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17 December 2008 @ 12:11 pm
Wanted: Recommendations  
Dear, dear people: REC ME SOMETHING, PLEASE. Two things, actually. One for the earthling, one for Best Beloved.

Classical Music

The earthling listens to classical music for about two to four hours each evening; it helps him go through his evening routine and get ready for bed. It has to have certain characteristics:
  • It can't be super super slow (because he eats to it, and he tends to suck in time to the music, and evening feedings take long enough without something slowing him way down); kind of slow is fine and even welcome.
  • It can't be too fast (because see above about eating, plus, this is night-time music).
  • It can't be too varied (it needs to kind of all go together); no Surprise Symphony or anything.
  • It needs to have, at minimum, several instruments (like, three or more is fine, but one is not - his attention is just not caught by, say, a piano without any other instruments).
For my sanity, it also needs to have these characteristics:
  • It needs to be, overall, pretty long (many individual bits is fine, but they all need to add up to something fairly long).
  • It needs not to be by Ravel or Rachmaninoff. I’m sorry. It just does.
As examples, here are the three things we listen to:I have heard these pieces so many times that I find myself walking in time to them when they aren’t even on. I hum them all day long. I wait patiently for the bits I still like, and think increasingly hostile thoughts about Handel and Vivaldi. I realize repetition is good for a baby, but it is making me crazy. And yet I do not know enough about classical music to know what else might interest a baby who likes these three pieces.

So, if you do know about classical music - can you rec me some stuff? Ideally, it will be available via Amazon’s mp3 service, because I can preview it for the earthling there and see his reaction before I buy it.

Romance Novels

I have presented Best Beloved with a challenge: I will pick romance novels based entirely on their titles (usually in themed sets around a certain word or concept - I am nothing if not theme-oriented), and she will read them and review them on GoodReads. This has provided many hours of entertainment in our household. Except. I have apparently done some terrible, terrible things to her with this. I’ve happened upon some good ones (Nalini Singh, for example, or Lisa Kleypas), but I’ve also managed to pick out some things that caused the blood to drain from her face as she stared at them. She’s starting to twitch when the books come in.

So: have you read any good romance novels lately? I just need a few recs, ones I can build a theme around, so that there’s a cookie or two waiting for her in the seas of badness, so her will doesn’t break. (I don’t want them all to be good - the bad ones provide the most entertainment on GoodReads! But, as has been proven, I can find the bad ones without trying at all; it’s the good ones I need help with.)

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what she likes in a romance novel (although I can link you to her GoodReads account). I can tell you that she does not like:
  • Anything with a secret baby. She’s also made geechy by, for example, blackmailing a pregnant woman to get revenge on her dead husband. (The actual plot of one of the ones I found for her. No, really. I was not at all kidding when I said I had no trouble finding bad ones.)
  • Anything that comes in trade paperack only. Apparently these are...special. One of the early ones she read featured a protagonist with two cocks. It scarred her. She now makes very sad noises when I buy her trade paperbacks, especially if they have warnings on the cover, or those covers that feature Sims-looking people. If you can recommend a good trade paperback one, I’ll get it for her, but I’ll need some help motivating her to read it.
  • Anything that is really really short and has a title like The Basque Renegade’s Blackmailed Love Child’s Farmer Bride’s Cousin Georgina. I get wounded looks when I get these for her. I don’t know why.
  • Anything where there’s lots of talk of God and devotion and someone dies at the end.
  • Anything featuring rape or domination (like, the hero is the master of the heroine, kind of thing) - what she would term “old school” romance.
If you read romance, your input would be greatly appreciated.
Wyoming Knott: SpiPod by subliculouswyomingnot on December 17th, 2008 08:21 pm (UTC)
Alas, my music rec doesn't meet one of your criteria.

The Goldberg Variations. Bach. Solo piano. But it's friggin' gorgeous, and I love it for wind-down music, even though there are parts that aren't particularly restful.
Mama Debmamadeb on December 17th, 2008 08:25 pm (UTC)
I don't read romances or listen to music much, but.

There's Smart Bitches, Trashy Books which reviews romance novels and it's just plain a lot of fun to read, too.

And they'd agree with your Beloved's requests, I think.

And try the Earthling on Bach.
Mama Debmamadeb on December 17th, 2008 08:26 pm (UTC)
And I just now read the preceding comments and, huh.

We seem to be unanimous on Bach.
(no subject) - labellementeuse on December 17th, 2008 09:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
serrana on December 17th, 2008 08:28 pm (UTC)
I am big into Telemann right now.
Girlfriend Resplendent Valentine: bobcat loveimkalena on December 17th, 2008 10:31 pm (UTC)
Telemann is teh AWESOME.
Virginiain_interval on December 17th, 2008 08:28 pm (UTC)
Adding to the chorus for Bach - how about The Art of Fugue?
You can sample on Amazon here:

I very much agree with the Brandenburg Concerti though - if the
Earthling likes The Four Seasons, he'll like that.
bleedtobluebleedtoblue on December 17th, 2008 08:29 pm (UTC)
I am scarred just reading about the romance novels. @.@ Yet, entertained.

I'm also sorry not to be useful about classical music. I like loud and dramatic classical pieces, and opera.
sheldrakesheldrake on December 17th, 2008 08:30 pm (UTC)
Ah -- I see everyone is already saying Bach. Well, in for a penny... I was going to say I think the Earthling would like the Violin Concertos.

