Several days before we left Paris, Susie and went to Shakespeare and Co. for something to read. I chose Jeffrey Deaver's continuation of the James Bond series. She chose Harvard musicologist Christoph Wolff's new book on Mozart's last years. The Deaver did not keep me occupied very long [it was actually rather good], so on the plane home I read most of Mozart At The Gateway to His Fortune [the title is taken from a Mozart letter]. The thesis of the book is that, contrary to the received wisdom of the current Mozart scholarship, the music Mozart composed in the three years before his untimely death [in 1791] does not reveal him to be brooding on his mortality and aware of his impending demise. It shows him to be in the full power of his creativity, experimenting with new forms, optimistic that in the immediate future he will be making a great deal more money [always a concern to the profligate Mozart]. the last chapter is devoted to the enormous amount of unfinished music that Mozart left at his death -- something about which I knew nothing at all.
Those of you who have difficulty reading a score will find some of the book slow going, but it is mostly biographical rather than musicological. If you are looking for something to read in August, you might think about this book. Or, of course, you could read the latest James Bond adventure. Deaver actually has a brief passage in which he explains why a martini is to be "shaken, not stirred."