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 Post subject: Piano Society Book Club
PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 8:29 pm 
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Well, we don't really have a book club yet, but maybe we can get something together.

Finding the right kind of book will be the hard part, but I think I may have an idea - unless everybody has already read this book except me.

It's titled, "The Piano Shop on the Left Bank - Discovering a Forgotten Passion in a Paris Atelier" by Thad Carhart. Here is a summary:

*****************************

An American expatriate living in the City of Lights provides an intimate portrait of Paris life as seen through the eyes of the individuals who use Desforges Pianos, a tiny little shop in his Paris neighborhood, where an intriguing array of locals from all walks of life gather to discuss music, love, and life over a glass of wine, surrounded by the pianos that the owner restores.

*****************************

Doesn't that sound great? I found the book at my local library and have already put a hold on it. Even we don't get a book club going, I'm going to read it.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:38 pm 
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OK, I'm gonna go look at library tomorrow to see if I can put it on hold. Sounds intriguing! (something looks off with the spelling of that word! )

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:06 pm 
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My local library only carries out-dated encyclopedias and DVDs. When it comes to books, well, no luck there.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:58 pm 
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That´s sounds interesting, Monica. But I fear, it will be too difficult for me to read a complete book in English (though it would be a good praxis for me) and I don´t know, if I could get this book here in Germany. I fear, it would cost so much time to look for words in dictionary, that I wouldn´t come through the text.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:38 am 
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musicusblau wrote:
That´s sounds interesting, Monica. But I fear, it will be too difficult for me to read a complete book in English (though it would be a good praxis for me) and I don´t know, if I could get this book here in Germany. I fear, it would cost so much time to look for words in dictionary, that I wouldn´t come through the text.



I think you underestimate your English abilities. When the words "praxis" and phrases like "I wouldn't come through the text" are used, it can be said that the speaker is fluent. Sure you might have an "accent", but everyone who speaks (regardless of language) has an accent.

But the cost of shipping the book and the time waiting for it would not be worth the effort.

We could always read "Kleine Eisbaer" by Hans de Beer. :lol:

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:44 am 
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You guys are forgetting something. Many books are printed in other languages. Andreas - do you have a library near you? Maybe look for it there. Or maybe at Amazon.com.

And that goes for you Nathan, and you Julius. If you can't find the book at your library, just buy it at Amazon. There are used copies for as little as $0.25 plus shipping so about $5.00. That's cheap!

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 2:18 am 
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Great Idea, Monica. I am always up for a good read!

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:22 am 
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Great recommendation, Monica. I read that book in Italian some years ago. Chris would read it with special affection since, if I remember well, it speaks of a Gaveau.

I've just bought Perri Knize's Grand Obsession, that will be one of my summer vacation reads.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:43 pm 
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Ok, good Jennifer and Alfonso. We'll see if the others can get a hold of this book.

Alfonso - if we do read this, you can still join in the discussions.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 2:38 pm 
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Juufa72 wrote:
Quote:
I think you underestimate your English abilities. When the words "praxis" and phrases like "I wouldn't come through the text" are used, it can be said that the speaker is fluent. Sure you might have an "accent", but everyone who speaks (regardless of language) has an accent.


Thank you, Julius. That encourages me!:D

Quote:
We could always read "Kleine Eisbaer" by Hans de Beer. :lol:


Your little german expressions are also always a pleasure for me, Julius. Unfortunately I don´t know "Der kleine Eisbär", but I´ll look for it (just by interest :wink: ) and I suggest you "Winnie Pooh" (has it not an English author, isn´t it?). This is also a child-book, which tells us of a bear, very nice and very funny.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 2:41 pm 
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Pianolady wrote:
Quote:
You guys are forgetting something. Many books are printed in other languages. Andreas - do you have a library near you? Maybe look for it there. Or maybe at Amazon.com.


O.k., Monica, it will be a pleasure for me to look for it at the weekend. After the encouraging words of Julius I´m really up to it.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 4:24 pm 
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I have bought the book. It´s only available in English, I suppose, a german translation doesn´t exist. It´s also possible to buy it as an e-book:
http://ebooks.ebookmall.com/title/piano ... ebooks.htm
but I prefer a real book.

