Book Club… Narziss and Goldmund and The Pearl

Dear Friends,

Well I feel like a bit of a fool for not responding to the hoards of messages that y’all have kindly taken the time to post up here. I’m not a facebook or a twitter dude, and most of my time spent on the internet is saved exclusively for following AFC Wimbledon in the English Football League, or else watching Youtube videos of Johnny Flynn again. And again. And also reading but not really replying to emails, to my shame (“sssssorry about that”).

Meanwhile, I thought it was high time to publish another book report (NOT a book review – “I am no prophet, and here’s no great matter…”), and this time it is the long awaited Narziss and Goldmund, by Hermann Hesse, that features alongside The Pearl by John Steinbeck cos it’s high time we gave that fella a bit more love.

It was our fine banjo player Win, aka The Dowggefather, aka Duh Dowgge, aka Tres Sikh, aka Country Winston, who forced me to read the Hesse. And I won’t lie, it has taken a long time to conjure the courage and headspace both to finish and write something about N&G. It’s dense, that’s for certain. And though not the longest book ever (I confess to being one of those people who picks up a book and at least notes the number of pages presented to me as a reader), it’s meaty and it’s challenging. Upon finishing it, I can’t deny the bitter sweet taste that it leaves me with, and I’m not even sure if I can say for certain that I loved it. I can certainly say that I’m glad I read it, and that it made me think the most of any book I’ve read in the past year. But it was also the kind of book that would take me about 30 minutes to get through and make notes on just one page, and the kind of book that I would pick up, read ten pages, and then put down for a few weeks and pick up something lighter to fill in the time. Like watching a really intense film on the plane, and then compensating by watching a trashy comedy immediately afterwards. I’m grateful for both to be honest.

But the way in which Hesse explores this man, Goldmund, his character, his journey, his mistakes made out of nature and nurture, and his relationship with the sort of heroic figure of his friend and mentor Narziss is amazing. The story centres around Goldmund, who is Narziss’s pupil at a medieval monastery in Germany, and who leaves his sheltered life to “plunge into a sea of blood and lust” in his dangerous adventures on the road, and tries to make sense of the physical world around him against the backdrop of the philosophical world he’s come from. Without giving too much away, he quits his life of structured prayer and sacred safety to go a-whoring and a-stealing, and most of the book is about his exploration of the benefits and dangers of living a lawless lifestyle. Hesse takes the opportunity to really focus in on the dichotomy between a free life and a structured life, and between the artist’s and the philosopher’s way of seeking meaning in life. All pretty, pretty big themes, yes. But it’s done beautifully, and a lot of the meat of the text comes from the storyline, descriptions of Goldmund’s actions and choices, and from his conversations with Narziss, which are truly brilliantly written, in my opinion. I guess it verges a lot on the philosophical and spiritual as well as the corporeal, which is challenging for someone more simple-minded like myself, but it really is worth it, I think.

If you’re looking for light relief (relatively!), then The Pearl by John Steinbeck is that kind of book that you can smash through in an afternoon. It is so freaking beautiful. If you’ve read Steinbeck before, I think this book displays some of his quintessential skills in a really concise, direct, unassuming little story. It is painfully aware and emotive writing about human beings, community and man’s most basic nature. Kino is a Mexican pearl diver from a poor community in Baja California where he lives in a hut with his wife, Juana, and their baby son Coyotito. Kino discovers the priceless ‘pearl of the world’ when diving for pearls one day, and the story is about how The Pearl changes this poor family’s life. They try to sell it, and all the wealthy city-dwellers try to cheat them. I don’t want to say any more – all I can say is read it, if you can. It’s beautiful in every way. There is hardly any dialogue, and Steinbeck uses a soundtrack in Kino’s imagination to do a lot of the story-telling: there is a Song of the Family, which is soft and tender and ancient music in Kino’s head, and there is the Song of the Enemy which he hears when he and his family are threatened. It’s an amazingly powerful device. I don’t know if this is the kind of book they teach in schools in America, we studied Of Mice and Men at school, but this book is so concise and spot-on that it really displays Steinbeck’s ability to cut through to the core of human nature in his writing, and his exploration of injustice, greed and poverty/wealth is mind-blowingly stirring and direct. His self-control as a writer (despite his obviously more expansive books like East of Eden and Grapes of Wrath) to be able to have a huge emotional effect on a reader with so few words makes him still my favourite writer I think.

