- A lot of classical music, almost exclusively. I'm finding that it's the best thing for me to load up my iPod with classical stuff and listen for half an hour before I fall asleep -- pure therapy. A few selections that have stayed in heavy rotation lately: Prokofiev's Dance of the Knights, Mahler's 4th Symphony, 2nd Movement, Shostakovich String Quartet No. 8 in C Minor (III), Khatchaturian's Masquerade Waltz, and Summer from Vivaldi's Four Seasons (Part 1) -- that last one might be one of the most incredible pieces of music ever composed...as in pinnacle of human achievement, although I'm not as into the other seasons for some reason.
- Sean Carey's In the Dirt, a wonderful dark, moody pop song.
- Sally's Song covered by Fiona Apple -- I love The Nightmare Before Christmas, and this is one of the coolest covers I've heard in many years.
- Jonsi, shimmering Icelandic pop discovered while watching this gorgeous time-lapse video of the volcano eruption there earlier this year. The music is more focused than Sigur Ros, tighter and less exploratory...I think with more impact.
- Muchuu -- Somebody Tell Me...warning, this is a serious earworm, and could get stuck in your head for weeks. Total pop fluff.
- Despite the hideous title, NurtureShock is an amazing book about how kids develop, and how parents mess that development up (ok, also what we're doing right). The premise is that there's specific research out there that contradicts "common wisdom" about parenting, and that if we applied more of it, we'd be more successful at raising well adjusted, creative kids. Very smart and practical stuff -- I'll be re-reading this one.
- Okanagan Odyssey -- I'm a big fan of local writer Don Gayton. My mom and I went to the book launch in Summerland, enjoying the author's mellow charm and wit. These insightful, humorous stories and chunks of analysis of Okanagan lives and landscapes feel just right to me. I suspect the warmth and depth of this writing would make it compelling and interesting enough for an "outsider", but for those of us living here, it's a real treasure.
- Still Alice -- More Alzheimer's reading, this time a novel that feels like very personal, powerful non-fiction. I had some quiet time alone when Tannis took the girls to Nakusp and used a few hours to finish it. It had a disquieting effect on me -- not depressing as much as just feeling off-balance and afraid. Several of my own recent memory troubles popped up, matching scenarios in the book where Alice is recognizing her early-onset Alzheimer's. Might be just normal things that everyone messes up sometimes...I hope. I was also thinking of Grandpa again, of course, and feeling discouraged about the lack of progress in potential treatments.
- We're starting at the beginning of the Harry Potter series as bed-time reading for the girls, after being in the doldrums since finishing our LOTR marathon, not finding anything else as compelling or entertaining. Although the girls have already read it repeatedly on their own, we're really enjoying Book 1 together. The series should take us into autumn if we stick with it.
- Prom Night in Mississippi, an excellent documentary about a little town attempting to have its first integrated (whites and blacks) high school prom. Very intense and well done.
- Kung-Fu Panda has been a bit of a hit at our house.
- Continuing my fascination with music composition, I've been watching Classical European Composers on DVD, so far covering Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and Vivaldi. I can't say the series itself is very good, but it's better than nothing.