Q and A

These are questions submitted by readers, and answered by Tom Hull.

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November 09, 2020

[Q] Always find your book commentary of interest (and expense). But no books about music? Did I miss something? -- Clifford Ocheltree, New Orleans [2020-10-19]

[A] I've occasionally mentioned books on music. Not many, and not often, but I came up with 82 when I took a pass at collecting the notes I've done into a file. The master file contains 4928 book notes, so that works out to about 1.66%, or about 1 in 60. The seeingly small share can be explained several ways: I haven't read many books on music over the last 20 years (although I've gone through periods when I read a lot, especially in the 1970s); in recent years I've tried to focus on political matters, thinking (perhaps foolishly) that I have more to say about such things; and the Book Roundup form is basically designed to survey the range of current thought, giving me a broad picture of the state of the art. I've even gone so far as to collect books by right-wing propaganda houses because they give me a way to gauge the delusions and conceits of their ideology. There may be comparably bad books on music (or any other subject), but no reason to face them.

Still, might be a good idea to do a roundup on music books once or twice a year, perhaps adding other arts to get the numbers up, and/or looking back at my own shelves for older but still valuable books. I've thought about doing something like that for cookbooks, probably because I'm more actively in the market for them, and my own collection is better organized. Another topic I used to read a lot in but haven't lately is science.