Good Minds Suggest: Mitch Albom's Favorite Books About the Power of Music

Posted by Goodreads on November 11, 2015
Mitch Albom

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Mitch Albom doesn't do small. In The Five People You Meet in Heaven and Tuesdays with Morrie, his focus is love. In For One More Day and The Time Keeper, it's time—from the importance of a few cherished seconds to the echoing expanse of eternity. Now he's turning to music. The new focus shouldn't come as a surprise, considering Albom's nonnoveling hobbies. In addition to being an accomplished songwriter and lyricist, he is currently a member of the Rock Bottom Remainders, a band composed largely of bestselling writers. (He's rocked out with Stephen King, Matt Groening, and Amy Tan. No big deal.) His new book, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, is an upbeat Forrest Gump-esque romp through American music history, starring Frankie, the greatest guitarist to ever walk the earth. In familiar Albom fashion, the story is not just about Frankie but about the six people forever altered by hearing him play. The author shares five of his favorite books about music's power to change lives.

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
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"When you love music so much, it gets in the way of the rest of your life, you're hooked. Nick Hornby's classic about a record shop owner struggling with his love life was relatable to every crazed collector of anything anywhere. It's a coming-of-age story without the schmaltz, and the concept of keeping top 10 lists was ahead of its time. Now the Internet does it for everything."


Amadeus by Peter Shaffer
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"All right, so technically it's a play, but the best play ever about envy and talent. I loved the movie, but the dialogue in Peter Shaffer's 1981 stage classic is just wonderful, and Salieri's fury at God for imbuing Mozart with unappreciated talent is a great observation of human character and the unequal balance of musical gifts."


Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley by Peter Guralnick
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"The definitive volume on the life of Elvis Presley (along with Careless Love: the Unmaking of Elvis Presley, also by Guralnick) observed with both the detail and the distance required of a great biography. Let's face it: Elvis is THE American story about rock and roll, race, fame, and decline—and Guralnick provides the essential details with an attention that could only come from someone who loved Elvis's music."


The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music by Steve Lopez
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"I work with the homeless in Detroit, so Steve Lopez's account of a stunningly gifted violinist living in the street didn't shock me. But it brought to light how much talent is out there unnourished, needing only a chance to grow. The fact that Lopez and Nathaniel Ayers had their differences kept it real, and you wonder how many others like Ayers are homeless right now."


The Wishbones by Tom Perrotta
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"When you read Tom Perrotta's later work, this seems almost childish in subject matter. But his early novel about a wedding singer still living with his parents speaks to the love of music that freezes you in your development. Duke Ellington once said, 'Music is my mistress, and she's a jealous lover.' Perrotta's protagonist, Dave Raymond, is less elegant about it but just as torn."





Vote for your own favorites on Listopia: Best Books About Music and Musicians



Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

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message 1: by John (last edited Nov 11, 2015 06:17PM) (new)

John Luiz in honor of high fidelity - I will say you listed 2 of my all time top five favorite novels in High Fidelity and The Wishbones


message 2: by Eagleyemex (new)

Eagleyemex Flynn I was hoping to see "The Secret Power of Music" [Australian author] listed in this list. I read it ~5 years ago, found it fascinating and loaned it out for others to read. Its time for a replacement!


message 3: by Jessi (new)

Jessi Payne John wrote: "in honor of high fidelity - I will say you listed 2 of my all time top five favorite novels in High Fidelity and The Wishbones"

I look forward to reading them both. Thank you for your comment.

Jessi Lohman
Author
Riding the Camino Dragon
Finding Yourself in a Suitcase
Befriending Death
www.RockStarJessi.com


message 4: by Nanci (new)

Nanci Woody Mitch. Tears and Trombones, published in September of 2014, won the IPPY for "Best Fiction in the Western Pacific Region". It is all about music, a kid who, at an early age, wants to be a classical trombonist against the wishes of his alcoholic, cruel father. It's about how he maneuvers through that childhood and young adulthood to pursue his musical dream. Music is throughout the book, classical, country, jazz, big band, pop. Tears and Trombones has received outstanding editorial and reader reviews.

The story features the Sacramento Symphony, the Beach Boys recording live in Sacramento, Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison, Stan Kenton, and many more. One reviewer said, "Tears and Trombones" should be on every music-lover's bookshelf. Please check it out. nanci lee woody


message 5: by Sandra (new)

Sandra Westlife m stil a young reader with a passion and i hope to read them all especially amadeus and the wishbones


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