Sounds Like Titanic
A young woman leaves Appalachia for life as a classical musician—or so she thinks.When aspiring violinist Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman lands a job with a professional ensemble in New York City, she imagines she has achieved her lifelong dream. But the ensemble proves to be a sham. When the group “performs,” the microphones are never on. Instead, the music blares from a CD. The mastermind behind this scheme is a peculiar and mysterious figure known as The Composer, who is gaslighting his audiences with music that sounds suspiciously like the Titanic movie soundtrack. On tour with his chaotic ensemble, Hindman spirals into crises of identity and disillusionment as she “plays” for audiences genuinely moved by the performance, unable to differentiate real from fake.Sounds Like Titanic is a surreal, often hilarious coming-of-age story. Hindman writes with precise, candid prose and sharp insight into ambition and gender, especially when it comes to the difficulties young women face in a world that views them as silly, shallow, and stupid. As the story swells to a crescendo, it gives voice to the anxieties and illusions of a generation of women, and reveals the failed promises of a nation that takes comfort in false realities.

Sounds Like Titanic Details

TitleSounds Like Titanic
Author
ReleaseFeb 12th, 2019
PublisherW. W. Norton Company
ISBN-139780393651645
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Music

Sounds Like Titanic Review

  • Amy Bruestle
    January 1, 1970
    I won this book through a giveaway in exchange for an honest review....Unfortunately I could not get myself to finish this. I really hate not finishing a book and I usually force myself to suffer through it if it’s bad or not something I’m into, but now that I am getting older, I am learning that there are tons of books I want to read in my lifetime, and it is okay not to finish the ones I don’t like. That might seem obvious to some of you, but my OCD-ness qualities make it difficult for me to d I won this book through a giveaway in exchange for an honest review....Unfortunately I could not get myself to finish this. I really hate not finishing a book and I usually force myself to suffer through it if it’s bad or not something I’m into, but now that I am getting older, I am learning that there are tons of books I want to read in my lifetime, and it is okay not to finish the ones I don’t like. That might seem obvious to some of you, but my OCD-ness qualities make it difficult for me to do! I don’t have much to say about this book other than the fact that I was beside myself with boredom.
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    This is the sort of book you stay up too late reading.I usually stick to fiction, because a character's life as invented by the author has to be more interesting than the real lives of people around us. But Jessica's account of working for The Composer is weirder than fiction. Sure, it's a story about being a violinist in fake concerts, but also manages to be a study on the nature of memoir, reality, growing up female in the nineties, undergraduate class conflict, a tour of America at war, and t This is the sort of book you stay up too late reading.I usually stick to fiction, because a character's life as invented by the author has to be more interesting than the real lives of people around us. But Jessica's account of working for The Composer is weirder than fiction. Sure, it's a story about being a violinist in fake concerts, but also manages to be a study on the nature of memoir, reality, growing up female in the nineties, undergraduate class conflict, a tour of America at war, and the unreliable narrator in our own heads. I really appreciated the vulnerability she put into this book. It allows even a reader with the most boring life to relate to the sometimes crazy experiences the author had. While Jessica is critiquing her young self for her inability to make a living doing something important, I'm admiring all of the ways that she at least tried, harder than most people ever try at anything. Before I even finished reading this book it was obvious that she had managed to do something important and creative: This book is brilliant. I can't wait to read what she writes next.
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  • Jessica ☕
    January 1, 1970
    I know I'm posting this review early, but I just have to share.I'm going to cut to the chase and just come out and say that this is one of my favorite books that I have read in a long time and I want every woman I know to read it and we will all be in one huge book club.On its surface, it is a memoir of a woman who spends a few years of her young adulthood faking it as a professional violinist. The Composer, a man who is never named specifically, has written simplistic orchestral music that soun I know I'm posting this review early, but I just have to share.I'm going to cut to the chase and just come out and say that this is one of my favorite books that I have read in a long time and I want every woman I know to read it and we will all be in one huge book club.On its surface, it is a memoir of a woman who spends a few years of her young adulthood faking it as a professional violinist. The Composer, a man who is never named specifically, has written simplistic orchestral music that sounds suspiciously like the Titanic theme song, and pays semi-professional musicians to fake-play along to a soundtrack. The crowd never knows the difference, and the author becomes an accomplished violinist who really isn't that great.Yet, there are nuanced layers to the story that make it rich and engrossing:- Ms. Hindman had a world-class education in Middle Eastern studies during 9/11, but no one was interested in what she had to share.- After growing up in Appalachia and finding herself living among the children of the 1% in New York City, she feels that she must (literally) work herself to death to validate her existence.- Fascinating discussions on what she refers to as "life in the body" -- the struggle every woman has in coming to terms with her body and the space it inhabits. I'm calling this is as my favorite book of 2018.arc received from the publisher
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  • Michael Waddell
    January 1, 1970
    This is an amazing story! I found myself shocked by many of the twists and turns in the author's life, the bizarre situations she found herself in, the ways she found to get by through all of it. But what really makes the book great is the author's style: direct, curious, unflinching, playful. Nearly every page has something that makes me think about some unobserved detail in life -- what we mean by "make a living", how it's often the most inauthentic things that authentically touch people's liv This is an amazing story! I found myself shocked by many of the twists and turns in the author's life, the bizarre situations she found herself in, the ways she found to get by through all of it. But what really makes the book great is the author's style: direct, curious, unflinching, playful. Nearly every page has something that makes me think about some unobserved detail in life -- what we mean by "make a living", how it's often the most inauthentic things that authentically touch people's lives, how smiling is so often demanded but can signal unseriousness. I've read books that delighted in these sorts of observations before, but they were usually using them as distancing techniques, wry, above-it-all. Sounds Like Titanic is nothing like that. Somehow it manages to be clever and playful, while still being vulnerable, compassionate, and honest. An amazing book.
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  • Michaela
    January 1, 1970
    dnf p. 31. Written in the 2nd person. Grew tired of reading the word, "you," in every line incredibly quickly. (She referred to herself as, "You.") Did not find a character to get invested in as no one here had any personality. Timeline kept jumping. I couldn't figure out what was going on, or indeed if anything was going on, & I started to fall asleep the 2nd time I tried to read it. So I'm done.
