Thursday, December 04, 2008

Alex Ross Wins Guardian First Book Award

The Guardian First Book Award has gone to Alex Ross' acclaimed history of 20th century music The Rest Is Noise.

Claire Armitstead, Guardian literary editor and chair of judges points out that although the book was not seen as having popular appeal in some quarters :
... a huge appetite among readers for clear, serious but accessible books.
I think the book will go down very well in Malaysia - especially with the sorts who frequent the Dewan Philharmonic and would like to know more about the music they listen too. (Haven't been to a concert so long - hope to do better this season.)

I got my copy (still hardback) in Kinokuniya the other day and I plan to read it and at the same time revisit many of the CD's I've hoarded over the years. There is though an excellent audio guide to the book on Ross' blog so that you can actually hear the examples he's talking about.

(I lifted the pic of trays of hors d'oevres at the award cermemony from his blog too.)

6 comments:

Sharanya said...

And the Singapore Literature Prize 2008 has gone to Ng Yi-Sheng, for "last boy". :)

bibliobibuli said...

thanks Sharanya!

Amir said...

Morning! Danny Lim passed me the link to the English section of the JPN website ; see if you have any comments :-)

bibliobibuli said...

the english makes me want to die!!! i have to write a complaint ...

Chet said...

Patrick Teoh's Niamah blog has an entry about the JPN website.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hijack the thread further, but I also noticed that in order to fill out the complaint form on the website (which I thought of doing -- I thought, instead of whining about it here, why not just let them know?), you have to fill in your I.C. number and Passport number. Ha! I don't know about you guys, but I sure as hell ain't fillin' out that complaint form. Only in Malaysia do you basically have to state your race and religion to register a simple complaint. Next thing you know you'll be in Kamunting for having voiced a few concerns about their grammar and syntax.

And before the Anonymice start up with their cries of "but this is Malaysia and why should we care about English and how good is your BM anyway?" Let me just say: either get someone who actually speaks English to write the English section, or DON'T HAVE AN ENGLISH SECTION. Simple as that. Just be honest about it and say "English isn't our National Language and therefore you should bloody well speak BM if you're going to use this website." Fine. Don't pretend to be pleasing everyone when you're not making any effort to do so.

Oh -- and The Rest Is Noise by Alex Ross? It's a great book for exactly the purpose you suggest, Sharon, i.e. providing a bit more education for those who already go to the symphony etc. If you're on either extreme, though -- if you're not particularly interested in Western art music, or if you already know a great deal about it -- it probably isn't the book for you. I do think it's the first book, though, that attempts to consolidate the vast body of knowledge about Western "classical" music in one source for the layman, and does so in language more interesting than your standard music appreciation textbook. Ross has a good sense for narrative drive, too.

-- Preeta