My life will be insipid without…

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By Ayesha Tabassum, Bangalore Mirror, 9 Jan 2013

Author Radha Thomas, who recently released her book Men On My Mind, is known for her quick wit and intelligent sense of humour. So when we asked her to pick the books that changed her life, we had a plateful. She says, “Printed books were very important to me until the Internet came along. Now I read all that I need online, mostly to improve my writing and to make better music. I can honestly say I have the most fun when I’m either writing or singing.“

The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged
I grew up with this huge dictionary and from the moment I could read, I loved spending time with it to learn new words to impress my parents, humiliate the sibling and show off to my classmates in school. I still use the dictionary a lot, but these days, it’s online. So much easier.

Roget’s Thesaurus
I liked writing. Starting with poems, then onto songs, then articles as a journalist, columns as a writer and finally, now a book, I’ve always needed the thesaurus. It’s a quick way to improve the quality of one’s output… especially with a deadline. And I can honestly say my life would be insipid without it.

The Complete Lyrics of Cole Porter
I don’t know where I got my hands on this book some years ago, but I refer to it all the time.
It’s got all the songs that I love singing. You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To is one of my favourites. So is Night and Day.

The Jazz Fake Book
There are many volumes of this and people used to photocopy it and pass it around before the Internet. It’s a compendium of jazz standards written from the beginning of time. New songs are always being added. Nowadays, with technology, you can not only get the music online, but also transpose it in a different key instantly. Very cool.

Jamie Aebersold’s Jazz Bossa Novas
First there’s jazz, then there’s Latin music. And to learn Corcovado and O Barquinho and other songs, I needed Jamie’s amazing books
with play- along tracks. In many keys. Mr Aebersold’s books have changed many a musician’s life. Certainly mine.

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