No, I don’t mean Proust, Cervantes, or the Bible. I mean Dave Marsh’s The Heart of Rock and Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made.
To be sure, it is not the greatest book qua book, or even in the top tier (though it is very good and Marsh is very smart and knowledgeable).
It is possible it has become the greatest book of all time because of YouTube. Scroll through the pithy, one-page or sometimes even one-paragraph reviews of the various songs, and play them on YouTube while you are reading.
I had not known of Marvin Gaye’s “One More Heartache,” or Aretha Franklin’s “Think.” Nor had I known the live version of Bob Dylan’s “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” from 1966 (though is it really “Slurred and obtuse as Little Richard reading Ezra Pound”?). I heard again many favorites as well.
Let’s be honest, amusia aside, do not humans love music more than books? By no means does everyone read, but virtually everyone listens to music, and with some degree of passion. It therefore follows that “book + music” is better than book, right? Whatever virtues the book may have are still contained in “book + music,” or more generally “book + YouTube.”
Have we now entered an age where all or most of the very best books are part of “books + YouTube”?
Of course I’m not trying to sell you on music or for that matter on Dave Marsh. What about reading Abraham Pais, Niels Bohr’s Times: In Physics, Philosophy, and Polity, accompanied by these videos? Might the possibility of YouTube combination make that the 37th best book of all time, displacing Braudel or Flaubert?
Should not at least 2/3 of your reading be books accompanied by YouTube? And if not, why not?
Inquiring minds wish to know. Perhaps there is a book accompanied by YouTube that gives the answer?
Is a quality book better or worse if there is no useful way to combine it with YouTube?