By: Philip Ball
Why have all human cultures - today and throughout history - made music? Why does music excite such rich emotion? How do we make sense of musical sound?
These are questions that have, until recently, remained mysterious. Now The Music Instinct explores how the latest research in music psychology and brain science is piecing together the puzzle of how our minds understand and respond to music. Ranging from Bach fugues to nursery rhymes to heavy rock, Philip Ball interweaves philosophy, mathematics, history and neurology to reveal why music moves us in so many ways.
Without requiring any specialist knowledge, The Music Instinct will both deepen your appreciation of the music you love, and open doors to music that once seemed alien, dull or daunting, offering a passionate plea for the importance of music in education and in everyday life.
Published in 2011.
Published by: Vintage
Acclaimed as one of the most exciting books in the history of American letters, this modern epic became an instant bestseller upon publication in 1974, transforming a generation and continuing to inspire millions.
A narration of a summer motorcycle trip undertaken by a father and his son, the book becomes a personal and philosophical odyssey into fundamental questions of how to live.
Resonant with the confusions of existence, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a touching and transcendent book of life.
Published in 2014.
In an age when a storm was evidence of God’s wrath, pioneering meteorologists had to fight against convention and religious dogma to realise their ambitions. But buoyed by the achievements of the Enlightenment, a generation of mavericks set out to unlock the secrets of the atmosphere.
Meet Luke Howard, the first to classify the clouds, Francis Beaufort, quantifier of the winds, James Glaisher, explorer of the upper atmosphere by way of a hot air balloon, Samuel Morse, whose electric telegraph gave scientists the means by which to transmit weather warnings, and at the centre of it all Admiral Robert FitzRoy: master sailor, scientific pioneer and founder of the Met Office.
Peter Moore’s exhilarating account navigates treacherous seas, rough winds and uncovers the obsession that drove these men to great invention and greater understanding.
Published in 2016.
These days it is impossible to get away from discussions of whether the book will survive the digital revolution. Blogs, tweets and newspaper articles on the subject appear daily, many of them repetitive, most of them admitting ignorance of the future. Amidst the twittering, the thoughts of Jean-Claude Carrière and Umberto Eco come as a breath of fresh air.
This thought-provoking book takes the form of a conversation in which Carrière and Eco discuss everything from how to define the first book to what is happening to knowledge now that infinite amounts of information are available at the click of a mouse.
En route there are delightful digressions into personal anecdote. We find out about Eco's first computer and the book Carrière is most sad to have sold. And while, as Carrière says, the one certain thing about the future is that it is unpredictable, it is clear from this conversation that, in some form or other, the book will survive.
Published in 2012.