The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath


0:02 Beginning theme, comforting, like her first diary entries, sounds to me like: it is, it is gonna be ok, it is, it is gonna be ok…
…I love people. Everybody. Every story, every incident, every bit of conversation is raw material for me…I have to live my life, it’s the only one I’ll ever have.”

00:22 and the theme repeats, but a little stronger this time, more emotional, deeper bass, deeper her love for life:
“…I want to live and feel all the shades, tones, and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life”

00:40, the pace slows, in her journals the first shadows, signs of depression, contemplation:
“Yes there is joy, fulfillment and companionship – but the loneliness of the soul in its appalling self-consciousness, is horrible and overpowering -“

01:02 tempo is rising, as her spirits, she has a nice life to look forward. College begins, dates, dreams of her perfect man. It seems…

01:18 IT IS, it is gonna be ok, beginning theme comes again, symbolizes her first writing recognition. She is offered scholarships, money, she has a relationship.
“…I am not ugly, not an imbecile, not poor, not crippled…I am going for hardly any money at all to one of the best colleges. I have earned $1000 by writing. Hundreds of ambitious girls would like to be in my place. They write me letters… Five years ago if I could have seen myself now, I would have said: That is all I could ever ask!”

But then… 01:36… a realization dawns on her
“…and there is the fallacy of existence: the idea that one would be happy forever and aye with a given situation or series of accomplishments. Why did Virginia Woolf commit suicide? Or Sara Teasdale…”

Something is wrong with her too, she feels it, the dream of a happy life gets shattered, pounded again and again by strong bass piano chords all leading to November 3, 1952:
“I am afraid…I want to kill myself, to escape from responsibility, to crawl back abjectly in the womb. I do not know who I am, where I am going – and I am the one who has to decide the answers to these hideous questions”

1:55. Beginning theme emerges but stops, only the first notes are played, leaving the statement unconcluded. Is it gonna be ok?
Is it?
Is it?

24 August 1953, she reaches for the bottle of pills…



The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness

1098486“And then something odd happens. My awareness (of myself, of him, of the room, of the physical reality around and beyond us) instantly grows fuzzy. Or wobbly. I think I am dissolving. I feel -my mind feels- like a sand castle with all the sand sliding away in the receding surf. What’s happening to me? This is scary, please let it be over! I think maybe if I stand very still and quiet, it will stop.

This experience is much harder, and weirder, to describe than extreme fear or terror. Most people know what it is like to be seriously afraid. If they haven’t felt it themselves, they ‘ve at least seen a movie, or read a book, or talked to frightened friend -they can at least imagine it. But explaining what I ‘ve come to call “disorganisation” is a different challenge altogether. Consciousness gradually loses its coherence. One’s center gives away. The center cannot hold. The “me” becomes a haze, and the solid center from which one experiences reality breaks up like a bad radio signal. There is no longer a sturdy vantage point from which to look out, take things in, assess what’s happening. No core holds things together, providing the lens through which to see the world, to make judgments and comprehend risk. Random moments of time follow one another. Sights, sounds, thoughts, and feelings don’t go together. No organising principle takes successive moments in time and puts them together in a coherent way from which sense can be made. And it’s all taking place in slow motion.”


Maria Callas: A Musical Biography

imgresWRONG songs on the second CD!

I noticed the track number and names of the songs on the CD go as the book describes…but the songs actually played are different!
For example, the second song according to the book AND the CD track name is “L’amour Est Un Oiseau Rebelle“…but in reality the song played is “Una Voce Poco Fa“!
All songs except the first are wrong.

Is it only my copy that has that problem? I got it from Amazon.

Anyway I made the list of the actual songs played in case anyone has the same issue

1. Gluck – J’ai Perdu Mon Eurydice (Orphee Et Eurydice)
2. Rossini – Una Voce Poco Fa (Il Barbiere Di Siviglia)
3. Meyerbeer – Ombra Leggiera (“Shadow Song”, Dinorah)
4. Gounod – Je Veux Vivre Dans Ce Reve (“Waltz Song”, Romeo and Juliet)
5. Saint-Saens – Printemps Qui Commence (Samson Et Dalila)
6. Saint-Saens – Mon Coeur S’ouvre À Ta Voix (Samson Et Dalila)
7. Massenet – Pleurez, Pleurez Mes Yeux (Le Cid)
8. Massenet – Adieu, Notre Petite Table (Manon)
9. Spontini – O Nume Tutelar (La Vestale)
10. Bellini – Ah Non Credea Mirarti (La Sonnambula)
11. Donizetti – Il Doce Suono Mi Culpi Di Sua Voce (“Mad Scene”, Lucia Di Lammermoor)
12. Donizetti – Spargi D’amaro Pianto (“Mad Scene”, Lucia Di Lammermoor)
13. Bizet – L’amour Est Un Oiseau Rebelle (“Habanera”, Carmen)
14. Bizet – Pres De Remparts De Seville (“Seguidilla”, Carmen)

The book itself is great, the pictures too, it is very easy to read and with the accompanying CDs can be a great introduction to Callas. A minor drawback is that the author gives the dates of the performances of some songs and not all.
I also noticed some fairly obvious typos in the text but I guess this also proves I got a bad copy.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

imgresWanna be Benjamin Franklin??

Well, it seems there’s an app for that!

I’m not kidding i just found it out, if you have an iPhone/iPad you can download (it’s free) the app Ben’s Virtues, it’s a simulation of his notepad for the practice of his 13 virtues.
Good luck in disciplining yourselves :D

As for the book itself, I mostly enjoyed the first half (his trips and adventures as a young man and his attitude to people and situations) whereas the second part I found sometimes too exhaustive in details and some other times too…inconceivably exhaustive in details! Why would anyone devote a whole paragraph of his autobiography to describe the EXACT contents of each parcel of the presents of the subalterns of a certain camp? And a whole PAGE after explaining that whole decision-making process for that…

The second part which should be the most important(his mature life) tends to be the most tiresome, giving emphasis in many trivial aspects of his life while omitting more important ones.