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  • Nate
    January 1, 1970
    Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman has written a memoir of "holy shit allegro" proportion. Her time-hopping memoir spans from rural 1980s West Virginia, to 2001 Cairo, Egypt, to major cities across the United States as a violinist on a mysterious, PBS-favorite composer's God Bless America Tour. At its heart, Sounds Like Titanic is Chiccehitto Hindman's journey of wrestling with life in the body, navigating the crooked gaze of America in its large cities and small towns. It's also a distinctly 21st cent Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman has written a memoir of "holy shit allegro" proportion. Her time-hopping memoir spans from rural 1980s West Virginia, to 2001 Cairo, Egypt, to major cities across the United States as a violinist on a mysterious, PBS-favorite composer's God Bless America Tour. At its heart, Sounds Like Titanic is Chiccehitto Hindman's journey of wrestling with life in the body, navigating the crooked gaze of America in its large cities and small towns. It's also a distinctly 21st century coming-of-age narrative: Chiccehitto Hindman achieves academically, working obsessively to do so, but it's only at the end of the memoir, years removed from the company of well-off classmates with sights set on Wall Street and "playing" violin that she is truly happy with her position in the world. Chiccehitto Hindman's journey is her own, but her insights are those that, if you're a certain age, you know to be true. When future readers want to know what America was like in the early years of the 21st century, Sounds Like Titanic will be one piece of literature they turn to.
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  • Missy
    January 1, 1970
    In Sounds Like Titanic, Jessica Chichetto Hindman weaves a remarkable tale that is utterly unique yet eminently relatable.Early on in this hard-to-put-down memoir, Hindman switches from first to second person because, she posits, “For many people, myself included, sitting down to write something in first person feels like the worst type of fakery.” Hindman knows a thing or two about fakery, having traveled across the country playing her violin with the mic turned off as music music that ‘sounds In Sounds Like Titanic, Jessica Chichetto Hindman weaves a remarkable tale that is utterly unique yet eminently relatable.Early on in this hard-to-put-down memoir, Hindman switches from first to second person because, she posits, “For many people, myself included, sitting down to write something in first person feels like the worst type of fakery.” Hindman knows a thing or two about fakery, having traveled across the country playing her violin with the mic turned off as music music that ‘sounds like Titanic’ blared from a CD player – “doing the Milli Violini,” as she calls it. By “faking you,” Hindman says, “I am finally able to say what I want to say.” And does she ever have a story – a bizarre, troubling, hilarious, uniquely American and thoroughly female story – to tell. Hindman recalls being told as a child by her fellow Appalachians that she had “reeyell talent” as a violinist, but the bright star she was in her small mountain town soon diminished under the bright lights of New York City. It turns out that Hindman’s “reeyell” and undeniable talent lies in her ability to draw the reader into a truth that is stranger than most fiction. However, as a female reader who has smiled because it is expected and “easier” (for everyone else), who has felt less than because of her small town-ness, who has felt like she is faking it, who has struggled with finding “life in the body,” Sounds Like Titanic rings true – and resonates deeply.
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  • Wynne Kontos
    January 1, 1970
    I was practically salivating for a copy of this before its February release date, and the buyers at my store graciously tracked one down for me (as well as a colleague who had heard how I bad I wanted to read it.)The premise was really, really cool. While attending Columbia University in NYC circa 2002, Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman joined a classical music ensemble as a violinist, that as it turned out, wasn't playing music at all but mimicking along to pre-recorded, half-plagerized music that "s I was practically salivating for a copy of this before its February release date, and the buyers at my store graciously tracked one down for me (as well as a colleague who had heard how I bad I wanted to read it.)The premise was really, really cool. While attending Columbia University in NYC circa 2002, Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman joined a classical music ensemble as a violinist, that as it turned out, wasn't playing music at all but mimicking along to pre-recorded, half-plagerized music that "sounds like 'Titanic.'" If you are like me, and "Titanic" was the seminal film of your childhood/young adulthood, then you know exactly what penny whistle whining music I'm referring to. Hindman's account of being a New York college student forced to reckon with the insurmountable wealth one tends to encounter at institutions like Columbia (I have many CU friends, and myself received a Masters from NYU) and what type of wealth one tends to be slapped with upon arrival in NYC, read all too true. Having grown up in Appalachia, the daughter of middle class parents that made them upper class in their small, rural community, Hindman had to adjust her thinking about class and money almost immediately. How one intuits these lessons as a part of one's personality, and how that tends to happen in a uniquely New York way when you move to the city, Hindman writes about with a deftness only gathered from true experience.Those New Yorkers reading this are nodding because they know exactly what I (we) are talking about. In fact, reading about such an ingrained truth in such precise detail can become a little grating. But that's not to say Hindman didn't capture it well, because she did. In a desperate attempt to pay her tuition, Hindman takes the violinist job and soon learns the pitfalls of the ensemble she's just joined, and its ruthless leader, The Composer. He's never named, only referred to as such, and some shoddy Google searches have turned up nothing. (Don't worry, I will keep trying.) Having played the violin since childhood, but giving up the dream in order to pursue Middle Eastern studies, Hindman is excited to be a "real violinist." Cue CD player blasting prerecorded music, her slave labor work as an ensemble member and the psychotic behavior of The Composer and you have a recipe for mental health disaster. Soon Hindman finds herself spiraling into an anxiety landslide, unable to trust or control her own emotions, but desperate for the meager cash flow the job provides. And the ego boost so often gained, however momentarily, when some hick in Kansas thinks she's playing the violin beautifully.There are parts of this memoir that really shine, that highlight the class disparity and the impossible-ness of being a functioning millenial in society (despite the fact that Hindman herself is not a millenial.) Finding work that provides benefits, health insurance, security, money--these are luxuries to so many of us. Hindman knows that, she sees how she has floated on the periphery of so many aspects of her life, as a writer, a musician, a college student, a New Yorker, an Appalachia resident. Her ability to be objective about herself is notable, especially for a reader like me. There's nothing I hate more than a memoir that lacks objectivity.But this didn't need to be an entire memoir. In an effort to spread it to 249 pages, Hindman ruminates several times over about her failed attempts to become a Middle Eastern correspondent, even in the ruin directly after 9/11, but she writes sparingly about her fellow ensemble players, perhaps because she never really got to know many of them well due to their work environment or the fact that they often can't cut it and quit. She categorizes the fans of The Composer's music and her rural neighbors back home, in a somewhat compassionate but clearly categorized way. The Trump-voter comparisons, the eating tuna fish casserole in Walmart clothes comparisons, the NRA supporting, Muslim hating, hardcore Christian comparisons are there in between the lines or spelled out directly. They're deplorables, but Hindman is all too ready to explain why in artful terms. Sometimes she's talking about the differentiation in class that we often must live as young people to understand. Sometimes she's talking about these deplorables, and how exposure to our common man is the only way to understand we're not that different. Sometimes she's talking about job security, or overpriced education, or Middle Eastern conflict, or New York City, or the fact that The Composer is not only a fraud but once tried to kill a member of their ensemble by letting him nearly freeze to death in an unheated camper traveling through Montana in the winter time. But there's not enough depth, enough originality, enough consistency to quite meld it all together. The writing is strong, but it feels like you're being ping ponged around through the different parts of what was once a long form essay, watching the author pad it to memoir length.Lastly, because The Composer's identity is never revealed, it seemed glaringly obvious. I'm sure that it was to protect his anonymity as well as to hit us with this literary device that every time his "name" is mentioned we're reminded of what role he is meant to play (and does only in imitation.) But I found myself at every instance DESPERATE to know who he was. There are so many context clues the anonymity seemed a little pointless, her feelings of revulsion so strong that when she decides at the end of the book to protect him I felt confused and a little tricked. Here we've read about this conman who has virtually abused Hindman and her coworkers for years, like I said, nearly KILLED a man (the words "he was capable of killing me" are almost used verbatim) but in the last minute she decides not to reveal what he said to her in their most "honest and revealing" conversation. Hasn't the ship for protecting him or his character SAILED AT THIS POINT? Pun intended. 247 pages of essentially demonizing this man just to save him in the last two. Are we that worried about legal? That's what the naming device felt like, what this build up to a conversation we're not allowed to be privy to felt like: the legal team at W. W. Norton sending gentle reminders through the editing room.As a long form piece in New York Mag or in the Sunday Times or literally ANY long form essay location that would've been so lucky to get this piece, it would have gone viral in .2 seconds. Hindman can write, she knows people, she's not afraid to get dark. Whether the book form will have the same effect remains to be seen, though I will be interested in what else Hindman creates. And I'm sure if Jack Dawson was still alive, he would be too.
