Recommend a Book from Your Area of Interest

Kevin recently highly recommended a book on architecture to me,which gave me the idea for this thread. I think getting recommendations of books from the people who are knowledgeable about a particular subject is a great way to find books. In this thread, recommend books to others in your area of interest or familiarity. Assume that someone is interested in that field and select one or more books that you would recommend.

1 Response to “Recommend a Book from Your Area of Interest”

  1. Reid

    I’ve read quite a few books about jazz, but the best one–in terms of understanding the music–by far, is Mark Gridley’s Jazz Styles. I borrowed the book from Marc when I lived with him (eighteen years ago!). Gridley’s descriptions of the music–and more importantly how to listen to the music–something really crucial if you’ve grown up on pop–are accessible and vivid. He also also sections of the book where he breaks down classic songs/performances and suggests things to listen for during specific points in the song. (I believe it comes with a cd.) I also liked the way he examines the various styles in jazz and explains the innovations that gave birth to those styles. Featured in these sections are write-ups of prominent jazz musicians within this style, too, that were very helpful. When I hung out at jazz bulletin boards, I never heard anyone else mention this book, but I think it’s one of the best. And it’s certainly the book I’d recommend to anyone interested in listening to the music.

    While Jazz Styles has a great list of recommended recordings, once you get past those and you want more, I’d recommend the Penguin Jazz Guide (I think that’s the official title). The writing is fairly reliable and insightful, but equally important is the entertaining quality of writing. If I had time, I’d give some examples. The manage to bring fun, wit and whimsy to a world that can be stuffy and pretentious.

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