Read advance reader review of Sounds Like Titanic by Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman, page 2 of 4

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Sounds Like Titanic

A Memoir

by Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman

Sounds Like Titanic by  Jessica Chiccehitto  Hindman X
Sounds Like Titanic by  Jessica Chiccehitto  Hindman
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2019, 256 pages

    Feb 2020, 256 pages


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There are currently 24 member reviews
for Sounds Like Titanic
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  • Judy K. (Montgomery, TX)
    Wicked humor, brutal introspection
    I enjoyed this book very much. Jessica Hindman's memoir of growing up in Appalachia and pursuing a dream of being a classical violinist was as amazing as it was funny. What four-year-old hears Vivaldi in a movie about a squirrel and bases her life on creating a skill set that will enable her to play that tune? Her dogged determination from the age of eight when she received her first violin made me feel like such a slacker. I didn't figure out what I wanted to do until I was nearly thirty. By that time, Jessica had a degree from Columbia, had travelled the entire United States and Middle East and China chasing her dreams. This book was very well written with a biting sense of humor and some thought-provoking insights into growing up a self-avowed "average" person who thought she could work herself into being gifted. The irony here is she is immensely gifted as a writer, not a musician. Her jaw-dropping story of being part of an Ensemble that mimes performances for years will make you want to dig into the archives of PBS specials. Her description of "The Composer" portrays a man who is simple and complex and extremely kind and cruel. Terrific read even if you don't like nonfiction.
  • Shelley C. (Eastport, NY)
    The author may not be a talented violinist, but she sure can write! Her words are, at once, lyrical and engaging. Her story is instructive and compelling.
    Memoirs of unknown quantities can sometimes be uninteresting to the reader and make you wonder why they were even published. Not so with, Sounds Like Titanic. Most of the time, I won't even read them. Now, I find myself obsessed with the idea of finding out who The Composer is and outing him.for his selfishness towards his musicians and deception and greed when it comes to his audiences.
    Naive, in need of money for college tuition, and desperately wanting to be a paid musician, it is easy to understand why our author went on tour with him. That she was able to come out of this with a greater understanding of herself and her strengths and limitations made this a good read. And, in the end, may also inspire others who find themselves stuck in a situation in which they too find themselves out of their depth, to take control of their lives and move on.
    i highly recommend this book.
  • Patricia L. (Seward, AK)
    Are we sinking yet?
    My interest in Sounds Like Titanic, by Jessica Hindman began as a fellow violinist's kinship but was quickly peaked by the no nonsense perspective with which she interprets her life journey. Hindman's memoir is written in second person where she is you instead of I, enabling the reader to feel a hint of responsibility for the narrative and its truths amidst the fakery.
    What fakery you ask? During Hindman's college years she was forced to work as hard at paying for her education as she did getting it. So when the opportunity to play professionally, on tour even, presented itself she happily accepted. Who would have guessed that the music the ensemble played, to entice cd buyers, sounding very much like that of the soundtrack from Titanic, was actually emitted from a cd player attached to a large sound system. The smiling musicians essentially mimes with large smiles. Because the gig was better than selling her eggs for IVF, Hindman played on and on…
    Realizing there wouldn't be a career in music, Hindman studies to be a Middle Eastern expert/journalist. Through study and travel she becomes fluent in the language and customs, yet can't secure a position in which she can help others understand the nuances of the Mid East. Her thoughts lead to how America became entwined in the current debacle. "For when your grandchildren ask you, "What were you doing when the snake was slithering toward them?" you have an answer for you saw them, thousands of Americans…listening to music….hypnotized soothed. Couldn't get enough of it. Bought twelve CDs at a time. Millions of albums. Music that sounded just like a movie about an entire society - rich on the top deck, poor on the bottom---headed for disaster."
    Hindman's experiences and lessons learned dispel many of the philanthropic notions of the "fortunate" souls who grow up in rural America, are "granted" an Ivy League education and gratuitously launched as an adult into another level of American society. She sees much of what others do not. Or are they/we just not believing it?
    This book is recommended for everyone but especially those who need a reality check on life's expectations.
  • Shirley T. (Comfort, TX)
    Sounds Like Titanic
    This memoir by Jessica C. Hindman is an intriguing story.

    Written mainly in the second person style she also talks directly to the reader. It tells the tale of a West Virginia girl growing up in a modest family background. However she develops her musical talent on the violin and shows a brave determination to succeed in life.

    Music threads through the memoir. Despite "scam" performances with the outrageous fake "Composer" she was able to fund her way through college, traveling from state to state with the Composer's performing group.

    Her struggles are courageous and often humorous. Her description of the post 9/11 years show the dramatic effects of that tragedy and the fear which affected America at the time.

    This is an important book and I recommend it.
  • Pau J. (Bath, ME)
    Sounds like
    I loved this book! Easy to read and held my interest. The author delves into her life, drawing meaning from the time, environment and cultural climate she lived through. She uses a lot of self-deprecating humor and isn't easy on herself.
    She writes and you follow, thought her passions, difficulties. frustrations. The main story of the ensemble, "The Composer" and "concerts" are amazing. I never knew that happened.
    It's a fun book to read, if you don't mind a little pain along with the humor. It reads true to life.
  • Carolyn L. (Summerville, SC)
    Sounds Like Titanic
    I enjoyed this; the author is certainly an entertaining writer. Descriptions of her early life are interesting, and I could sympathize with her difficulties in finding herself at Columbia University' - Appalachia to NYC is quite a stretch. The story of her touring with The Composer and his ensemble is both humorous and sad. What I think bothered me a bit were the generalizations about the people in the towns and cities that they visited. Also, we are of different generations, with differing mindsets about life. Overall, I am glad that I read this book, and I think book clubs could have some great discussions about it.
  • Elizabeth M. (KY)
    Unique Memoir
    Sounds Like Titanic chronicles the experiences of a young woman from Appalachia who becomes a professional, but mediocre, violinist. She travels the country in a battered RV with fellow musicians to pay for an Ivy League education. Belatedly, she discovers that her lack of talent is no obstacle because the microphones are dead. The audience hears only a CD that "sounds like Titanic."

    I was sure that my own experiences in KY, NYC, and academia would compel me to empathize with the author as she incurs a mountain of debt, emotional scars and physical pain, but the snark factor got in my way. She seems to snicker at the victims of the fraud, like the "brassy haired middle-aged women," the "Kansans in FDNY baseball caps," and those who believe she has a "real gift."

    This book will have more appeal to young adults who will enjoy discussing themes of authenticity, college debt, and gender roles, while poking fun at American culture. Adult readers in mid-America may identify more with the victims of the fraud and less with the author and her fellow musicians.

Beyond the Book:
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