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  • Kathy De
    January 1, 1970
    Sounds like Titanic by Jessica Hindman is not just a memoir. It’s a work of creative non-fiction. Yes it is the story of a specific moment in the author’s life, but it also dances from her youth to the recent past to the memoir’s present. The leaps in time are signaled by changes in point of view, from I to she to the inclusive you. These movements keep the writing fresh all the way through. I enjoyed the personal story of the Appalachian girl, raised to believe she’s a star, hitting against rea Sounds like Titanic by Jessica Hindman is not just a memoir. It’s a work of creative non-fiction. Yes it is the story of a specific moment in the author’s life, but it also dances from her youth to the recent past to the memoir’s present. The leaps in time are signaled by changes in point of view, from I to she to the inclusive you. These movements keep the writing fresh all the way through. I enjoyed the personal story of the Appalachian girl, raised to believe she’s a star, hitting against reality when she tries to succeed at an elite northeastern university. The memoirist’s struggles and perseverance and resilient humor kept me turning the pages. I turned them, too, because the prose is as beautiful as it is lucid and easy to read. And I turned them because of the subtext: this memoir goes beyond unveiling the writer’s life to giving a searing critique of 21st century America—its pretenses and willingness to believe lies. The memoirist travels from the northeast to California, to Florida and Kansas and Texas. She sees America from behind the curtains, not just the show but the truth. I recommend this memoir to anyone who wants to read a funny, honest story about a young woman with high ideals who faces disappointment with a strong heart. But more particularly, I recommend the book to young women in general. The memoir talks about what happens to girls when they grow old enough to “live in the body,” to feel themselves reduced to their physical being—and suggests ways to fight back. Finally, I recommend this memoir to anyone who cares about language, form, and humor—the perfect mix.
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  • David Rigel
    January 1, 1970
    Profound! Groundbreaking! Passionate! I could not put this book down! In her debut memoir, Hindman used her experiences as a fake violinist to explore, dissect, and critique an American Dream birthed from the generation of adolescents in the 90’s. Jessica Hindman flawlessly braids together a memoir that explores societal/cultural norms, and their injustices–most notably the reoccurring theme of a woman stumbling to live “in the body”. The success of the memoir is a testament to Hindman’s knowled Profound! Groundbreaking! Passionate! I could not put this book down! In her debut memoir, Hindman used her experiences as a fake violinist to explore, dissect, and critique an American Dream birthed from the generation of adolescents in the 90’s. Jessica Hindman flawlessly braids together a memoir that explores societal/cultural norms, and their injustices–most notably the reoccurring theme of a woman stumbling to live “in the body”. The success of the memoir is a testament to Hindman’s knowledge and dedication to her craft—and the emotional vulnerabilities displayed on the page through precise introspection. Every word in this memoir has a purpose and carries immense weight which allows readers to marinade in her rich, entertaining language. Hindman pays respect, and attention, to her native lands of the Appalachia making it a character of its own—fleshed out, complex, captivating, heartbreaking, fascinating—and does so by utilizing the setting as a means to analyze herself, family dynamics, socioeconomics in academia, the War on Terror, and the unique struggles that came with a life birthed from the Appalachian mountains. Hindman managed to do all the above seamlessly alongside her thought-provoking tales of touring as a fake violinist. Impressive!A unique, heartfelt memoir that everyone needs to read.
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  • Stephen
    January 1, 1970
    Let's put it this way, I read this in a day.It's a fascinating and well-written memoir about a young woman's time "playing" violin in a fake orchestra in New York City.The Composer, a man never mentioned by name, has written music that sound dubiously like the soundtrack from the movie Titanic. While the musicians "perform" to turned-off microphones, the music blasts from a CD.The audiences, while being manipulated, are being genuinely moved.It's about people's willingness to accept the most ina Let's put it this way, I read this in a day.It's a fascinating and well-written memoir about a young woman's time "playing" violin in a fake orchestra in New York City.The Composer, a man never mentioned by name, has written music that sound dubiously like the soundtrack from the movie Titanic. While the musicians "perform" to turned-off microphones, the music blasts from a CD.The audiences, while being manipulated, are being genuinely moved.It's about people's willingness to accept the most inauthentic things for authentic reasons.About America's thirst for pleasure rather that for what's real.It offers interesting insight into the struggles of women in the early part of the 21st century.Smart, playful and compelling, "Sounds Like Titanic" resonates deep and true.An amazing work.This was an ARC giveaway in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Kristina Brodbeck
    January 1, 1970
    Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman’s memoir is captivating and thought-provoking. The way in which she transitions from the first person “I” to speaking from “you” pulls the reader through the transitions of time. The reader is brought back to a post-9/11 world of uncertainty and facades. While it may not be the intention of this memoir, the book allows us to begin trace our new history as a reality television-obsessed culture and perhaps begin to understand how America’s thirst for pleasure rather tha Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman’s memoir is captivating and thought-provoking. The way in which she transitions from the first person “I” to speaking from “you” pulls the reader through the transitions of time. The reader is brought back to a post-9/11 world of uncertainty and facades. While it may not be the intention of this memoir, the book allows us to begin trace our new history as a reality television-obsessed culture and perhaps begin to understand how America’s thirst for pleasure rather than authenticity led to the election of a reality television host as POTUS. SOUNDS LIKE TITANIC is timely and relevant.
