Favorite Books of 2010: Bob Boilen Picks 'Soul Mining' : Monkey See All Songs Considered's Bob Boilen doesn't always have time to read, but he truly enjoyed this year's Soul Mining by producer Daniel Lanois.
NPR logo Favorite Books of 2010: Bob Boilen Picks 'Soul Mining'

Favorite Books of 2010: Bob Boilen Picks 'Soul Mining'


Bob Boilen is the host of All Songs Considered. Favorite Books Of 2010 asks NPR personalities to write about  one book from the past year that they loved.

I'm not a fan of books about rock musicians. Reading about the wild lives of the famous might get me listening to some old albums, but the details of crazed parties and recording sessions generally feel trite compared to the music.

Soul Mining: A Musical Life, by producer musician Daniel Lanois, is different. It's a story of overcoming the odds, an unlikely tale of a poor boy growing up in a small Canadian town and becoming a musical maverick. It's an inspired tale for any aspiring musician and a success story with a giant resume.

Lanois takes us from his homemade studio in his mom's basement to an old New Orleans mansion turned studio for Bob Dylan. You get philosophy mixed with technology, from the famed funk of The Meters to the sonic adventures of Brian Eno.

Recording and writing songs isn't about the drugs or the parties, but about soul and intuition. In this non-linear tale of anecdotes and attitudes, Soul Mining is a manifesto not a memoir, and I love that.

Soul Mining: A Musical Life, hardcover, 240 pages, Faber & Faber, list price: $26