Reading About Silence

by Thomas Brett

I’ve been enjoying George Prochnik’s recent book, “In Pursuit Of Silence.”  He articulates sentiments of many who live in densely noisy urban places: What is the effect of noise on our body-minds?  How does silence heal?  And how can we pursue the idea of silence in the midst of noise?  As a frequent headphone wearer and lover of all kinds of canned, mediated, electronically-reproduced, immersive sound, the book has me thinking about what my listening habits may say about me.  Prochnik’s book is not the only meditation on the noise-silence continuum.  I’m curious about Garret Keizer’s “The Unwanted Sound of Everything We Want: A Book About Noise” and George Michelsen Foy’s “Zero Decibels: The Quest for Absolute Silence.”  You can read NY Times reviews of all three books here: nytimes.com/2010/05/18/books/18silence.html

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