M

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150 comments

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  2. samanthaann says:

    Happy Easter to you, boys & to all who visit this site & support the boys. I wish you a happy & peaceful one & let’s have some Spring in the UK! God Bless, SamanthaAnnxxxx

  3. arianavega says:

    I would love to hear what you would have to say about “The Catcher In The Rye” It’s my favorite and you could probably get through it in one sitting.

  4. Kala & Justin Decker says:

    Me and my hubby fell in love with the M&S as soon as i heard the cave and will support you all no matter what. even though i really don’t know about the rap stage but no worries we will listen. we listen every day and every time we listen the lyrics goes right to the heart . love you guys keep up the wonderful work. with love from ( USA) Maine

  5. kzooleslie says:

    To Marcus and posters,
    If you’ve haven’t already read it, “Gilead” by Marilynne Robinson is a treasure of a book.

    New York Times book review for background: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/28/books/review/28COVERWOOD.html?_r=0.

  6. ymsgttovar says:

    Hello all,
    Just came across this book club here and I think is great. I, sadly, have only read one Steinbeck book in my life, but I will make note to read this one soon. Since last summer I’ve gone through 10 great books and just thought I’d share them here: Catcher in the Rye, The Crucible, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Great Gatsby, Perfume, Persepolis 1 & 2, Woman at Point Zero, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, and No Exit. I can say that they are all good reads and each have in-depth meanings once analyzed. One thing, however, none of them are particularly happy books and they might make you want to put it down for a bit because of the content but either way you will love all of them. Best of Luck to all of you!

  7. samanthaann says:

    Hello Marcus & all,
    Lovely to see book club flourishing & lots of new posters. I’ve just finished The Farm by Richard Benson, a one time Richard & Judy book. It’s a real life account of Richard’s life, growing up on a Yorkshire farm & how the farming industry declined in the 90s to the point where they had to sell the farm. Richard, unlike his younger brother, has no aptitude for farm work so goes off to become a journalist, hence the writing. However, he remains close to his family & visits often. War & Peace it ain’t, but it it what it is, an honest family story, written with a delectable dialect, which transcribes to the page very well. It is a story of family & relationships, across generations & how the next generation always have different ways of doing things & living. It comes full circle at the end with Richard trying to re-discover his farming roots as he tackles a garden project. Loses it’s way a little after the farm sale but that’s life. A book about ordinary working people, which can be appreciated by anyone. God Bless, SamanthaAnn xxxx

  8. kathleen1953mc says:

    Hello marcus, I read the pearl when I was a teen,very good book,but all of steinbeck’s books are classics. So read on marcus. I’ m looking forward to your next review.

  9. kristiedenz says:

    I read this under the title Death and the Love, the U.S. title. I found it terribly hard to read and it has been a few years since. Im not sure if I enjoyed the battle with myself to finish it because the it was challenging or I enjoyed Golmund’s discovery of women and ultimately the philosophical banter between Goldmund and Narcissus.
    Thank you for being a positive vibe in my love for music!

  10. maxfrost says:

    Hey Marcus, I think a book that you would find…enthralling, if you will, is ‘Anthem’ by Ayn Rand. I would say that it is probably my favorite book ever.

  11. VOICEPRO says:

    Hey guys,
    Thanks for your wonderful work ~ may you have continued fruitful and inspirational careers. Marcus: as a voice coach to professionals in Los Angeles, I’d like to suggest you see a good laryngologist (perhaps Steve Zeitels in Massachusetts?) – your voice is exhibiting sounds of wear that may be dangerous to your continued health and work. Also: be sure to enunciate the last consonant sounds of words, (A) so we can follow what you’re saying and (B) so you don’t fall into Mick Jagger syndrome. Great work guys, MANY THANKS!

