12 book challenge, 2011

I’ve been trying to hit the 50 book challenge for the past few years, which basically requires me to read at least one book a week. Not happening. My average is around 25 in a year, and that’s often the result of reading a bunch while on break or vacation, and not paced throughout the year.

This year, I’m going to try something different. In addition to reading as many books as I can, I’m making a list of the twelve books that I want to try to read this year that are currently sitting on my shelves or wishlist. In no particular order, here they are:

love songs

Only those who are confident that their sweethearts would not dump them for this chanteuse should pick up a copy of this CD.

My first introduction to Marlene Dietrich occurred a few weeks ago when I picked up a copy of the movie Witness for the Prosecution. As an Agatha Christie fan, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see yet one more dramatized version of her writing. I had heard of Dietrich before watching the movie, but it wasn’t until I saw her that I began to understand the attraction so many had (and still have) for her. Needless to say, I was eager to give the new Sony Legacy release Love Songs a spin.

The CD is a collection of songs recorded by Dietrich mainly in the 1950’s, with the first three tracks recorded in 1930 and 1931. A handful of the tracks are available on other recordings, but many have been languishing in vaults or private record collections until Sony picked up the masters and dusted them off. The sound quality is most impressive. Harry Coster did the digital sound restoration, and did it so well that one can hardly tell that the originals were 78s. The three tracks recorded in the 30’s do have that canned sound of recordings from the time, but without much of the hiss and pops of the old records. The rest of the recordings are fuller and warmer, a tribute to not only the re-mastering, but also the improvements in recording technology in the intervening twenty years.

Dietrich’s vocal technique is less than perfect, but her alto voice drips with a seductive quality that makes up for whatever may be lacking. As the liner states, when she sings, she transforms “strong men into masochists and beautiful women into groveling slaves worshipping at the alter [sic] of Sappho.” The CD will be released just in time for lovers shopping for Valentines Day gifts, but only those who are confident that their sweethearts would not dump them for this chanteuse should consider picking up a copy.

Article first published as Marlene Dietrich – Love Songs on Blogcritics.org

West v. Ranganathan

Jessamyn West has more links in her Google/dmoz directory than Ranganathan himself. Is this sick and wrong?

Jessamyn West pointed out today that she has her own Google/dmoz category. Not only that, but she has more links in her category than Ranganathan. There’s something seriously wrong with the world when one innovative, blogging, rarin’ librarian can have more links in a web directory than one of the most important theorists on classification and indexing.

Incidentally, two of the Ranganathan links are duplicates and at least one is a 404. I think I might volunteer to edit that category just to clean up the mess that is in there at the moment.