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January 31, 2011

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Recent reading

  • Daniel J. Levitin: The Organized Mind

    Daniel J. Levitin: The Organized Mind
    Part pop-sci, part-behavioual economics, part-self-help, psychologist and musician Levitin's book examines why we are all floundering in an age of information overload, before mapping out strategies for mitigation in our social lives, at home and in business.

  • Dr Jeremy M Silver: Digital Medieval

    Dr Jeremy M Silver: Digital Medieval
    My former colleague and friend Jeremy Silver's book is a fine - and personal - account of music in the age of the world wide web. Jeremy is simultaneously amused and enraged at how the industry has (or rather too often) hasn't adapted to technological disruption. He also sees music as the "canary in the coalmine" for all the content industries who should take heed - but probably won't.

  • Jamie Andreas: The Principles of Correct Practice for Guitar

    Jamie Andreas: The Principles of Correct Practice for Guitar
    Not sure I'll ever "finish" this book so much as return to it for the rest of my life. Which is what I've just done, now that I'm down the classical guitar rabbit hole. Andreas' book is the ultimate "meta" method book, looking at guitar playing not in terms of notes or even "music" but instead in terms of the body and the mind. Essential for all guitar students - - I wish I'd read it 30 years ago.

  • Dave Asprey: The Bulletproof Diet

    Dave Asprey: The Bulletproof Diet
    Asprey is a bit of an outlier even in the food/fitness firmament I follow, but he's remarkable nonetheless - not least for his own personal journey. This book maps out the basic principles of his eating strategy (let's call it paleo+) with guidance on other lifestyle areas like exercise and, crucially, sleep.

  • Brad Warner: Sex, Sin, and Zen: A Buddhist Exploration of Sex from Celibacy to Polyamory and Everything in Between

    Brad Warner: Sex, Sin, and Zen: A Buddhist Exploration of Sex from Celibacy to Polyamory and Everything in Between
    Mr Hardcore Zen himself evaluates the myriad aspects of modern sexuality through the lens of Zen Buddhism: it's by turns funny and deeply thought-provoking throughout. At its heart is a brilliant interview with legendary porn star Nina Hartley, who was brought up by Buddhist parents. Fascinating stuff.

  • Don DeLillo: The Body Artist

    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

    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

    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

    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)

    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.

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