  12. TaylorMorgan023 says:

    Dear Marcus,
    I’m a very huge fan of all your songs & no matter what my situation is you have a song. When my mom passed away a few months ago I did nothing but listen to your album Babel & it help me with losing my best friend. I love you and your music I’m very pleased with your inspirational lyrics & the was you keep your emotions out of the songs but quoting Shakespeare is amazing. Your a very talented musician. (:

  13. spellmirror says:

    HEY THERE!!!! I AM A HUGE FAN OF YOURS ALL THE WAY FROM SRI LANKA ( hope you know where it is)…I LOVE ALL OF YOUR WORK…ITS JUST MIND BLOWING. the lyrics and the music is amaazing…I really really really hope i get a chance to meet you guys one day and come to one of your concerts….

    PS: I really dunno why i posted this here but i had to post it somehwere so sorry ppl…I really hope you (marcus) sees this ..lots of love from SL…:):):)

  14. laurapalmer317 says:

    I know it was a while ago now, but just to congratulate you on your show at Nottingham on 8th December 2012, it was EPIC. xx

  15. sgthaydensgirl316 says:

    Marcus I have a question for you if you come across this message. I home school my kids and they want to know what books you read when you were a young boy and teenager. Also, I would like to thank you for your music. My husband is currently on his seventh combat deployment and your music is helping me get through. My three year old daughter always wants to listen to I Will Wait. She said it reminds her about waiting for daddy to come home. I hope that my husband and I will catch yall at Bonaroo. It just depends on how my husband is doing after returning home. God Bless. Sgt Haydens Girl!

  16. paulie000 says:

    Dear Marcus, I realize all too well that considering the sheer amount of posts on here you are probably never going to see this, but just knowing that you might come across it one day, is good enough for me :)
    I love this book club and I really hope that you will continue with the blog. Thanks to you I have re-discovered my love for Steinbeck, which for some reason I have forgotten about; and for that I am incredibly grateful. Also, I absolutely love all the literary references that are dispersed throughout your albums.
    I do not think I have ever connected with a band so much as I have with Mumford & Sons and your songs honestly mean the world to me! I had the utmost privilege to see you in concert (front row!) on March 4th in Warsaw; it was genuinely the best night of my life and a dream come true! I was incredibly lucky to have had the chance to very briefly meet Ben and Ted before the gig, but unfortunately was not able to catch you after the concert to be able to thank you in person. I just really hope to have the chance to do so one day …
    Thank you for everything! Hope you have an amazing European Tour! Best wishes :) xxx

  17. kzooleslie says:

    My stomach tightened a bit when I saw “Timshel” as a song title — it’s a concept, word, and passage that means a lot to me. I read East of Eden as a teenager, and I believe perhaps it has influenced me more than any other book. (Although it was the Pearl that made me fall in love with Steinbeck.) I also really appreciate how often “grace” appears in your lyrics … to me it’s the most fascinating idea in Christianity. You obviously wrestle with religion and perpetually search for meaning in the world around you, and that has really resonated with me. That said, you fools seem like you don’t take yourselves too seriously — good on you for that. I was lucky enough to see you in concert in Fairfax; I’ve never been to such a seamless, lay-it-all-out-there performance – thank you!

  18. Cabourjeily007 says:

    Marcus you probably don’t actually read all these comments cause you are a very busy man… but I love your music, you are my inspiration.

  19. DesDeines says:

    You’re a Hemingway reincarnate, and our generation is lucky to have you

  20. kingscons says:

    Well if I had sweared a band could mix this way influences I love, I think I would have lied. But you brought me to things that may happen again one day. Sorry for my very poor english spoken but I feel no shame for I feel so happy for you. Lyrics, vocals, music, melt in dreamy movies I have in mind when I fall asleep, when I wake up. It’s a strange universal, hopefull mood I feel when I’m listening to this music. And I’m selfishly wondering why you couldn’t play à Gijon , Spain, the 27th of june, one day after The Boss, one day before “The Delta Saints”… I hope to see you soon.
    Best regards and congratulations to you all.
    Bernard, From the Basque Country, South-West France.

  21. samanthaann says:

    Hello all. Still on Little Dorrit at the moment. Loving it! Keep you posted. God Bless, SamanthaAnnxxxx

  22. LauretaGC says:

    Marcus! You have to read Hiperion by Hölderlin. I think that you will love it!

  23. foosee says:

    Have you ever read Blaise Pascal’s Pensees? I ask because many of you lyrics seem to allude to man’s dual nature–being ontologically great but morally fallen, a them Pascal incorporates extensively into his writings. If you haven’t read him, I’m sure you’d love him. He is very wise indeed.

