The Piano Shop on the Left Bank by Thad Carhart

If you like pianos as a main character in a book, you’ll love this memoir.  The basic storyline is that an American man living in Paris passes a piano shop each day while walking his kids to school and he becomes intrigued by the place.  Eventually he befriends the owner and after many visits where he learns about hundreds of pianos, he purchases one.  Readers will learnmore than they thought possible about pianos.  I used to play piano and my daughter plays, but really I know very little about the intricacies of pianos.  This memoir takes us into the  construction of pianos; the history of various companies  across the globe and through the centuries; techniques of learning, truly understanding, and playing piano; and into the lives of composers and their works.  If you’re not interested in music, it might be a bit much, though the back streets of Paris and Parisian culture add another element to the story.  This is a good book–perhaps a bit overly detailed–that offers a fascinating wealth of information.

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