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  • Cambria DeLee
    January 1, 1970
    It usually takes me a few weeks to a few months to read a book. I frequently have to go back and re-read parts because I've forgotten important information that should have stuck with me. I read Sounds Like Titanic in one day! I kept telling myself I'd put it down after the next chapter, but I always wanted to know what was going to happen next. I gave myself breaks for lunch, dinner, and the gym, but that's about it! The main character had many similar thoughts and experiences that I had during It usually takes me a few weeks to a few months to read a book. I frequently have to go back and re-read parts because I've forgotten important information that should have stuck with me. I read Sounds Like Titanic in one day! I kept telling myself I'd put it down after the next chapter, but I always wanted to know what was going to happen next. I gave myself breaks for lunch, dinner, and the gym, but that's about it! The main character had many similar thoughts and experiences that I had during that part of my life, except that her's were WAY more interesting! I'm so glad that she didn't focus on a love interest at any point. It is extremely refreshing to read a book about a woman that doesn't revolve around a romantic relationship. I can't wait to see what Jessica Hindman comes up with next!
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  • Nick Snider
    January 1, 1970
    A memoir centered around working as a fake concert violinist, Sounds Like Titanic feels revelatory. Chiccehitto Hindman, as composer, is deft, thorough, and sharp, driving the narrative over mountain passes and across stretching interstates, but never taking the easy road. She looks head-on at American conceptions of success, authenticity, and gender, finding nuance at every turn. Sounds Like Titanic is moving, funny, difficult, and stranger than fiction in the way that only real life can be. Hi A memoir centered around working as a fake concert violinist, Sounds Like Titanic feels revelatory. Chiccehitto Hindman, as composer, is deft, thorough, and sharp, driving the narrative over mountain passes and across stretching interstates, but never taking the easy road. She looks head-on at American conceptions of success, authenticity, and gender, finding nuance at every turn. Sounds Like Titanic is moving, funny, difficult, and stranger than fiction in the way that only real life can be. Hindman's perspective is one-of-a-kind: She examines herself and the world from critical angles yet never shies away from moments of humor or redemption. Just as the memoir challenges our conceptions of what is real, Hindman understands that no one deserves to be a caricature.
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  • Eve
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars Hindman writes in an engaging style that helps you to understand why she willingly went along with a music scam for so long. I understand, but it still sits uneasily with me. Reminds me of the Patterson factory of mass produced books, that is such a scam as well. This is one of those reads where you keep reading not because you are really enjoying it but because you are just curious enough to read about what crazy thing happens next.
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  • Danielle
    January 1, 1970
    January 2019, pre-release:I've actually been lucky enough to have Jessica as a professor twice now at my university. She's a wonderful person and an amazing instructor so I'm very excited to read this!
  • Beverly
    January 1, 1970
    Best kind of memoirWhat a captivating read! Glad the violin/Middle East thing didn't work out so well, for Ms Hindman is certainly a gifted writer. The non-linear telling of her story was well done from my perspective and the repetitive tour notes made it feel probably JUST like touring felt. Much of her self-discovery was spot on, reminding us what it was like to be a young woman trying to become self sufficient no matter what the cost. I highly recommend this book for book clubs both adult and Best kind of memoirWhat a captivating read! Glad the violin/Middle East thing didn't work out so well, for Ms Hindman is certainly a gifted writer. The non-linear telling of her story was well done from my perspective and the repetitive tour notes made it feel probably JUST like touring felt. Much of her self-discovery was spot on, reminding us what it was like to be a young woman trying to become self sufficient no matter what the cost. I highly recommend this book for book clubs both adult and young adult. Well done,
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  • Alden
    January 1, 1970
    This was an excellent book. One the one hand it is a story of young woman growing up and discovering her identity in America and on the other hand it is a fascinating account of the United States during the aftermath of 9/11. While ostensibly about touring America playing the violin silently, the book also has unexpected gems such as "...despite studying abroad in the Middle East during a time of crisis, despite learning Arabic and analyzing the Quran and spending months assimilating into Arab c This was an excellent book. One the one hand it is a story of young woman growing up and discovering her identity in America and on the other hand it is a fascinating account of the United States during the aftermath of 9/11. While ostensibly about touring America playing the violin silently, the book also has unexpected gems such as "...despite studying abroad in the Middle East during a time of crisis, despite learning Arabic and analyzing the Quran and spending months assimilating into Arab culture--it will be more difficult to make a living by providing accurate information about the Middle East to an American audience than it will be to make a living by fake-playing the violin."
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  • Linsey
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book. Hindman writes affectingly on the experience of being a young woman trying to make it in America at the turn of the twenty-first century. She tells two simultaneous stories: one of growing up in rural West Virginia, and one of scraping by in New York City as a "fake" violinist in her early twenties, which led to a tour of fake performances across America. Hindman offers incisive observations on economic disparity in the U.S., and circles around issues of identity, authenticity I loved this book. Hindman writes affectingly on the experience of being a young woman trying to make it in America at the turn of the twenty-first century. She tells two simultaneous stories: one of growing up in rural West Virginia, and one of scraping by in New York City as a "fake" violinist in her early twenties, which led to a tour of fake performances across America. Hindman offers incisive observations on economic disparity in the U.S., and circles around issues of identity, authenticity, and gender, tackling the experience of occupying a female body in a culture still permeated by sexism. This book is smart, timely, funny, feminist, occasionally heartbreaking, and highly engrossing. Read it!
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  • Ryan Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    What thrills me most about Sounds Like Titanic is how human it is. Jessica Hindman reaches her hand into the boiling pot that serves up all of our fears and anxieties and insecurities and wrenches out a truth that many of us struggle to put into words. She acknowledges that we are surrounded by fakery, but makes us wonder if that's really such a bad thing.Jessica's vulnerability and willingness to share some truths about herself that are undoubtedly hard to tell make this a striking and powerful What thrills me most about Sounds Like Titanic is how human it is. Jessica Hindman reaches her hand into the boiling pot that serves up all of our fears and anxieties and insecurities and wrenches out a truth that many of us struggle to put into words. She acknowledges that we are surrounded by fakery, but makes us wonder if that's really such a bad thing.Jessica's vulnerability and willingness to share some truths about herself that are undoubtedly hard to tell make this a striking and powerful memoir. She cleverly weaves her small town, Appalachian upbringing with the quirky travels with a man called The Composer. She brings us along for The Composer's national tour and puts us into her shoes as she faces the demons of self-accusation and seemingly fruitless efforts. Her struggles, however, are enlightening. She offers glimmers of hope in the darkest of times; her depictions of post-9/11 America and its tragic population are bookended by inspiration and resolve. Jessica sets out to accomplish what she had been trying to do ever since first picking up a violin in elementary school: The ability to say, "This is me."Sounds Like Titanic is not just a book about fake performing on tour as a violinist. This is a book about all of us. It's about the experiences in life that shape us and force us to learn.
