Don DeLillo: The Body Artist
DeLillo at his most spectral, poetic... and weird. This short novel follows the mental and emotional breakdown of the recently bereaved titular body artist as she encounters a stranger living in her house. At times heavily redolent of Duras - and quite beautiful.
Alejandra Pizarnik: A Musical Hell
Dark, enigmatic, sensual and often highly disturbing surrealist work from the Argentinian poet Pizarnik. This set was first published in 1971 a year before her suicide, now translated by Yvette Siegert and published handsomely by New Directions poetry.
Henry Shukman: Archangel
Beautiful and profoundly moving set of poems about love - and falling out of love. Plus and extraordinary set of poems about a little known WW1 episode that sees thousands of Jewish Londoners sent to fight with the Russians. Very powerful.
Judith Kleinman and Peter Buckocke: The Alexander Technique for Musicians
Kleinman and Buckocke are veteran AT teachers at London's Royal College of Music and draw on their years of experience to pull together this highly accessible introduction to the technique. As I'm taking my first uneasy steps in the world of classical guitar, it's proving invaluable!
Jocelyn K. Glei: Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind (The 99U Book Series)
Nice little collection of essays pulled together by Jocelyn K. Glei on behalf of online publishing platform Behance, taking a look at digital distraction, better use of tech and tools, the essential building of a daily discipline and routes to greater creativity.
Arianna Huffington: Thrive
Tricky one for me this. On one hand it's a little at the Oprah end of the self help spectrum, and at times a little glib. On the other, it's tremendously widely researched and a profoundly honest questioning of material success and digital life... from someone who should know.
Sam Harris: Letter to a Christian Nation
Sure, Harris is notorious - one of the "new atheists", apparently. But he's far more than that, as a neuroscientist and contemplative. Here he addresses his fellow Americans about their Christian beliefs, and, in the most measured, eloquent of ways, slowly takes it apart. Compelling.
Andrew Holecek: Meditation in the iGeneration: How to Meditate in a World of Speed and Stress
Holecek is a contemplative of decades' standing and a highly experienced meditation teacher. This book acts as both an urgent call to contemplative arms in the face of mass distraction and an introductory guide for the neophyte.
Glenn Kurtz: Practicing: A Musician's Return to Music
After a childhood and youth dedicated to classical guitar - through to graduate level - Kurtz gave up on a career in music and put his guitar in its case for over a decade. This lovely little book charts his return to playing, weaving in a concise history of the classical guitar and its repertoire, and a series of meditations on what it is to "practice".
Tom Campbell: The Planner
Campbell's second novel is a scathingly brilliant satire on contemporary London life, following a Southwark town planner's unexpected Faustian journey. Especially brilliant observations about life in the public sector abound.