Obviously I read far too few books this year. From the best to the least best:
Ben Yagoda, The B-side: The Death of Tin Pan Alley and the Rebirth of the Great American Song
A very interesting history of the evolution of popular American music, particularly with its insights in the twenty years following World War II.
Based on extensive conversations with St. EOM during the last three years of his life. Related stories on our visit to Pasaquan begin here.
David Byrne, How Music Works
The text is only occasionally represented by the title because this is more of an art-rock memoir than an explanatory books of insights, but on those occasions when he does attempt to pay off the title of the book, he really does.
Cathy Clark et al., The Impact Investor: Lessons in Leadership and Strategy for Collaborative Capitalism
Solid overview of the field of impact investing.
Patrick Modiano, So you don’t get lost in the neighborhood
It must be extraordinarily hard to write a book after winning the Nobel Prize in Literature. Although not bad, this book seems to prove the case that high expectations can hurt a book’s prospects. This overview of his career seems to hint of many things that warrant a return trip to his catalog.
Katharine A. Harmon, The Map as Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography
?uestlove, Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove
One of the brilliant creative forces behind The Roots relates the journey of early hip-hop toward mainstream status, through the lens of their own careers.
Michaelangelo Matos, The Underground Is Massive: How Electronic Dance Music Conquered America
The history of EDM and its massive influence on modern American (i.e., global) popular music, starting, as it should, with Chicago and Detroit.
Walter Rimler, The Man That Got Away: The Life and Songs of Harold Arlen
Arlen wrote some of the most beloved popular music of the twentieth century, and this book never seems to offer an answer to the question: Was he a cipher, a bore, a genius, or all three?
James Wolcott, Lucking Out: My Life Getting Down and Semi-dirty in Seventies New York
Youthful cluelessness wrapped in a thick, cloying wad of namedropping.