Something from the Shelf Challenge

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Okay, so this was partially inspired by the Movie Title Challenge and it's pretty similar. It goes like this: you tell me in this thread that you want me to pull something from my shelves for you, and I will go find the thing that is closest to your username alphabetically. It could be a novel, a movie, a CD, a comic book, a crafting book, a video game etc. I'm living in a 3 1/2 person house with shared shelving and we love books and Sci-fi/Fantasy so there is a LOT to choose from. I will tell you the title, author, medium and a little bit about it, and you can write a song based on any or all of that info (or go read/write/play the thing yourself and write a song about that if you're ambitious). I can't guarantee prompt responses, but I will try to respond to everyone.

EDIT: I should probably have a tag for this challenge, huh? How about #shelfie?

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@cblack

Hit me.

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@cblack: Catwoman, which apparently we have two copies of, don't know how that happened. These are both Widescreen Edition DVDs with the exact same special features, but one of them has an embossed holographic slipcover and the other one is in a dirty beat-up case with a sticker on it that literally says "used". Anyway, this is the 2004 one starring Halle Berry. The blurb on the back says "Patience Philips is dead - and more alive than ever. Murdered after she learns the secret behind a cosmetic firm's anti-aging cream, she's revived and empowered by mystical felines. Now she's on the slinky prowl for adventure and revenge. She's Catwoman."

Found this on the IMDB page:
Halle Berry became the first to accept their Razzie in person, walking out on stage proudly holding both Oscar and Razzie aloft and feigning tears of joy. She gave a short acceptance speech: "I'd like to thank Warner Brothers, for making me do this godawful, piece of s**t movie!"

As I recall, I kinda liked it.

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Let’s try it.

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@unpronounceable OHOHO Have I got a thing for you! Union Mine High School Spring Concerts 2003 two-CD set, obviously made on someone's home computer. Disc 1 is the choir concert and disc 2 is the jazz band. This was a weird concert because it was the first year with a graduating class that had been at the school for all four years (brand new school) so almost everything was the seniors being showcased in solos and small groups. Also I think some of the song titles are wrong, but I can't be bothered to pull out my sheet music and check.

Track listing:
1. Agnus Dei
2. Americana (I think this was one of those three songs in one deals)
3. Orkney Lullaby (one of my all-time favorites)
4. Lacrimosa (from Mozart's Requiem)
5. Do Lord, Remember Me
6. Memory (from Cats the musical)
7. A New Day Has Come (a very shaky solo from a nervous friend of mine)
8. Scarborough Fair/ Canticle (a duet between me and someone who didn't tell me she'd never heard Scarborough Fair before until after the concert, so it didn't go very well)
9. Tonight (from West Side Story, a solo by the same person who played Maria in the school's production of West Side Story so I guess they just figured it could do double duty)
10. Ave Maria
11. Oh Dear, What Can the Matter Be?
12. I'll Sail Right Home to You
13. Operator (a very fun gospel song about calling Jesus on the telephone)
14. You're Still You
15. Someone Like You
16. Johnny Angel
17. A Celtic Prayer
18. The Awakening (this was one the director said she was planning to make a tradition, that alumni would come up and sing with the choir at homecoming or whatever, but I don't think that ever happened. Everyone on the staff was just obsessed with starting Traditions because it was a new school)

1. High Maintenance
2. Straight, No Chaser
3. At Last (featuring a vocalist from the choir)
4. Powder Keg
5. Samba del Gringo
I was told they were good for a high school jazz band, and at least one went on to be a pro.

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Wait, that can't be right, I graduated in 2004. Maybe the date on the CDs is wrong? Or maybe I'm just confused, I know I had a lot of memory problems back then.

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This sounds nice! Count mecin, I try it.

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One for me, please?

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@mahtowin and @florianhoffmann, I found both of yours on the first shelf I looked at, which is one with movies. These are both DVDs, although one of the movies is much older than DVD.

@mahtowin - Maid in Manhattan is a romantic comedy from 2002. Here's the blurb: "Marisa Ventura (Jennifer Lopez) is a struggling single mom who works at a posh Manhattan hotel and dreams of a better life for her and her young son (Tyler Posey). One fateful day, hotel guest and senatorial candidate Christopher Marshall (Ralph Fiennes) meets Marisa and mistakes her for a wealthy socialite. After an enchanting evening together, the two fall madly in love. But when Marisa's true identity is revealed, issues of class and social status threaten to separate them. Can two people from very different worlds overcome their differences and live happily ever after?"

Possible spoiler: I'm pretty sure it's the kid that gets them together in the end.

@florianhoffman - Flower Drum Song, a 1961 musical film adapted from the 1958 Broadway musical by Rodgers & Hammerstein. Starring Nancy Kwan, James Shigeta, Juanita Hall, Jack Soo, Benson Fong, and Miyoshi Umeki. This says it's a Special Edition, which I'm pretty sure just means that it has some special features (which is unusual for older movies). The blurb says "this romantic comedy tells the story of a young Chinese girl who travels to the United States as part of an arranged marriage and discovers a new and modern world." What it doesn't tell you is that all the characters are Chinese-Americans living in San Francisco and a big theme throughout is how they all navigate the culture clash between Chinese traditions and up-to-the-minute American big city culture, including generational differences between parents who came over from China and their kids growing up in America.

Spoilers: the girl who came over from China falls in love with someone who is not the one she had the arranged marriage with, and there's a double wedding at the end.

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Me I'm in

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@nateger - Nathaniel Johnstone (yes, some of the CDs are sorted by artist's first name, deal with it). This album is called The Antikythera Mechanism, and it's in one of those little cardboard sleeves rather than a jewel case. Definitely professionally made though, with cover art by comic book artist Phil Foglio and Cheyenne Wright. If you could see it in person, you could probably instantly tell by the art that this is a steampunk album. The front shows a group of explorers entering what appears to be a treasure room at an archaeological site. The walls are decorated with images of dancing automata and a Greek Key border, there's something that looks an awful lot like another automaton slumped on the floor in the foreground, there's a lot of urns, a statue playing the violin, a safe on a pedestal, and a miniature airship floating over the explorers' heads. On the back there's a large airship which seems to have been inspired by ancient Greek boats. Also, as any steampunk could probably tell you, Nathaniel Johnstone used to be in Abney Park (possibly THE most well-known steampunk band) and Phil Foglio is one of the creators of Girl Genius (possibly THE most well-known steampunk comic).

Here's the blurb: "This all started in late 2013 when I read an article about the sophisticated science and technology of Ancient Greece. Reportedly, they had death rays, steam technology, and were making clockwork devices that rival the elegance of modern Swiss watch makers. Our world today is thick with the influence of Greek art, music, knowledge and philosophy.

The title of the album comes from an ancient artifact found in the Mediterranean Sea of the coast of the Greek island of Antikythera in 1900-1901. The corroded bronze object was determined to be nearly 2000 years old. It had obvious gear work and after years of careful investigation was found to be a device used to predict eclipses, phases of the moon, and the movements of the five known planets.

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@wacha

Ooh, I'd like to take part in this please!

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Still the blurb: "Scholars and scientists today are still puzzling over the complexities that the mechanism has to offer."

I'm going to include some of the liner notes for a few of the songs whose titles don't have obvious connections to Ancient Greece. Track listing:
1 Flight of the Ikarus
2 Lacrimosa Aphrodite
3 Flyover Country - Odysseus was away from his beloved Penelope for nearly 20 years. This song is about love, distance, and the hope for a reining in the fullness of time.
4 Dance With Me - Many years before the glory of the Hellenistic age, the island of Thera exploded, wiping out entire civilizations. The historic and societal ripples were felt for well over a thousand years. In the face of such disaster, what is there to be done but to sing, dance, and have that final sip of wine?
5 Snugglefish - Sometimes Poseidon just wants to sit and chill with his favorite sea monster.
6 Steam (Prometheus)
7 Stone Woman - Monsters are created, not born. Medusa's tale in her own words. Tricked by Jason and punished for refusing Apollo, she is understandably very angry.
8 Persephone Rises
9 Who Mourns Eos?
10 The Gods Must Be Crazy/Pythia
11 Cassandra Knows
12 Stardust - [Not part of the theme, it's lyricist Alyssa Rosenbloom's love song to her husband.]
13 Epitaph - (ancient song dug out of antiquity) The Epitaph of Seikilos is the oldest known complete musical work.

