Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Dr. Bob Prescribes: A Book?

This is my 21st Dr. Bob Prescribes (“DBP”), a post I began on August 6 of last year (that would be 2018). Up to now, each of these DBP posts has recommended (“prescribed”) something musical. Atypically, today’s prescription has nothing to do with music per se. However, the thought process that lead to offer up this recommendation did indeed begin on a musical note; it is a thought process I will share with you in a moment.

But first, a preliminary moan-and-groan.

Generally speaking, I prefer not to receive books as gifts and only rarely will I give a book as a gift.

Here’s why.

I have always considered the giving and receiving of books to be a temporal mugging. If I give someone a CD, it can be listened to whole or in part in a car, at home, wherever. You do not necessarily need to give that CD 100% of your attention while listening to it, and even if you do, the maximum amount of time a CD can suck from your life is 79 minutes.

But a book? A 391-page novel – like the one recommended here – can, depending upon the individual reader, take days, weeks, or even months to read. And that reading cannot be done “casually” (the way we might casually listen to a CD). Either you commit yourself to reading a book or you don’t read it at all. Reading a book is a simple binary, like pregnancy: you either are or you aren’t.

An ongoing part of the mugging that is being gifted a book is the stream of interrogatives from the giver: “Did’ya read it yet? Why not? What are you waiting for? You’re really going to love what happens on page 324! When are you going to read it? Let me know once your read it!” 

Ugh. And what if we don’t want to read the book at all? I’m very picky about what I’m will to spend my time reading: it’s one of the few aspects of my life I actually have control over and that actually gives me undisguised pleasure.

Thus my reticence in recommending here a novel that has, on its surface, nothing to do with music in this week’s Dr. Bob Prescribes.…

See the thought process that led to a book recommendation and the book in question, only on Patreon!