  24. TK Anthony says:

    First–congratulations on the well-deserved Grammy Award. The rest of this post is way overdue. I first heard of M&S when my nephew gave me “Sigh No More” for Christmas ’12. I listened to it, then listened to it again, this time while reading the lyrics. And I kept thinking…”Wow. There’s a wideness of thought and spirit here that’s almost Chestertonian in scope. These guys ought to know about Chesterton. He’s a kindred spirit.” I never go out to band websites. (Bela’ Fleck is the single exception. ;)) But I did. And right there, under Marcus’ Book Club, was GK Chesterton’s “Outline of Sanity.” Wholly unexpected. Entirely right. No wonder your songs and lyrics strike to the heart, fueled by this kind of thought and reading. As an author myself, I love a man who not only reads, but encourages others to do so! Congratulations again, and a belated happy birthday! (Oh, and keep up the good work!) +

  25. kwestrope says:

    Hi Marcus. This is such a fantastic idea! I love a man who reads books….so sexy. One of the best I’ve read in a long time is “The Story of Beautiful Girl” by Rachel Simon. I highly recommend it.

  26. evgerv says:

    If you like books with a spiritual theme, Richard Bach is excellent! My two favourite from him are Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Illusions. “Learning is finding out what we already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you. You are all learners, doers and teachers.”
    Thank you Marcus for the book club. I’m a writer, so I love anything to do with books. :)

  27. Mariolina says:

    Ciao Marcus,
    scusami ma non conosco bene l’inglese …
    sono molto colpita da come suonate e da quello che scrivete: è proprio vero che il cuore dell’uomo parla una sola lingua ed il suo grido è per tutti lo stesso. I miei 3 piccoli bambini (1 – 4 – 7 anni) amano ascoltarvi e cantare sulla vostra musica! Continuate a lavorare così soprattutto perchè è evidente che siete contenti. “La bellezza salverà il mondo”

  28. BethanyDitto865 says:

    I just finished reading “The Pearl,” by John Steinbeck, and dear God I got bored. Them it brightened up a little. Challenging book if course, but a good book. I’m so excited to see you guys tomorrow. I flew all the way from Texas to Boston for this concert. I can’t wait. Have a nice night! :D

  29. shannon_b says:

    Hope you have an absolutely brilliant birthday Marcus, have a great day !xx ironically I came on here to post about the religious influences throughout the albums anstronger any of you of strong religion ?x

  30. badeline says:

    I don’t know if you have been asked before, but I can’t help but notice the lyrics to some of your songs (to ME) seem very close to biblical, is any of your inspiration/influence coming from God? When I listen to your music, some songs more than others, I can’t help but be reminded of things I have read in the bible. Am I way off base, because when you sing things like “you forgave and I wont forget” I cant help but think of Jesus. Either way I love your music and very much appreciate what you do because no matter what the driving force behind it is your music is inspirational to me and simply fantastic. I look forward to seeing you live some day.

  31. charebear13 says:

    Happy Birthday, Marcus! Just want you to know, which I am sure you already do, how much you are loved by us little people and even though I wish and hope that one day, I may be able to just silently bask in the glow of your presence…which is all I ask for in this complicated world, there are a lot of us out here who hope that your day is filled with love, family and friends. <3 You are what my mom would say, wise beyond your years....an old soul, and I love you as if I have known you for many lifetimes. Not in that crazy, psychopathic IN love kind of way...but in that, I love your intelligence, wit, charm and soul. You touch me to the core. Happy, Happy Birthday, Marcus. All of my love, Charity <3

  32. madie787 says:

    Happy 26th Marcus! You’re so beyond your years.

  33. samanthaann says:

    Happy Birthday, Marcus! Hope you have a really lovely day! I’m reading Little Dorrit , Dickens & loving it. What a genius! But then we Aquarians are! He never wastes a word or character. My favourite author, without a doubt! God Bless, SamanthaAnnxxxx

  34. One Man & His WaistCoat says:

    Marcus, i’m a young writer/novolist/musician and would love for you to read the beginings of my bookand give me some feed back. Its set in the Dust Bowl aera in america and is about a young man growing up leaving home and being forced form his ranch to the city and the challenges he faces. If your a member of the public reading his, please could you ask him to read my book i would consider it a houner if you did. This book has taken over my life.

