Now Reading

Shelby Foote, The Civil War

Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, or the Whale

Michael Punke, The Revenant

Bill Bryson, Notes from a Small Island



The contents of this website are for contemplative purposes only. No medical advice will be given, and emails asking for medical advice will be ignored.

Although patient vignettes are based on my experiences with real individuals, I liberally change details to maintain patient confidentiality.

I also reserve the right to change old postings to correct errors, and to delete comments that include obscene language or that I deem abusive to me or other commentators.  If you are looking for a open mind, I suggest you consult a neurosurgeon.

Katrina Blog Project
« Book Catechism: The Shining | Main | The Hammer of Obamacare Hovers Over Our Heads »

Verdi / Munro

First, a happy 200th birthday to Guiseppe Verdi, Italian master of the opera. Verdi was a rare genius in musical history: he was both brilliant and incredibly prolific. Stephen King productivity with Willaim Faulkner talent.

If you want a taste of Verdi, I would suggest Aida, RigolettoFalstaff, or Otello as some of his finest works.

It is testamony to Verdi's greatness that two of his finest works are recastings of Shakespeare plays. It takes tremendous courage to think you have something to add to Shakespeare. Verdi thought he did, and he was right.

And three cheers for Alice Munro, named today the 2013 Nobel Laureate in Literature.

This is an inspired choice. Munro is mainly a short story writer, at a time when short stories are a forgotten idiom, for reasons I don't understand. I always thought short stories were the best way to get to know a writer. Many writers have done their best work in short fiction, and the short story is a fine way to get to know a writer without having to commit to a novel. 

Why read James Joyce's Ulysess when you can read "The Dead" in a fraction of the time, and still fairly claim to have read Joyce?

A Munro short story is as good a a novel, just as deep and enriching, as concentrated and delicious as a drop of fresh water on the tip of an icicle. 

Read up. Most Nobel Laureates require a several week plunge into a novel or literary work to get to know, but you can get to know Munro in a single sitting, if you please. I will suggest "Runaway" from the short story collection of the same name, as a good place to start.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (2)

I enjoy the opera – for some reason I have seen Rigoletto 3 times, once in Paris, then San Francisco and again in New York – loved it every time. But I am pleased I stopped at your blog. I just finished reading “Dimanche”, in French, by Irene Nemirovsky – it is called “Dimanche et autres nouvelles.” Well I just could not remember how to translate “nouvelles” which are little stories– they are called “short stories” in English. Voila! Merci – thank you.
November 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commentervagabonde
Thanks for the comment. I have never seen Rigoletto, though I have heard the music many times. I wish I had access to some of the opera companies you seem to have.
November 11, 2013 | Registered CommenterMichael Hebert

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.