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Books I Read in 2017

Stack of open books

I doubt I’ll have time this year to finish the next book I intend to read, so I’ve decided to go ahead and post this list of books I read or reread in 2017:

  • A Briefer History of Time (Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow)
  • Lord Foul’s Bane (Stephen R. Donaldson)
  • Loving-Kindness in Plain English: The Practice of Metta (Bhante Henepola Gunaratana)
  • The Illearth War (Stephen R. Donaldson)
  • The Power That Preserves (Stephen R. Donaldson)
  • The Wounded Land (Stephen R. Donaldson)
  • The One Tree (Stephen R. Donaldson)
  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a ****: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life (Mark Manson)

I didn’t expect to be reading any fantasy fiction in 2017, but when my brother told me that Stephen Donaldson had written seven more Thomas Covenant books after the three I’d read long ago, I went for it, starting from the first book. Expect a few more by Mr. Donaldson on next year’s list.

Books I Read in 2015

Here are the books I read or reread in 2015:

  • The Mixing Engineer’s Handbook, Third Edition (Bobby Owsinski)
  • Tune In–The Beatles: All These Years #1 (Mark Lewisohn)
  • The Dhammapada (translated by Irving Babbitt)
  • The Dhammapada (translated by Acharya Buddharakkhita)
  • The Science of Marketing: When to Tweet, What to Post, How to Blog, and Other Proven Strategies (Dan Zarrella)
  • My Struggle: Book 1 (Karl Ove Knausgaard)
  • Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness: Walking the Buddha’s Path (Bhante Henepola Gunaratana)
  • The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce’s Ulysses (Kevin Birmingham)
  • The Mastering Engineer’s Handbook, Third Edition (Bobby Owsinski)
  • A Confession (Leo Tolstoy)
  • Buzzing Communities (Richard Millington)
  • Don’t All Thank Me At Once: The Lost Pop Genius of Scott Miller (Brett Milano)

I’m a Reader – The Jerrys

I'm a Reader

My new single, “I’m a Reader,” is available as a free download!

I’m a Reader

If it’s got what I want
If it’s got what I need
Then I’ll pick it up
And I’ll give it a read.
If it’s got what it takes
If it’s doing it for me
Then I’ll read it again
‘Cause that’s just me.

I’ve got to have it.
I love the smell of a page.
I can’t help it
‘Cause I’m a reader.

If it’s only a tweet
Or a Ulysses
Then I’m right at home
I’m feeling at ease.
If it’s only a word
Or a tome or two
Then I want to read it—
How about you?

You know I love it.
I love the words on a screen.
I can’t help it
‘Cause I’m a reader.

If it’s making me laugh
If it’s making me cry
If it’s telling me how
If it’s telling me why
If it’s got what I want
If it’s got what I need
Then I’m eating it up
‘Cause I love to read.

I’ve got to have it.
I love that reading all right.
I can’t help it
‘Cause I’m a reader.

Words and music © 2015 Jerry Schwartz

 

Mastering Mastering

I recently finished mastering my upcoming single, “I’m a Reader.” I’d never mastered anything on a laptop, so there was a bit of trial and error involved. My first try was too loud. It’s called hypercompression, and here’s what that looks like.

Hypercompression

I loved it loud. The problem, though–at least as I understand it–is that this loudness will make the music sound worse when streaming services use loudness normalization to make everything play at the same volume. I removed the maximizer from the equation, but the song became too quiet (below).

Too Quiet

I had clearly overcompensated (despite this, the waveform clipped twice, as the two red lines indicate). While the song sounded nice at a high volume, it now had too much headroom. I decided to give one of my preset combinators a try, and here’s what happened:

Preset Combinator

Clearly, things were improving, but I still missed some of the oomph that the original hypercompressed master had. Using the same preset combinator I’d just used, I ditched the preset controls and tweaked away. I liked the sound, and the waveform looked more like what I’d had in mind.

Preset Removed

It was a keeper. I have a lot to learn before I can ever master mastering, but I’m light years ahead of where I was a few weeks ago. The thing is, you do your best and keep learning. I’ve got a lot more music to put out. Look for “I’m a Reader” to be available shortly.

The Jerrys Live at WZRD Chicago 88.3 FM

The Jerrys Live at WZRD

I had fun playing the music of The Jerrys live on May 1 in the WZRD studio. Playing and singing while accompanying myself via a laptop, I played ten songs by The Jerrys, including a preview of the not-yet-released single, “I’m a Reader”:

1. Every Girl
2. What the World Could Use a Lot More Of
3. New Day
4. Let’s Groove
5. Bigger Than Oprah
6. When I’m in Love
7. Bridget and Me
8. Back in the Day
9. Telepop
10. I’m a Reader

Alejandro Aguilar interviewed me halfway through the set, and he and the other folks at WZRD (or “wizards,” as they are known) were fantastic. I especially thank Alejandro, Ellie, and Rick for all of their help and for making the night so enjoyable. Check out the video I posted for “Every Girl.”

Stay tuned for more music from The Jerrys, and be sure to visit The Jerrys’ website.