Like many others, I love Fred Astaire. There was even an international conference devoted to him  in Scotland this year. He was one of the 20th century’s greatest dancers. He was also one of its greatest singers, although he had a rather thin, reedy voice. He danced and sang his way into our hearts through a series of films from the 1930s through the 1960s, then on television through the 1970s. In his biographical essay, Fred Astaire (Yale Univ., $22), Joseph Epstein  presents a thumbnail sketch of the life of this extraordinary man.  Much of the book focuses on Astaire and his partners, beginning with Ginger Rogers, with whom Epstein believes he did greater work than he did with other dancers such as Audrey Hepburn, Cyd Charisse, and Judy Garland.

Fred Astaire Cover Image
$22.00
ISBN: 9780300116953
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Yale University Press - October 1st, 2008

Fred Astaire (Icons of America) Cover Image
By Joseph Epstein, Mark Crispin Miller (Series edited by)
$15.00
ISBN: 9780300158441
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Yale University Press - October 6th, 2009

I’ve been listening to Tom Moon’s reviews on NPR for years, and his open ears have led to a new spin on the suddenly ubiquitous 1,000 (fill in the blank) books. 1,000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die: A Listener’s Life List (Workman, $19.95) is perfect for music beginners who are taking first steps into new genres, for hardened, cynical music nerds who want to argue with every choice, and for veterans wishing to try new vistas. Going alphabetically, ignoring genre borders, Moon finds classics and hidden gems near and far: the page-turning juxtapositions alone—Brahms/Braxton; Memphis Minnie/Menuhin; Shangri-Las/Shankar—give you an idea of how wide a net he has cast. 

1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9780761139638
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Workman Publishing Company - August 28th, 2008

John Adams started his musical career early in idyllic New Hampshire: he was playing clarinet in bands and orchestras, composing, and conducting as a teenager. Over the last twenty-five years, he’s written some of the iconic works of modern music: Shaker Loops, Harmonielehre, the operas Nixon in China, The Death of Klinghoffer, Doctor Atomic, and the oratorio El Niño. In his memoir, Hallelujah Junction (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26), Adams describes his early life and influences, finding his “voice” on the West Coast, and details his works and collaborations. The writing is as felicitous and inventive as his compositions. (Nonesuch Records has released a companion 2-CD compilation of his works, also titled Hallelujah Junction.)

Hallelujah Junction: Composing an American Life Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374281151
Availability: Out of Print in This Format
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 30th, 2008

Hallelujah Junction: Composing an American Life Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9780312428617
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Picador - November 24th, 2009

Pages