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I certainly would get more out of a 'pocket' music dictionary than I would out of this. Better yet, try "The Harvard Dictionary of Music" which is considerably better. As much as I love the United Kingdom (I studied there)--I'd much rather defer to Harvard on this one!
My interest is mainly 20th century serious music, and jazz. Unlike the "Oxford Companion to Music", the Dictionary covers 20th century relatively well. Many obscure composers are listed who are not listed in other books, for example Lebrecht's "Complete Companion to 20th Century Music". As such the Dictionary indispensable for me. The information is more factual (and less opinionated) than Lebrecht's. I particularly like the alphabetic arrangement which allows me to quickly look up someone whose music I have discovered by change, or whose name was mentioned in an article or whatever. The listing of works by each composer is reasonably complete, particularly for well-know composers.
Of course the Dictionary covers more than composers or even 20th century composers. It covers artists (performers and conductors), major works, musical terms and forms, organisations, instruments, venues, etc. And entries are cross-referenced, as one would expect. The Dictionary contains very few illustrations.
There are 12,500 entries in the second edition, so one would not expect a huge depth. You will often need to know more. However, the Dictionary is a comprehensive, detailed, reliable reference work on music, and as such a good starting point for most topics.
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to oates, dahmer could not have been a better subject on which to base a novel. he was from a typical family and spent most of his childhood living in smaller ohio towns. oates manages to successfully show the transformation from troubled boy to serial killer. this is a superb book if anyone cares more to learn about the psychological churnings inside a serial killer's mind than to learn about the tabloid details of dahmer.
oates subtly shows america its own scars (particularly in the aspect of sexuality) in "Zombie." she attempts to show our poisons and how this can affect an unstable boy into becoming a man that we fear, a man one would label "a monster," as we tend to over-simplify. however, oates makes it clear that there are no monsters, only products of a dying society.
definitely one of her better novels, "Zombie" urges the reader to re-think about the ways american society works. "Zombie" also helps him gain a better understanding of the progression from "innocent boy" to "monster." she does this with ease, as it is obvious that oates researched psychological studies on serial killers in order to better write her novel. she understands many subtle keys which make QP (the character based on dahmer) a believable serial killer. QP obsesses over "squirrel" (the code name he has given to a young boy), who, in turn, bears striking similarities to an old love of QP. (many serial killers will stalk someone who reminds them of someone from the past. for example, ted bundy killed women who mostly resembled his fiancee.) QP's actions follow most other serial killer's M.O., down to donald j. sears' widely accepted 13 poi! nts of a serial killer. QP also seems to go through joel norris' seven phases through which serial killers pass as they murder. (for more information, i recommend "serial killers- the insatiable passion" by david lester, PhD.) in order to retain artistic integrity and keep QP a believable character, oates obviously did much research before penning her powerful novel, "Zombie."
written in oates' trademark eloquently simple, yet eerily disturbing prose, "Zombie" is definitely worth reading. it is an especially complete package with the equally simple drawings QP has created for his reader, letting him fully understand his obsessions and tantalize him with his wit.
what causes an unstable boy to become a serial killer? oates outlines many points, from sexual abuse, a feeling of unwantedness, to an over-whelming feeling of guilt and unacceptance. her character QP is believable and is not the typical paper-cut character one has grown to expect in modern novels. using QP as her puppet, oates manages to convey her theories on what psychologically induced dahmer to attempt to create his perfect zombie. it is a unique serial killer study in that it is a work of fiction, yet tells more truth than most tabloid "accounts" of dahmer.
He separates his father into two entities: 'dad' and 'Professor P__.' Later, he separates *himself* into two entities. One knows nothing of what the other does. In one sentence, he refers to himself both as 'I' and as 'Q__ P__.' Very convenient, as this allows him to completely detach from his actions. For example, he doesn't hit his victim with a crowbar; rather, the crowbar comes down and hits the victim. He does not act; the crowbar does.
His stories come out in jagged pieces: A few disembodied sentences here, more later; sometimes we never get the whole story. How can he be expected to think linearly, especially considering his odd relationship - or lack of one - with time. You see, his clock has no hands.
ZOMBIE is a book that can be read again and again. Read it superfically or delve into it to your heart's content. It's one of the most intriguing books I've ever read.
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(I do agree that the editing is wanting in the first edition, but I won't punish the quality of the writing and the story for that. But a new edition does require that someone at the publisher's establishment note the numerous errors and correct them)!
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