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  • Enchanted Prose
    January 1, 1970
    Unbelievable fakery, believable psychological consequences (Manhattan and towns across America, 2002-2006; Appalachian West Virginia/Virginia childhood years): This “concert crimes” memoir is unlike any I’ve ever read because it’s almost impossible to believe it’s true. The truth telling so difficult to swallow, a preface anticipates your disbelief: “While this is a memoir about being a fake, this is not a fake memoir. This is a memoir of earnest, written by a person striving to get to the truth Unbelievable fakery, believable psychological consequences (Manhattan and towns across America, 2002-2006; Appalachian West Virginia/Virginia childhood years): This “concert crimes” memoir is unlike any I’ve ever read because it’s almost impossible to believe it’s true. The truth telling so difficult to swallow, a preface anticipates your disbelief: “While this is a memoir about being a fake, this is not a fake memoir. This is a memoir of earnest, written by a person striving to get to the truth of things that happened in the past . . . This book argues that while determining the difference between the real and the fake can be maddening and ultimately imperfect, it remains a worthy endeavor.”Maddening even for this mind-boggling fake news era. How could Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman spend four fraudulent years as a “fake violinist” playing in an ensemble for a “famous composer” duping audiences all across America and no one caught on the music was faked? How can that be?The Composer – never referred to by his real name – and his complicit ensemble performed and conducted at world-class concert venues such as Lincoln Center! On PBS! More intimately at countless shopping malls, and arts and craft fairs. During a “74 days, 60 cities, and 54 performances” tour after 9/11 when vigilance reigned! Incredible not a single person in the audience realized the sounds were not coming from the musicians on stage. An astonishing scam. Though musicians were really playing their instruments, the microphone was turned off, so the “most beautiful music in the world” actually came from backstage, from a $14.95 Sony CD player! Yes, all the exclamation points are warranted. Wait, it gets worse.The artistic cover-up wasn’t even synced from original compositions. The music was copied from other works, leaving out just enough notes to avoid violating copyright laws. The so-called composer couldn’t even recognize the iconic notes from Beethoven’s 5th Symphony!On nearly every page, you’ll be asking, like Hindman does: “Who is The Composer?” She never outs him. That’s not her purpose. Hers is a tell-all meant to come to terms with how she got so profoundly in over her head until she reached the breaking point when she could no longer discern reality. Engrossing as we try to absorb the implausibility of not being discovered versus the plausibility of the emotional and physical toll that “almost killed” the author.Hindman describes herself as “desperate.” One explanation is desperate financial times called for desperate actions, that by the time she’d gotten a sudden opportunity to work for the rock-star composer she’d hit fiscal rock bottom so how could she resist? Too simple.Far more insidious were complicated, deep-seated emotional struggles, psychological vulnerabilities, rooted in her formative years growing up in Appalachia. Perceiving herself as one of Dr. Mary Pipher’s Ophelia teenage girls who succumbed to female expectations, low body image, and perfectionism, she suffered a mental and physical breakdown. Running commentaries explaining herself within larger contexts – in this case societal and cultural – are thoughtful and insightful.This years-to-write memoir is dedicated “to those with average talents and above-average desires,” hinting from the get-go that’s how she’d defined herself. Note: her work effort is more like off the charts.As a young, serious girl growing up in Appalachia who needed to be taken seriously, playing a serious instrument meant everything. No one will “laugh at you when you’re playing the violin.” A work ethic born out of what’s “most revered by the adults around her . . . Work is in the Appalachian air you breathe.” All the practice and hardships that went into earning early recognition as a “reeyl star” put so much extra pressure on wanting to be “valued in the world.” Years later, when her impossible dream seems to have come true – playing big-time for real yet never being heard – her sense of self, her value comes into serious jeopardy, precipitating crisis.Which is another reason Sounds Like Titanic is unlike anything I’ve read as the only way Hindman found she could tell large portions of her story was to distance herself from painful truths, using the least common narrative point-of-view: the 2nd person. Not the easiest literary approach to pull off successfully, which she does.One thing the memoir shares with others reviewed here is gorgeous prose, reaching stirring heights with energetic descriptions of violin playing:“Fingers fly up the neck of your violin. You dangle on the highest note like a mountain climber clinging to the summit by a fingertip. It is never about conquering the mountain. It’s always about conquering the fear of the fall.”Mountain metaphors are everywhere. Growing up in Appalachia meant her parents had to literally climb mountains driving hours to find (and pay) someone to teach their striving daughter the violin. Better off than most, this was still a financial sacrifice.Drawn to “sinister music” at a young age, the author sensed “the connection between the music and the mountain fog.” Music she equated to “childhood sadness,” to Holocaust music evoking Anne Frank’s tragic story. Complex, ominous sounds.Whereas The Composer’s instrumental music is easier and uplifting. Its most distinctive feature is the high-pitched “pennywhistle” sounds of the flute, likened to Celtic and Native American music. Music echoing the soundtrack of the movie Titanic – hence the memoir’s title.So when Hindman arrived in Manhattan to attend Columbia University she’s already carrying heavy emotional baggage. Add to that endless economic angst to supplement her music scholarship, depleting the money her family managed to save up and the limits of egg-donorship. That’s when the author gets entangled with The Composer. After graduation, she relentlessly sought other jobs, hitting dead-ends and rejections, so she stayed on and on with him. Now really on her own, she went through hoops to find a dirt cheap apartment in a ridiculously expensive rental market. Survival, unless she quit. Jessica Hindman is definitely not a quitter.Many recollections come from a journal Hindman kept while touring America in a dilapidated RV, along with The Composer and three other musicians. RV comrades in crime include another female violinist possessed with the kind of natural talent Hindman reminds us she doesn’t have; a flutist; and a Russian musician who resembles a “Hollywood parody of a KGB agent.” The driver of this wretched home-on-wheels navigates for months for free in exchange for being bathed in The Composer’s music, one of his “hardcore fans.”More musicians perform on stage and work behind the scenes to produce the pirated CDs that garner big bucks. The Composer donates to charities and PBS, of course, but his con-artistry is impossible to condone no matter what his real motive(s).Pursuing an Ivy League education was also eye-opening. Discovering an elite moneyed class full of privileges and stereotypes toward people from the South, prejudices strongly influenced the author’s academic path. The Iraq War was raging, so she fixated on a second major – Middle Eastern studies – aspiring to become a war correspondent. Writing evidently also an interest, except now the workaholic is juggling two uphill, demanding careers. Both seem vastly different but Hindman identifies a disturbing commonality – “ignorance” – ignorant musical audiences and ignorance about the Middle East.Today Jessica Hindman is a bona fide professor of creative writing at Northern Kentucky University. We’re heartened she climbed her personal mountains to get there.Lorraine (EnchantedProse.com)
