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 Luke Wyatt, the experimental songwriter and L.I.E.S. label affiliate who releases music as Torn Hawk. Let's Cry and Do Pushups at the Same Time, his amazingly titled new LP and first for Mexican Summer, is out November 11th; listen to "I'm Flexible" below and revisit our 2013 feature on L.I.E.S. right here.
The New York Review of Books
This publication is so great. The essays and articles are of adult length. And while the NYRB does of course contain pieces on current events, it isn't concerned with being topical in a trend-chasing way, keeping up with all the dumb pseudo-serious cultural topics of the moment. The New York Times Magazine and The New Yorker do this in a way that makes me feel embarrassed for them. I use them to pick up dog shit or pat steaks dry.
Proust's Way: A Field Guide to In Search of Lost Time by Roger Shattuck
I'm not going to lie and say I've finished reading the actual books for which this serves as a kind of fancy Cliff Notes. But whether you've read "In Search of Lost Time" or not, "Proust's Way" has a lot of good stuff in it. It introduced me to the concept of "Soul Error" which Shattuck summarizes as "the incapacity to give full value or status to one's own life and experience." This is something that pervades Proust's work through his obsession with time's distorting powers.
"Man of imagination, you can find enjoyment only through regret or expectation; that is, in the past or the future."
Immersion in the present is almost impossible; but being drunk helps. "Exalted tipsiness annuls the discovery of time." That must be why I drink too much once in a while.
Tape Op Magazine
I usually have a bunch of back issues of this lying around. They never go out of style for me, and are always relevant. I love skimming them to get the juices flowing about recording techniques, or to look for a solution to some technical issue. There's great interviews with audio professionals. If you want me to never leave your bathroom put some of these by the toilet.
Wayside Gardens Catalog
While I'm on the subject of toilet reading, here's a classic. I don't know too many 12-year-old boys who came home from school and pored over bulb catalogs (we're talking flower bulbs)—but I was one. I used to make tulip wish lists. Wayside carries a lot more than bulbs. It's a bit upscale and was more of an aspirational read; I'd envision my dream garden designs populated by just the right fancy plants. I was a shade garden aficionado. I loved the thicker-leafed hosta varieties.
Jude The Obscure by Thomas Hardy
I have been reading this for a while. Don't tell my dad I haven't finished it yet.