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The closest thing to @wacha is Waldo. In this case, Anna Lee Waldo's Sacajawea, a 1,342 page book from 1978 that I casually read and did a book report on in 5th grade (this was not assigned reading, just something we had around the house). Apparently a considerable amount of research went into it, but I imagine it couldn't help but be highly fictionalized. According to Wikipedia a revised edition, containing significant changes to the text, was published in 1984, but this the original.

On the front it says: "Six months on the N.Y. Times bestseller list! The heroic saga of a great woman whose life tells the story of a nation."

On the back it says: "Her name was legend and the legend was America. Clad in a doeskin, alone and unafraid, she stood straight and proud before the onrushing forces of America's destiny: Sacajawea, child of a Shoshoni chief, lone woman on Lewis and Clark's historic trek - beautiful spear of a dying nation.

She knew many men, walked many miles. From the whispering prairies, across the Great Divide to the crystal-capped Rockiesand on to the emerald promise of the Pacific Northwest, her story overflows with emotion and action ripped from the bursting fabric of a raw new land.

Ten years in the writing, SACAJAWEA unfolds an immense canvas of people and events, and captures the eternal longings of a woman who always yearned for one great passion - and always it lay beyond the next mountain."

What a weird find. Incidentally, this was on the novel shelves, I wonder if I should move it to biographies?

I opened it to a random page to see if the whole thing was written like the back cover and: "In the fall of 1809, there were many days of freezing rain around Saint Louis that glazed the foot trails with a sheath of ice that was like hobnail glass. Then a warm wind from the south came in, and the ground became soft as mush, overlain with widening pools in low spots. The sunsets were orange under the low, scudding clouds." You decide.

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By the way, unless I specify otherwise, all the novels are going to be paperbacks. And so is Sacajawea, which I'm still not clear on whether to categorize as a novel or not.

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May I please partake?

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@jlampson - Diana Wynne Jones' The Chronicles of Chrestomanci Volume 1. Finally, a proper sci-fi/fantasy novel! Actually, it's two fantasy novels in one volume: Charmed Life and The Lives of Christopher Chant.

There's a short introduction by the author explaining the premise: "There are thousands of worlds, all different from ours. Chrestomanci's world is the one next door to us, and the difference here is that magic is a common as music is with us. It is full of people working magic - warlocks, witches, thaumaturges, sorcerers, fakirs, conjurors, hexers, magicians, mages, shamans, diviners and many more - from the lowest Certified witch right up to the most powerful of enchanters. Enchanters are strange as well as powerful. Their magic is different and stronger and many of them have more than one life.
Now, if someone did not control all these busy magic-users, ordinary people would have a horrible time and probably end up as slaves. So the government appoints the very strongest enchanter there is to make sure no one misuses magic. This enchanter has nine lives and is known as "the Chrestomanci." You pronounce it KREST-OH-MAN-SEE. He has to have a strong personality as well as strong magic. "

Another brief note at the beginning of the second book says "Everything in this book happens at least twenty-five years before the story told in Charmed Life."

Mild spoilers: They're set twenty-five years apart because they're about the childhoods of two different Chrestomancis (they seem to be born once in a generation). Neither of them was aware that they were nine-lived enchanters who would be Chrestomanci one day - in fact, they weren't even aware they could do magic. They each went through quite a series of misadventures on the way to finding out.

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Bigger spoilers for The Chronicles of Chrestomanci - read at your own risk, these are somewhat disturbing:

Book 1 is about Cat Chant, whose sister was a witch who kept him from finding out about his magic so she could use it. She also probably killed him a few times. I think he had lost almost all his lives by the end. Memorably, all his lost lives formed a creepy parade of ghost children with the stigmata of how he had died.

Book 2 is about Christopher Chant, who could travel to different worlds in his dreams. Unfortunately, a group of smugglers figured this out before the government did and used him to transport a lot of sketchy stuff including, sickeningly, mermaid meat. In the course of his travels he also met a girl who was an avatar of a goddess, who was basically being held captive in a temple until she got too old and would then be sacrificed and replaced. He rescued her and gave her the life she'd always dreamed of - that of an ordinary schoolgirl. I think in book 1 they were married, too.

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I like the way these are going! I fully respect how much effort you are putting into creating each one, and it does seem like you are enjoying it too. If you have more juice to keep going, I’d love to have you select one for me. Thanks!

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@barbara Oh, I definitely decided to do this more because I thought I would enjoy it than because the community would. In fact, I may be enjoying it a little too much - I've done practically nothing else for the past two days. I'm going to force myself to at least eat something, if not do some chores, take a shower, and sleep before getting back to you. Maybe reshelve some books or organize some of the shelves that are too much of a mess to go through alphabetically right now. . . or at least get the potato peelings out of the sink. See you in at least an hour!

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@complexissimple - thank you so much! I'm very grateful for the amount of effort you put into crafting a backstory and adding context. I am happy to repay you with some sort of music for a song or something should the opportunity arise.

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Had a proper meal, did some chores, now I need a break so I'm back!

@barbara - If the guy who owned Barbarella was still around, you would be receiving a very different prompt. Instead you get Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor: Being the First Jane Austen Mystery by Stephanie Barron. Yes, the protagonist of this book is Jane Austen. This again was shelved with the novels but may be better off with the biographies: according to the foreword, this series is based on manuscripts written by Austen herself "in the form of journal entries and letters to her sister. . . never meant to be published. They are personal records of mysteries Jane Austen encountered and solved in the course of her short life."

Here's the blurb: "On a visit to the estate of her friend, the young and beautiful Isobel Payne, Countess of Scargrave, Jane bears witness to a tragedy. Isobel's husband - a gentleman of mature years - is felled by a mysterious and agonizing ailment. The Earl's death seems a cruel blow of fate for the newly married Isobel. Yet the bereaved widow soon finds that it's only the beginning of her misfortune. . . as she receives a sinister missive accusing her and the Earl's nephew of adultery - and murder. Desperately afraid that the letter will expose her to the worst of scandal, Isobel begs Jane for help. And Jane finds herself embroiled in a perilous investigation that will soon have her following a trail of clues that leads all the way to Newgate Prison and the House of Lords - a trail that may well place Jane's own person in the gravest jeopardy."

I haven't read this one (although I might now!) so I don't have any juicy insider details, but apparently someone read almost all of it, as there is a J.C.Penney's coupon from 2011 marking chapter 22 out of 25. Also I think they spilled their drink on it, there's a pretty large stain which has actually resulted in a tiny bit of the cover picture being rubbed away and also shows on the back cover.

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I would love a shelfie, please!

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I'll take one if you're still dishing them out, as long as it isn't the Dazed and Confused movie. I'll probably just end up doing a bad Matthew McConaughey impression... although...

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@dzdandcunfsd - I'm pretty sure we don't have that one, and A isn't very close to Z anyway, something else would probably beat it.

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@sammiall - Salty Walt and the Rattlin' Ratlines (I was surprised there were no S-A-Ms). This is a CD of sea shanties, and I seem to recall that they were pretty traditional. The album is called Log of the Albatross. I can't remember for sure where I got it - it could have been a Renaissance Faire, or Dickens Faire, or that one joint concert with Abney Park that we went to spontaneously after Maker Faire (or that could have been the Seadogs).

Track listing:
1 Away Rio
2 Larry Marr
3 Jolly Bold Robber
4 Tom's Gone to Hilo
5 Johnson Girls
6 Wings of a Goney
7 Fire Marengo
8 Old Moke
9 Ambletown
10 Cape Cod Girls
11 South Australia
12 Bully in the Alley
13 Henry Martin
14 Blow the Man Down

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@dzdandcunfsd - It turns out the closest thing to D-Z is Dyke. You get Dick Van Dyke's 2011 memoir, My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business (which should have been under V, but whatever). This is a hardcover book with a dust jacket that someone gave me as a present (probably my brother). The cover is white, with a black-and-white photo of the man himself basically kicking you in the face. I did read it, but I don't really remember anything except that he seems like a pretty cool guy. I'm pretty sure he made it a policy early on to never do anything risqué or swear or anything like that in his act, so that anyone of any age could watch, and never broke that personal rule.

