33 1/3 Greatest Hits Volume 2 [$15.95]

For all of us that were buying records way before back-catalogue compilations and the mp3 came to dominate the music scene, the 33 1/3 series of short books, each dealing with a different LP, make for perfect stocking fillers. Then comes the obligatory Greatest Hits, a digest of some of the best writing from the series. With the release of Volume 2 there is the usual mix of insightful personal experiences and professional encounters with the various artists. From pop to hip-hop, this book is guaranteed to shift Christmas Day away from the turkey and the inevitable re-run of It’s a Wondeful Life to a raiding of the record collection at hand. Conversations thus soundtracked and fuelled by the various chapters will try to resolve such affirmations as The Stone Roses “possessing an almost preternatural mastery of the pop paradigm” or how and why (and, indeed, if) the Pixies became “gods in abstentia”. A book for all tomorrow’s parties — oh, and the album you’re now thinking about is number 11 in the series.