  35. mpackman says:

    Marcus, you will be pleased to know that The Pearl is, indeed, taught in American schools, along with Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath, which, I am given to understand, inspired your hauntingly beautiful and heartbreaking Dust Bowl Dance. Your lyrics are poetry. Steinbeck would be proud.

  36. hippiepeacenurse says:

    Thank you Marcus for you view on at least one book. And, thank you for the music– putting such depth into song is beauty and truth. Hope the lot of you makes it to Telluride 40th. I’ll be there and hope to hear the sounds I grew up listening to. Peace be with you Marcus.

  37. Adam2332 says:

    I hate predictive text, it should say The House of Mapuhi.

  38. Adam2332 says:

    The pearl sounds a lot like a short story written Jack London called The house of Malibu(south sea tales) but I shall read and compare.

  39. cathleenvincent says:

    Would have loved to see you all in Boston like I did in 2010, but will miss you this time around. Thanks for sharing your eyes.

  40. pedigo_s says:

    hey Marcus,
    I have been listening to your music for about 3 years and i was just wondering dose you music come from personal experiences ,and if so, who was the one who contibuted the most to the song (I gave you all). Also congragulations on your marrige. well any ways i love your music and hope you guys the best this year
    Sincearly,
    Samantha pedigo

  41. samanthaann says:

    Hello Marcus & fellow book enjoyers. Hope your 2013 has started well. I have just finished “Suite Francaise”, Irene Nemirovsky. I loved the 2nd part! It concentrated on a small French, village, under occupation by the Germans in WW2. What captivated me was the tension between the Lady of the house & the German officer, billeted to live there. Maybe I’m just a romantic! At the end are letters & notes from the author, who, tragically died in a concentration camp, being of Jewish descent. How abhorrent to me that such a talent could have perished just because of who her grandparents were! Thank heavens we mostly live in better times. Let’s practice tolerance & keep it that way! God Bless, SamanthaAnnxxxx

  42. Brooke A.R.C. Sheridan says:

    Hey M.
    I’ve been a fan the day I heard you guys in 2009. I am so happy for your music in my life. I have been, as I say to the edges of my mind and back again about 7 times in 12 years and Im only 32, thank God!! And thank God I am here and not in an intitution somewhere.

    The music you all make and the words that are written are poetry to me. Influences are the key to a mind with a message. You are not a saint I know. I aint no saint, but I live a life of Good while striving to reach my potential. This is hard no matter who you are. I’m I right?

    Ive been around the block so to speak. Seen a lot. Lived a lot (mostly good I can say) and have experience with LIFE. That’s for damn sure!

    Anyway, I’m rambling. Hope your well. I m not a crazy follower of anyone. Still, I was complelled to thank you for your music in my Life today.

    Brooke ACR Sheridan

  43. Hopeful-Wanderer says:

    You are to me, what Bob Dylan was to you…
    I love Archery as well, so next time you’re in England I shall give you a bow and you can be Robin Hood like you said you wanted to.
    Thank You for your music.
    Arran.

  44. samanthaann says:

    Happy New Year boys & my fellow fans & book lovers! Hope 2013 is a great year for you all! God Bless, SamanthaAnnxxxx

  45. ccheek13 says:

    Marcus,
    Your my hero. I look up too you. You have skill I have never seen or heard before, thats why I think your the best out there. If I could be be with anyone in the world for one day or even one minute. It would be with you. Thats how much your music has touched me, I look up too you and always will. If you ever play in Wisconsin, usa. I will be there. Thank you for being you.
    Your Fan,

    Cody Cheek

  46. samanthaann says:

    Dear Marcus, Ben Ted & Win & all my fellow booklovers & Mumfordians,
    I wish you all a very Merry Xmas. Just seen Muppet Xmas Carol twice & had a couple of sherries so it definitely feels like Xmas. Alistair Sim as Scrooge to come later! Enjoy time with your loved ones but give a prayer for those who won’t be happy this Xmas too. I am so lucky to have a wonderful family. Others are not. God Bless us, every one, SamanthaAnnxxxx

  47. Hannah W says:

    Marcus,
    I went to your concert at the 02 on Tuesday 18th December 2012.
    It was quite simply an epiphany.
    x