Here's the blurb: "Dick Van Dyke, indisputably one of the greats of the Golden age of television, is admired and beloved by audiences the world over for his beaming smile, his physical dexterity, his impeccable comic timing, his ridiculous stunts, and his unforgettable screen roles.
His trailblazing television program, The Dick Van Dyke Show (produced by Carl Reiner, who has written the foreword to this memoir), was one of the most popular sitcoms of the 1960s and introduced another major television star, Mary Tyler Moore. But Dick Van Dyke was also an enormously engaging movie star whose films, including Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, have been discovered by a new generation of fans and are a beloved today as they were when they first appeared. Who doesn't know the word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?
A colorful, loving, richly detailed look at the decades of a multilayered life, My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business will enthrall every generation of reader, from baby boomers who recall when Rob Petrie became a household name, to all those still enchanted by Bert's 'Chim Chim Cher-ee.' This is a lively, heartwarming memoir of a performer who still thinks of himself as a 'simple song-and-dance man,' but who is, in every sense of the word, a classic entertainer. "

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@complexissimple Thank you so much!

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@complexissimple
Piqued my interest too!
Lots to work with there, including the mysterious reader/shopper who wanders this earth four chapters shy of a conclusion. Also Jane was my mom’s name. And Jane Fonda played Barbarella. Maybe it’s a sign? Thanks so much for all the fodder!

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@barbara Conspiracy theory - Jane Fonda IS Jane Austen??!?!

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You know what, I'm going to pull one for me.

I got The Complete Photographer, a book I inherited from someone I don't live with anymore when they were downsizing, and have not read. Incidentally, this is the first pull from my craft books, which I reorganized just for this challenge (the old system wasn't working for me anyway, we'll see if this is better). A quick flip-through reveals that it has a few pages of color plates in the middle, but more than half of the color plates are of black and white photos. Ridiculous.

Oh man, I'm reading the blurb and this is my favorite part:
"He puts you in step with today's equipment, today's techniques; shows you how to win more pleasure - or make more money - by telling you. . .
- how to use the new, fast color films with terrific effect"
And that's when I realized this is from before digital photography.

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@gubna

I saw this thread title and thought, oh, something from the riffs I've left up there on the "shelf"... although now I see it's something else.

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@gubna You interested?

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@dh3

Hello, could I have one please?

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@dh3 - Dickens! This is a very fancy hardcover edition of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations. It has marbling, an embossed leather spine, and a fair amount of gilt. I don't think it's ever been opened. I'm going to have to open it now, though, because I don't see a blurb on the outside.

This is probably the stiffest book I have ever encountered in my life. I was genuinely afraid I was going to break it. Also the pages were sticking together a lot, probably from the gilt. Anyway, found a blurb, not about the contents but about the construction of the book: "Chatham River Press Classics have been designed and produced for the discerning book lover. These handsome editions have been printed and bound with beauty and longevity in mind. The text is printed on a fine acid-free paper guaranteed to last. The pages are gilded on three sides with simulated gold foil for better wear and esthetic appeal. The cover design - a genuine quality bonded-leather spine stamped in simulated gold lettering, and carefully reproduced four-color antique marbleized paper - recreates the finest features of the age-old traditions of European and American antiquarian book design and manufacture, recalling a time when fine bookmaking was a true art."

This edition is copyright 1983, but of course the original is pre-copyright so they don't give that date; although strangely it does give the dates for Charles's Dickens' lifetime: 1812-1870. A quick trip to Wikipedia provides the answer, and also a little info about the plot at last: "It depicts the education of an orphan nicknamed Pip (the book is a bildungsroman, a coming-of-age story). . . . The novel was first published as a serial in Dickens's weekly periodical All the Year Round, from 1 December 1860 to August 1861. In October 1861, Chapman and Hall published the novel in three volumes." The one I have doesn't say it's abridged, so has probably combined the three into one.

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More info from Wikipedia: "The novel is set in Kent and London in the early to mid-19th century and contains some of Dickens's most celebrated scenes, starting in a graveyard, where the young Pip is accosted by the escaped convict Abel Magwitch. Great Expectations is full of extreme imagery – poverty, prison ships and chains, and fights to the death – and has a colourful cast of characters who have entered popular culture. These include the eccentric Miss Havisham, the beautiful but cold Estella, and Joe, the unsophisticated and kind blacksmith. Dickens's themes include wealth and poverty, love and rejection, and the eventual triumph of good over evil. Great Expectations, which is popular both with readers and literary critics, has been translated into many languages and adapted numerous times into various media."

And here's the foreword: "Charles Dickens is considered to be one of the greatest writers of the Victorian era. Dickens's work was noted for its humor and satire, which he employed in the service of his overriding themes - attacking human foibles and social ills. In Dickens's writing, plot often dominated character development; and as a result many of Dickens's characters - even such famous ones as Mr. Micawber, Tiny Tim, Sam Weller, Uriah Heep, and Little Nell - were not fully explored as three-dimensional personalities, rather they played supporting roles in their respective stories.
In Great Expectations, however, Dickens leaves behind his penchant for caricature and writes a fully rounded story. Many critics feel Great Expectations is Dickens's best work and that it is a serious attempt at self-analysis. Through Philip Pirrip, known as Pip, Dickens addresses many of the traumas and terrors of his own childhood. Dickens knew the humiliation of poverty - when he was twelve his own father was thrown into debtor's prison, and the young Dickens had to go work in a shoe-blacking factory.

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Foreword continues - warning, there are spoilers in this part for some reason: "He became determined to be a 'gentleman,' much the same way Pip turns his back on the humble smithy and decides to become a London gentleman.
Pip is dazzled at first by the values of high society. But he discovers that the values of 'society'are hollow, that being a true gentleman has nothing to do with the cut of one's clothes, or one's address; it stems instead from kindness and a good heart. Pip learns that Joe, a simple blacksmith, is more a gentleman than Bentley Drummle, the socially correct 'gentleman' who marries Estella.
It is Pip's development from shallow youth to mature and sensitive man that makes Great Expectations such a complex and satisfying novel. Moreover, the woman Pip loves, Estella, is a worthy foil for Pip, as she evolves from haughty snob to wise adult. She is not one of Dickens's angelic, two-dimensional girls, she is a woman with flaws as well as virtues. Dickens relies on the growth of his characters to establish his happy ending, not a miraculous change of heart in the eleventh hour. Pip and Estella are complex human beings who change and develop, who suffer and learn from their experiences.
Dickens did not abandon his flair for the comic in Great Expectations. Mr. Wemmick, with his home turned into a miniature castle inhabited by the 'aged Parent' and his courtship of Miss Skiffins, adds humorous touches to the novel. And dramatic scenes are well represented: Miss Haversham in her faded bridal finery bursting into flames; the convict in the graveyard with young Pip; Orlick and Joe fighting in the forge.
Dickens's gusto and intricacy of plot can still be found in Great Expectations, but in addition, there is a fuller treatment of his characters, a wider vision that makes Great Expectations an exceptional novel."

It also has illustrations!

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Sure!

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Could I have one please?

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@didi_bergman My sister @littlebeast being back from vacation now, I asked her to do your pull for me, and she came back with. . . Charles Dickens' Great Expectations. I'm going to give you the next book over instead, Charles Dickens' Nicholas Nickleby, Volume 1. Or as it says on the cover:
THE
LIFE AND ADVENTURES
OF
NICHOLAS NICKLEBY
CONTAINING
A FAITHFUL ACCOUNT OF THE
Fortunes, Misfortunes, Uprisings, Downfallings
AND
COMPLETE CAREER OF THE NICKLEBY FAMILY
EDITED BY "BOZ."
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS
BY "PHIZ."
Every line is in a different size, and sometimes a different font.

This is a larger paperback (not sure what this size is called, but it's approximately the same proportions as most hardcover novels). It contains chapters I-XXXIII, according to the spine. Surrounding the text on the front cover are a variety of comic figures - two people on stilts, a gentleman wading through what appears to be a swamp with a kerchief tied around his head, a group of dark-skinned people with lanterns who may or may not be heckling him, a jester doing a handstand while balancing a lantern; and also what appears to be a couple of crying women, blind Justice poking around with a sword, a cornucopia, bags of money, and a distant castle. I flipped through the foreword, and there is an extended discussion of Dickens' pen name "Boz" and some of his imitators "Bos" and "Poz".

The blurb seems to be an excerpt:
"'Mr. Squeers's appearance was not prepossessing. He had but one eye, and the popular prejudice runs in favour of two. The eye he had was unquestionably useful, but decidedly not ornamental, being of a greenish grey, and in shape resembling the fanlight of a street door. The blank side of his face was very much wrinkled and puckered up, which gave him a very sinister appearance, especially when he smiled, at which times his expression bordered closely on the villainous.

