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A Dream About Lightning Bugs

A Life of Music and Cheap Lessons
By: Ben Folds
Narrated by: Ben Folds
Length: 8 hrs and 34 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (103 ratings)

Non-member price: $30.05

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Publisher's Summary

From genre-defying icon Ben Folds comes a memoir reflecting on art, life, and music that is as nuanced, witty, and relatable as his cult classic songs.

Ben Folds is an internationally celebrated musician, singer-songwriter, and former frontman of the alternative rock band Ben Folds Five, beloved for songs such as "Brick", "You Don’t Know Me", "Rockin’ the Suburbs", and "The Luckiest".

In A Dream About Lightning Bugs Folds looks back at his life so far in a charming, funny, and wise chronicle of his artistic coming of age, infused with the wry observations of a natural storyteller. He opens up about finding his voice as a musician, becoming a rock anti-hero, and hauling a baby grand piano on and off stage for every performance.

From growing up in working class North Carolina amid the race and class tensions that shaped his early songwriting to painful life lessons he learned the hard way, he also ruminates on music in the digital age, the absurdity of life on the road, and the challenges of sustaining a multi-decade, multi-faceted career in the music business.

A Dream About Lightning Bugs embodies what Folds has been singing about for years: Smile like you’ve got nothing to prove, because it hurts to grow up, and life flies by in seconds.

Praise:

"I’m gonna learn to read for this." (Josh Groban)

"I read this in one glorious, giant gulp. As a fan of your work and as a musician, this is truly a gift...moments for me to geek out, moments to laugh and cry and many fragments of pure, hard won wisdom and honesty." (Jamie Cullum)

"A Dream About Lightning Bugs reads like its author: Intelligent, curious, unapologetically punk, and funny as hell. This intimate look at his life from his own unique perspective is a rare and unforgettable gift that does what Ben Folds always has done for me as an artist and a friend: Encourages me to be more myself, with a lot of swear words." (Sara Bareilles)

©2019 Ben Folds (P)2019 Simon & Schuster Australia

Critic Reviews

"A Dream About Lightning Bugs is an insightful, touching and often hilarious look back at [Folds’s] life and career, told with wit and good old-fashioned Southern warmth - like Truman Capote, but with more F-bombs." (People)   

"Delightful.... Singer-songwriter Folds explores the ways in which music shaped his life and offers glimpses into the process of making music.... Folds’s fans will take great pleasure in this charming and insightful memoir." (Publishers Weekly)  

"A memoir of sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll that’s long on wry humor and short on - well, sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll.... A pleasure for fans and encouragement for novices to tune in." (Kirkus Reviews

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Phone in the pool

“What has been good for the music hasn’t always been good for the life” I listened to this book on Audible. Ben narrates the book and even includes a little bit of piano and bass. It is worth using your monthly audible credit on this because I have never experienced an audiobook like this before. I am a Big Ben (it autocorrected to capital letters which I find amusing) Folds fan and I wanted to review this with little bias as possible. Ben has created a fantastic auto-biography of his early years, Ben Folds Five (BFF) and post BFF. I found Ben’s recount to be honest reflection of his career so far. He really called himself out in some areas which was nice to see. I enjoyed listening to the creation of BFF albums and the Rocking the Suburbs album (one that will be always special in my heart). I looked at other reviews on here about Ben not being more open and honest about his relationships. This seems to be a common occurrence in low reviews. This is true, he rarely spoke about his relationships outside Anna Goodman: I do believe this is out of respect for his children and that Anna was a big part of Ben’s early career. I really have never been interested in Ben’s life and I didn’t know much about him. I think this made it even more thrilling. Ben broke down music creation and creativity (I will always appreciate a pianist because I could never do this). If you are interested in music and even if you aren’t a BF fan, this will be an interesting book for you.

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Brilliant!

Loved this audiobook and all the little musical bits! Highly recommend. Folds is such a great storyteller.

2 people found this helpful

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Honest, interesting, reflecting, rewarding

Long have I admired Ben Folds and his witty lyrics and rocking piano. This book was top notch insight into the soul. Well done BF :)

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Candid sharing of a life of music

Loved the piano notes and lyrics interspersed. Interesting and enjoyable. Inspired me to see Ben Folds live next year when he is in my home town.

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Illuminating

An interesting look at the music and life of Ben Folds. Thumbs up, loved it.

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Ben reading it makes it

Well worth hearing it and not just using your internal Ben voice by reading it yourself. This book helped me put together many odd songs, write lines, strange music videos and concerts that I’ve witnessed in years of being a fan. It’s still hard for me to work out if the author is self-aware but unable to change his destructive behaviour, or just irretrievably selfish.

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Loved it

I loved this. The narration was so very different and in keeping with the story. I am not a big Ben Folds fan but I loved the story, the events and the struggles. Well worth a read.

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Great listen!

I’ve long enjoyed Ben Folds’ music, and always found him an interesting person as a human interest study. This book affirms what an interesting life he’s led, and is flawlessly produced and performed. Like his songwriting, he’s an evocative and masterful storyteller. Strongly recommend this to anyone.

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Absolutely loved it! Crazy brilliance.

Big fan of the man’s work, sincerity, and humour. A crazy genius. Loved learning more about the man and stories behind the songs.

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Heritage artist forever!

A really insightful, interesting and colourful biography. I have loved his music although been wary of him as a person. He's grown up but ultimately we are all only an accumulation of our past. Rock this bitch!

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  • AK Alliss
  • 21-08-2019

Cheap Lessons / Valuable Life

Superfan here. Spending just under 8 hours with Mr. Folds was just great. From the conversational style, to the entertaining interludes and impersonations, it was like having a private one on one with the man himself. At the end you understood, even our heroes are just like us. I've grown up listening to Ben Folds' music since I was 17. Here's what stands out for me; being 17, alone and unloved, but happy when I heard one of his songs for the first time. Being 30, alone and unloved, but still kept company by the music of this talented and committed man. Being 43 and now not alone and with a full heart, and he's still there, reminding me that the peaks and troughs of life are meant to be there, because without them, we'd just have barren and empty flatness. It was a great book and I'd highly recommend it to anyone, whether you've found your path or not.