  48. Sofia says:

    Marcus, I’m waiting for you to recommend a new book. It was almost a year ago .. ;-)

  49. samanthaann says:

    Dear Marcus & fellow book lovers,
    I’m about halfway through Suite Francaise, Irene Nemirovsky, my library bookgriup book that I have not finished & have bookgriup tonight! It’s set in 1941 in France as the Germans are about to occupy & everyone tries to flee. The author was of jewish heritage & actually died in a concentration camp. The story was unpublished for 50 years. It’s quite non-fictional in part. I’m learning about a part of history I know nothing of. Well written, it concentrates on several wealthy characters & really shows how far from everyone pulling together, it appeared to be every man for himself. Interesting to read the 2nd part. I will continue. God Bless, SamanthaAnnxxxx

  50. abnc990 says:

    MARCUS READ IT!
    I read Narziss and Goldmund 2 years ago. I felt so empty when I finished it. It’s just the most beautiful story possibly existing in the world, everything, andventure love friendship…and it pretends to be something like a “life guide” book. The incredible taste of Hesse for describing something appealing and beautifull, left me extremely sad. It didn’t tell anything to my life now, it just left me a bit hopless. He depicts the kind of freedom more easily desirable, but that in the end is the first slavery and leaves him lost.
    Same taste for beautiful things, kind of same stories (medioeval, knights ecc…) but in a completely different light and hope and freedom for the characters and for the reader, is LOUIS DE WOHL!!please read it!!

    I was at your concert last tuesday. At this time you are playing again. I live in london. HOPE YOU READ THE COMMENT AND LOUIS DE WOHL.

  51. man1000lies says:

    I’m a fan from Manila, Philippines. Well, I’m from South east Asia, so I really wonder whether you would bother reading my comment. But I’m really influenced by your music. I’m ambitiously building a band and we’re starting by writing our originals. I have written 2 drafts so far 13 skeletons and more brainstorming stuff. too bad we might be waiting for a very long time to watch you here from the Philippines. or maybe it would be forever in my dreams and I will remain on a state of youtube gazing in watching your acts (hopefully I can watch you in time!). Well as soon as I have the right finances to do so I’ll buy an original copy of your albums (peace.) So far I’m relying on copies lent to us. I wonder if you are interested to listen to some of our experiments ( I mean the songs) hehe… Well at least hearing from you Mr. M would be fun :) By the way I’m a philosophy major graduate. If you need, you know, a brainstorming guy or life talks I can be one haha (so ambitious of me to right things like these here) Peace other commentators… Just hitting a luck to hear from Mr. M here. Same as you guys I’m a huge fan. I want to be like them some day…. haha! write beautiful songs and inspire and deal with life the way you wanted. Sigh… haha Mr. M if you have the time let’s have a chat.. I would really love to hear from you. Avid fan from the Philippines.

    -AL (themanofthethousandlies)

  52. MotherEarth says:

    “The diversity of the phenomena of nature is so great, and the treasures hidden in the heavens so rich, precisely in order that the human mind shall never be lacking in fresh nourishment.”
    Johannes Kepler

    A reminder, Marcus ;)

  53. rainmud says:

    Whatcha readin now, Marcus?

  54. Sophster says:

    Its weird I just happened to click on this, I went on a internet Journey that began with me buying ‘Siddhartha’ on Amazon, stopping off along the way to watch an interview of you guys where the book club is mentioned, to end up on this page where you are reviewing a book written by Hermann Hesse himself!

    Life is funny…most of the time isn’t it? Anyway 3-5 working days…..

  55. maddielioN1 says:

    Dear Marcus,
    You probably have heard/ seen/ read this before, but the band is my favorite, and I am a huge fan.
    But this book club idea- it’s extra stellar.
    Keep it up!
    Maddie.
    P.S. Come to America! Specifically, the Midwest!

  56. Kapow99 says:

    Marcus,
    My best friend and I are huge fans of the band. We were extremely pleased to hear about your book club because we love reading books as much as we love listing to you guys. Also, we were wondering if you had read the Hunger Games Trilogy.
    I think your blog is awesome,
    Christol
    P.S. you and the boys should play at the Rhythm and Roots music festival in Bristol,Va next year. If not maybe some where in wise county, Va.