In the online shop, where I bought it, there was the beginning of each chapter online to read. I think, it will be too difficult for me to read the whole book, because there are many many words, which I don´t know. (And I think, I´ll not have the time to look for much words in my dictionary.) But I would like to try the first chapter or so. This will be a good praxis in English for me. :D
And may be I will hear the rest from the others here. In every case it will be interesting, I think.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 5:13 pm 
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That's great news, Andreas. I will be picking up my book later today, but I may not have time to actually start reading it until tomorrow or so.

And to all you other members out there - you know what they say, "The more the merrier", so please join us.

But one thing - how do we do this book club? I read a lot but have never been in one.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 5:44 pm 
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Hi Monica,
we have not to hurry. I have ordered the book today online. It will take 6-10 days until I get it. Then I´ll need several days (or weeks?) to come through the first chapter, I suppose. :wink:
So, I think, you have still a bit time to read. On the other side: it´s not necessary to wait for me, if you want to start now.

May be we could do a summary by chapter (I only can take chapter one). Then we could develop interesting questions of understanding and/or interpretation of this novel and the others could write their thoughts to them. (Just a proposition.)

I´m looking forward to the book. Too bad, that it´ll take more than a week until I get it, because now I have two weeks Easter-vacation, and so I would have a bit more time for such things.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:48 pm 
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I´m really thinking about, if I should also buy the e-book, because I would like to start now with reading as long as I have Easter-vacations. I don´t want to wait one or two weeks. :? What do you think, Monica?

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 11:12 pm 
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Well, can you get your money back from the paper book you ordered? If not, then I don't mind waiting for you to get it and then we can start our discussion. I don't know if any of the other members have the book yet, either.

However, since you have a long vacation starting now, I'd order that e-book. It's fine with me either way.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 11:22 pm 
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O.k., I think on tuesday I´ll order that e-book. So, I can directly use the online-dictionary while reading. That´s the advantage. The disadvantage is, that my computer does not want to go into my bed with me. :wink: :lol: (Though I´m always a bit sceptical to give my credit-card-number in the internet. But I have done this still several times, because there was no other possibility.)

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 3:01 pm 
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Hi Monica,
I have bought the e-book now, because the book-shop has difficulties to order this book for me. I can read it with Adobe Digital Editions and it´s very comfortable, because I can use the online-dicitionary in the same time. I have started to read chapter one: "Luc".

I have a question: What means the word "bank" in the title exactly. Does it mean "upheavel" or "serie of houses or something else (a money-bank?). I can´t translate it surely somehow.

In every case I´ll improve my English by reading this. So, will you start to read, too?

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 4:11 pm 
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musicusblau wrote:
I have a question: What means the word "bank" in the title exactly. Does it mean "upheavel" or "series of houses or something else (a money-bank?). I can´t translate it surely somehow.


"Bank" can also mean something like "die Sandbank" or "die Schneeverwehung" or "das Steilufer" or "der Strand" but that is assuming the author is not punning on the word "left bank".

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 4:48 pm 
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musicusblau wrote:
Hi Monica,
I have bought the e-book now, because the book-shop has difficulties to order this book for me. I can read it with Adobe Digital Editions and it´s very comfortable, because I can use the online-dicitionary in the same time. I have started to read chapter one: "Luc".

I have a question: What means the word "bank" in the title exactly. Does it mean "upheavel" or "serie of houses or something else (a money-bank?). I can´t translate it surely somehow.

In every case I´ll improve my English by reading this. So, will you start to read, too?


It means the left side of the Seine River. In Paris, places are often described as being located on the right side of the river, or the left.

Yes - I have the book also and just started chapter one last night. I think it will be a charming book! I wish other members would read along with us.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:42 am 
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Thanks, Monica.
Yes, I hope, we´ll not be a two-man-book-club here. :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:34 am 
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musicusblau wrote:
I think, it will be too difficult for me to read the whole book, because there are many many words, which I don´t know. (And I think, I´ll not have the time to look for much words in my dictionary.)

