Ol’ Jake sent me the following question:
OK here’s an idea — what sort of books would the Jaunty Dame like to read that don’t exist? I was reading a book on baseball cards, but it wasn’t nearly as specific as I’d like it to be (basically, I’d want a comprehensive history from 1986-1994 rather than read about old tobacco cards). Are there any micro-specific topics that you wish you could read about? I realize the Internet has stuff about everything, but a lot of that isn’t nearly as trustworthy/well-written as your average book. I’d include fiction in there as well — surely Harper Lee’s written SOMETHING since “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Anyway, just a thought.
An excellent question! Here are five that immediately sprang to mind:
1. What George Martin Wrote
A book outlining, in chronological or alphabetical song-by-song format with score samples, exactly how much of the Beatles’ catalog was written by George Martin. The harpsichord solo from In My Life, surely, the trumpet solo in Penny Lane… we know he wrote the tape loop-y organ bits for Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite. Where would Yesterday have been without those strings? It was Martin who decided that John and Paul could both be frontmen, which is big by itself. Also, how many musical questions did the Beatles ask Martin, and how often did he suggest improvements for (or otherwise tweak) their work? People raise such a fuss about the Beatles’ lack of musical training, but they kept a classically trained musician on hand— and certainly got their money’s worth. Good ol’ George Martin.
2. Style Pioneers
Collected tales of the the first person/people to ever try a bold new look: not just the usual fable of Amanda Bloomer, but everything: how was the first top hat received? The first codpiece? Who darkened their eyelashes first? Granted, I doubt anyone documented the very first tattoo, facial piercing, or mohawk, let alone what the neighbors thought… but wouldn’t you like to know?
3. How to Conquer Depression When You Are Poor, Feeble-Minded, and Already Too Depressed to Function
This one would have to be free, and delivered straight to my bed. Ideally, it would come packaged with a free hug and breakfast.
4. The Annotated James Herriot
Where does the fiction end and fact begin? This goes for David Sedaris, too. I demand copious footnotes!
5. Song Sketches: Musical Works in Progress
I want to see old, old pages from songwriters’ notebooks: to watch famous songs taking shape, as the writer scratched out lines and swapped in new chords— but I’m also curious about abandoned lyrics that the songwriter noodled with for fifteen years and still couldn’t resolve.
6. Stories by Autumn Whitefield-Madrano
When it comes to beauty culture, no one analyzes quirks, tics, and self-deception like Autumn does. When she writes a book, I’ll snap it up.
Thanks for the question, Ol’ Jake!
What not-currently-available book would you like to read? Make a list in the comments— please!