100 books like Silence

By John Cage,

Here are 100 books that Silence fans have personally recommended if you like Silence. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness

Stephen Rush Author Of Free Jazz, Harmolodics, and Ornette Coleman

From my list on sound, living, and experience.

Who am I?

I am a professor of music at the University of Michigan, where I have taught theory, jazz, music composition, and music technology for 34 years. 

Stephen's book list on sound, living, and experience

Stephen Rush Why did Stephen love this book?

She really gets at the heart of how Brown and Black bodies are seenand what is fascinating to me is the approach through current “technical art” and a good discussion of architecture. I had a class focus on her discussion—lengthy—about surveillance and race. It’s extremely poignant, and something whites especially just don’t think about. I will never again go through an airport without thinking about her book. 

By Simone Browne,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Dark Matters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Dark Matters Simone Browne locates the conditions of blackness as a key site through which surveillance is practiced, narrated, and resisted. She shows how contemporary surveillance technologies and practices are informed by the long history of racial formation and by the methods of policing black life under slavery, such as branding, runaway slave notices, and lantern laws. Placing surveillance studies into conversation with the archive of transatlantic slavery and its afterlife, Browne draws from black feminist theory, sociology, and cultural studies to analyze texts as diverse as the methods of surveilling blackness she discusses: from the design of the…


Book cover of The 101 Best Jazz Albums: A History of Jazz on Records

Stephen Rush Author Of Free Jazz, Harmolodics, and Ornette Coleman

From my list on sound, living, and experience.

Who am I?

I am a professor of music at the University of Michigan, where I have taught theory, jazz, music composition, and music technology for 34 years. 

Stephen's book list on sound, living, and experience

Stephen Rush Why did Stephen love this book?

Lyons' 100 Best Jazz Albums shaped my listening for a long, long time. His references to Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra, and Art Ensemble were well-written and hugely informed. Some of the choices are now extremely dated, but it is a great overview of the history of jazz (up to the early 1980s). It could give even an experienced listener or artist some pointers about where to round out their listening. Jazz is twice as old now (as a genre) as it was when I was coming up, so there’s so much more to listen to, and so much more has happened. This book should be a listening test for every student and faculty member—especially everything Duke and before and after Monk.  

By Len Lyons,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The 101 Best Jazz Albums as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The 101 Best Jazz Albums


Book cover of A Southern Music: The Karnatik Story

Stephen Rush Author Of Free Jazz, Harmolodics, and Ornette Coleman

From my list on sound, living, and experience.

Who am I?

I am a professor of music at the University of Michigan, where I have taught theory, jazz, music composition, and music technology for 34 years. 

Stephen's book list on sound, living, and experience

Stephen Rush Why did Stephen love this book?

T.N. Krishnan’s book discusses Carnatic (south Indian) music in depth, sure. But more importantly, he discusses why music matters, what it’s for, emotion, and human existence. It’s a primer in art, philosophy, and intention. Read it along with Ramani Maharshi’s writings, and one is pretty much ready to be fully human. 

By T.M. Krishna,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Southern Music as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


One of the foremost Karnatik vocalists today, T.M. Krishna writes lucidly and passionately about the form, its history, its problems and where it stands todayT.M. Krishna begins his sweeping exploration of the tradition of Karnatik music with a fundamental question: what is music? Taking nothing for granted and addressing readers from across the spectrum - musicians, musicologists as well as laypeople - Krishna provides a path-breaking overview of south Indian classical music.


Book cover of The Future We Choose: The Stubborn Optimist's Guide to the Climate Crisis

Tina Muir Author Of Becoming a Sustainable Runner: A Guide to Running for Life, Community, and Planet

From my list on helping you process emotions around climate.

Who am I?

FernGully was one of my favorite movies as a kid, and it made me really think about the natural world and how humans interact with it. Now, aged 35 with kids of my own (who also love FernGully), I consider myself a climate activist for the work I do in helping everyday people to believe they can be a part of the solution to climate change. As an author, podcast host, and community builder, I've connected with other humans with fascinating passions, perspectives, and values. I want to show my audience that we can all view the world differently, but there is one important thing we need to all believe, that we matter.

Tina's book list on helping you process emotions around climate

Tina Muir Why did Tina love this book?

We have a lot of climate anxiety.

Most of the time I feel optimistic and believe in humanity, believe that we will come together to create a solution, but some days, it can be hard to move past the fear and uncertainty. Climate books can make this worse with their ultimatum-type messaging; of course, we feel doomed.

The Future We Choose is the ideal book to read when you are struggling to see a way forward. Christiana and Tom do a wonderful job of explaining what life could look like in 50 years if we make the right choices now. Rather than the book only being about what is at stake, they paint a clear picture of how much more vibrant, stunning, fulfilling, and joyful our home can be.

This book gave me hope and I lean on the imagery from it in moments I am struggling.