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Blurb continues: "His hair was very flat and shiny, save at the ends, where it was brushed stiffly up from a low protruding forehead, which assorted well with his harsh voice and coarse manner. He was about two or three and fifty, and a trifle below the middle size; he wrote a white neckerchief with long ends, and a suit of scholastic black, but his coat sleeves being a great deal too long, and his trousers a great deal too short, he appeared ill at ease in his clothes, and as if he were in a perpetual state of astonishment at finding himself so respectable.'

And Volume two ends the tale."

Turning to Wikipedia tells us: "originally published as a serial from 1838 to 1839. . . . The story centres on the life and adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, a young man who must support his mother and sister after his father dies. . . . The novel has been adapted for stage, film or television at least seven times. The earliest theatrical version actually appeared before publication of the serialised novel was finished, with the resolution of the stage play wildly different from that of the eventual finished novel. Dickens's offence at this plagiarism prompted him to have Nicholas encounter a 'literary gentleman' in chapter forty-eight of the novel." But, of course, he is in Volume 2. Personally, if this were my pull, I would take on the role of the "literary gentleman" and write into my song a new ending continuing on from whatever the plot of Volume 1 may actually be. I'll find it eventually, but for now I need to take a break and eat.

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Alright, back to Nicholas Nickleby. I can't find a short summary, so I will give the chapter headings (as there is no table of contents, I have to page through the book to find them, but luckily for us they are the wonderfully descriptive sort). But before that, it is worth noting that there are several pages of advertisements between chapters throughout the book. They seem to have reproduced the entire periodical the story was originally published in. I happened to notice that one of them was for sketches by "Boz". There is also a seven page ad for National Loan Fund Life Assurance Society.

Here we go:
Chapter I. Introduces all the rest.
Chapter II. Of Mr. Ralph Nickleby, and his establishment, and his undertakings. And of a great joint stock company of vast national importance.
Chapter III. Mr. Ralph Nickleby receives sad tidings of his brother, but bears up nobly against the intelligence communicated to him. The reader is informed how he liked Nicholas, who is herein introduced, and how kindly he proposed to make his fortune at once.
Chapter IV. Nicholas and his uncle (to secure the fortune without loss of time) wait upon Mr. Wackford Squeers, the Yorkshire schoolmaster.
Chapter V. Nicholas starts for Yorkshire. - Of his leave-taking and his fellow-travellers, and what befel them on the road.
Chapter VI. In which the occurrence of the accident mentioned in the last chapter, affords an opportunity to a couple of gentlemen to tell stories against each other.
Chapter VII. Mr. and Mrs. Squeers at home.
Chapter VIII. Of the internal economy of Dotheboys Hall.
Chapter IX. Of Miss Squeers, Mrs. Squeers, Master Squeers, and Mr. Squeers; and various matters and persons connected no less with the Squeerses than with Nicholas Nickleby.
Chapter X. How Mr. Ralph Nickleby provided for his niece and sister-in-law.

And here I have to stop for the night. To be continued!

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@complexissimple Thank you so much for all your hard work describing the physical appearance and contents of the book! I really appreciate it!

I read this forum and was gutted that the person before me got Great Expectations - (one of my favourite Dickens novels) and I thought, it won't get pulled for me as it has already been pulled - yet it was! I will stick with Nicholas Nickleby though!

I happen to live in Rochester in Kent where part of Great Expectations is set, and I have just finished playing some concerts with a friend as Thee Droods, singing Dickens poems I set to music. We are mad for Dickens here and have two festivals a year where everyone dresses up as the characters and stroll around (we even have a Queen Victoria Regina, who Dickens was once in love with) and the little wooden cottage he wrote his last novels in is tucked behind the street where I live, and the museum opposite my flat has a Dickens exhibition. It would be great for me to add to my Dickens inspired repertoire for next years festival so this is really great that you and your sister pulled Charlie boy for me! Thank you so much!

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@didi_bergman Looking up Thee Droods RIGHT NOW before I even finish reading this comment, because that sounds amazing.

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@didi_bergman The San Francisco bay area has Dickens Fair too (aka The Great Dickens Christmas Fair) and I've been several times. Sooo worth the long drive. I'm not sure if the Queen is there, as all the characters wander around and you never see all of them, but I'm sure there was a prince (Prince Albert, maybe?). I have met "Queen Victoria" in a different context though, as I was knighted by her for my service to the Sacramento Steampunk Society at their 10th anniversary (I was a founding member).

I'm so glad we were able to pull some Dickens for you, it sounds like it was the perfect choice. Always good to get something you're excited about! And you know, there's no reason why you can't also write a song about Great Expectations if you like. Have fun!

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@didi_bergman Sorry to leave you hanging in the middle for so long. Here's the rest of Nicholas Nickleby:
Chapter XI. Mr. Newman Noggs inducts Mrs. and Miss Nickleby into their new dwelling in the city.
Chapter XII. Whereby the reader will be enabled to trace the further course of Miss Fanny Squeers's love, and to ascertain whether it ran smoothly or otherwise.
Chapter XIII. Nicholas varies the monotony of Dotheboys Hall by a most vigorous and remarkable proceeding, which leads to consequences of some importance.
Chapter XIV. Having the misfortune to treat of none but common people, is necessarily of a mean and vulgar character.
Chapter XV. Acquaints the reader with the cause and origin of the interruption described in the last chapter, and with some other matters necessary to be known.
Chapter XVI. Nicholas seeks to employ himself in a new capacity, and being unsuccessful, accepts an engagement as tutor in a private family.
Chapter XVII. Follows the fortunes of Miss Nickleby.
Chapter XVIII. Miss Knag, after doating on Kate Nickleby for three whole days, makes up her mind to hate her for evermore. The causes which lead Miss Knag to form this resolution.
Chapter XIX. Descriptive of a dinner at Mr. Ralph Nickleby's, and of the manner in which the company entertained themselves before dinner, at dinner, and after dinner.
Chapter XX. Wherein Nicholas at length encounters his uncle, to whom he expresses his sentiments with much candour. His resolution.
Chapter XXI. Madame Mantalini finds herself in a situation of some difficulty, and Miss Nickleby finds herself in no situation at all.
Chapter XXII. Nicholas, accompanied by Smike, sallies forth to seek his fortune. He encounters Mr. Vincent Crummles; and who he was is herein made manifest.
Chapter XXIII. Years of the company of Mr. Vincent Crummles, and of his affairs, domestic and theatrical.

Continued below

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Chapter XXIV. Of the great bespeak for Miss Snevellicci, and the first appearance of Nicholas upon any stage.
Chapter XXV. Concerning a young lady from London, who joins the company, and an elderly admirer who follows in her train; with an affecting ceremony consequent on their arrival.
Chapter XXVI. Is fraught with some danger to Miss Nickleby's peace of mind.
Chapter XXVII. Mrs. Nickleby becomes acquainted with Messrs. Pyke and Pluck, whose affection and interest are beyond all bounds.

I unexpectedly came across a bookmark in this chapter, which appears to be a post-it note folded in half so that it sticks to itself. It seems our wandering reader who cannot bring themself to quite finish a volume strikes again. Stranger still, I found another bookmark two pages later - a neatly torn-out rectangle of yellow paper, lined on only one side.

I think I will take advantage of this pause in the recitation of chapter headings to share a couple more of the ads that caught my interest. The first contains a two-panel comic. In the first panel, a gentleman sits huddled before a fireplace, with a kerchief tied about his head, moaning "Oh! this dreadful ToothAche!" In the second panel, which appears to be the other half of the same room, merely bisected by a line (or perhaps a mirror-image of the first panel), sits the same gentleman with his kerchief thrown off, crying "Ha ha! Cured in an Instant!" (The ad being for Beaufoy's Instant Cure for the Toothache.) The second ad is two pages long and for Heads of the People: price one shilling. An excerpt reads: "The purchaser will not be cheated with a Dustman in sugar-candy, or a Chimney-sweep in peppermint, after the modern fancy of face-making; neither will he have a Crockford in marmalade, or a Jack Ketch in barley-sugar; but true flesh and blood withal. . . ."

