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Don't Live A Bug's Life

Rating: 1 votes, 5.00 average.
Don't let the internet turn you into a mosquito, drawn by the uncontrollable lure of a bug zapper, ie., too much time online. I'm in the midst of preparing a summer reading list for our teenage daughter and one for myself as well. Goals? Read more, be online less. Play more music, spend more time with friends and family.

Don't get me wrong. No one loves the internet more than I do, but there's a healthy limit, and I'm troubled by those that can't resist the lure and spend too much time online and can't pull back, not unlike the poor mosquito in the movie A Bug's Life. It just can't help flying into the bug zapper. Around our house it's called screen sucking.

Don't screen suck. Get off the internet and get some exercise, read a book, be with those other humans living in your house as our last page on the internet has always advised.

And now that you know how I really feel about the web, let me recommend a few books we think might fit your summer reading list.

Have your own recommendations? I'd like to hear them. Doesn't have to be music related.

inline imageSatan Is Real: The Ballad of the Louvin Brothers - The story of the Louvin Brothers as told by Charlie Louvin with help from Benjamin Whitmer, finished shortly before Charlie's passing in 2011. We felt very strongly about this book and blogged about it recently. Our own copy has now circulated among several friends.

If you're looking for the kind of book that grabs you instantly and won't let you put it down start to finish, this is the one. Receiving wonderful reviews all over the web, and for good reason. And who can't dig that classic one-of-a-kind album cover? While you're at it, if you're not familiar with their work and the influence they had on bluegrass, rock, pop, all kinds of music really, you owe it to yourself to explore.

Haven't we talked enough about this book enough? Sure, but we'll continue on. This one folks, is a real gem that doesn't come along very often.

Bean Blossom: The Brown County Jamboree and Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Festivals - Warning: most appropriate for hard core Bluegrass and history buffs. Whereas Satan Is Real has the kind of cross-culture popular appeal that will have it read by all types, Thomas A. Adler's book published by University of Illinois Press is less drama and more geared towards those looking for those interesting tidbits from the people that actually attended the early Bean Blossom festivals and have a keen interest in the life and times of the Monroe family and early bluegrass festival history.

inline imageSide note: University of Illinois Press is a terrific source for specialty books in the kinds of music of interest to people that frequent the Cafe. A search of mandolin or bluegrass turns up many great well known books we won't necessarily be recommending here because they've been around a long time. Don't be afraid to check out the resources they've published. In the music community we can use more publishers like this.

The Inner Game of Music, by Barry Green, principal bassist for the Cincinnati Symphony and W. Timothy Gallwey. One look at the overwhelmingly positive reader reviews from should be enough--4.6 out of 5 stars in 32 reviews. For pros or amateurs looking to take their music to the next level, you can't go wrong with this one, but be prepared to wade into the deep end of the pool. Discussed on our forum as long ago as 2005.

We picked the brain of Ted Eschliman of for some recommendations and he concurred. Great book. Ted also recommened--though not necessarily music related--Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking which we've also read and recommend.

Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War - and finally, one non-music book that will have you falling over laughing. We've recommended it before. One of our all-time favorites. A look into the hard life in West Virginia, or as the author says: the great beery, NASCAR-loving, church-going, gun-owning America that has never set foot in a Starbucks.


And now that we've listed a few of our favorites, do us a favor by sharing some of yours and a link it if it pleases you. We'll try to pluck one or two from the list to read.

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  1. Santiago's Avatar
    Gladwell's Blink was good but Outliers was a real eye-opener. Was discussing it yesterday in the forum -- 10,000 hours to master an instrument.
  2. richardbradford's Avatar
    Blink was good read - willl have to tackle Outliers - I've started a long term, multi-year reading goal - read all the fiction Putlizer Prize winners starting with the first, the 1910, "His Family", 1 down, over 100 to go - gonna take awhile - the second one, "The Magnificant Ambersons" is a blast so far. I'm really looking forward to see how the 20th century unfolds through the eyes of these authors.
    Updated May-01-2012 at 7:46am by richardbradford
  3. Geordie's Avatar
    I second your Satan Is Real recommendation. Great book.
    I suggest Anvil!; The Story of Anvil, the true tale of a Canadian heavy metal band who influenced groups like Anthrax and Metallica, and yet never got the recognition they truly deserve. A story of missed opportunities, bad decisions, and the power of friendship and optomism.
  4. AaronVW's Avatar
    Cycling is one of my favorite activities and this time of year, the season is really getting going. One of my favorite fun reads is a book called "The Rider" by Tim Krabbe. If you ride bikes you will probably resonate with it. If you don't and can't understand those who do, this book may give you an entertaining insight into the mind of a bicycle racer.
  5. Billgrass's Avatar
    The Steve Jobs biography is incredibly worthwhile. An unflinching look at a complicated man, who like musicians, followed his instincts.
  6. JeffD's Avatar
    One of the most intriguing music related books I have recently read is "Music and the Making of the New South", by Gavin James Campbell. It is a history of Atlanta from about 1890 to 1925, through the music, especially the significance of Opera, spirituals and the Colored Music Festival, and fiddling and the Georgia Old-Time Fiddlers' Convention.

    Outside of music, if you like dogs, you will like "In Defense of Dogs" by John Bradshaw. Dogs are so much more than tame wolves, if they are even that.

    For fiction I content myself with Elmore Leonard cowboy stories. I scarf them down like tater tots.
  7. RoyO's Avatar
    This Is Your Brain On Music by Daniel J. Levitin explains, in scientific terms, why music affects us the way it does. The author is currently a professor of Psychology, Behavioural Neuroscience and Music at McGill University in Montreal. Musically speaking he's done everything from being a musician to serving as audio consultant for several prominent rock bands to a time as a recording engineer. He uses specific songs in his book to reinforce his scientific theories and provides audio samples of those songs on his website. Great book! When you're done that one, read his other related book The World In Six Songs.