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Grace like a River: An Autobiography Hardcover – CD, May 22, 2006
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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Parkening isn't just the foremost American classical guitarist of his generation; he's a champion fly-fisher. He might have been a very versatile athlete if he hadn't quit sports at 11 for the guitar. Given his bent toward physical prowess, it isn't surprising that the best passages in his autobiography are about preparing to play, playing, and fishing. Driven by his lovingly disciplinarian father as well as love for the guitar, he became a professional soloist by his late teens. When his father comfortably retired at 47, Parkening decided to do the same at 30. Goal-driven to a fault, he succeeded. After a few years, however, he sold the dream ranch he'd bought, returned to Southern California, and resumed playing. Chastened by the emptiness of realizing his dream, he embraced Christianity with new understanding and purpose. He decided henceforth to play for God and share the gospel, and stories of how he has linked career and faith burgeon in the latter chapters of a book rewarding to music lovers, sport fishers, and believers alike. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Mr. Parkening is so refreshingly honest, sincere and genuine! You really feel like you could sit and talk with him at an airport or after a concert and get his full attention. That's pretty rare.
He slips little stories from his third passion (the first being God, the second guitar), fly-fishing, between chapters, and, even though I had a hard time understanding some of the more technical aspects of the fish stories, they were a fun and welcome respite.
What a life he's led, and how unaffected he seems by his huge celebrity! I was also very interested to hear how he has such affection and respect for Kathleen Battle, of whom I had only heard extremely unflattering "diva" stories.
If you want to learn what it's like to be a world-renowned musician (of any instrument) and to see how it's not all peaches and cream, this is a great entrée. Also, that no matter how celebrated one may be, each one of us is a beggar in ragged clothes at Christ's feet. Praise Him!
approach , possibly more philosophical or nuanced but clearly this is straight from his heart and mind; so there it is. I enjoyed all the guitaristic and musical stuff since I play the instrument and honestly skimmed through some of the fishing tales just because although I'm sure it's challenging fishing is not an interest of mine . Nevertheless I recommend this book as a very real account of a very fine artists' thoughts , dreams and transformations.After reading many autobiographies that are not personally forthcoming I found this to be fresh and compelling from a human standpoint . I met him once by chance after a concert he played in San Francisco many years ago and he was completely down to earth and friendly , asking if the guitar was audible enough etc.The Classical Guitar is very challenging to play well ,to say the least , and he is an amazing guitarist with great tone and heart.
The book moved rather quickly for me, but I found myself skipping the fly fishing stories a few times. If I were to make a recommendation of new editions, I would minimize those and perhaps put them in as an epilogue or a final chapter on his other hobbies.
Overall a great Read, and I would recommend to anyone who wishes to be inspired.
- David Carlin
The book moves from his early career to his "retirement", and then to his calling to again perform and share his great faith with the world. In this he has branched out from "just" a guitarist to a versatile performer. Anyone who hears his incredible work with Kathleen Battle on "Pleasures of Their Company" will know what I mean, especially their rendition of six traditional spirituals.
Interestingly, Parkening also describes his love for fishing (he's a world-class, tournament-winning fisherman), and relates the life lessons learned from this easy-to-do, hard-to-master sport.
This book is a great read. Get it.
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