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  • Liz
    January 1, 1970
    FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE ITThis was an Advanced Reading copy sent to me by the publisher. The memoir of Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman is quite interesting. It is written in second person even though it is a memoir which is really weird. Then as the story progresses, narration sometimes switches to first person in order to show Jessica’s acceptance of her herself. Reading a memoir where every sentence begins “You” made me feel defensive. I kept thinking, “I didn’t do that”. I had a hard time at first FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE ITThis was an Advanced Reading copy sent to me by the publisher. The memoir of Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman is quite interesting. It is written in second person even though it is a memoir which is really weird. Then as the story progresses, narration sometimes switches to first person in order to show Jessica’s acceptance of her herself. Reading a memoir where every sentence begins “You” made me feel defensive. I kept thinking, “I didn’t do that”. I had a hard time at first with the second person narration, but then by page 57, Jessica’s wit had me hooked. The book is about fake versus real things in life and how we distinguish the two. “For many people, myself included, sitting down to write something in first person feels like the worst type of fakery.”As a child, Jessica fell in love with classical music because of the soundtrack in a movie Sarah and the Squirrel. She begs her parents to check out the VHS for her to listen to the music. She begs for a violin. “You ask your parents for a violin for your fifth birthday. When no violin arrives, you ask for a violin for Christmas. Then again for your sixth birthday. Seventh. Eighth. There are no violin teachers in your region of West Virginia, your parents explain. Not even Santa can fix this problem.” Her parents then drive her four to six hours a week to go to violin lessons. Jessica is frustrated when she is taught to play Twinkle, Twinkle instead of the song from Sarah and the Squirrel. She learns the song is actually Vivaldi’s Winter. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZCfy...Jessica grows up and joins the ROTC in the hopes of going to Columbia University as a music major. She quits ROTC. She continues with school but struggles to pay for school. Then lands a job with a professional ensemble in New York City. Even though she never really has an interview or audition. She has even come to accept she actually isn’t that good of a violinist. She is picked up by a Russian violinist named Yevgeny in New York City. They drive to Wolfeboro at an art fair. They are met there by Debbie who plays a “pennywhistle”. It is described as a “...Celtic flute similar to the plastic recorders kids play in elementary school”, p. 44. She soon realizes the ensemble proves to be a sham. The group “performs,” but microphones are never on. The music blares from a CD and they play along with repetitive notes which were written by The Composer. The music sounds a lot like the Titanic movie soundtrack. Audiences love the music though.Once Jessica figured out the concert was fake why didn’t she quit? “What you felt that day in New Hampshire was freedom. You wanted it so badly you didn’t dare question whether or not it was real.” So she continues on the tours. The Composer gives a pep talk before each concert about people having cancer, so the performers should all smile a lot. The God Bless America tour is to raise money for local PBS stations. During the intermission, The Composer gives a speech. Page 56 Jessica finally figures out The Composer is paying for all of the expenses for the tour. The proceeds of the tour go to PBS. He makes money from selling his CDs and pays the expenses for them to go to more concerts. Jessica has a new respect for The Composer. “But when it comes to the most genuine gesture an American can make--giving away money -- The Composer is the real deal.” One of the in depth psychological examinations of what it is like to go through puberty as a girl is on page 66. “You have a new vision of yourself, a vision of what you are actually going to look like as a woman. And in that vision --a short-legged, big-thighed brunette with monstrous eyebrows and a crooked smile -- you no longer see a place for yourself in the world.” She describes the mental distance one feels from one’s changing body using a phrase in The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf, ‘life in the body’. Then on page 70 is great how she describes how playing the violin helps her to cope with life. “When you play the violin you are able, for a moment, to leave the female body in which you are contained, the body that signals sex, whether you want it to or not, yet is somehow never sexy enough.” Page 74, Jessica gives a hilarious examination of how movies have influenced our feelings about musicians who can play classical instruments. Prostitutes can be perceived as upper class if they cry at the opera. Teaching someone classical music will redeem the worst sins. Our perceptions of those who are capable of learning to play classical music even influenced an entire study by UCIrvine to try to prove listening classical music will increase intelligence. Despite The Composer’s monetary funding the the tour, Jessica still accepts the reality that the concerts are supposed to make money. Page 172, she describes the monetization. “The up and down of the sales monitor mimics the up and down of the notes on your music until they seem like one, a national symphony of commerce, the most authentic-sounding American music of all.” Despite Jessica’s criticisms of the tour itself, she still remind readers of why she fell in love with classical music on page 179. “Music can shape geography. It can transform a landscape from something forgetful into something memorable.” Through Jessica’s own growth as a person she is able to finally deal with the difference between real versus fake. She sums up the great lesson she learned perfectly on page 187. “Any living that sounds too perfect to be true, any living that appears not to include failure, any living that seems easy and unsmudged by shadow, you know now, is fake.” Part of learning the difference between real versus fake results in having to deal with harsh realities. Jessica had dreamed of being a world class, famous, violinist, yet she realizes that will not happen for her. “It was a shockingly un-American idea: No matter how hard you work, you’ll never be as good as someone who was born great.” p. 209. Jessica does mentally and physically suffer from going along with faking the concerts. She is able to persevere and overcome her guilt. She finally is able to reconcile her dreams versus her reality. Eventually she becomes a writing professor but still has to handle her own insecurities. “Faking is teaching and faking is learning and faking is the way that all human beings grow, from babies faking speech to teenagers faking coolness to professors faking wisdom.” p. 239. The reality is to become anything, we have to fake it until we can make it. Faking things makes us better. Jessica’s own personal growth helps her to better understand The Composer and to even have compassion for him. This is a wonderful coming of age tell with lots of life lessons. Anyone who grew up in the 1980s to 1990s will enjoy reminiscing with Jessica’s stories. While, everyone will enjoy watching Jessica grow as a person through her journey of self reconciliation and acceptance.