Continued again

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Chapter XXVIII. Miss Nickleby, rendered desperate by the persecution of Sir Mulberry Hawk, and the complicated difficulties and distresses which surround her, appeals, as a last resource, to her uncle for protection.
Chapter XXIX. Of the proceedings of Nicholas, and certain internal divisions in the company of Mr. Vincent Crummles.
Chapter XXX. Festivities are held in honour of Nicholas, who suddenly withdraws himself from the society of Mr. Vincent Crummles and his theatrical companions.
Chapter XXXI. Of Ralph Nickleby and Newman Noggs, and some wise precautions, the success or failure of which will appear in the sequel.
Chapter XXXII. Relating chiefly to some remarkable conversation, and some remarkable proceedings to which it gives rise.
Chapter XXXIII. In which Mr. Ralph Nickleby is relieved, by a very expeditious process, from all commerce with his relations.

And that at last is the end of Nicholas Nickleby, Volume 1.

Anyone else coming to this thread expecting to receive such a long prompt as this one has been, will no doubt be disappointed.

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@wylddandelyon I haven't forgotten you! You get Xanth - more specifically, Piers Anthony's Visual Guide to Xanth by Piers Anthony and Jody Lynn Nye (Fully Illustrated!). I don't know why it didn't say this on the cover, but the illustrations are by Todd Cameron Hamilton and James Clouse.

The blurb: "Xanth! For over a decade, hundreds of thousands of eager readers have regularly journeyed across the boundaries of imagination to Xanth - Piers Anthony's magical world of mythic wonders. And now the gateway into this bizarre and breathtaking land has opened wider than ever before! Fantastical facts at your fingertips! Learn about the astonishing hierarchy - and lowerarchy - of sorcerers and shape-changers; of goblins, harpies, and half-humans who inhabit this extraordinary universe! Explore the perilous Ogre-fen-ogre Fen and the inner chambers of the mysterious Castle Roogna! Revel in the history and culture of the most remarkable civilization this side of Oz! Bursting with exquisitely detailed maps, charts, and illustrations, here's an indispensable addition to the amazing Anthony Xanthian anthology that no true 'Xanthophile' will want to be without - a delightful escape from the routine grind of Mundania!"

And it is thoroughly illustrated - even the Table of Contents page has its own illustration, of a young person holding up a scroll with the Contents printed on it.

I don't have the energy to describe the illustrations at the moment, so I will just give the Contents for now and save more exciting details for after dinner. Some of the headings are in bold, indicating that the rest are sub-sections. As far as I know, we cannot do bold text in this forum, so I will give the bold parts in all-caps instead. I also regret that I am unable to render the Demon X(A/N)th's name properly (the th should be in superscript).

INTRODUCTION TO XANTH 8
Great Events in the History of Xanth 18
Xanth 22
The Demon X(A/N)th and the Balance of Existence 24

Continued below

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PEOPLE OF XANTH 26
Magic and Customs of the People of Xanth 32
Magicians and Kings 34
Harpies and Goblins 48
Demons 52
Centaurs 54
Other Races of Equine Descent 58
Fairies, Imps, Elves, and Gnomes 62
Ogres 64
Voles 66
Zombies 68
Nymphs and Fauns 70
Other Human and Humanlike Folk 74
Other Individuals 80
PLACES IN XANTH 96
North of the Gap 98
North Village 106
The Gap 108
South of the Gap 112
Good Magician Humfrey's Castle 114
Castle Roogna 118
Centaur Isle 138
The Gourd 142
HAZARDS OF XANTH 154
THE BESTIARY OF XANTH 164
THE BEST THINGS IN XANTH ARE FREE 178
Flowers 182
Plants 184
Trees 195
THE MAGICAL THINGS OF XANTH 202
CALENDAR OF XANTH 214
AFTERWORD 218
APPENDIX: CREWEL LYE: CHAPTER 1 221

As you can see, this is not a very long book, but it is a large book in other dimensions (9 inches tall and 7 inches wide - that's pretty big for a paperback). It was shelved in the "fictional references" section - yes, we have a whole section for things like this.

And now dinner is calling, so I must go. To be continued!

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Thank you @complexissimple , I have been watching adaptations of the novel as a film and by the RSC as a play for inspiration, hopefully a song or two will turn up!

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Moi?
Merci

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@wacha

Here's mine https://fiftyninety.fawm.org/songs/1475

Thanks for the prompt, @complexissimple !

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Could I have TWO things from the shelf, please?

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I'd like to try!

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Ha, I'm mostly just curious what I'll get based on my username, hit me!

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Started on my Shelf Song a few days ago, laid out most of the lyrics & fiddled with chords. Got up first thing this morning & the chords & melody teamed up to write themselves! Working on getting it recorded to post... and hey, @complexissimple , you just may be in it...

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Hi, I'd like to take part too please

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@wylddandelyon Yikes, the site tells me it's been a whole week since my last post. Some more exciting details as promised:

Xanth is a magical land in the shape of the state of Florida. They call our world Mundania and the people of it Mundanes. Occasionally (under certain circumstances) people can travel between the two worlds at the border (which is in the same place as the border between Florida and the rest of the United States on the Xanth side but sometimes moves around on the Mundania side). Some of its major landmarks also parallel things in Florida. The Ogre-Fen-Ogre Fen (Okefenokee Swamp), the Kiss-Me/Kill-Me River (Kissimmee River), Lake Ogre-Chobee (Lake Okeechobee).

Every human citizen of Xanth (and some of the non-humans) has a different magic talent. These can range from something as minor as making a colored spot appear on a wall to Magician-level talents like being able to create illusions nearly indistinguishable from reality.

The other big thing to know about the land of Xanth is that it runs on puns. Here are a few which I found just by flipping through the book:
Centaur Aisle - This is the name of one of the books in the Xanth series. It's named after the magical talent of the main character of that book (he creates an "aisle" of magic, and also he's a centaur). He comes from Centaur Isle. There are also several variant puns on the name throughout that book, including some where "centaur" becomes "center".
Croggle test - Polite centaur society considers magic talents to be obscene, so they use the croggle test to discover if a centaur has been "infected" by having one. It says it's "a pun on the Mundane Coggins test for horses, and fans who get croggled".
Water Wing - (Not a flotation device.) This is a name for a major landmark, one of the five elemental regions. Within its boundaries there is almost no dry land, and almost always some form of precipitation. It also features a huge snow mountain at its center.

Continued below

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More puns for your pleasure and/or pain:
The Faux Pass - "This landmark was formed as the result of a giant misstep by the giant Faux (pronounced FOE). . . He caught his left foot in [a mountain range] and tripped. He didn't fall, but his kick knocked a huge gap out of the mountain range, leaving a way through for lesser creatures."
The Big Top - "a huge, colorful, humming top spins like a mountainous toy. . . . You need a ticket to get in. . . . If you decide not to pay and sneak in under the edge of the tent, you run the risk of brushing against the bottom edge of the bleachers, which will drain all the color from your hair and clothes. There is a freak show inside. . . ."
Mount Rushmost - The meeting place of the winged monsters. (Incidentally, Mount Rushmore is in South Dakota, not Florida.)
Frankinmint Mountain - I believe this is a pun on the Franklin Mint (also not in Florida). Several kinds of mint grow on the mountain, including frankinmint, which "smells like a nice mint-flavored incense. (Not to be confused with frankincense, which makes people frankly angry)." Also "Spearmint stabs anything that moves with tiny spears. Peppermint explodes with irritating pepper grains that cause sneezing."

There's also this whole page, which contains a lot of both puns and world-building (they often go hand-in-hand):
"It is easy to live well in Xanth. There is no monetary system. . . . Food is as close as the nearest edible plant. . . . hot soup gourds, hot potato plants, pie trees, and cocoa-nut trees. Breadfruit trees, which supply fresh loaves of bread, breadsticks, drum rolls. . . . Jelly-bole trees, soda poppies, and multicolored colorfruit trees, which produce oranges, blues, greens. . . . The trees also produce. . . door-knobs (some of which can be employed as is; the others, properly cultivated, can grow up to be doors). . . . Coat trees produce everything from light jackets to all-weather ponchos.

Continued again

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"From shirt trees, you can get oxford shirts, football jerseys (brown and white pullovers that moo); from shoe trees and hat trees, footgear and headgear are available in season. Lady's-slipper plants [exist too]. . . . Dry-cleaning plants exist to mend and refurbish garments. . . though replacements. . . can be plucked at the nearest grove."

I feel it necessary to mention that all of these things are very common. When they are looking for food or clothing in the books, it never takes long to find some.

"Housing is not a difficulty, either. One can grow, mine, hollow out, or build a home. [Some people] live in a large hollow cottage cheese. Others favor homes grown from box trees, roof-trees, or wall-nuts, or built from piles of pome-granite stones."

