What We’re Reading: California Composer $3.33 On Chess Books And Buddhist Texts Before Bed

For this edition of our bi-weekly book club, we asked California composer $3.33 what’s on her reading list.

what we're reading fader
Photographer Celia Hollander
October 23, 2014

Tired of reading the same recommended books from the usual sources? Just think of our bi-weekly What We're Reading column as your non-committal book club with The FADER and some of your favorite bands and artists. For this installment, we asked Celia Hollander, the California-based modern classical composer who releases music as $3.33. Listen to DRAFT, her new EP of transfixing piano constructions, below.

Music and Consciousness edited by David Clarke and Eric Clarke

$3.33: I just got this book! It's a collection of academic philosophical and anthropological essays about "music and consciousness. I'm currently really interested in how music can be a type of technology used to directly sculpt, manipulate or shape time as a medium as well as its potential to illustrate a greater understanding about how we experience time.

The Amateur's Mind: Turning Chess Misconceptions Into Chess Mastery by Jeremy Silman

$3.33: I love playing chess. I host a very casual chess club, but I'm still not very good because I'd much rather just play than read through a chess book. A while ago, I succumbed to the reality that I probably won't improve without studying. Chess books can often be like textbooks, but Silman's books are different. He has a type of generosity in his writing that brings humanity to chapters like "The Confusing Subject of Pawn Structure" or "Many Imbalances, One Board." He walks the reader through problems, sometimes from his own games, with annotations that thoroughly break down all potential outcomes. Somehow, Silman manages to write about chess in a way that is philosophically suggestive without ever having to use chess as a metaphor for something else.

Zen Buddhism: Selected Writings Of D.T. Suzuki edited by William Barrett

$3.33: I've been reading this exclusively in bed. It's been perfect for the times when I'm trying to fall asleep as well as the times I've woken up too early and wish I was still sleeping. From a random page: "Feeling of Exaltation. That this feeling inevitably accompanies satori is due to the fact that it is the breaking-up of the restriction imposed on one as an individual being, and this breaking up is not a mere negative incident but quite a positive one fraught with signification because it means an infinite expansion of the individual."

Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter

$3.33: This is my back-burner book. I'm taking this one in bits over time. It's an epic of consciousness, dissecting the boundary between inanimate matter and what one considers "alive" or "animate," with sections oscillating between dialogue-based parables and theorem-based essays. It was described to me by two good friends independently as "life changing." Right now, I feel like I'll never finish this book, but also hope it never ends.

From The Collection:

What We're Reading
What We’re Reading: California Composer $3.33 On Chess Books And Buddhist Texts Before Bed