Thursday, August 09, 2007

This Is Your Brain on Music

You can tell it is Folk Fest time in Edmonton as the weather has turned grey, rainy and cold. While many of my favourite Folk Fest moments have come during cold rain (eg. the sheets of lightning against the angry dark sky and setting sun behind the stage as Norah Jones sang so sweetly a couple years back), sun and warmth are preferable, even if it tends to make one escape to the beer tent for far too long! It is all about the music, man! Here’s a few favourite books that are suffused with the mysterious power of music:

This Is Your Brain on Music By David Levitin
Levitin, a neuroscientist at McGill University, explores how and why music matters to us, using science to look at the relationship between music, melody and the mind.

You Don’t Love Me Yet
By Jonathan Lethem
Music often plays a part in Jonathan Lethem’s intriguing novels, but in this entertaining story music is centre stage, focusing on the chaotic life and loves of
Lucinda Hoekke, bass guitarist for an unknown LA indie rock band.

Songbook By Nick Hornby
Hornby’s novels are filled with references to music and musicians. In Songbook Hornby steps out of fiction mode and writes personal essays with feeling and humour about 31 of his absolute favourite songs.

Sweeter Life By Tim Wynveen
Cyrus Owen is a farm boy in the tomato fields of south-western Ontario. But he has a crazy dream of becoming a rock star. This satisfying, wistful novel records his zigzag journey to music industry success but also the emotional and personal costs that can accompany becoming an artist.

Whale Music By Paul Quarrington
A funny and sad look at the life of a musician, Des Howell, loosely based on reclusive Beach Boys mastermind/crazyman Brian Wilson. It inspired the creation of an album by legendary Toronto indie rock band The Rheostatics.
Reservation Blues By Sherman Alexie
A lyrical, powerful novel about Thomas Builds-the-Fire, of the Spokane/Coeur d’Alene band, who forms an all-Indian Catholic rock band and embarks on a cross-country tour when long-dead Blues legend Robert Johnson comes to the reservation.


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