I’ll be highlighting books that I am reading (or re-reading) on all sorts of topics this year — Douglas
It all started with a starling. The story goes that Mozart, walking about Vienna, came across a starling that could sing a melody from one of his, soon to be famous, compositions. So taken was he by this bird that he bought it and installed it in his home for the next 3 years. This story intrigued author Lyanda Lynn Haupt so much that she decided to adopt her own starling chick to better understand this story. This led to a book that encompasses Mozart, history, music, animal behaviors, natural history, linguistics, science, pets, and home.
I never expected to be taken on such a wide ranging trip with Mozart’s Starling, but it quickly pulled me in and through the various personal stories and sidebars into all the topics mentioned above. For me, this is a nearly perfect book. It has a theme that runs throughout, but within that theme it runs here and there engaging a little bit of this and little bit of that, tickling my need for variety and giving me a host of conversation items for any upcoming party.
After reading, I now know more about Mozart’s music and history, the invasive nature of starlings in North America, how a pet can become part of a family, the different styles of language/song among birds and much more. I think you’ll find Mozart’s Starling and interesting read, too.
** My version of this book was available as an eBook from the Los Angeles Public Library
On May 27th, 1784, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart met a flirtatious little starling in a Viennese shop who sang an improvised version of the theme from his Piano Concerto no. 17 in G major. Sensing a kindred spirit in the plucky young bird, Mozart bought him and took him home to be a family pet. For three years, the starling lived with Mozart, influencing his work and serving as his companion, distraction, consolation, and muse.
Two centuries later, starlings are reviled by even the most compassionate conservationists. A nonnative, invasive species, they invade sensitive habitats, outcompete local birds for nest sites and food, and decimate crops. A seasoned birder and naturalist, Lyanda Lynn Haupt is well versed in the difficult and often strained relationships these birds have with other species and the environment. But after rescuing a baby starling of her own, Haupt found herself enchanted by the same intelligence and playful spirit that had so charmed her favorite composer.
In Mozart’s Starling, Haupt explores the unlikely and remarkable bond between one of history’s most cherished composers and one of earth’s most common birds. The intertwined stories of Mozart’s beloved pet and Haupt’s own starling provide an unexpected window into human-animal friendships, music, the secret world of starlings, and the nature of creative inspiration. A blend of natural history, biography, and memoir, Mozart’s Starling is a tour de force that awakens a surprising new awareness of our place in the world.
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** Many of these books may be available from your local library.
Check it out! † Available from the LA Public Library
Previously in (Re)Reading:
- Milk Street: The New Home Cooking by Christopher Kimble
- The Wildcrafted Cocktail: Make Your Own Foraged Syrups, Bitters, Infusions, and Garnishes by Ellen Zacho
- 3-Ingredient Cocktails: An Opinionated Guide to the Most Enduring Drinks in the Cocktail Canon by Robert Simonson
- Chemistry: A Novel by Weike Wong
- Back Pocket Pasta by Colu Henry
- Steal like an artist 10 things nobody told you about being creative by Austin Kleon