That Stings?

August 23, 2015 at 10:08 am (Book Commentary) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Franz Kafka said, “we ought to read only books that bite and sting us.” What’s the last thing you read that bit and stung you?


Books don’t sting me anymore (I’ve become too numb to emotional pain) but they do make me think.

I read more fiction than non-fiction. Right now, I’m really not in the mood for thinking. I just want to be passively entertained.

But yesterday I finished a book that was both entertaining and educational. In spite of myself, it made me think.

How Music Got Free is a riveting story of obsession, music, crime, and money, featuring visionaries and criminals, moguls and tech-savvy teenagers. It’s about the greatest pirate in history, the most powerful executive in the music business, a revolutionary invention and an illegal website four times the size of the iTunes Music Store.

Perhaps this book bit and stung my mind a little bit. It didn’t hurt but it did make me think. It also annoyed me slightly as well. The author, Stephen Witt, argues that it was his generation that was primarily responsible for music piracy and though I don’t dispute his point it aggrieves me that he dismisses the older generation as being too computer illiterate to have participated in the crime.

(Is this a confession? Don’t we all have questionable MP3 files stored on our various devices. Even some of us so-called old people.)

I liked the book. It made me think in spite of myself. I recommend you read it and decide for yourself how much piracy affected the way we consume music!


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