Year of the Monkey by Patti Smith

Staff Pick

2016, the lunar Year of the Monkey (Knopf, $24.95), began for Patti Smith with a west coast concert tour, during which she saw her friend of forty years, Sandy Pearlman, succumb to a cerebral hemorrhage. She later watched the decline of another old friend, Sam Shepherd, and felt the acceleration of time as she turned seventy, couldn’t sleep, and took up walking at night. Smith survived all this and, exhibiting no symptoms of “dried-up poet syndrome,” recounts it with the same matter-of-fact yet slightly bemused tone that made her previous memoirs so engaging. Taking what comes, Smith turns it all into remarkable language; whether describing a deserted café that has “a J. G. Ballard kind of gone,” or a patch of blue wildflowers looking “as if it had been seeded by sky,” she is our great poet of ambience. Fittingly for a time permeated by “an atmosphere of artificial brightness with corrosive edges…[and] an avalanche of toxicity,” Smith moves frequently and without warning between daily life, memories, and dreams, intermittently receiving “transmissions” from a neon Dream Inn sign. Between dreams, she references a wide range of films, music, and books; makes the rounds of cafés; and snaps many of the Polaroids that complement this vivid, poignant, and deeply satisfying narrative.
 

Year of the Monkey Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9780525657682
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf - September 24th, 2019

Ways of Hearing -- Damon Krukowski

Staff Pick

Turn off what you're listening to (whether it's an audiobook, the author's music with Galaxie 500 or Damon and Naomi, or even the podcast this book began as), take out your headphones, look around you for a second to really see wherever you are, and read this now. It's a beautifully designed reproduction on the page of what feels like the best conversation you've ever had about sound, mostly musical and environmental, in the age of the smart phone. Krukowski's voice on the page is, dare I say, a very centering voice to read: he understands why we shut out the noise of the world around us, why we like having seemingly all music at our fingertips, and also why we need a second just to breathe and reflect on what we really find valuable.

 

 

 

 

Ways of Hearing Cover Image
By Damon Krukowski, Emily Thompson (Foreword by)
$19.95
ISBN: 9780262039642
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: The MIT Press - April 9th, 2019

Night Moves - Jessica Hopper

Staff Pick

As a longtime fan of Jessica Hopper’s vigilant, fearless music criticism, Night Moves is the book I’ve been pining for. A series of vignettes about her coming of age in the Chicago music scene, the pieces are as shaky with youth as a Ferlinghetti poem, and they come together to form one jagged love poem to a city and a way of life. There’s something markedly elegiac about the life Hopper describes, a roiling, breathing cityscape where the escape from the robotic crawl of gentrification seemed still possible. Can young adults still live like this in a city? Riding bikes through electric summer nights? God, I hope so. Night Moves made me feel very young and very old at the same time: a painful, singular elation.

Night Moves Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781477317884
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: University of Texas Press - September 18th, 2018

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