Having read the first 30-ish books in this trilogy, I can tell you that the puns get more plentiful as it goes along. In the more recent ones there were so many reader-submitted puns that the author resorted to having characters travel swiftly through especially pun-thick regions, so that the reader was faced with paragraphs composed of nothing but largely unrelated rapid-fire puns. I couldn't quickly find an example, but you're probably safer without it.

Now the illustrations! The front cover seems to be a collage of figures from the covers of several books in the series combined into one painting. There is a large ogre in the center, crouching down to look at a naked humanoid with antennae holding something that looks like a crystal ball (I believe these are Smash Ogre and Imp Quieta from Ogre, Ogre). Clockwise from there, there is a toad sitting on a toadstool, a scowling elderly man with pointed ears wearing an 18th-century style coat and sitting on a stack of books while writing in another with a quill pen (must be Good Magician Humfrey, whose talent is famously knowledge), a griffin or large bird (can't see the feet), a centaur holding a halberd or similar weapon, and a large vole.

Continued

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The young person I mentioned on the Table of Contents page is dressed in the sort of puffed and slashed outfit you might expect to see at a Renaissance Faire, complete with pageboy haircut, diamond-patterned hose, and shoes with curled-up pointy toes with bells at the tip.

The introductory section of each chapter features a series of illustrations which take up the lower third of the pages, all featuring the same bridge. You can see the silhouette of a troll beneath it. Then a wyvern appears and honks at him, and he yeets it into the stonework. A gnome inspects the hole, and a team of gnomes repair it, then dance on the completed bridge. A huge pair of eyes appear, each peering through one of the arches on the underside of the bridge (probably a dragon). Two unidentifiable furry critters appear. Now vines have grown on the bridge and the silhouettes of trees are visible behind it. Fairies cavort in the air above the bridge (the vines have mysteriously disappeared).

I count 19 full-page illustrations of specific characters and 11 maps. There are also plentiful depictions of various species and landmarks. Sometimes there are even silhouettes behind the text!

I feel like I should also tell you about the Gourd Realm, since it's a third land that interacts with citizens of Xanth and Mundania in its own unique way. You can get there by looking into the hole in a hypnogourd. It is a realm of dreams, and everyone who lives there has a hand in making the dreams experienced by the peoples of the other two lands (or delivering them, in the case of the Night Mares). It is divided into areas which are basically sets where different kinds of dreams are acted out.

All right, I think I'm done describing this book now. Have fun @wylddandelyon! (Make sure to check the thread, there are several posts between the ones I tagged you in.)

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@kahlo2013- The closest for you is Kate: Lauren Kate and Kate & Leopold.

I will begin with Torment: a FALLEN novel, the #1 New York Times bestseller by Lauren Kate. I cannot at first glance recognize it, so I don't know if I've read this one or not (we'll probably find out!). The cover is giving me Twilight vibes. And yep, it came out in 2010 (Twilight was 2008). It appears to be two black-and-white photos composited together using bluescreen. The background one is a misty forest with a body of water. The foreground one is a woman's back. She is wearing a black gown and clutching at her head. On closer inspection, she isn't actually in black-and-white, as in addition to the line of blue around the edges I can make out faint flesh tones on her arms. Also the foreground photo is inexcusably blurry.

Here's the blurb:
"Hell on earth.
That's what it's like for Luce to be apart from her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel.
It took then an eternity to find one another, but now he has told her he must go away. Just long enough to hunt down the Outcasts - immortals who want to kill Luce. Daniel hides Luce at Shoreline, a school on the rocky California coast with unusually gifted students: Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans.
At Shoreline, Luce learns what the Shadows are, and how she can use them as windows to her previous lives. Yet the more Luce learns, the more she suspects that Daniel hasn't told her everything. He's hiding something - something dangerous.
What if Daniel's version of the past isn't actually true? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else?
The second novel in the addictive FALLEN series. . . where love never dies."

I think I did read this, but I didn't get much out of it. Probably partly because it's actually the second book in the series and we don't have the first. The most interesting detail I have to add is that while typing the blurb my phone corrected "Daniel" to "Dammed" (get it? Fallen angel?).

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@kahlo2013 Part two. Kate & Leopold is a movie, quite possibly the only rom-com I can actually stand. Probably because it has sci-fi elements! And also Victorian elements, and also singing. . . and Hugh Jackman, who is just a good actor. . . and also the male love interest is not a gigantic jerk.

This is a DVD, featuring a cover image that is just a huge closeup of the two main characters' faces. Also the second O in Leopold is a pocketwatch. The slogan is "If they lived in the same century, they'd be perfect for each other."

The blurb: "Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman are paired as star-crossed lovers who discover that passion and chivalry never go out of style! When a rip in time brings together a charming 19th century bachelor and a thoroughly 21st century woman, the potential for an old-fashioned modern romance ignites! Also starring Breckin Meyer and Liev Schreiber."

The picture on the back is of Leopold walking a dog and gawping at New York City while wearing an embroidered coat, a fancy waistcoat, and riding boots, while Kate is just in front of him wearing a black business suit, walking fast with her head down looking at her phone.

I'd forgotten until reading the word "bachelor" that Leopold was being pushed to marry and this all takes place right before a ball that was supposed to be his deadline for announcing an engagement. The one to actually discover the rip in time was actually Kate's ex-boyfriend, and Leopold sees how out-of-place he looks and follows him home, all the way to the apartment building where Kate also lives. They meet due to the habit people in this building apparently have of climbing up and down the fire escape and into each other's windows. He makes friends with her brother first, an actor who is very enthusiastic about Leopold's ability to sing "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General" (from the new opera he'd seen shortly before traveling to the future) and also thinks he's just in character all the time.

Continued

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Kate and Leopold continued:

Kate just thinks he's deranged, but slowly comes to appreciate his point of view of the world anyway.

There's also a running joke about all the elevators being broken because he hadn't invented them yet.

So my plan since you asked for two things was to find all the similarities between them I could. Pretty clearly these both have strong romantic elements and a main couple that are the focus. Um. . . They both have the blurb at the top of the back cover, after a single sentence? They both have pictures on the back - the background of the back cover of the book is just a continuation of the body of water from the front. Also there's a small portrait of the author on the back of the book, and a small picture of a pocketwatch on the back of the DVD case. There's also text on the back that says "THE #1 INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER!" and "GOLDEN GLOBE AWARD WINNER!" respectively. The book says "Her books have been translated into more than thirty languages" and the DVD has Spanish subtitles and a French language track? They're both explicitly set in America. The movie has special features and the book has excerpts from multiple other books. They both have fairly monochrome front covers. The author's face and the dog's face are in roughly the same location, with similar head positions and expressions. "It took them an eternity to find one another" is not too different from the premise that they had to travel through time (100 years I think?) to meet. They're both from the early 2000s (the movie is from 2001). The front cover picture stops abruptly at the spine. It sounds like in both cases the female protagonist learns more about the male love interest and whether what he's telling her is true or not, and her beliefs about his past evolve. I think that's all I got.

So, why did you request two things from the shelf?

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@cindyrella - Unsurprisingly, you get Cinderella. Specifically, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella's original Broadway cast recording CD. The picture on the front (which is also on the CD itself) is an optical illusion painting. At first glance it's a glass slipper, but looking closer you realize that the space between the heel and the rest of the shoe is also a woman's skirt. She is looking up at the moon and holding another glass slipper (slipperception?). The back has the entire playbill along with the track listing.

Track listing:
ACT ONE
1 Overture
2 Prologue
3 "Me, Who Am I?"
4 "In My Own Little Corner"
5 "The Prince is Giving a Ball"/"Now is the Time"
6 "In My Own Little Corner" (reprise)
7 "Impossible"
8 Transformations
9 "It's Possible"
10 "Ten Minutes Ago"
11 Cinderella Waltz
12 "Ten Minutes Ago" (reprise)

Before moving on to Act Two, I would like to mention that I was singing Ten Minutes Ago just the other day, but for some reason reason I thought it was from Guys and Dolls.

ACT TWO
13 "Stepsister's Lament"
14 "The Pursuit"
15 "He Was Tall"
16 "When You're Driving Through the Moonlight"
17 "A Lovely Night"
18 "A Lovely Night" (reprise)
19 "Loneliness of Evening"
20 Announcing the Banquet
21 "There's Music in You"
22 "Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful?"
23 The Shoe Fits
24 The Proposal
25 The Wedding: "There's Music in You"
26 Exit Music: "Cinderella March"

The liner notes booklet looked pretty thick, let's investigate. It has photos from the show, has a full cast list, and lists who was singing each song. There is a section entitled Cinderella from Then to Now, which tells the story of how this musical was originally written for television in 1957, and never performed on Broadway until 2013. Then there are a few notes from Rodgers and Hammerstein themselves, with commentary. I will include them in the next post.

