In which I continue my monthly update on the book, film and music that have made most impression on me this month.
During the transition from January into February, I was reading The Gene: An Intimate History written by Siddhartha Mukherjee and I really enjoyed the way the author spiralled the genetic story of his own family around the history of research into the gene. I found the science of the gene and DNA dry and unengaging but I was fascinated by the long history of the search to understand the mechanisms of heredity.
The parallels between researching the structure of the atom and the structure of DNA, as building blocks of matter and life, in the first part of the 20th century was striking and the race to determine the structure of DNA was more exciting than I had ever realised. The history of eugenics and racial theory was in equal parts fascinating or horrifying and I was previously only dimly aware of the eugenics programmes in the United States that were admired and adopted by the Nazis. This book proved to be a well-written, fascinating overview of a complex subject.
My film of the month is proving to be a challenge. Last month I chose a TV series and this month I'm forced to choose a film I didn’t really enjoy. I need to watch more films!
I watched Prince Caspian, the second film in the Chronicles of Narnia series, with my youngest daughter this month. I was disappointed that the plot (no doubt, reflecting the book) is essentially a reworked version of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Narnia has to be liberated (again) from an evil tyrant (again) in order to install a benign monarchy at Cair Paravel (again). For me, there was too much emphasis on battle scenes and the CGI did make these more convincing that the earlier film. On the other hand ‘CGI Aslan’ was far less convincing that in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
My music choice is much easier. I always enjoy a Nils Frahm album and his new release, All Melody, is no exception. This is minimal music that needs to be requires some patience to listen to it properly — wonderful music for writing blog posts to! I enjoy the way he fuses delicate piano music with synthesisers and digital effects plus ambient sounds. While it’s not my favourite of his albums (that would be Spaces since you ask) it’s nonetheless an engaging and immersive album.