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.
Nina Teicholz: The Big Fat Surprise
An impeccably, indeed exhaustively researched, 10-year labour of love that takes apart, block by block, the shoddy science and dubious politics that underpin the low fat movement. Compelling stuff.
T. S. Eliot: Four Quartets
Widely regarded as Eliot's masterpiece, these four poems are as exquisite as they are daunting: meditations on place and time, and our relationship as human beings to both.
Abraham Joshua Heschel: The Sabbath
Strange book for an atheist to recommend, I’ll grant, but Heschel’s 1951 classic is quite beautiful: a poetic and profoundly moving meditation on the role of the Sabbath in Jewish life, but a lesson also to anyone wanting to find at least moment a week when they can temporarily retire from the hamster wheel.