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"The only known time in the collaboration when the two men were separated and corresponding during the creation of one of their shows was during the writing of CINDERELLA. Oscar Hammerstein was in Australia, and this is an excerpt of a letter to Richard Rodgers that provides brief insight into how these two collaborators operated."
The letter:
"Hotel Windsor
Spring Street
Melbourne
Nov. 10, 1956

Dear Dick:
I have a pretty good rough draft of 'The Prince Is Giving A Ball', the long 'montage' number. I'll be sending you the finished number in a week or ten days.

I've been brooding about a line in 'Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful?' I don't like 'Am I making believe, etc?' [Making believe is underlined.] 'Making believe' (Outside of the fact that I cashed in on that phrase some years ago) seems an unimportant expression in this connection. How about this?

Am I telling my heart I see in you
A girl too lovely to be really true?

Let me know what you think."

"Notation by Richard Rodgers in his copy of the original script, indicating the rhythm he feels should go with a portion of 'When You're Driving Through The Moonlight'. The end result parallels these notations exactly."
I will not attempt to recreate music notation in this forum, but here is the text it was written in the margin of:
"Joy and Portia
(Singing loud like two very devout choir singers)
You can guess till you're blue in the face
But you can't even picture such a man.

Joy
He is more than a Prince - [more is underlined]

Portia
He's an Ace! [Ace is underlined] "
And hand-written along with the music notes it says
"4/4 Martial
You can guess till you're blue in the face"

"Original typed lyric to 'Impossible' - this is, in many ways, the essence of Oscar Hammerstein's outlook on life."
The lyrics:
"Godmother (CONT)
But the world is full of zanies and fools
Who don't believe in sensible rules
And won't believe what sensible people say,

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"And because these daft and dewy-eyed dopes
Keep building up impossible hopes,
Impossible things are happening every day!....
Impossible!"

On the page with these notes it also says "The team of Rodgers & Hammerstein was the most successful partnership in the American musical theatre.
In a career spanning 16 years, they wrote 9 musicals for Broadway, one movie, and one original musical for television: 'Cinderella.'"
And it gives the contact information for performance rights.

There is also a caricature of the television cast (starring Julie Andrews) and a synopsis. I thought at first that you wouldn't need a synopsis for the story of Cinderella, but:
"Once upon a time, which is really how any good story worth its salt begins, there was a girl named Ella. Now, Ella lived with her stepmother and stepsisters, and let's face it they weren't very nice to her. . . . Once upon about the exact same time, there was a prince named Topher. He was an expert at slaying dragons, griffins, and gargoyles (not to mention Giants) but when it came to being a king, which was slated to occur soon, he was at a loss. Later that same one upon a time day, Prince Topher and Ella met. . . . Ella then had a moment to talk to her two friends: Jean-Michel, an erstwhile revolutionary, and Crazy Marie, a woman who lived at the edge of the forest and gathered what the others threw away. . . . As the stepmother and stepsisters prepared for the ball[,] they quickly left Ella in their dust but Cinderella had a moment to be warned by Jean-Michel that Prince Topher needed to know more about the people of his kingdom. . . . And in came crazy Marie who joked with Ella about how life could be so much better. But in order to do that, Marie would have had to have been a fairy godmother. . . . Marie revealed herself to be a fairy godmother, turned a pumpkin into a carriage, mice into horses, her rags into a beautiful gown, a fox into a footman, a raccoon into a driver. . . ."

To be concluded

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"Well the ball was awash with dancing and even a rousing round of ridicule. . . . Ella had just enough time to tell the prince that the world was not all pretty and bright. . . . Ella quickly retrieved the shoe and dashed off . . . . The Prince was determined to find this mystery woman in white who was telling him the truth. . . . Ella returned to the cottage just as Madame, Gabrielle and Charlotte entered in a state of rejection. Ella began to tell them what she imagined the night at the Palace must have been like which changed into a song about what it actually was like. Madame and her daughters and stepdaughter behaved for the first time like something on the verge of a functional family. . . . Gabby realized that Ella was indeed the woman in the ball. Rather than an enemy Gabrielle revealed herself to be not only an ally, but also in love with Jean-Michel the firebrand. . . . Topher decided to have a second event to find his woman of truth. . . . Ella told the prince how he could be a great king, and he immediately took the lead and created an election for Prime Minister. . . . Ella race down the stairs but stopped and thinking of that last journey out of the palace, she left a shoe behind for Topher. Sometimes a girl needs to be found. So all is what you would have wanted from your Dream Broadway production of Cinderella. . . . Yes, there was a happy ending. But maybe there was also the added hope of kindness and fair play woven into the happily ever after. . . ."

I've definitely seen the Brandy version of this show and seen it live at the local children's community theatre, but I don't remember any of that stuff.

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@complexissimple Got mine posted, with a rough recording! (This is new to me...recording is a Google Drive link, comes up with a warning that it's from an "off website" - but I have not yet learned how to save & then share files in any other way, so this is as good as it gets at present!)

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@kcc

Just seeing this now!

Hope I'm not too late... Would love to run with what you toss me!

KC

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@neverquitjeff - Neil Diamond. This CD is called Tap Root Manuscript. The case is weirdly dirty. The picture on the front is of a man behind bars (presumably Neil Diamond). It also says COMPACT DISC, COMPACT PRICE, which I find really funny.

Track listing:
1 Cracklin' Rosie
2 Free Life
3 Coldwater Morning
4 Done Too Soon
5 He Ain't Heavy. . . He's My Brother
6 Childsong
7 I Am the Lion
8 Madrigál
9 Soolaimon
10 Missa
11 African Suite
12 Childsong (reprise)

The only thing I know about Neil Diamond is that everyone always expects me to know his songs, and I don't know why.

There is also a list of these names with absolutely no context:
Elton John
Neil Diamond
Stephanie Mills
Dan Hartman
Roger Williams
Liberace
Three Dog Night
Steppenwolf
Lynyrd Skynyrd
George Strait
Buddy Holly
Mills Brothers
Golden Earring
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
The Fixx
B. B. King
New Edition
The Mamas & the Papas
Crusaders
Bellamy Brothers
Steve Wariner
Olivia Newton-John

Are they in any particular order? I can't see one.

Incidentally, as I was typing Steppenwolf for this, my phone tried to make it @stephenwordsmith instead.

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@kcc - Kawabata. I'm almost certain this is my brother's book that he left here (he was studying Japanese language and literature, you know, in between engineering and science and robotics and working in university labs and getting his doctorate and developing better solar panels and saving the world probably - incidentally, it was his birthday two days ago). The book is Yasunari Kawabata's Snow Country, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. It's a little oversized for a paperback, at 8 by 5 1/4 inches. The cover picture is small though, only 2 1/2 by 2. It's a couple of people in what looks like traditional Asian clothes (although it's a little hard to see exactly what they're wearing as they're covered in snow and also tiny - they do have those wide conical hats though), walking through the snow in front of snow-covered buildings. There are also some hand-written Chinese characters which I cannot read (possibly the names of the book and author? Or the artwork and artist?). It says on the back that the cover art is "Fifty-three Tōkaidō Stages; Kambara" by Utagawa Hiroshige. There is also a border on the cover which is from a photo by Sadao Hibi from Japanese Detail Architecture.

I like the reviews on this one, so I shall give them:
"Kawabata's novels are among the most affecting and original works of our time." - The New York Times Book Review
"Snow Country is a work of beauty and strangeness, one of the most distinguished and moving Japanese novels to have appeared in this country." - New York Herald Tribune
"Beautifully economical. . . . The haiku works entirely by implication; so, in this novel, using the same delicate, glancing technique, Mr. Kawabata probes a complicated human relationship." - The Times Literary Supplement (London)

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The blurb: "With the brushstroke suggestiveness and astonishing grasp of motive that won him the Nobel Prize for Literature, Yasunari Kawabata tells a story of wasted love at amid the desolate beauty of western Japan, the snowiest region on earth. It is there, at an isolated mountain hotspring, that the wealthy sophisticate Shimamura meets the geisha Komako, who gives herself to him without regrets, knowing that their passion cannot last.

