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In the second installment in our Words & Music series – in which musicians talk about the books that have influenced them – Mychal Cohen of Campfire O.K. discusses the books that brought him back to reading.
When I was growing up I was always a bit intimidated by books. They seemed to have a key hidden within them that I was just unable to find. A key that somehow would let me understand the book as a whole. So I grew up barely reading at all.
Even going through school I didn’t read much. I remember being assigned to read To Kill a Mockingbird and submit a report on it the next week only to read the first few chapters, forget everything I had read, and completely bullshit my way through the report by finding quotes and pulling long drawn-out hypothetical meanings from them. That was my report. I had a 3.8 GPA and no idea what the hell my teachers were thinking. I spent all of my time playing music, learning instruments, listening to songs, definitely not reading.
Then suddenly when I left college I found myself reading. It was like someone just handed me the key that I had searched after for so long and eventually gave up on. It felt great. One of the first books that truly inspired me was House of Leaves. It is pure craziness and took me almost two years, and multiple reads, to pull something meaningful from it. But what I got was everlasting.
Since then there have been multiple books that push me. Over the last few years I have gotten quite into reading books about Quantum Physics, Quantum Mechanics, and Time. I know that sounds wanky and pretentious but I just really like it. It helps me think of my life and my actions in different ways and can even sometimes be therapeutic. Those are the books that I read at home when I am lying in bed with my wife. Books that I can totally nerd out on without feeling like everyone is staring at me in the cafe thinking I am trying to be some super smart, hip, A-hole. Because I am definitely not super smart or hip.
Campfire O.K. are currently raising funds for their latest album. Find out more – including how to get involved – at PledgeMusic.