Wednesday, 20 July 2011

June reading guide (for July)

If you're going to Injune in July.

Alex Ross. Listen to this. A book on music. Not the pop kind. Alex Ross is a music critic who can write about Mozart and Radiohead in the same breath. In his essays here he writes on classical music in China, Schubert, Sonic Youth, Verdi, Bob Dylan, Brahms, Bjork, etc.

Robert Shelton. No direction home. Updated edition. Published to coincide with Dylan's 70th birthday last May. Robert Shelton was a friend, champion, and critic of Bob Dylan. 20 years in the writing, this book, first published in 1986, was hailed as the definitive biography of Dylan. This is the only book, of more than a thousand, that has Dylan’s cooperation.

Simon Schama. The American future is American history from a different perspective. British-born Schama has spent time in the United States teaching at Harvard and Columbia. But his is still an outsider’s view, hence more detached and more objective.

Fred Pearce. Confessions of an eco sinner. Pearce confesses that his globe-trotting (including visits to brothels in Manila – check your thoughts) is not good for his carbon footprint. He should be forgiven for that though because – I agree with him - you don’t lighten your carbon footprint by sitting at home, reading his book. But after reading it, you may find yourself either more enlightened or more cynical like Pearce did, finding and questioning more accepted ethical truths. The book won the 2008 IVCA Clarion Award for Literature.

Scott Atran. Talking to the enemy. Atran attempts to answer the question, “Why do people believe in a cause, and why do some die and kill for it?”  He argues that the answer is that people don’t simply kill and die for a cause. They kill and die for each other. Atran, an anthropologist who studies, empathizes with, and analyses human behaviours, sets his book against the backdrop of human evolution and throughout the history of humanity.

Kinky Friedman. Meanwhile back at the ranch. Light entertainment. Shnay. 

Philip Roth. Nemesis. Life in the time of a polio epidemic.

Nelson DeMille. Night fall. A fiction about the 1996 TWA flight 800 plane crash being filmed on a supposed to be sex home-video. It climaxes (or anticlimaxes) with 9/11.

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