Sincerely Yours
Sincerely Yours


Sincerely Yours Episodes

Symphony for the City of the Dead

Finally... the big interactive episode! I share about a book that I have recently read, "Symphony for the City of the Dead" by MT Anderson. This book surprised me beyond belief, where I discovered much more about Russia, than I ever knew, and a true testament of the human spirit. The book follows the life of the famous Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich (listen at my every attempt at saying this correctly) growing up in Leningrad, through Stalin's reign of terror, to the WWII Siege of Leningrad. Find inspiration in this episode along with using the interactive piece! Includes "Les métamorphoses du vide" 613 Album by Chapelier Fou If you are interested in getting the interactive piece for the episode, email at the To find the book, check out our website where you can find a link to buy it on Amazon under the blog section on the right hand side. The need for quotables is in full effect! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE send me a quote, favorite catchphrase, or saying to


“Someone once told me not to bite off more than I can chew. I said I’d rather choke on greatness, than nibble on mediocracy”.


This is Sincerely Yours, and I’m your host Cece Denno


Hello pen pals, another episode of Sincerely Yours. We have a quotable at the beginning of the episode and it was “ Someone once told me not to bite off more than I can chew. I said I’d rather choke on greatness, than nibble on mediocracy”. That was given to me by one of my co-workers. He didn’t want me to mention his name but I did give him a big thank you, considering I don’t have any quotable left. If anyone would like to send me a quotable you can send them too,, or you can find me on instagram at CeceKnowsItAll or Facebook, anyway that I am accessible. Go ahead and send those in. I have been putting out the inspiration episodes recently, and today is no different.


This is actually the big big interactive episode and if you would like to participate stop listening, email me, because there is an interactive piece that goes with it and even if your catching along, this is not a recent episode you can reach out, I have plenty more I will definitely be making those. I did post a picture on instagram if you want go ahead and check them out. Its just something extra and something fun to go a long with the episode. With that,  you have your interactive piece we can move forward. I am somewhat of big book reader, I’m always reading a book. I always keep up with it, I’m not a quick reader, I do get sometimes get enthralled by books. I have been recently been reading this book called              Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad by M.T. Anderson. This is his most recent book, I recently read one of his other books, that was Feed. I got the book recommendation off of a podcast called Nerdettes, love it especially when they do the Game Of Thrones highlights with the Peter Segal. I read Feed which was great, very interesting. I heard that M.T Anderson was coming out with a new book I bought it as a hard cover. The topic I was a little surprised. He did spend like 4 years writing the book and putting it together, it is a combination of things. It is the story of the life of Dimitri Shostakovich and him growing up in Leningrad, which is St. Petersburg. I definitely learned a lot about Russia, which is funny because I didn’t think I didn’t know that much about Russia but then reading this book I was like ya, I definitely did not know anything about Russia. I think that’s also why I really liked this book, because it was also like a really big surprise. Its not something that I would normally pick up but it definitely a good read.


To start, I’m just going to go ahead and read just a few exerts of the book that really spoke to me the beginning of the book has a very light and fun feel, it starts with Dimitri’s childhood and he did have a child name which was Miyta. This is the first exert, I’ll read for you guys


“ Sofia Shostakovich, loved to hold parties, so these years were filled loud gatherings and evening salons. When Mitya was younger he would hide under the piano listening to the soundsthrumming down through the latticework of the wood. When he was older, he took part himself, playing daces while the guests and the rest of his family wired around the apartment. We invited up to thirty people, his sister Zoya remembered. There was nothing much to feed the guests on, but we would dance until six in the morning. Life was quite fantastic in those days. Miya enjoyed himself with the rest of us, and he didn’t miss out on the dancing either.”


Dimitri Shostakovich was a Russian composer, and he grew up in Leningrad, and went through Stalin’s reign of terror, and survived and during World War 2 the Germans invaded Russia, and put Leningrad under siege, and its actually the longest in the worlds history. It lasted 934 days. The first year of that or so, he was in Leningrad and they were, him and his family were the first ones to escape the city while under German siege. In between this time,  the book explores him growing up, and going through the academy and becoming a very well known composer, he writes these beautiful symphonies. When it was near the end of the siege of Leningrad he composed a symphony specifically for Leningrad, that’s why this is a  Symphony for the City of the Dead,  and throughout the siege the had no resources they had no food. The Germans took a lot of advantage of the fear that Stalin instilled in his countrymen, but yet these people prevailed over unbelievable odds. The book just goes and explores what these people endured. There was a specific scene in that stuck out to me in the book. It was initially when the first time when the Germans showed up. Stalin believed in Hilter and thought that they were in a fight together and that they were partners, and then Hilter just turned around and invaded Russia so that was a big surprise to everyone there. The Leningrad city officials put all of the food supplies in one place, and unfortunately the Germans found out where it was.


This is a quick break out in the podcast just to let you know to pull out that interactive piece and use it here.


Here is another exert from the book:


“ As the bulb of black cloud, lit by both sun and flame, hovered above the storehouses, the people of Leningrad looked on in chocked awe. It was an immense spectacle of stunning beauty. Wrote by Lyubov Shaporina. The air smelled sweet as tons of sugar burned.


 So much came alive to me in this book. The odds of the human spirit really spoke to me. It is really amazing to me, when faced with adversity what people can accomplish. I know its a different time, its a different culture and a different people but it’s just amazing to see how and where people can come from.


This other line spoke to me:


“What saved us all (well I don’t know about all) was hope and love,” one woman wrote. “Well I loved my husband, my husband loved his family, his daughter. He was serving in the army nearby. When we sat down to eat something, his photograph was there before us, and we were expecting him to come back. And it was only because of that love, because of that hope that we were able to keep going. It was really difficult. Now I can’t imagine how we survived.”



There were countless stories over and over again of people through out the book came together and really really found morale in each other, found survival in each other. It’s so evident that when you surround yourself in communities and find the people that help you out the most brings the best out you. With this sense of community with people that we were left in Leningrad during the siege the people had to come together. Dimitri was outsidewhen he wrote the symphony for Leningrad and it did extraordinarily well through out the world. It was played in the United States it was played through out Europe, it was played almost everywhere, in South America. Leningrad was the last place to officially play the symphony, but they were on such limited resources. I believe the book refers to that maybe three of the musicians passed away before even the final performance night. The story does go full circle in that it travels so far, and was so well known. The symphony for Leningrad itself was the last and the Germans soldiers in the behind saying we are Russian and whatever you do can’t break us, we’ll fight until the end, and it does say that there was a part where the German soldiers heard the symphony from outside the city walls they knew that whatever they did they could not break through. It was just a very up liftingstory, very informative story. I like to learn about things outside the norm. I highly highly recommend this book. Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad by M.T. Anderson convienently enough if you go to my website you will find under the blog section on the right hand side you will find a link to purchase on amazon. If you go ahead and check it out feel motivated to read it - it is a very surprisingly heavy book. I did read it every day on the train, I could not believe I could carry it on the train because it is a couple pound book. It’s very good a quick easy read and I recommend it. With that send me quotable, that’s, or instagram at CeceKnowsItAll. I look forward to the next time.


Bye guys!

Cece DennoComment