I listen to a lot of choral music, but I'm not sure how the Earthling feels about heavily singy stuff. Anyway, I've got a very soft spot for Vivaldi's Gloria, if you can still bear to read the man's name!

I know nuffink about romance.
sheldrakesheldrake on December 17th, 2008 08:32 pm (UTC)
Oh wait, scratch Gloria - probably far too fast.
Mistress of Insanityzeenell on December 17th, 2008 08:31 pm (UTC)
er, romance novels. *ponders* I like nora roberts, diane palmer and linda howard?

(of course, I adore secret marriages, secret babies, babies on doorsteps, plucky woman with dead car about to go in labor escaping from abusive marriage and is rescued by a rancher. ERRRRR)

ANYWAY. Uhm. I like bad romance novels, myself?

As to classical music - how about just instrumental? Trans-Siberian orchestra? (they did do beethoven too...)
cranberryink on December 17th, 2008 08:44 pm (UTC)
plucky woman with dead car about to go in labor escaping from abusive marriage and is rescued by a rancher

omg I swear there was a Supernatural AU fic that was that exact plot! hahahaaaaa.
(no subject) - zeenell on December 17th, 2008 08:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Cats. Not to be trusted.catwalksalone on December 17th, 2008 08:32 pm (UTC)
Bach Brandenburg Concerti are good for sure.

Try Corelli - I'm listening to the Christmas Concerto right now.
peeps wanna see peeps boink: almost like being in lovemusesfool on December 17th, 2008 08:32 pm (UTC)
If she reads Regencies, I'd recommend Georgette Heyer, Carla Kelly, Barbara Metzger, Loretta Chase, Jo Beverly, Mary Jo Putney and Mary Balogh. Not everything by all of them, but generally speaking they are enjoyable.

And maybe you could try Mussorsky's Pictures at an Exhibition or Bach's Brandenburg Concertos? Maybe some Tchaikovsky? The ballets are lovely.
tofttoft_froggy on December 17th, 2008 10:09 pm (UTC)
Ha, I was going to suggest Mussorgsky.
(no subject) - musesfool on December 17th, 2008 10:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Proactively Untwist Octagonal Hippopotamus Pants: parker - wrong with medramaturgca on December 17th, 2008 08:33 pm (UTC)
For Romance Novels, I like Nora Roberts's work. Modern, little bit of magic, and the women tend to be at least a little butt-kicky.

For Classical Music, Copland's Appalachian Spring is my absolute favourite, Phillippe Saisse's interpretation of Air on a G-String (and it has a funny title), Pachebel's Canon in D minor, Shostakovich's Hypothetically Murdered Suite and VI Waltz 2. Also, it's a little non-traditional and possibly too commercial but Disney put out two discs of Disney music in the styles of classical composers, Heigh-Ho, Mozart and Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Bach. I find them entertainingly witty.
eli: omgyayelishavah on December 17th, 2008 10:49 pm (UTC)
Ah, yes, I came in late and figured SOMEONE had to have mentioned Copeland. I would, in fact, recommend this.
Not your everyday Viking angel: excused from saving universesshadowvalkyrie on December 17th, 2008 08:33 pm (UTC)
I refused to fall asleep to anything but Mozart as a child -- or so my grandma is fond of telling me. I can't remember myself. *g*

As to Romance novels... I refuse to go near those, so no recs there.
miscellanny on December 17th, 2008 08:34 pm (UTC)
Shostakovich is pretty shiny for the quick and the attention-garnering, I have to recommend Concerto Fatto Per la Notte Di Natale by Corelli because it's... kind of slow, yes, but lovely, and Mendelssohn steals my imaginary soul with awesome.
gigletgiglet on December 17th, 2008 08:34 pm (UTC)
I like this (although it never worked for *my* kid -- we sang him to sleep with murder ballads)
However, a lot of these are concertos, which might focus too much on a single instrument.

Have you considered Copland? (Actually, Copland might have too many dynamic changes for Earthling, and I don't know how you or he feel about dissonance. Hm, maybe not.)

Good luck!
oddmonster: Let's just all remain calm and have a thoddmonster on December 17th, 2008 08:35 pm (UTC)
Holst's The Planets, I always find soothes my dogs. But um...they're not babies. Ymmv. Skip Mars just before bed, I'm guessing.

Um, these romances. Are we talking slash or het or just yes?

Het? I'd have to go with Sitka by Louis L'Amour. There's no actual boddice-ripping, but there is an awful lot of smoldering. And a fun history of the West Coast! Woo!

Or, for the paranormal lovers, After Dark by Jayne Castle. A lost world, psychic phenomena and--and this part's key--killer dust bunnies with six legs.

No, it's all true.

cranberryink on December 17th, 2008 08:48 pm (UTC)
Can you rec any good slash romance novels? I know they exist, but I've never read one and always wanted to.
(no subject) - oddmonster on December 18th, 2008 04:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - cranberryink on December 18th, 2008 06:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - oddmonster on December 18th, 2008 11:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - cranberryink on December 19th, 2008 05:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Martha Wells: Hot Zonemarthawells on December 17th, 2008 08:37 pm (UTC)
I really like Loretta Chase, especially "Lord of Scoundrels." The hero tries to be masterful, only the heroine is unimpressed. Also, the first Amelia Peabody book by Elizabeth Peters, "Crocodile on the Sandbank," is a great funny historical romance for people who don't like historical romances.