Tonal Diversions Recommends: Books – July 2019

It’s been a while since I’ve written any sort of “what’s playing” post — I’m long overdue! I have some goodies I’ve read that I’d love to share with you.

Please note that I’m an Amazon affiliate and purchases made through these links help support the blog.

Books on music

Sounds Like Titanic: a Memoir by Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman

This book fascinated me. Hindman writes of her ambition to rise above her Appalachian life and make it as a performing classical violinist. She gets hired with a professional touring ensemble only to find out the performances are a sham. The ensemble pretends to play along with a pre-recorded soundtrack (and yes, the “Milli Violinni” joke has been made). Hindman chronicles her journeys with the ensemble, reflecting on her life choices and direction.

Why You Love Music: From Mozart to Metallica–The Emotional Power of Beautiful Sounds by John Powell

While it’s been a couple years since I read this and I need to read it again, I really enjoyed this book. Powell explores psychology and sociology and how they connect to our appreciation for music. I want to dig into it again because I know I missed things the first time around.

Books on other subjects

Performing Under Pressure: The Science of Doing Your Best When It Matters Most by Hendrie Weisinger

While this book isn’t specifically about music, musicians will definitely benefit from reading it. I suspect pretty much anyone can benefit from reading it as we all have times where we have to perform in some way, even if it’s not in front of a crowd of thousands. Adding pressure does not make us perform better, despite what we tell ourselves.

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

I read this shortly after it come out and it had a tremendous impact on me. We, as humans, need to have the courage to actually step into the arena instead of sitting on the sidelines, slinging criticism at those who dare to do something. It’s remarkably easy to sit back and be a critic, to scoff at those who make an attempt at anything, to not put ourselves out there. Instead, applaud those who try. Even better, step into the arena yourself.

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

And now for something quite different! If you’re willing to give middle school lit a shot, I found this book (and the sequel) simply delightful! I’ve been telling anyone who will listen about it. Twelve-year-old Aru lives at the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, of which her mother is the curator. After stretching the truth to impress some classmates, Aru lights the Diya of Bharata, a cursed lamp. She soon regrets her action as she discovers the old Hindu myths are true. I understand there will be four books in the series; I’m already looking forward to book three!


Lori Archer Sutherland

Lori Archer Sutherland earned a Bachelor of Music in Theory and Composition degree from the Ohio State University and a Master of Library and Information Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She composes, performs, and teaches clarinet. She plays bass clarinet with the Crystal Lake Community Band and the Woodstock City Band, clarinet with Winds Off the Lake Woodwind Quintet, and is the founder and organizer of the Knock on Wood Clarinet Choir, where she plays an even bigger clarinet. Check out her site and podcast at tonaldiversions.com