The Art of the Straight Line: My Tai Chi

HarperOne. Mar. 2023. 320p. ed. by Laurie Anderson. ISBN 9780063093539. $39.99. MUSIC
Rock legend Lou Reed died in 2013, but he had one last creative work up his sleeve. Outside of his musical genius, Reed was an advanced practitioner of the Chinese martial art tai chi, which he credited to relieving health issues and giving him the stamina to continue to perform shows as he aged. An evangelist of tai chi, Reed left behind notes for a book he wished to write, which have been fleshed out by those closest to him, especially his wife Anderson. While Reed is the credited author, this book is additionally a love letter from Anderson and those closest to him. It is a new style of biography that takes readers inside the life of Reed in his later years. It contains lengthy quotes from a number of well-known musicians, actors, writers, and artists who saw what tai chi did for him. Central to the book is Reed’s close relationship to his tai chi teacher, Ren Guang-Ji.
VERDICT It is not necessary to be a fan of Reed, the Velvet Underground, or the martial arts to appreciate the beauty and serenity the book provides.
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