"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."

-C.S. Lewis

What we read has such an impact on us, and I am always on the lookout for something that will inspire me to be a better person. Here is a sampling of books that have been in the teetering stack sitting on top of what is rumored to be my bedside table.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Johann Sebastian Bach, by Rick Marschall

Three out of five stars
The premise of this book is a discussion of Johann Sebastian Bach and the influences that inspired his music. As biographies go, it is short and a quick read, offering a glimpse into the man who himself had a wide impact on the musical world.
Of Bach's great many works, the one which I am most familiar with is Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring. Consequently, I knew that Bach was a Christian, but did not fully understand the great extent to which his faith impacted his music. Rick Marschall paints a very vivid picture of Bach as a man who had great theological knowledge, and transposed his theology into the musical realm. In this book, we see Bach as a missionary of sorts, delivering God's message through the world's most universal language.
On the other hand, the book didn't give me much insight into his life beyond that. For a man who must have been capable of great passion, very little of that seeps into the pages of this biography. This book is more a discussion of the times in which Bach lived, and a conglomeration of quotations from other biographies on Bach.  The spirit of the man does not leap off the pages of this book as I would have hoped.
That being said, however, I am now better prepared to listen to Bach's music now that I have read this book. After all, perhaps the only way to truly understand a musician is to understand his music. And so, even though the book does not live up to my expectations from a biography, its brevity was just enough to pique my interest in a great man. I recommend this book to anyone who doesn't know much about Bach, but would like to know more without devoting too much time to the subject.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”