Two of my favorite music critics—Simon Reynolds and Greil Marcus—recently engaged in an epic Q&A at LA Review of Books. If you are super geeky about incisive, big-picture music criticism in general and the life of Greil Marcus in particular, you will be richly rewarded. If you want to get into Marcus’ canon, start with Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the 20th Century and In the Fascist Bathroom: Punk in Pop Music, 1977-1992. For Reynolds, go with Rip It Up and Start Again: Post Punk 1978-1984, Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to Its Own Past, and Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture. Don't forget to bring your longest attention span.