I remember reading my first English book was rather difficult (it was "My Family and other Animals" by Gerald Durrell). I had an uncontrollable urge to consult the dictionary for each word I did not know (and there were a lot, the topic being wildlife). But this is what you must not do - unless not knowing a word makes you lose the line of the story. You'd never get through a book that way. Rather, try to learn by association, as kids do. In many cases, you can guess (part of a) word's meaning from the context. Usually, when a word has appeared a couple of times (and most words do), you get its meaning allright.

This must have worked, as I have been reading English books ever since, and never had any problems since the first. Not to say I never had to look up an unfamiliar word, it happens occasionally.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 12:27 pm 
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I just heard back from Nathan. He is still in but has not the time this week, but will get to it next week. It really doesn't matter how long we take to read the book.

I'm asking people directly to join with us too - maybe we can get a few more readers.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 12:44 pm 
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Juufa72 wrote:
Quote:
"Bank" can also mean something like "die Sandbank" or "die Schneeverwehung" or "das Steilufer" or "der Strand" but that is assuming the author is not punning on the word "left bank".


Thank you for these advices, Julius :D , but somehow Monicas explanation was more concrete.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 12:47 pm 
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Techneut wrote:
Quote:
I remember reading my first English book was rather difficult (it was "My Family and other Animals" by Gerald Durrell). I had an uncontrollable urge to consult the dictionary for each word I did not know (and there were a lot, the topic being wildlife). But this is what you must not do - unless not knowing a word makes you lose the line of the story. You'd never get through a book that way. Rather, try to learn by association, as kids do. In many cases, you can guess (part of a) word's meaning from the context. Usually, when a word has appeared a couple of times (and most words do), you get its meaning allright.

This must have worked, as I have been reading English books ever since, and never had any problems since the first. Not to say I never had to look up an unfamiliar word, it happens occasionally.


Thanks for these tips, Chris. :D I think, you are absolutely right with that. I´m always too detailed (it´s my character somehow :roll: ). It makes much more fun, if I get through the story by understanding the main-action. And I think, may be in the way the chance is bigger, that I come through the whole book.
I´ll continue to read this evening. I´m looking forward to it.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 12:48 pm 
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Pianolady wrote:
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I'm asking people directly to join with us too - maybe we can get a few more readers.


Fine, the more people read and talk with us the more interesting it will be, I think.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 2:14 pm 
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musicusblau wrote:
Juufa72 wrote:
Quote:
"Bank" can also mean something like "die Sandbank" or "die Schneeverwehung" or "das Steilufer" or "der Strand" but that is assuming the author is not punning on the word "left bank".


Thank you for these advices, Julius :D , but somehow Monicas explanation was more concrete.



:x

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Juufa72 wrote:
Quote:
:x


Not mad, just funny. :wink:

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News: I have read the first chapter "Luc". It was very nice and to read works very well, I think. I don´t understand all words and details, but I think, I understand the main-plot.
This book would be interesting for Chris especially, because there is mentioned a Gaveau-baby-grand. :wink:
It´s a very interesting and perspective introduction in the theme of piano-brands and piano-building-traditions and -reputations and what marks a "good" piano, I think.
It´s also a bit mysterious, that the first-person-narrator has to be recommended by another client of this shop. I don´t understand yet why it is like this. But it gives this novel and the whole piano-theme an exclusive atmosphere.
In every case I´m up to read further...

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:18 pm 
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I like the way that the store is set up to be a mysterious place, and our main character (have we learned his name yet?) grows more and more curious every day. And when he is finally allowed to enter the ‘back room’, we are as awe-struck as he is when looks upon all the beautiful pianos.

