Playing The Piano For Pleasure

How did you come across the book?

Um… I’m a musician, so I just pick up as much literature as I can on music and try to extract from it what I can to serve what I do play. My mother does estate sells back in Long Island… she cleans out houses and a lot of contents end up back at home, and this book made its way from one of the houses… and she thought it belonged to me and uh… so, I took that as a sign to take it home to go through it. I’ve already read it before, but I’m going back for a second time to see what else I can get out of it.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

Well… as a musician it’s all about this, uh… I believe he wrote for the New Yorker back in like the 20s or 30s, this guy Charles Cooke… he was big on the amateur musician and how, as an amateur musician, you don’t have to compete with professional musicians… you can sort of enjoy it for your own pleasure and develop at your own pace… and get a lot out of it without the stress of having to compete with top-tier musicians, and… I think there’s a lot to be learned from that approach, as I feel there’s so many people in the city trying to quote-on-quote “make it” in a creative sense, and if your serious about it, that will drive you to compete on those top-tiers, but… if you can sort of take a step back and enjoy it on the many tiers below that, and figure out your own level, there’s a lot more pleasure to be had that way.

Would you recommend it, and if so, to who and why?

I would recommend it to any other musician or artist for what I laid out in the previous question, just… I don’t know… I’d recommend it to anybody!

The Rings of Saturn

How did you come across the book?

“I was actually in Richmond… where I’m from… and I saw it in a used book store that I use to frequent in college… but, I heard about it through another book I was reading; Known and Strange Things by Teju Cole.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

“I guess in terms of… travel… like what travel writing can be. The author does a great job of situating himself in a certain location, whether it’s Belgium or otherwise, with a deep understanding of the history of the place he is in; he weaves through those two things.”

Would you recommend it, and if so, to who and why?

I would recommend it… (a train whistles by causing momentary hestiation)… Yeah, I mean, I would recommend it to maybe someone who is traveling soon… maybe to someone who is into history. And why? I guess for escape, but also for understanding.

“Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!”

How did you come across the book?

“So, I told one of my friends about Richard Feynman, and I kind of droned on about physics for a good 15 to 20 minutes. She’s a very good friend of mine so she said “OK, I’m going to do something nice for him”… so she bought me the Feynman books.”

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

“Right off the bat, Richard Feynman talks about the importance of curiosity and his drive to solve puzzles. That’s what kind of made him this… this genius that he was. He always had this… almost an obsession to solve puzzles and that’s what drove him to be as great as he was. And maybe if I can emulate some of that in my life… maybe I can get there.”

Would you recommend it, and if so, to who and why?

“I would recommend this book particularly to children, because this is not necessarily a complicated read. It’s very simple… the language is fairly simple so kids can understand and learn the importance of curiosity.