October 31st, 2015
|09:51 pm - Books Read October|
Future Days: Krautrock and the Birth of a Revolutionary New Music
A pretty thorough examination of Krautrock. A long prologue establishes the cultural, political, and economic antecdents of the music, and explains why some West Germans wanted to tear down the preconceptions of Anglo-American blues based rock. Stubbs knows his material very well, drawing on decades of interviews and articles as well as his own writing and original research. The first four chapters consider Amon Duul II, Can, Kraftwerk and Faust individually, looking at their origins and continuing influence (Kraftwerk's chapter is the longest). The next several chapters all look at combinations of performers, and the last looks at the reimagination of "krautrock" as a style and how it continues to influence contemporary musicians. As a krautrock aficionado, I found it fascinating, of course; even if you're not interested in krautrock, it might help explain the noise.
Spiegel & Grau
I don't think I liked this book as much as Pym. Maybe it's because I didn't understand the satire in this book as well as I did in the other. Pym's satire was aimed straight at black/white relations. Loving Day is more subtle, looking at the differences between people who identify as all black and people who identify as mixed race. Someone who has had those identity issues might find this book hilarious. The few times I laughed out loud were at the behaviors of white people. Still, I found the book very moving and sad.
March: Book Two
John Lewis (with Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell)
At times a very horrifying recounting of some of the early struggles to desegregate the south. In high school history, the Freedom Riders (if they're taught about at all) are depicted as noble and united, the struggle to desegragate brief and clean. This book makes clear their personal struggles -- with different tactics, different commitments, and genuine fear for their lives -- and the length and viciousness of the struggle. The Freedom Riders were at times faced with life-threatening vicious attacks and riots, while the police looked on. They were also told repeatedly by white moderates to calm down, not to push too hard, to step back and wait. I think this is an important lesson, too: that progress in black civil rights has frequently come at the discomfort of white moderates. </td></tr>
Of Noble Family
Mary Robinette Kowal
The last of the series of the glamourist books. It started slowly and the climax came on very fast, so it felt to me like 400 pages of very little happening followed by 170 pages of almost everything at once. That's more likely due to my reading than the author, though. The end was very gripping, with some effective gut punches. I'm satisfied to leave the characters where they landed.
Four books in October, as many as I read in July, August, and September combined (which I didn't bother to post about.) I guess being unemployed really has improved my reading rate.
I have! Actually, even before I saw that story, which makes me some kind of hipster I guess.
In the introduction to the Krautrock book, the author talks about the Soest show that was recorded at. Most of the people didn't know what to expect. A band would play a short set, then there would be some political lecture, then another band would play a short set. And the bands alternated between Kraftwerk and Amon Duul and more-traditional bands.