I offer this list not because what I read is so important, but simply as one reader to another: these are books I love, books that fundamentally changed my life. These are books I’m always thinking about, always returning to.
Milton Babbitt: Words About Music
Luciano Berio: Two Interviews
Morton Feldman: Essays (originally the German Zimmerman edition, later Exact Change in U.S.)
Graham Lock: Forces In Motion (Anthony Braxton)
Tim Page, ed.: The Glenn Gould Reader
Charles Rosen: The Classical Style
Arnold Schoenberg: Style and Idea
Arnold Schoenberg: Theory of Harmony
Arnold Schoenberg: Structural Functions of Harmony
David Schiff: The Music of Elliott Carter
Not a week goes by when I don’t return to almost all of the above titles, searching for a little inspiration, insight, or what used to be called “good vibes”.
Lester Bangs: Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung
Theodore Rosengarten: All God’s Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw
An oral history by a black sharecropper in Alabama.
Vladimir Nabokov: Lectures on Literature
His discussions of Kafka’s Metamorphosis and Joyce’s Ulysses changed the way I read.
Emily Dickinson: Collected Poems; Selected Letters
David Hockney: Hockney On Photography
Elias Canetti: Memoirs (three volumes);
Gerard Manley Hopkins: Poetry And Prose (Penguin)
D. H. Lawrence: Studies In Classic American Literature
William Carlos Williams: In The American Grain