  57. RoseM&S says:

    Dear Marcus,
    The idea of the Book Club is wonderful. One more reason to admire your talent.
    The last book you mentioned reminded me of “Mal de Amores” by Angeles Mastretta, a Mexican writer. Unfortunatelly, I couldn´t find the name in English. Although you may think it´s a love story by its name, it deals with the Civil War in Mexico in the end of the 19th Century.
    Not only is the story interesting for the political conflict it presents but also for its main character, Emilia, who struggles against what society expects from her, is politically active, and follows her vocation.
    Best,
    Rose.

  58. Juliana549 says:

    Dear Marcus,
    Have you read any American Civil War era novels? There’s an adventure/love story I might recommend called Ladyslipper, by Donna Weber. It’s a bit dark but very vivid and at least worth a preview on Amazon. Parts of it are so …. human and true, it stuck with me a long time after I read it.
    Thanks for all you do,
    JW

  59. Sacha_lit says:

    Dear Marcus,
    I just wanted to thank you. I’m french and I like literature as much as Winston’s banjo. The way you have written this post made me undestand everything, so I enjoyed it as everyone did, and now I’m going to read Steinbeck who I know only by name.
    Thank you for your music that I really appreciate and I hope that I will be able to see the band one day in a gig. Please, keep making such beautiful songs that bring me joy and peace of heart.
    Friendly, Sarah.

  60. Innes McGregor says:

    “eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase”

  61. ActualDemerz says:

    Dear Marcus, even though this was written (or typed) a while ago, i have a certain desire to delve into this book some time. Thank you for this enlightenment.
    Max

  62. samanthaann says:

    Song to go with The Anniversary Man piano version of Possession by Sarah MacLachlan, a hauntingly beautiful song, God Bless SamanthaAnnxxxx

  63. samanthaann says:

    Dear Marcus & fellow book group members,
    I finished The Anniversary Man by R J Ellory & I loved it. The story of a man, John Costello, who as a teen, survived a serial killer’s attack. His girlfriend did not. We meet him 20 years later, a man who has forged an existence, dominated by routine & isolation, who studies serial killers maybe so that he can prevent this fate happening to anyone else. Someone appears to be replicating different murders. John teams up with Cynical New York cop, Ray Irving, to help identify the killer.
    This was my first crime novel. I avoid them as I think they will disturb me. It did. In a good way. This character, John, was the pull of the story for me, the whole psychology of this man became of interest to me. I have an interest in people. They are walking stories & this character’s story really touched me. I wanted to understand, to help him. A writer has more than done a job well if he can produce this reaction. John Costello is a man doing his best to cope with life. He could be any of us. So if you’re looking to read a crime novel, this might be the one for you!
    God Bless, SamanthaAnnxxxx

  64. miameow2 says:

    I LOVE YOU MARCUS!

  65. vendy72 says:

    Have you seen the new Ken Burns documentary on the Dust Bowl. Amazingly beautiful! Watch it if you can.

  66. Karen Greenhalgh says:

    Mr Mumford, I am impressed with your prose and wonder if your parents appreciate the eloquence with which you write. How do you choose such moving texts to immerse your mind…I would love to inspire my children to embrace such beautiful texts to inspire and enrich their spirit and imagination. Did your parents install a love of literature at an early age, did they model literary love by their choices and by the texts that were visible and accessible? I just love this concept and have ordered my copies of “Narcissus and Goldman” by Hesse, and aim to discuss the main spiritual themes with my family. I am very excited how the notion of this book club will enrich our family dinner table discussion and look forward to discussing salient thematic issues with kindred souls…ps loved your Sydney concert.

  67. NicolaM says:

    Hey Marcus, here is something to read… nicolamichelle.com :D its absolute rubbish at the moment, but its being written as it goes, its in practice, and its on tour if you will…but something greater will be written, on paper and all :O haha..well, if you ever get a moment have a read, and spin a few words, please
    thanks for coming to NZ its was fucking bliss!
    Have a good Christmas and New Year.
    Cheers,
    Nicola Michelle

  68. LSP says:

    Marcus, Ted, Winston and last but not least, Ben. You are true gentlemen, perfection. So I have been one of the many dots in your crowd of fans, and you have no idea who I am, but I feel like I know you all as friends. You are all truly inspirational. I cannot wait to see you at the MEN on the 10th of December, I will be at the front, just to make you aware. I am definitely going to read this book, simply because the books you read inspire you, and hopefully they will inspire me. Lastly, thank you, for bringing sense back to the music business. – Summer Whittaker.