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  • Kathy
    January 1, 1970
    I wanted to read this memoir from the second I heard the premise: A young woman in New York City takes a job playing the violin for a well-known composer to help pay for college. The only catch--they’re playing in front of a dead mic while a CD of other musicians actually plays the music. Yes, Milli Violini.In a post-9/11 America in need of soothing, people line up to buy the composer’s CDs after each performance, professing that the music is “the only thing that helps,” and “That sounds just li I wanted to read this memoir from the second I heard the premise: A young woman in New York City takes a job playing the violin for a well-known composer to help pay for college. The only catch--they’re playing in front of a dead mic while a CD of other musicians actually plays the music. Yes, Milli Violini.In a post-9/11 America in need of soothing, people line up to buy the composer’s CDs after each performance, professing that the music is “the only thing that helps,” and “That sounds just like the music on the movie Titanic.”The story moves around in time between Chiccehitto Hindman’s childhood, when her parents drove for hours over the mountains to her violin lessons, to College where she worked several jobs to pay for tuition, to post-college when she couldn’t get her dream job as a war correspondent in the Middle East (despite a degree from Columbia University!). The center threadline is a 54-city cross-country tour where our narrator and other musicians fake-play their instruments in front of thousands of fans.But the memoir turns into so much more than the violin story. It touches on the complexities of growing up in Appalachia and trying to work to make enough money to go to college; the female disconnect with the physical body in a pre-#MeToo era; how hard it is to survive in low- to middle-class America; the sacrifices it takes to “make a living;” and the physical and mental toll that survival takes.The writing is witty, snarky and personal and I couldn’t put it down. I predict Sounds Like Titanic will be this year’s Educated.
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  • Kim
    January 1, 1970
    LOL I got this book for free via Goodreads and it was published backwards so I had to learn to read right to left ...a new but not unpleasant experience for me .I think my brain enjoyed the challenge .The publishing company had a technical glitch that day I guess .Albeit i did start reading it at first from the back cover and wondered why the story wasn't making complete sense and sentences were ending funny ....oops my bad .Then I caught my mistake .However ....the boo boo book in no way subtra LOL I got this book for free via Goodreads and it was published backwards so I had to learn to read right to left ...a new but not unpleasant experience for me .I think my brain enjoyed the challenge .The publishing company had a technical glitch that day I guess .Albeit i did start reading it at first from the back cover and wondered why the story wasn't making complete sense and sentences were ending funny ....oops my bad .Then I caught my mistake .However ....the boo boo book in no way subtracted from the plot in any way .Even when I was perusing it in the wrong order ....I was still hooked on the writing style from the start. Ms.Hindman is very adept at enveloping you in her world . Her memoir certainly makes you question your perception of reality. And as a lifelong sufferer of debilitating panic attacks i really related to the way she described how they feel .....the bear analogy was dead on .....the best comparison I've ever read actually.I can commiserate wholeheartedly .....As said previously ..the writing style grabbed me automatically and I ended up finishing the tale in the wee hours of the morning ( worth the lack of sleep)....The author states she has no " real " gift for the violin as people have told her over the years. I beg to differ in that the gift may not lie in her talent per se .....but in the instrument and the music itself .....I argue gently that at one point ...the violin becomes the reason she still lives in her body today.And regardless of a person's talent level ....they may be great at making others happy by sharing their gift ......that's a gift too .I myself love to sing .around the house...but trust me .....that doesn't mean others want to hear it necessarily ...but if I feel like it ...I do.The arts can be very healing . I sincerely hope Ms.Hindman stops letting her beautiful instrument continue to lay silent except for occasional appearances at frugal friends nuptials. ...I'm positive there is a "reeyell" gift worth delivering to an appreciative audience or just for herself . There is certainly a reeyell gift for writing as well . Not only does she " expose " some of the behind the scenes tricks of the classical orchestra trade . ...she weaves it seamlessly into her own experiences . The amazing thing is I don't feel cheated by the " fraud " that occurs .....somehow ....despite the smoke and mirrors used in the industry ....I feel good gets accomplished by the effect it has on the audience ....like a placebo pill is what id I'd compare it to. Yet I totally understand why the musicians themselves feel cheated and get frustrated ......I would feel the same ....but let's hope they cling to the fact that music makes people feel good .....and we need that .It is too bad and sad that shortcuts are used in the process .....sad that anyone sees the need to use them to begin with .Yet in this case I detect no malice on The Composer's part just maybe some serious insecurity issues .And I laughed out loud at the veliceraptor description when the composer smiles because ,no matter how hard I try to smile nicely and naturally ...I look like a deranged ventriloquist dummy ,so I feel for the poor guy .Glad I'm not alone in my grin impairment issue.People always tell me to smile more often but ....Nope ! Only when I really must .I don't want to frighten small children or horrify anyone or any living creature for that matter 😁And so ends my long winded review ...hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the book .
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  • Cavak
    January 1, 1970
    For anyone who has been harangued to pay the rent and student loans, for anyone who has been afraid to leave a job that they have hated, for anyone who feels they have lost their purpose in life—Sounds Like Titanic will be a familiar tale to you. It's the true meat of this memoir.Yes, I know the main draw is the fake playing during live and nationally broadcast performances. But if you have experienced anything that I have mentioned above, you will quickly understand the Composer's methods in on For anyone who has been harangued to pay the rent and student loans, for anyone who has been afraid to leave a job that they have hated, for anyone who feels they have lost their purpose in life—Sounds Like Titanic will be a familiar tale to you. It's the true meat of this memoir.Yes, I know the main draw is the fake playing during live and nationally broadcast performances. But if you have experienced anything that I have mentioned above, you will quickly understand the Composer's methods in one retelling. The motivations of why and how he sets up his gigs aren't written in full detail, either due to Hindman's lack of knowledge or as an act of respect to all parties involved. If that is what you desire, you may be disappointed. Instead, you will be given slight variations of multiple and monotonous shams, which you may or may not have the tolerance to read. Yet the complexities of Hindman's predicaments for sticking with the Composer were captured well enough for me throughout the book.As someone who has a smattering of musical training, I could follow her explanations of the art well enough. I liked how she addresses her obsession with classical music in live performances and films. I'll be honest: I haven't heard of someone's entry into the world of music expressed in such an unhealthy and frank way before. It was quite the eye opener to me. Her "one song" is Vivaldi's Winter. If you aren't aware of the song by name, give it a listen; I'm sure you've heard parts of Movement I somewhere before. Listening to it added extra weight to her words, however disturbing they were to me. I'm glad that she's at a point in her life where she can enjoy music again.While I'm aware that Sounds Like Titanic is following the typical memoir format, I think I would have preferred the autobiographic touch here and there. Hindman is "not famous", but I didn't always agree with the editing of her stories. Like how she fondly recalls the only live performance she had relished right before throwing the reader back into the slog of the God Bless America tour. Or how she highlights her brief military enlistment after saying she's on the streets. An exception to this would be one of my favorite sections, "Do You Know What's Missing in This Book?"; it wouldn't have the same impact to me if it were chronological.Perhaps that is why I felt the ending felt rushed. On one hand, if you are responsible and become aware of your self-worth like Hindman eventually does, how she "got her life together" might be obvious. But if you are like the younger Hindman and caught up in "the feels", well, I think you'll be missing out. She doesn't go into detail there, and it's written with the assumption that she has nothing to offer for you. That may leave you hanging if you wanted some guidance or empathy for moving on from an exploitive work relationship. Her last interaction with the Composer adds some closure, but it was a stilted conclusion to me.Sounds Like Titanic has one of the best covers for a memoir that I've seen. It's so appropriate, it's heart wrenching. Try reading it if the front cover or summary appeals to you too.I received the book for free through Goodreads Giveaways.
