Aaron's PicksBooks, Music, and Movies
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Welcome to Aaron's Picks!
This is my chance to share some of the things I enjoy with the rest of the world, books I love to read and reread, music I enjoy listening to, and movies I love to watch.
There are three sections to this page. I highlight one item from each category. If you want to browse all the items in a category (books, music, or movies), scroll down to the category and click in the link right above the highlighted selection.
Since this web page is generated dynamically from a database, each time you visit, a selection from each category is randomly chosen as the highlighted item.
The Stainless Steel Rat Joins the Circus
The latest Stainless Steel Rat book keeps up the spirit of the other nine. Chronologically, it follows The Stainless Stell Rat Goes to Hell and involves the entire DiGriz family, Slippery Jim and his lovely wife Angelina, and their two sons, James and Bolivar.
While no one will ever accuse this book (or any other in the series) of even pretending to approach high literature, when you're in the mood for a light, fast, action-packed sci-fi adventure where the criminal is the good guy, look no farther. Just like the other books, this one is full of fun and makes me laugh aloud.
Just as an FYI, here is the list of Stainless Steel Rat books in chronological order (not the order they were written in, but in order of the stories' chronology):
This latest in the series earns a rating of 3 1/2. It's a fun, quick read, well worth the trouble.
The Sound of Glory
Mormon Tabernacle Choir with Orchestra at Temple Square
While I enjoy the grandios sound of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, I tend to prefer smaller choral ensembles with a tighter sound. Well this CD is an exception to this rule. I don't know if it's because it's a Telarc recording (and every Telarc CD I own is superb) and thus better captures the sound, if it's the Orchestra at Temple Square lending a magnificent instrumental performance, or if it's the glorious arrangements of Mack Wilberg, Barlow Bradford, and others, or a combination of all, but this CD is probably going to now be my favorite MoTab CD. The choir has a crisp, clean sound. Yes, they still are a choir of grand scale, compared to the smaller ensembles I usually prefer, but their big sound on this recording is exceptional.
Now I'm not knocking the Mormon Tabernacle Choir or other large choirs. I enjoy listening to them. Particularly live, in concert. If you ever have the chance to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in concert, do not pass it up! You will not be disappointed. My personal preference just usually tends toward smaller choral ensembles of twelve to perhaps thirty members.
I have a hard time narrowing down which tracks are my most favorite. I like every one of the Mack Wilberg arrangements. But I also like Barlow Bradford's arrangement of All Creatures of Our God and King. In fact, that track brought goose chills to my skin as I listened to it for the first time on the 4th of July, 2003, while riding in my brother's car up to Pine Valley, Utah. Even over the road noise, on a car audio system that is nothing to rave about, the music had power and depth.
It is interesting that this CD compilation has so many selections similar to the BYU Men's Chorus CD, Awake My Soul, particularly a prevalance of Mack Wilberg arrangements. This is not a bad thing. In fact, it's a wonderful thing. I own both CDs and I love 'em both.
I'm going to have to give this one a 4.5 out of 5 rating. It just sounds so good. Maybe it's my new Klipsch THX computer speakers I play it on while working at the keyboard... Nah, it's just an excellent recording of excellent performers giving a stunning performance. It's good.
The Sound of Music
Julie Andrews & Christopher Plummer
You cannot imagine my wonder and delight as I first watched the THX digitally masterd DVD edition of Rodgers and Hammerstein's masterpiece, The Sound of Music. The music I've loved since a child was magnificent, from the first instrumental opening followed by Julie Andrews' superb performance of title track The Sound of Music, to one of my favorites, Favorite Things. The DVD edition brought clarity and color to the small screen that made it seem much larger.
Yes, I love this musical. And yes, I'm a sucker for good musicals. Still, this movie has a story and spirit behind it that works in synergy with the powerful music. It is moving. It is marvelous. I love it. What more can I say? It gets the top rating, a 5.