  69. Somara Son says:

    Dear Marcus Mumford, you probably will never ever read this but in case you want to make me the happiest being on this planet then maybe you will choose to do so, even if you rather I not exist and you are having the most terrible day you should read this. First off I love you and your music you have heard that millions of times. I’m not the ordianary fan hopefully. Your music is the most amazing thing i’ve ever heard in the 15 years iv’e lived and even before I was born it is still the most glorious sounds ever created. You’re welcome. You, Ted, Ben, and Winston have been there for me since I was 13 years old. Healing my wounds of sadness and lifting my spirits with your graceful music. We have the same views on religion Mr. Mumford- I believe I once read that you are more spiritual than religious. However my religion is still questionable. I want to sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart for the thousands of smiles that you have given me. I want to thank you for saving my life when I nearly was going to lose it. I want to thank you for being there for me the past two weeks when I was suffering badly in the hospital. I WOULD NOT be here without Mumford and sons I can bet seriously 1000 dollars on that statement. I hope this makes you smile but all I ask is a mere like or just a peek Im surprised you made it this far into the message. Mr. Mumford, Mr. Lovett, Mr. Dwayne, Mr. Country Winston Marshall you guys are one of the reasons I live. You inspire me each and every single day and I hope one day to meet you all. I hope to see you in Boston on february 5th. It is a DREAM of mine to sing with all of you on stage. if you can make that happen it will make me cry my eyes out I can DIE after I meet you ! I mean everything I wrote in this message and Marcus Congrats on your new marriage to the lovely Carey Mulligan, congrats also on the baby, what will you name him? Maybe John? I hear that’s your fathers name. I hope great success in all your en devours because you deserve everything you have and more, you deserve the world but never the hideousness. I love you Marcus Mumford however I may not mean it. I HOPE! THAT I CAN SING WITH YOU ON STAGE ONE DAY FEBRUARY 5TH CANNOT BE MORE PERFECT , ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE MR. MUMFORD- I nearly passed away last week PLEASE don’t pity me- mr. Mumford I really would pay 1 trillion dollars to be there with you- I MEAN it even if you don’t believe me. thank you again I will never be able to thank you enough.- much love and grace to you all and MARCUS DRAVS also, brilliant man he is as well as Ross and Ben and Mark i believe is the name and the entire band you all re so amazing, I would pay anything to trade plaes with you!- Somara Son

  70. This is most definitely the kind of book they teach in American schools! If you enjoyed The Pearl I suggest you also read his book The Red Pony. It is set in California and centers on a young boy living with his family on his fathers ranch. The first chapter, ‘The Gift’ will always be my favorite no matter how terribly it pulls at my heart. If you get time in your busy schedule try to fit it in. It’s a real gem. :)

  71. liloh says:

    hey, i also believe that hesse is a little too intense, but worth it. i’ve been meaning to read the pearl for a while, you just reminded me of it, so thank you! i was wondering if you’ve ever read milorad pavic. anyway, thanks.

  72. MotherEarth says:

    The Earth has Music for those who listen, Marcus Mumford.

  73. Littleollies says:

    Thank you for coming to Christchurch NZ, your concert was everything I dreamed of and more! Your music reaches into my soul in such a powerful way. If I could only ever go to one concert, that would be it. Perfect. I made a sock monkey for you, which managed to get on stage, I hope you got to see him!

  74. Lisa Machado says:

    I also have to add, Marcus, you are one BEAUTIFUL man……….. xoxoxo

  75. Lisa Machado says:

    You are all an AMAZING bunch. I am so thankful for your music, words, and energy. I fell upon your music during a hard time in my life. It literally helped me get and stay sober. I LOVE you all…. LEELA <3

  76. kellywebber says:

    Looking forward to seeing you at Torquay not long now :-) and the best part is I know your remember me when you see me esp after rough trade although Marcus I wasn’t impressed you didn’t hang around like the rest of the guys must have words when I see you. All my love Kelly xxx