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  • Patricia Linville
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.
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  • Catherine Yezak
    January 1, 1970
    I received an advanced copy, so I would love to read how the final copy is changed from this one. I often forgot that this was a memoir. I kept thinking it was fiction. Jessica Hindman spent four years traveling the US pretending to play violin as part of the Composer's ensemble to support his albums for PBS and various charities.Along the way, Jessica deals with how not being true to yourself can affect all aspects of your life. It affected her mental health the most, but it sounds like it also I received an advanced copy, so I would love to read how the final copy is changed from this one. I often forgot that this was a memoir. I kept thinking it was fiction. Jessica Hindman spent four years traveling the US pretending to play violin as part of the Composer's ensemble to support his albums for PBS and various charities.Along the way, Jessica deals with how not being true to yourself can affect all aspects of your life. It affected her mental health the most, but it sounds like it also affected her physical health as well. She is a violinist who now teaches. While she was with the Composer, she struggled to find out who she was as a real person. The Composer's ensemble of various people were not allowed to play their instruments live. Instead, they played to dead microphones while the actual album was played over them. The performers were allowed very few breaks and would play for hours at a time.Towards the end of the book, we finally get to see how Jessica is reflecting on her time as part of the ensemble, her views on the composer, and her relationships with past ensemble members. It seems that by pretending to be something you are not, you repress what you can be, which takes a toll. Jessica has discovered teaching and connected how imitating, or "faking", better writers, her students are discovering how to find themselves, their voices. She connects that to "faking" being a professional violinist and how it did help her to find her true passions and skills.
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  • Sonia Reppe
    January 1, 1970
    A girl from Appalachia gets into Columbia University and then finds herself traveling and performing with a famous composer. But she's not a professional musician when she's first hired. She plays along with tracks on the tour, but she's getting paid to play, so she's a professional now. But is it fake? And what is real? What is reality? The reality when she was growing up in Appalachia was that her family was rich (one parent a doctor, one a social worker), but the reality when she got to NYC ( A girl from Appalachia gets into Columbia University and then finds herself traveling and performing with a famous composer. But she's not a professional musician when she's first hired. She plays along with tracks on the tour, but she's getting paid to play, so she's a professional now. But is it fake? And what is real? What is reality? The reality when she was growing up in Appalachia was that her family was rich (one parent a doctor, one a social worker), but the reality when she got to NYC (Columbia U) was that she was poor.Her home town did not even have a violin teacher. (It's hard to fathom this). She begged her parents for violin lessons for years so finally they got her a violin, and lessons in the nearest town that had a violin teacher which was four to five hours round trip.In New York City she faced a culture shock and had to make money. Luckily she found this unique situation playing for a composer whom she never names, and she gets to travel the country. She reflects about feeling like a fake at times, playing to tracks while the mic is dead in front of her, and she sees evidence that pretending isn't always a bad thing. At the same time she gets a degree in Middle Eastern Studies and is in Egypt when the trade towers were attacked.Very interesting. I love memoirs of a young girl trying to make her way in the world.
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  • Slee
    January 1, 1970
    Sounds Like Titanic : A Memoir touches the third tail of imposter syndrome in an uncannily familiar way that makes the book hit close to home. Memoirs aren't always my jam because they tend to show the author as the secret hero of every interaction in the same way that my recounting of most stories make me sound at least 10% better than I was in the moment. Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman doesn't have time for that nonsense. Instead, she recounts her tumultuous relationship with life in the body, mo Sounds Like Titanic : A Memoir touches the third tail of imposter syndrome in an uncannily familiar way that makes the book hit close to home. Memoirs aren't always my jam because they tend to show the author as the secret hero of every interaction in the same way that my recounting of most stories make me sound at least 10% better than I was in the moment. Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman doesn't have time for that nonsense. Instead, she recounts her tumultuous relationship with life in the body, money, music, and everything in between. I respect her choices when it comes to things like not putting the composer she worked for... though don't get me wrong, all in all, at some point in reading to her descriptions of the near religious experiences some of the filled audience had, I kind of wanted to listen to some music that sounded like Titanic. I enjoyed the conversational tone, the raw bravery, and the upfront explanation of writing about "you," rather than "I."Her prose is energetic, unassuming, self aware, funny, observant, and relatable. I'm glad I got a chance to read the galley/ARC for this review, and hope all the awesome stays intact between now and when the final copy I have on order with Amazon shows up.
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book as an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. I don't usually enjoy memoirs, but I did really like this one. Hindman's voice is entirely unique and very frank, and she surprised me with her insight into American society and politics. Despite knowing this book was a memoir from the start, I had trouble accepting it as such because the premise and people were so absurd. But coming around to the end, it all started to make sense as Hindman shared her views on American society. I I received this book as an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. I don't usually enjoy memoirs, but I did really like this one. Hindman's voice is entirely unique and very frank, and she surprised me with her insight into American society and politics. Despite knowing this book was a memoir from the start, I had trouble accepting it as such because the premise and people were so absurd. But coming around to the end, it all started to make sense as Hindman shared her views on American society. I thought her use of people's perceptions of music and their ability to separate truth from fiction to analyze pre-and post-9/11 America was astute and enlightening. It's a different way to look at history, and one that is not usually employed. I would read this again, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to read a memoir that not only tells the story of a life but the story of a nation in crisis.
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