Book review follow-up:
The Shadow of the Wind, audiobook

written by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
translated by Lucia Graves
read by Jonathan Davis

Last week I reviewed The Shadow of the Wind before I had completely finished listening to it, and since closure was something I mentioned I was longing for, I promised I would blog again after finishing the book—so you all can have closure too!

The book ended well, and during those final 90 minutes I thought of one other element that made the audiobook such a rich experience: the background music. Throughout the story there are certain somewhat random moments that are accompanied by a minute or two of piano music that gently fades in and then fades back out again. The music is always perfectly suited to what’s going on in the story at that time, and it enhances the script without ever overpowering it.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that all of these instrumentals are original compositions by the author. In fact, Zafón was a musician before he was a writer. In an interview with Barnes&Noble he says music and books are the two things he can’t live without. I think it’s nice that audiobooks give him a forum for combining these two passions elegantly.

If you’re interested in hearing some of Zafón’s music, there are a few tracks you can download for free from his website. Based on the names of the tracks, I’m assuming these are ones that turn up in the audiobook. Give them a listen and let me know what you think!

 

Book review:
The Shadow of the Wind, audiobook

ShadowOfTheWind

written by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
translated by Lucia Graves
read by Jonathan Davis

I started writing this review last week, when I was about half-way through the 19-hour audiobook. At the time, I was so engrossed in the power of the audio version that I couldn’t imagine that reading the words on paper (the old-fashioned way!) would create the same experience for me. Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s story is captivating—a 10-year-old boy becomes the caretaker of an almost-forgotten book, a book that transports him when he reads it and endangers him when he tries to find out more about its author.

But just as important, Jonathan Davis’ reading of the work is, in a word, perfect. Each character comes to life with a different accent or pitch or rhythm, making me feel as if I’m actually meeting them or watching them on-screen. Zafón gives many of them idiosyncratic phrases, and Davis interprets these with humor and charm. I’m not sure I would have noticed them were I simply reading them on my own.

The translation, too, is artful. The story is set in Spain, and that setting affects how the characters relate to each other. Yet Lucia Graves manages to convey the emotions and meanings in English while maintaining the Spanish flavor and charm. Curious Villager also gives a “shout out” to Graves in her April 18, 2009, review of the book.

This book is so well-written, so well-translated, and so well-read, that a week ago I was wishing it wouldn’t end! But I have to confess that tonight, as I began the last section, I was starting to feel impatient. The story drags on just a little bit too long, I think, with just a little too much tragedy. I’m ready for some closure, and I’m hoping the last 90 minutes restore the wonder and anticipation I was feeling at the very beginning and throughout most of the story.

I’ll let you know how it ends for me! In the meantime, you can read other enthusiastic reviews and a more thorough synopsis at Amazon.com, but for the cheapest audiobook download price you may want to use iTunes.

 

Celebrating diversity—in Glenwood, Illinois

TasteOfReconcilation72Where do sweet potato pie, Ukrainian kasha, Swedish meatballs, Italian ice, southern cornbread, Chinese eggrolls, and store-bought cupcakes blend in delicious harmony? Where do opera sopranos, gospel choirs, Korean soloists, and children’s choruses mix in harmonious diversity? Where do worshippers join hearts, lift hands, and rub shoulders with smiles on their faces and tears in their eyes? At the annual Taste of Reconciliation hosted by Living Springs Community Church in Glenwood, Illinois.

Living Springs is my church, and each year approximately 500 people descend upon the grounds for a celebration similar to the Taste of Chicago, but with a deeper purpose. Each Taste of Reconciliation is a festivity of different types of food, different types of people, different types of music—all in celebration of the God who is Father to the entire human family. The event is an oasis of hope and fun in an area where racial conflicts are often one wrong glance away from flaring up.

Pastor Chris Spoor is the former senior pastor at Living Springs. Semi-retired now, he continues to serve in a variety of roles, and the Taste of Reconciliation remains an event he is highly involved with. In preparation for this year’s Taste, Pastor Chris sent a letter to other local pastors, saying:

“Throughout my years as a pastor in the Illiana area, I have had many conversations with church leaders struggling to discern how best to serve in neighborhoods that are ‘changing.’ Let me invite you to an event that will renew your hope, enlarge your vision, and refresh your soul—the Taste of Reconciliation, hosted by Living Springs Community Church.”

If you are in the Glenwood area (it’s south of Chicago, Illinois) on Sunday evening, July 26, 2009, stop in at the Taste of Reconciliation. Beginning at 5:00pm you’ll be able to sample foods from 20–30 different cultures—Dutch food and soul food, yes, but also Chinese, Mexican, Italian, Greek, Mediterranean, Ukrainian, Argentine, Polish, Korean, Swedish, and American dishes.

Stick around for the worship service that begins at 6:00pm, a service that reflects the promise of Revelation 7:9. Choirs, soloists, praise teams, readers, dancers, and preachers from different cultures will all lead us in heartfelt praise—some expressions familiar, some less so, but all God-focused.

To view photos and videos of the Taste of Reconciliation from years past, visit www.tasteofreconciliation.com. Or contact me directly for more information. Post a comment to this blog, or use any of the links below.

Hope to see you at the Taste!