By Christiana Figueres, Tom Rivett-Carnac,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Future We Choose as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

'Everyone should read this book' MATT HAIG
'One of the most inspiring books I have ever read' YUVAL NOAH HARARI
'Inspirational, compassionate and clear. The time to read this is NOW' MARK RUFFALO
'Figueres and Rivett-Carnac dare to tell us how our response can create a better, fairer world' NAOMI KLEIN

*****

Discover why there's hope for the planet and how we can each make a difference in the climate crisis, starting today.

Humanity is not doomed, and we can and will survive. The future is ours to create: it will be shaped by who we…


Book cover of Believers: Making a Life at the End of the World

David Rothenberg Author Of The Possibility of Reddish Green: Wittgenstein Outside Philosophy

From my list on to make you want to change the world.

Who am I?

I’ve been trying to balance a need to help make the world a better place with my own small expertise as a musician and teacher. So I’ve played music with birds, whales, and bugs, taught philosophy to engineers for decades, written many books and released many albums, and traveled all over the world learning what people are doing to improve things. I need to find words to read that encourage me and lift me out of the looming pull of depressing statistics and real suffering that we all read about every day. I hope change is possible, and I urge everyone to work toward it in their own specific and unique ways.

David's book list on to make you want to change the world

David Rothenberg Why did David love this book?

Like Lisa Wells, I’ve spent years looking up to many possible heroes in my dream of making the world a better place. So much inspiration out there, and yet all our heroes become flawed the more we learn about them. How to remain hopeful when we find out the truth? Only through poetry, art, beauty, intensity. One of the finest books of the year, impossible to categorize.

By Lisa Wells,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Believers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"An essential document of our time." ―Charles D’Ambrosio, author of Loitering

In search of answers and action, the award-winning poet and essayist Lisa Wells brings us Believers, introducing trailblazers and outliers from across the globe who have found radically new ways to live and reconnect to the Earth in the face of climate change

We find ourselves at the end of the world. How, then, shall we live?

Like most of us, Lisa Wells has spent years overwhelmed by increasingly urgent news of climate change on an apocalyptic scale. She did not need to be convinced of the stakes, but…


Book cover of Meme Wars: The Creative Destruction of Neoclassical Economics

David Rothenberg Author Of The Possibility of Reddish Green: Wittgenstein Outside Philosophy

From my list on to make you want to change the world.

Who am I?

I’ve been trying to balance a need to help make the world a better place with my own small expertise as a musician and teacher. So I’ve played music with birds, whales, and bugs, taught philosophy to engineers for decades, written many books and released many albums, and traveled all over the world learning what people are doing to improve things. I need to find words to read that encourage me and lift me out of the looming pull of depressing statistics and real suffering that we all read about every day. I hope change is possible, and I urge everyone to work toward it in their own specific and unique ways.

David's book list on to make you want to change the world

David Rothenberg Why did David love this book?

From the guy who came up with the phrase “Occupy Wall Street” is a manifesto for questioning authority and turning the tools of advertising and persuasion against the man. Lasn understood what memes really are before the internet trivialized the concept. He reminds us of the transformational power of simple, clear, addictive ideas.

By Kalle Lasn (editor), Adbusters (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Meme Wars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Engrossing, exciting [...] This book compels us to rethink our approaches to economics ..." 
—Literary Review of Canada

"Thought-provoking and creative" — Julie Nelson, author of Beyond Economic Man: Feminist Theory and Economics

"Meme Wars is a Molotov cocktail tossed into the boardroom. "— Calgary Herald

From the editor and magazine that started and named the Occupy Wall Street movement, Meme Wars: The Creative Destruction of Neoclassical Economics is an articulation of what could be the next steps in rethinking and remaking our world that challenges and debunks many of the assumptions of neoclassical economics and brings to light a…


Book cover of Earth's Wild Music: Celebrating and Defending the Songs of the Natural World

Christian McEwen Author Of World Enough & Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down

From my list on for taking time to stop and listen.

Who am I?

I am a writer and educator, originally from the British Isles. Perhaps because of this, I am more than usually aware of the distraction and speed of contemporary American life. As a long-time meditator, and the author of World Enough & Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down, I am encouraged and inspired by any book that draws attention to our “hurry sickness” and offers practices or suggestions to help us to slow down.

Christian's book list on for taking time to stop and listen

Christian McEwen Why did Christian love this book?

Earth's Wild Music was published just last year. Kathleen Dean Moore is a naturalist and philosopher, with a keen ear and searching eye. I love the form of this book (a gathering of short essays, or what the poet Ross Gay called “essayettes”) ranging widely across geography and time. It reaches back to my book on slowing down, and forward into my current project, which has to do with the art of listening. The writer Elizabeth Kolbert calls it “a love song to a vanishing world.”

By Kathleen Dean Moore,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Earth's Wild Music as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At once joyous and somber, this thoughtful gathering of new and selected essays spans Kathleen Dean Moore's distinguished career as a tireless advocate for environmental activism in the face of climate change.

