Book Club / Culture

Sampology shares his current reads and why it’s too hard to pick a favourite book

There's never really been a better time to delve deep into the pages of a new book. With Sydney, Melbourne and now some of South Australia complying with stay-at-home orders, absorbing ourselves in a fresh literary world is a source of distraction and comfort.

Our latest bout of book recommendations come courtesy of avid reader Sampology. His current read is Beloved Beasts by Michelle Nijhuis but his childhood love is The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien. On his favourite book, he said it's too hard to pick a favourite and channels this energy into his music instead.

Below, find our latest entry in our Bookclub series courtesy of Sampology below.

 

The last book I read …

Liberation Through Hearing by Richard Russell. This book is an autobiography but it’s more about the histories of various music scenes: from British Punk to Hip Hop and Rave, and then blossoming out into era-defining artists such as M.I.A, The Prodigy, and Gil Scott Heron. Richard Russell is the owner of XL Recordings and evidently also a great story teller. I've already lent out my copy of this book to a friend! 

I am currently reading …

Beloved Beasts by Michelle Nijhuis. This new release shines a light on the environmental conservation movement and takes a historical look at the people who influenced its various beginnings. The focus of this book includes some of the strong personalities that started several well-known ecological organisations and movements making this book more enjoyable than you might expect. There's a chapter in the book on Aldo Leopold - he wrote a seminal ecological book Sand County Almanac from which I borrowed the title for a track on my forthcoming album. I’m only a third of the way through but would definitely recommend it. 

My favourite book …

Malcolm X Biography by Alex Haley. I don’t read fiction often, so I get my narrative fix from biographies mostly, and this is my favourite biography. My main reflection after reading this book almost 10 years ago is how well it captured the story of someone constantly evolving, who changed their life at many stages in a bold way. Another takeaway for me was that Malcolm X was constantly reading as many books as he could get through, wherever he was. 

My actual favourite book …

Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson. It’s honestly too hard to pick a favourite book, so I thought about a piece of writing that ties into my creative work the last 5 years. I haven’t managed to escape the nature theme in my last 2 EPs and forthcoming ‘Regrowth’ album. Nature by Emerson lays out both the function and the beauty of the natural world. If you’re up for taking your time with the language it’s quite inspiring and romantic. 

The book that changed my life is …

The True Believer by Eric Hoffer. After I read Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard - who is the owner of Patagonia - I found a reading list online from Yvon, which this book was included in. Written just after the Second World War, its main examination is the what, why, and when for the kinds of people, situations, and groups that get wrapped up in a positive or negative movement. It gave me a much stronger and broader understanding of human psychology.

The best book I ever received is…

Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton. As mentioned, I don’t really read much fiction, so I was happy to be recommended and lent this book to check out. It’s definitely an entertaining read with loads of Brisbane references that I can appreciate as someone who resides in the city. There’s some pretty eye opening and extraordinary scenes in the story that amazed me, as this book is supposedly 80 percent based on Trent Dalton’s real life.

The book I would give as a gift is …

Keith Haring's  Journals. If you’re a Keith Haring fan this book is gold, but for anyone working in the creative field it's a pretty solid and insightful read. Keith Haring was dedicated to his journal writing routine, examining where he was in his art practice, career, and personal life through the arc of his art career. The collected journal entries begin pre art college before he moved to NYC, until his death in 1990. 

My childhood favourite book …

The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien. It was so long ago now that I read this book but I can still remember the feeling and imagery created from reading The Hobbit

My favourite writer is …

Ralph Waldo's Emerson. I honestly don’t really have a favourite writer so I thought I'd take this question as an opportunity to talk about Emerson. I picked up a selected works volume from a second-hand book shop in Melbourne and read Nature and The American Scholar - the latter of which was originally a college speech. I’ve already talked about Nature above, but The American Scholar (1937) described America as having the potential to develop its own literary style and culture, and to not look to England or Europe as Emerson felt many Americans were doing at the time. I remember reading it and applying that thinking to the Australian music scene and the potential we have to keep developing our own unique style here. 

The book everyone should read at least once is…

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. It took a few friends recommending this one before I picked it up - I just didn’t see myself reading a book about the history of the human species. It’s pretty amazing how easily Yuval Noah Harari has crafted such a digestible and enjoyable narrative of human history. I feel that everyone could benefit from reading this book to more fully understand where our primal motivations come from and why and how large groups of people work together. It's important to consider where we have come from so that we can better think about where we are going.

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