Shimamura is a dilettante of the feelings; Komako has staked her life on them. Their affair can have only one outcome. Yet, in chronicling its doomed course, one of Japan's greatest writers creates a novel dense in implication and exalting in its sadness. Snow Country is a genuine masterpiece of twentieth-century literature."

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@complexissimple Given that my major contribution here seems to be satirical wit, perhaps it could be said that I was born to be Wilde.

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Mine is posted, & I had a great time doing this - Thanks so very very much, @complexissimple ! https://fiftyninety.fawm.org/songs/1967#c11932

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@spazsquatch - Space Trax! This is a CD of "the best from science fiction movies & TV" performed by The Starlite Orchestra. It also says "12 space hits", which is a fun way to put it. The picture on the front looks a lot like historical photos of footprints on the moon, except that within the footprints you can see stars. And there seems to be a solar eclipse happening. On the back, the solar eclipse is repeated, with the addition of a burning space rock doing slingshot around the sun before crashing into the ground, obliterating the footprints and pretty much everything else in a flare of light conveniently sized for the track listing to fit perfectly into.

Track listing:
1 STAR WARS THEME (Main Theme)
2 THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (Main Theme)
3 IMPERIAL MARCH/DARTH VADER'S THEME (The Empire Strikes Back)
4 STAR TREK THEME (Star Trek 1: The Motion Picture)
5 THE WRATH OF KHAN (Star Trek II)
6 STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION (TV Theme)
7 CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (Main Theme)
8 BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (Main Theme)
9 ALSO SPRACH ZARATHUSTRA (2001 - A Space Odyssey)
10 TWILIGHT ZONE (TV Theme)
11 INDEPENDENCE DAY (Main Theme)
12 X-FILES (TV Theme)

You might also be interested in all the things Autocorrect insisted on while I was typing that track list:
The Weenie Strikes Back
Imperial Match (Aw, is Darth Vader getting married??)
Darth Based Theme
The Wrath of Man
The Nectarine Generation

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@lyricslinger - Macramé: The Art of Creative Knotting by Virginia I. Harvey. This book is from 1967 and looks it, from the faded oranges and teals of the cover picture, to the vaguely Scandinavian-looking floral patterns within the title font, to the general wear and tear on the dust jacket. Plus, you know, it's a book on macramé, that's a big hint. It's 7 1/2 by 10 1/4 inches, and only 128 pages long. There is no blurb on the back, only another photo of miscellaneous macrame projects (one of them looks sort of like a monkey). As is to be expected with hardcover books, I found it on the dust jacket flap instead.

The blurb: "The art of making macramé (a French word meaning knotted lace) is an ancient way of tying knots in string to create lacy-patterned decorative and useful articles. This gratifying, easily learned technique has become almost a lost art, says author Virginia Harvey, the well-known Pacific Northwest weaver and designer. However, Mrs. Harvey's excellent up-to-date instruction book now brings the time-honored skill very much to life and gives it a rightful place among modern hand crafts.
Written in clear, graphic terms, this book traces the rich heritage of macramé, discusses tools and materials, and shows, step-by-step, how to tie the basic knots and combine them. Detailed instructions for planning and executing designs are given, together with suggestions for projects. More than 270 photographs and diagrams illustrate the text.
The basic method for making macramé is incredibly simple: just two different knots are the key to achieving the intricate patterns. It is an expressive technique with no hard and fast rules and very few limitations. The variety of designs possible is limited only by the individual worker's imagination; the multitude of items that can be fashioned range from hats to hammocks. The materials needed are inexpensive and easily accessible anywhere.

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Very little space is required; small projects can be carried in a pocket.
Macramé is the only book presently available that offers such complete background, instructions, and modern applications of this fine old art. Mrs. Harvey's lively presentation will inspire anyone who enjoys doing hand work and it will surely encourage novices who have hesitated to attempt more complicated forms of handiwork. In Mrs. Harvey's personal experience, men, women, and children alike seem to find a special kind of pleasure in taking a ball of string and creating something beautiful with it. And for artists and designers concerned with creating texture and form, macramé offers an intriguing new medium."

Incidentally, my aunt has some macramé wall hangings in her home that may well have been made with the help of this volume.

Handwritten at the top of one of the blank pages at the beginning is the name and address of a previous owner, which I will give here only because according to Google Street View it appears to be a bridge:
Dorothy Vaughn
1130 Monument Blvd.
Concord

The cover picture is repeated within, with this caption: "Small pieces of macramé were knotted of French cotton embroidery yarn and then assembled on a wooden background to make a collage. Some stitchery and beads were used to enrich the composition."

There are large photos throughout, mostly in black and white, but 3 in color (in addition to the reprints of the two cover images, so 5 total).

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Pull something off that shelf for me, please.

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@berni1954 - The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. This CD is a big reason why I'm a little paranoid about what music I listen to, lest it come pouring out of my mouth in public at an inopportune time. I got some VERY dirty looks from other people's parents when I was in 4th grade. (It wasn't even my idea to listen to it in the first place, we had a shared sound system at home!)

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is a movie musical starring Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds. She played the madam of the aforementioned whorehouse, and he was her love interest.

Track listing:
1 20 Fans
2 A Lil' Ole Bitty Pissant Country Place
3 Sneakin' Around
4 Watchdog Report/ Texas Has a Whorehouse In It
5 Courtyard Shag
6 The Aggie Song
7 The Sidestep
8 Hard Candy Christmas
9 I Will Always Love You

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@berni1954 @complexissimple I cannot wait to see this one! Grew up as a fan of stage & movie musicals, & some I do not love when they transfer to film...this one I did, in part due to the soundtrack. Looking forward to seeing what happens here, since my Something from the Shelf was a CD as well - very interested in what different people do with this idea!

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My first thoughts are a country song that tries to include all the titles on the albums in the lyrics, Will it happen? Not immediately, I am afraid. I've a funeral to attend in Britain this coming week.

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Wrote it on the beach this morning and recorded it this afternoon.

Hope you like it!

https://fiftyninety.fawm.org/songs/2951

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I can hold out no longer 😀

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@andygetch - Andreas Vollenweider. This is probably the only instrumental music I have ever purchased (as a singer, instrumentals tend to make me antsy). A friend from school randomly invited me to go to Dimple Records with her one day, and I picked up a random CD to listen to and ended up loving it so I bought it. Incidentally, the listening system at that store was just a Walkman-style pocket CD player and headphones. They kept it at the counter and loaned it out to customers. The CD is called The Magical Journeys of Andreas Vollenweider. It also says "Soundtrack to the PBS program!"

Track listing:
1 Stella (from "COSMOPOLY")
2 Down to the Moon (Live at Sunset, Zurich, Switzerland, 2002)
3 Moonday (live in Tokyo, Japan)
4 Pace Verde
5 The Woman & the Stone (Montreux Jazz Festival)
6 Passionata (Live at Sunset, Zurich, Switzerland)
7 Under One Moon 1 (show-case for the release of COSMOPOLY, New York)
8 Hush, my Heart be still (COSMOPOLY, New York, 2000)
9 Night Fire Dance (Theatre Carré, Amsterdam, 1986)
10 die Vogelpredigt (Grossmunster Cathedral, Zurich, father and son improvising)
11 Micro Macro (Rockpalast Festival Loreley, Germany, 1982 - Live at Sunset, Zurich, Switzerland, 2002)
12 Under One Moon 2 (COSMOPOLY project at AVO Sessions, Basle, Switzerland, 2002)
13 Pearls & Tears (from Dancing with the Lion music video)
14 Princess Kira (live at the intl. Film Festival, Warsaw, Poland)
15 The Play of the Five Balls (from White Winds)
16 Seven Doors
17 Hey You! Yes You. . . (at the Kaufleuten Theatre, Zurich, Switzerland, 2004)
18 Pyramid (Live at Sunset, Zurich, Switzerland, 2002)

All those dates made me wonder when this CD came out. The answer is 2006.

There's even a small blurb: "This disc includes all 'Live' musical performances taken from the celebrated PBS program - 'The Magical Journeys of Andreas Vollenweider' capturing Andreas and his band, full symphony orchestras and a host of guest stars including

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Blurb continues: "Carly Simon, David Lindley, Mark O'Connor, Carlos Nunez, Patty Austin, Xiaojing Wang, Abdulah Ibrahim, Djivan Gasparyan and many, many others."

Have fun!