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“What, Me Read Books?”

Jerry Lucky Commentary November 2016

Copyright Jerry Lucky © 2016 All Rights Reserved

 

Excuse my paraphrasing of the Mad magazine slogan “What Me Worry?”, but I thought it was an important question to ask.

 

As one whose written five books and likes to handle and read physical books, I had a bit of tussle with my publisher, who had come to the conclusion that publishing physical books was becoming an even greater challenge with each passing year. He viewed the new technologies of web-publishing and e-books as taking money away from the world of traditional book publishing. And who knows maybe he’s right, far be it for me to question that.

 

What I DO know is that I continue to see new books published all the time, and they are physical books, just like in the old days. I can’t say how many are selling or what it takes to be profitable in the book world these days, all I know is I see new books all the time, even in the niche world of Progressive Rock music.

With that being said I received a book the other day that I wanted to tell you about. It’s a book entitled Progressive Rock 3: By Kind Request written by Italian journalist and prog music fan Steffano Orlando Puracchio. As you may gather from the title it is the third book he’s devoted to this subject and as he so eloquently outlines in his Introduction, this book is kind of a catch-all volume for material that didn’t arrive in time or only recently surfaced to be published in either volume 1 or 2. Not that this is any way takes away from the “meaty” reading presented here.

 

Let me just say right off the top, you can tell Puracchio is a devoted Progressive Rock music fan. That shines through not only in his writing approach but also in the types of questions he asks his interviewees. Speaking of which not only are there some great articles or essays devoted to German and Hungarian Prog music there are plenty of interviews. We hear from bands such as Pendragon, Magma, VIII Strada, East, Unreal City, Embryo and quite a few others.

 

Progressive Rock 3 is a book that dispenses with a logical flow and is more a collection of interesting articles linked together is a rather tenuous manner. Sections about certain subjects or certain bands or certain countries are then summarized in a fashion with an appropriate interviewee from that subject matter. I didn’t mind the lack of a clear cut narrative because that wasn’t the goal. In fact I rather enjoyed just reading a short bit about “this or that” and then moving on to the next subject. There was no belaboring a point. In addition if there was something that didn’t interest me, I didn’t feel duty bound to read a section I didn’t have to maintain a flow.

 

All said and done Progressive Rock 3: By Kind Request is a fine, highly readable volume that will find a nice spot on my bookshelf. It is self-published and available for download in either Italian or English at all major online book stores. Here’s the link: http://www.progressiverock.info/  

You’ll no doubt see me writing a little more about books in the future. One that I’m excited to get to is by Stephen Witt called How Music Got Free. The back cover blurb says, “How Music Got Free is the incredible true story of how online piracy and the MP3 revolutionized the way our world works, one track at a time.” Sounds fascinating, however before I get to that book I see I have another one in my inbox to be downloaded, so check back here next month for another installment.

 

It would appear that despite what my publisher told me, there certainly seems to be a lot of life left in the old book trade and I for one am pleased to see that. At least that’s what I think.

 

Jerry Lucky

(11/7/16)

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