And it is interesting how Luc behaves as he describes certain pianos. Like some of them are personal friends, and others are simply pieces of wood. You can tell that Luc and the other sort of grouchy older man in the shop will allow one of their pianos to be sold only to the right kind of person. I can’t wait to see which one our character actually gets. He originally thought he would purchase an upright piano, but now he has a sudden yearning to go with a grand. Maybe we will find out in chapter 2 which I will start later today.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:31 pm 
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musicusblau wrote:
This book would be interesting for Chris especially, because there is mentioned a Gaveau-baby-grand. :wink:

I would not go and buy a book just because it mentions a Gaveau. But the mentioning of the 'back room' brings back some memories. The former pianoshop in Dordrecht, where I often went to play (oh how they must have hated me) had such a back room, several in fact, at the end of a long and darkish corridor, stuffed with all manner of weird and wonderful instruments. That is where I met and courted my Gaveau, before deciding I wanted her for myself.

So, it seems I can relate to this book even without reading it :wink:

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 3:15 pm 
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Pianolady wrote:
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I like the way that the store is set up to be a mysterious place, and our main character (have we learned his name yet?) grows more and more curious every day. And when he is finally allowed to enter the ‘back room’, we are as awe-struck as he is when looks upon all the beautiful pianos.


I like also the way of how the atmosphere of mystery and curiosity narratively is built. I think, we haven´t learned the name of the main-character until now, can´t remember anyway.

Quote:
And it is interesting how Luc behaves as he describes certain pianos. Like some of them are personal friends, and others are simply pieces of wood. You can tell that Luc and the other sort of grouchy older man in the shop will allow one of their pianos to be sold only to the right kind of person. I can’t wait to see which one our character actually gets. He originally thought he would purchase an upright piano, but now he has a sudden yearning to go with a grand. Maybe we will find out in chapter 2 which I will start later today.


Yes, that´s what makes this book interesting. This kind of a certain, very personal relationship between the man and his piano, there must be a kind of mysterious correspondance between the man and the instrument and that seems to be what the two sellers know. So, it seems also to be a story of (musical) self-finding. I´m also curious, which piano the main-person will get at the end. I think, I´ll continue to read chapter 2 this evening, too.

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Techneut wrote:
Quote:
I would not go and buy a book just because it mentions a Gaveau. But the mentioning of the 'back room' brings back some memories. The former pianoshop in Dordrecht, where I often went to play (oh how they must have hated me) had such a back room, several in fact, at the end of a long and darkish corridor, stuffed with all manner of weird and wonderful instruments. That is where I met and courted my Gaveau, before deciding I wanted her for myself.

So, it seems I can relate to this book even without reading it :wink:


That´s really interesting. So, you seem to know of this long and darkish corridor and the instruments, which are described in the book. How can you know this, if you haven´t read it?

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 3:46 pm 
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musicusblau wrote:
Techneut wrote:
Quote:
I would not go and buy a book just because it mentions a Gaveau. But the mentioning of the 'back room' brings back some memories. The former pianoshop in Dordrecht, where I often went to play (oh how they must have hated me) had such a back room, several in fact, at the end of a long and darkish corridor, stuffed with all manner of weird and wonderful instruments. That is where I met and courted my Gaveau, before deciding I wanted her for myself.

So, it seems I can relate to this book even without reading it :wink:


That´s really interesting. So, you seem to know of this long and darkish corridor and the instruments, which are described in the book. How can you know this, if you haven´t read it?


...and the plot thickens :twisted:

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Juufa72 wrote:
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...and the plot thickens :twisted:


:lol:

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I´m so happy, because I´m able to read this book in English. :D :D :D For me the re-discovering of the English language is a bit like the re-discovering of the piano-playing for the main-person (what´s his name? I think, his name wasn´t mentioned until now.) I´ve read chapter two now within one hour and I have understood the plot, that´s good, isn´t it? (Woa, I´m proud on myself. 8) )

So, the first-person narrator has found his Stingl, an old brand from Vienne. Bösendorfer is the only brand, which stayed from this time of great austrian piano brands. So far I´ve learned from this book of piano-building history. One more interesting matter is, that the old Gaveaus (at least those from the nineteenth century) have a weak tuning stability, because their tuning-pins are in a wooden fixation. Does your Gaveau hold firmly it´s tuning, Chris, or has it often to be retuned?

