The First Four Notes

A work as ubiquitous as Beethoven's Fifth Symphony casts a nimbus that can prevent unclouded appreciation, but Matthew Guerrieri aims to strip away the clouds to reveal the beauty and significance of the work afresh.  In a book nearly as compelling as its musical subject, he delves into the symphony's legacy, its champions and detractors, and its significance to listeners of all walks of life.

April 18: "[W]ould it be too bold to imagine that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament…?"

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…