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September 04, 2008


Meg Lark

Well, yes.

Nearly 40 years ago, I read Leonard Bernstein's "The Joy of Music." In it was a description of how conductors conduct orchestras and other ensembles. Some 30 years later, when I was the only member of my church choir who could read music, that book was my resource for stepping up to the plate and taking the directorship when it was offered to me -- I'd never have had the nerve to do it, if I hadn't read Bernstein's book.

Richard Thurman

Dear Steve:
Some years ago I read Albert Schweitzer's THE PHILOSOPHY OF CIVILIZATION. It's had a major impact on my life, and now I've used it in a long short story I've written for THE NEW YORKER. I've published other things with them, so I think they'll be very interested in this. You will see there, in the form of its impact on a story character, the impact that it's had on me.
Another topic. . . Some years ago I complained to you about the construction of your five year diary. Mine started falling apart during the first year. Miraculously, however, it's held together -- in a sort of way -- for almost the full five years. I'm now about ready for a new one, but I see nothing in Levenger's that indicates you're still handling five-year diaries. Is that true? Or must I look elsewhere?
Just a word to compliment you on your 'Well-Read Life.' I'm enjoying the series immensely. Keep up the good work!

Warm regards,
Rich Thurman

Steve Leveen

Dear Meg and Rich,

What wonderful examples of how books led to action. I've ordered Schweitzer's book myself.

As for the five-year diary, I'm also a user and take pleasure in the few lines I record each night before falling asleep. Good news: we are planning to come out with such a diary again next year. Watch your catalog and email...

Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us all and I'll keep my eye out for your piece in The New Yorker. Wow!

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