Luc recommended this baby-grand-Stingl and at first the main-person wasn´t enthused, because he wanted originally have an upright, but more and more he fall in love with this instrument and the mysterious hunch of Luc becomes truth, that this instrument will be the right one for the first-person narrator. For me all that sounds so destiny-like, isn´t it? This book has really much narrative subtlety, because it creates such a mysterious atmosphere of destination and spiry development. An interesting point is, that the first-person-narrator also has changed an important matter of his life in the time he finds his instrument, he has changed his job from a corporate job to an independend writer, which has also a symbolic meaning in his personal development, which his wife expresses well with the words: "Think of it as an investment in personal expression."
So, I suppose, the process of true self-finding could be the main-theme of this novel.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 3:06 am 
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Yes, but do you ever find yourself? I'd say there is a new me and you every day.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 10:38 am 
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Lukecash wrote:
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Yes, but do you ever find yourself? I'd say there is a new me and you every day.


I agree to that, but somehow there are also certain structures in our personality, which we develop with the years and which stay constant, for example like the passion to play piano, the interest for literature and many other things. So, I suppose, the first-person-narrator discovers more and more (again) a certain aspect of his personality (the piano-music), which is important for his self-finding, because it seems to be an important aspect of his personality.
Thanks for this tought.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 7:29 pm 
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Wouldn't you say in the end that self fulfillment is appreciating people intently, and finding enough purpose so we that don't go insane? People all have their quirks, but evidently the actualization of a person is when they acknowledge that they take a part in something wonderful. However terrible people are, you find a reason to actually want to wake up in the morning, smile at people who aren't going to smile back. You really never can find who you are, but you poignantly realize what exactly you are. Or i may very well have gone mad already... :shock: Are you a member of the club?


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 8:30 pm 
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Ok, I have read chapter 2. Yes, I see we are talking about Chris’ Gaveau again. I was hoping our character was going to buy it. I was a little sad when he changed his mind and thought he would go with an upright after all. I was thinking, ‘no, no, don’t do it. Find the room and the money for a grand.’ I was not totally surprised when Luc, with his magical ways, found that Stingle grand for our character (no - we still don't know his name).

I have not heard of Stingle before, so that’s interesting. And isn’t it funny that in this book, the author says that our character wished he could play Chopin’s Polonaise in A-flat? I used to wish that too. Still do, in fact.

I also like the way Luc feels about rich people who own great big fancy grands, yet don’t play piano and only have them as a means of displaying their wealth. I have always hated that too. I have some cousins like that. Luc’s thinking is that he feels sorry for the poor piano because it sits there practically lifeless. :(

On to the next chapter. They are short, so that's good.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 12:47 am 
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Hi Monica,
Yes, I always was hoping, too, that the first-person-narrator would decide for a grand. And now he has that wonderful Stingl, it´s fine, isn´t it?:D

Me, too, I don´t like people, who have an expensive grand only for to show their wealth. I´m like Luc and you in this point. :wink:

Today I didn´t find time to read, because I´ve recorded one piece of Triakontameron and Chopin´s Nocturne op. 15, 1. Tomorrow I´ll continue with reading. (BTW, I still have played the Polonaise in A flat major of Chopin, it´s the famous "heroic", I love it. May be I´ll try to record it one day. In summer I have a recital, in which I´ll play several Chopin-pieces, f.ex. the Scherzo Nr. 3 and some Nocturnes.)

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Last edited by musicusblau on Sat Apr 11, 2009 6:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 12:49 am 
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Lukecash wrote:
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Are you a member of the club?


What do you mean with this? Which club?

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musicusblau wrote:
(BTW, I still have played the Polonaise in A flat major of Chopin, it´s the famous "heroic", I love it.

Me too, but I can't play the part with the LH octaves. Nearly ruined me permanently when I was practicing it. But I did write a 400-page novel that prominently features the piece though. :lol: (a little side project of mine, and no- you can't read it. Nobody can, as it is not finished, nor will it ever be, probably.)

