Julian Lage – Chicago Review of Books


“The Artist’s Bookshelf” is a column about books that inspire the CHIRB staff’s favorite artists.

Julian Lage has been a star of the American jazz scene for decades. A child prodigy, he’s played guitar with a range of musicians, including Punch Brother Chris Eldridge and Wilco’s Nels Cline. Lage’s most recent album, Love Hurts, features mostly covers of his favorite songs. Here at the CHIRB, we wanted to know what his favorite books are as well. Below are five novels and works of nonfiction that have inspired the musician’s life and work.

Cloud Atlas
By David Mitchel

Random House

“This was the first book I read that challenged my sense of a traditional narrative and in reading it, I immediately felt like I knew what kind of story I wanted to learn to be able to tell musically and as an improviser. David Mitchell is a master of the highest order.”

There Is Nothing Wrong With You
By Cheri Huber

Keep It Simple Books

“This book simply changed my life. Cheri is a master Zen teacher who so brilliantly unpacks the nature of self-hate and conditioned egoic thinking and with tremendous grace and humor, teaches how to dismantle it.” 

Being Mortal
By Atul Gawande


“Growing up, my mother worked in elder care in several different capacities and this book taught me how the system of geriatric care works across the board – a truly eye opening account of the dynamics of growing older and end of life care.”

Joseph Campbell: A Fire In The Mind
By Stephen and Robin Larsen

Inner Traditions International

“This transcendent account of one of the greatest thinkers of any time, has been a constant source of inspiration – a portrayal of what it means to have a soulful relationship with the intellectual and spiritual realms, and how that translates to building and cultivating a community of like minded people.”

Notes and Tones
By Arthur Taylor

Da Capo Press

“This is easily my favorite document of jazz musicians being interviewed. Art Taylor, being a master himself, creates an environment where these master musicians seem to be supported in sharing freely and reaching depths that aren’t always illustrated in other interviews.”


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