Appetite for Definition


Appetite for Definition: An A-Z Guide to Rock Genres
Ian King
HarperCollins


My eyes rolled when I saw this book come in. The proliferation of alleged microgenres, particularly when applied to music made long before the critiques were composed, has produced some of the most boring and trite rock writing (not to mention everyday talk) that has ever been, and I am no innocent in this regard either. What would be the point of such a volume except to provide a portable guide for tourists who want to order from menus, ask for directions, make reservations, and harass staff in conversational Poseur?

But I was wrong. As its title indicates, Ian King’s book is a witty, thoughtful, and thorough guide. Far from simply imposing genre definitions, King keeps the reader thinking throughout about the very concept of genre itself, and while I quibbled all the way about one or another point of definition, he got me flipping happily through his book wanting to know what he’d say next. King explains in the “How To Use This Book” section that his main goal is to get readers who are particularly familiar with any one genre to go get exploring. I believe him. Recommended!
– Vic Perry


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