In this meditation on the music of the natural world, Moore celebrates the call of loons, howl of wolves, bellow of whales, laughter of children, and shriek of frogs, even as she warns of the threats against them. Each group of essays moves, as Moore herself has been moved, from celebration to lamentation to bewilderment and finally to the determination to act in defense of wild songs and…


Book cover of 1Q84

Daryl Qilin Yam Author Of Lovelier, Lonelier

From my list on thick novels about star-crossed, ill-fated lovers.

Who am I?

I’m one of those writers who’d identify themselves as readers first, and as an oft-bullied queer kid growing up in Singapore, I often found refuge and salvation in writers whose works were able to refashion and reimagine our lives, however intimately or grandly. I grew up devouring fantasy of all kinds; I went from Enid Blyton to Charmed, for instance, before discovering in my later adolescence the manifold possibilities of magical realism and the other expanses contained within the realm(s) of speculative fiction. Many of the books in this particular list were especially useful in crafting my second novel, Lovelier, Lonelier

Daryl's book list on thick novels about star-crossed, ill-fated lovers

Daryl Qilin Yam Why did Daryl love this book?

Here’s another book with two lovers occupying two parallel realities, though I would say that the romance is almost beside the point in this book, where a multitude of stranger, more engrossing things are always threatening to steal the spotlight: Cults! A town of cats! The return of Ushikawa! Two moons! A novel named Air Chrysalis! You couldn’t ask for more, really.

By Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin (translator), Philip ­Gabriel (translator)

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked 1Q84 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo. A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her.

She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 —“Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.” Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled.

As Aomame’s and Tengo’s narratives converge over the course…


Book cover of The Infinite Harmony: Musical Structures in Science and Theology

Sarita Armstrong Author Of The Magic of Tao in The Tarot

From my list on tarot archetypes and the I Ching.

Who am I?

I have always seen my life as a journey, with lessons to be learnt along the way. Adventures on land and sea have drawn me into contact with many races and traditions and brought me close to nature in its many moods. When a physical journey ends, an inner journey takes me in directions I had never looked at before. Early spiritual questioning led me to eastern philosophies and made me aware of the underlying links between all cultures. In relying on my own experiences rather than what others have written, I believe my writing brings a freshness and individuality to the age-old questions of who we are and where we are going.

Sarita's book list on tarot archetypes and the I Ching

Sarita Armstrong Why did Sarita love this book?

The innovative thinking in this book inspired me to put my original ideas into writing. Here was someone else who was looking into the profound origins of humanity and how the world is made up. It reassured me I was on the right track in associating the Major Arcana of the Tarot with the I-Ching. Michael Hayes goes further in detecting a numerical and musical synthesis between ancient doctrines and current scientific discoveries. It is not a quick read, but a real eye-opener. Whilst not agreeing with all of it, there was so much fascinating information; I had to read it through twice straight off.

By Michael Hayes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Infinite Harmony as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a numerical study proving that religion and science share a common underlying structure, which is very similar to music theory. This study proposes that all the world's major religious and esoteric doctrines share a common scientific origin. Further that this hidden science is none other than musical theory: music being the true common denominator of both religious and scientific traditions. From the mysterious cults of ancient Egypt, China and India and Greece right through to the latest findings in molecular biology and particle physics, there is a law of proportions that corresponds to the rules of music.


Book cover of The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century

Tom Newton Author Of Seven Cries of Delight

From my list on making you question the nature of reality.

Who am I?

By the age of nine, I was beginning to wonder why things were the way they were, or if indeed they were at all. Perhaps growing up the youngest of five siblings and listening to conflicting opinions set me on my course. One of my sisters introduced me to literature. I began to write plays based on Shakespeare and Monty Python. The love of absurdity took me early on. I liked books that offered a different view of reality. I still do, and it influences what I write today. I believe Borges said something to the effect that all authors keep writing the same book, just in different ways.

Tom's book list on making you question the nature of reality

Tom Newton Why did Tom love this book?

This is a history of classical music from 1900 onwards. I’ve always been interested in early twentieth-century western art. It seems to have veered off in radically new directions and expressed a different consciousness than what preceded it. Perhaps it was fomented by the dissolution of the relatively stable European order of the nineteenth century, shattered by the First World War. 

Alex Ross discusses the music of these times and the lives of the people who composed it. He is eminently capable, being musically trained, and finds the perfect balance between the technical and the personal. I was fascinated to learn that Shostakovich was a man who lived in constant fear of being purged. He always expected to be imprisoned. 

I also learned about Harry Partch, the American composer, who devised his own tuning systems and built an orchestra of strange instruments to play his music.

The Rest is Noise…

By Alex Ross,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Rest Is Noise as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Alex Ross's sweeping history of twentieth-century classical music, winner of the Guardian First Book Award, is a gripping account of a musical revolution.

The landscape of twentieth-century classical music is a wild one: this was a period in which music fragmented into apparently divergent strands, each influenced by its own composers, performers and musical innovations. In this comprehensive tour, Alex Ross, music critic for the 'New Yorker', explores the people and places that shaped musical development: Adams to Zweig, Brahms to Bjoerk, pre-First World War Vienna to 'Nixon in China'.

Above all, this unique portrait of an exceptional era weaves…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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