I'll read chapter 3 of our book today.

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Pianolady wrote:
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I'll read chapter 3 of our book today.


Me, too. :)

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 8:26 pm 
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Ok, chapter 3 was very short.

And now the piano is at its new home. Isn't that nice? Remember when your new piano came to your home? I do - vividly. One of the most exciting days!

Sometime in the near future, we will be taking the carpeting out of our living room and replace it with hard wood. My piano will need to be moved out of the house while the construction is going on. I am not looking forward to that.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 12:26 am 
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Pianolady wrote:
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Ok, chapter 3 was very short.


Yes, but it´s full of subtle observations and narrative details. It´s so fascinating how the narrator describes the arrival and first time with his new piano as a kind of process of meeting a new friend. So, he searches for the history and the provenance of this new piano and did several more or less absurd speculations about the letters L.A. At the end we come a bit nearer to the question, why the new clients of Luc have to be recommended by other clients. The chapter ends with Lucs advice, that the narrator is a client now and that he can recommend now also "trusted friends". So, I suppose, the reason for the recommendation-necessarity is, that Desforges piano shop does only want clients, who have a sincere and deep relation to pianos and not every people of the street have it.
Could I be right with this?

Quote:
And now the piano is at its new home. Isn't that nice? Remember when your new piano came to your home? I do - vividly. One of the most exciting days!


Yes, I have had four of such delivery-events in my life until now (apart from relocations, in which my grand also had to be transported into my new home).
When I was 10 we got an old Ibach-piano, with 13 I got a Seiler upright, with 15 my Kawai-GS60-grand-piano and with 35 I sold my Kawai and bought my Grotrian-Steinweg. The Grotrian had to be transported with a linkage over the balcony out of the house of the former owner, an old lady. Then it came with a truck to my house. Here the transport was quite easy, because my living-room is on ground-floor. So, there was only a little staircase with five steps, which is before the entry of our house.

Quote:
Sometime in the near future, we will be taking the carpeting out of our living room and replace it with hard wood. My piano will need to be moved out of the house while the construction is going on. I am not looking forward to that.


That really sounds disagreeable. :? Is it really necessary to move out your piano entirely out of the house, can´t you put it just in another room?

Tomorrow I´ll continue with chapter 4. :)

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musicusblau said:
[Quote]What do you mean with this? Which club?[Quote]

I'm sorry, i wasn't so clear. I was asking if you were the type that enjoyed smiling at people who aren't going to smile back. It is a very common expression for being an altruist. I was wondering whether or not you yourself are an altruist.


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Lukecash wrote:
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I'm sorry, i wasn't so clear. I was asking if you were the type that enjoyed smiling at people who aren't going to smile back. It is a very common expression for being an altruist. I was wondering whether or not you yourself are an altruist.


Phew, that´s a very difficult and personal question. :oops: Probably, if I´d be in the right mood, I could enjoy to smile back to people, who aren´t going to smile back, but may be do the opposite. This is what you meant, isn´t it? (Oops, in this moment I feel to decrease rapidly my sureness in the English language :lol: ) I think, I can be altruistic sometimes or often, but not always. That´s probably the most honest answer I could give you on your question.
But now you have to allow me to return your question:
Do you feel yourself to be altruistic? And always? (I don´t believe, a man would say this of himself, isn´t it?)

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Oh! Andreas - I learned our character's name in chapter 6! I will not tell you here and let you find it yourself.

Chapters 4, 5 and 6 are very short. I read them last night. Have you read them yet? I don't want to give away everything.

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I admire your intellect that you would make me feel like a bastard to call myself an altruist :twisted:
Let's say i do my damnedest. I plan on doing missionary work, refuse to use my skills very much in the educational system, enjoy very much a good natured debate to help people understand things that just don't necessarily give you an answer right away. I simply want people to feel fulfilled, more than just expendable, and wonderful, because in all reality they are. I don't always get the job done, but yes, i never stop wanting to.


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