Aja by Don Breithaupt (2007) This is one of those 33 1/3 book series, “pocket-size” books, each one by a different author about a different LP record, which is a great project (there are well over 100 of them now), but I've found that you've really got to love the record, or otherwise even these relatively short texts can feel stretched beyond normal attention spans. This book is by Don Breithaupt, a Canadian musician and music writer; an interesting side note: he's referred to, briefly, in Jonathan Lethem's novel Chronic City, and Lethem has also written a 33 1/3 book. Well, I love Steely Dan's Aja (1977), and I happily read this entire book, even though I didn't have a lot of patience with the large portion of the chapters that are hardcore music theory that's frankly miles over my head. For somebody, though, it must be a dream come true. The chapters here cover various themes, as reflected on the album—like, production, process, lyrics, sidemen, etc., and a lot of this relates to all of Steely Dan—and it does go into depth. There are also various appendices, including a “Glossary” I find particularly fun. If they keep publishing these 33 1/3 books, which I think and hope they will, there is plenty of room, eventually, in my opinion, for books about all of Steely Dan, and especially the first seven albums—and they may all want to refer to this one—and I'll buy all seven.
Books I've Finished Reading