The Composer is Dead, by Lemony Snicket (18 March)

I haven’t really been in a mood for reading these past couple days, which I suppose is natural when you have nothing to do but read all day. I suppose you could say I read on Sunday, when I read from my Cleveland on Foot guidebook when Scott and I were walking around Bratenahl (fun fact: Margaret Hamilton, who played the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz, was once a schoolteacher there), but mostly we were feeling poor amongst the lakefront summer mansions.

But the books I’ve got stacked up just weren’t interesting me… until today, when I went to the library and collected three new books, all of which I’m excited about. The first one I cracked open was The Composer is Dead, which was quite a bit smaller than I’d envisioned when I didn’t know it was a children’s book. Oops!

All 40 pages are, however, full of awesomeness, as is the accompanying CD. The jacket flap recommends reading the book first, then listening to the audio, and I agree.

The story starts, as you might imagine, with a dead composer. An inspector comes in and asks a few questions of the orchestra to figure out whodunnit. Certain remarks are made about the various instruments which are rather apt. Of my beloved instrument, the inspector asks, “What say you, French Horns? You have a strange accent.” Their response? None. “The French Horns did not understand the question, and began murmuring a story about the Old Country.” Teehee!

So you get to the end of the story and you’re like, okay, that’s cute, what’s this CD all about? And it turns out that this story was actually set to music for the San Francisco Symphony, and that’s what you get to hear! Daniel Handler reads the story, with a few additions (you get to hear the horns’ story; he wonders about getting some food), and the symphony plays some wonderful music in the background. I want to play this piece. I bet the rights are expensive.

Rating: 9/10 (8 for the story itself, 10 for the music!)
(Countdown Challenge: 2009, Support Your Local Library Challenge)