A Life of Music and Cheap Lessons
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the genre-defying icon Ben Folds comes a memoir that is as nuanced, witty, and relatable as his cult-classic songs.
“A Dream About Lightning Bugs reads like its author: intelligent, curious, unapologetically punk, and funny as hell.”—Sara Bareilles
Ben Folds is a celebrated American singer-songwriter, beloved for songs such as “Brick,” “You Don’t Know Me,” “Rockin’ the Suburbs,” and “The Luckiest,” and is the former frontman of the alternative rock band Ben Folds Five. But Folds will be the first to tell you he’s an unconventional icon, more normcore than hardcore. Now, in his first book, Folds looks back at his life so far in a charming and wise chronicle of his artistic coming of age, infused with the wry observations of a natural storyteller.
In the title chapter, “A Dream About Lightning Bugs,” Folds recalls his earliest childhood dream—and realizes how much it influenced his understanding of what it means to be an artist. In “Measure Twice, Cut Once” he learns to resist the urge to skip steps during the creative process. In “Hall Pass” he recounts his 1970s North Carolina working-class childhood, and in “Cheap Lessons” he returns to the painful life lessons he learned the hard way—but that luckily didn’t kill him.
In his inimitable voice, both relatable and thought-provoking, Folds digs deep into the life experiences that shaped him, imparting hard-earned wisdom about both art and life. Collectively, these stories embody the message 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 for A Dream About Lightning Bugs
“Besides being super talented, and an incredibly poignant and multifaceted musician, Ben Folds is a fantastic author. I couldn’t put this book down—and not just because I taped it to my hand. Ben takes us into his mind and into his process from the very beginnings of his childhood to where he is today—one of the greatest musicians and writers that has ever graced the art.”—Bob Saget
“A masterfully written memoir, and so much more. Folds imbues this literary work with keen insight and humor to create an elegant and moving tribute to art and life itself.”—Daniel Levitin, author of #1 New York Times bestseller This Is Your Brain on Music and The Organized Mind.