towns by John Green is one of those enchanting, flutter-by novels with a delicious twist of humanity and realism. Margo Roth Spiegelman is that exciting, incredible force of nature every reader either wants to be or bang. She makes you want to pull out and elongate your bucket list or organize a flash mob or wear that stupid blue eyeshadow you think makes you all eclectic and cool. Like Stargirl or Ari Fuller or Luna Lovegood. The narration through Q (main character) is sweet, hilarious, and oh-so-relatable. For some reason it's so weird for me to read books about high school students now that I'm out of high school. It's like books mark my chronology in a way. I read them for so long and imagined how I wanted to be and probably would be in high school. Now I read it and it's like whoa, these people have no clue what's about to whack them. Ha ha. Paper Towns is a splendid and lazy read, but you won't want to miss a word. The whole thing probably took me a total of three hours to read. You'll find yourself in this book, or your Margo or your Q. My Q was a total parallel the entire way through, but then the last two pages occurred and BAM. He was a completely different person I know. Funny. Books are marvelous. Again, this book is rather fantastical, but brings a sad but beautiful reality that'll give you a good little pang in that heart. Also complete with an awesome Harry Potter reference on page 145.

Overall Grade:  A-
Disclaimers: This book does contain some adult language. There are also two brief allusions to sexual activity and inevitable, typical 17-year-old boy conversation. Nothing too major or worry-worthy.

17 December 2013

Once Upon A Time, There Was Winter

Art has this incredible ability to tell a story. Whatever form, size, location, or audience it is in, there is some type of story behind it, be it short and silly or emotional and long. When Antonio Vivaldi composed The Four Seasons, he was able to capture two forms of art, music and poetry,  and bring them in to his own. He saw the artistic beauty of nature, and the dramatic way it affects our lives. Secondly, he saw significance in descriptive poetry and transposed the images into music. The first movement of the “Winter” Concerto perfectly personifies the perils of winter with an energetic melody, strong harmony, and thick texture. 
The movement begins with a rather daunting suspense. Just like the feeling of winter approaching, you know something new and chilly is coming. The notes make you shiver, as frost nipping you on the ears. Overall, the melody is consistent, creating a full and complete feeling for the piece. The movement maintains a similar timbre all the way through. However, it does contain sudden bursts of energy to surprise the listener every once in a while. 
The melody reflects the text of the poem: “To run stamping one’s feet at every step / With one’s teeth chattering through the cold.” The tempo correlates to the rhythm of these steps and the shrill melody sends icy snowflakes throughout the body.
Aside from the vivid storytelling which is occurring, the dramatic harmonies in the “Winter” first movement are my favorite. Like winter weather or activities, there are multiple ideas occurring in this piece. The deeper, bass-like instruments create the 
stirring, theatrical darkness and intensity of winter whilst the violin parts conjure up the frenzied flurries of instrumental sections. Although separate, the two parts work beautifully to create a harmony. 
The melody and harmony fully contribute to the thick texture present in this movement. There are many levels we go through as listeners, including suspense, and explosions of energy. The harmonies create the thickness we feel trudging through a winter storm, looking for home and solace. The texture also mirrors a dark, yet exciting timbre. The timbre of the violin is what gives the listener the winter anxiety or perhaps energetic anticipation. 
In composing The Four Seasons, Vivaldi created something that we all experience, simply by living on the earth. We can relate to and understand the feelings portrayed in each movement because we have seen, felt and been through them ourselves. I love the “Winter” concerto because it perfectly encompasses my favorite season. In it, I feel all the sensations I do during the holidays: anticipation, joy, bursts of stress, intense emotion, and of course the cold. Aristotle was certainly correct in stating, “Art takes nature as its model. Art not only imitates nature, but also completes its deficiencies.”

10 December 2013

Vlog in Place of Blog

It's finals week and that's every college student's excuse for everything ever. But…in place of a weekly blog post I've posted a no-sense-making video-blog. Complete with adorable thumbnail shot. You Tube just knows how to capture my best moments. Sigh. Happy Finals Week!