Staff Picks: Summer Reading Recommendations

If you’re in need of a reading recommendation for the summer, you’ve come to the right place! Check out our latest staff selection.  Happy summer — and happy reading!

Karen Olson

Tim Falconer, author of Bad Singer (House of Anansi Press, 2016), loves music. He cherishes fantasies of singing his favorite songs before adoring fans. There’s just one problem: he’s a bad singer. In this bittersweet yet entertaining autobiography, Falconer’s love of music confronts his adult diagnosis with amusia, or tone deafness.

From weekly lessons with a voice teacher to clinical studies at the International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research, Falconer struggles to understand how he can find music so moving, and yet, apparently, not fully comprehend what he hears. He’s good at rhythm, passable at recognizing melodic contour, but downright awful at matching pitch. In fact, his bad singing is often not a matter of wrong notes but of singing the right tune in the wrong key.

I recommend Bad Singer to anyone who mumbles the national anthem at ball games, to any musician who’s ever been baffled by a bad performance, and to all parents who wonder whether paying for Junior’s music lessons is really worth it. As far as Falconer is concerned, any money spent on music is money well spent—even if you’re a bad singer.


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