The 2009 MSU Freshman Convocation book is "The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship and the Redemptive Power of Music," by Los Angeles
Times columnist Steve Lopez. The 2009 Convocation, which will be held on Wednesday, September 9, at 7:30 in MSU's Brick Breeden Fieldhouse, will
feature an address by Lopez.
Copies of "The Soloist" are available for checkout in MSU's Renne Library. See the New Books area near the Brewed Awakening Coffee Bar.
"The Soloist" has also been chosen as the One Book - One Bozeman title for 2009. More copies of the book and additional discussion events are
available through Bozeman Public Library.
Barry Zaslow - Library Journal
By turns harrowing, winsome, and inspiring, this work by novelist (In the Clear) and Los Angeles Times columnist Lopez relates the first two years of his friendship with Nathaniel Anthony Ayers. A budding string genius at Juilliard in the early 1970s, Ayers succumbed to paranoid schizophrenia and became homeless, yet he continued to play the violin as a way to keep the demons at bay. With the help of Lopez and others who responded to his columns, Ayers took steps to recovery, residing in a group facility, making trips to Disney Hall for concerts, and achieving the dream of having his own music studio. The tangle of mental health policies and government priorities comes in for a thorough drubbing, as does the callous disregard for students' personal situations at many elite institutions, at least at the time Ayers was enrolled. Lopez's newspaper experience serves him well, and both he and his subject come across as fully developed individuals. A deeply moving story; highly recommended for all collections and of special interest to those dealing with the intersections of music and psychology or therapy.