Cazz, my wife, reflected that it seemed a bit heavy for a Christmas present, and it is a substantial book, 600 pages. But it's scholarship with a light touch, combining an in-depth knowledge of music, wider culture, and history with a highly readable and entertaining style. It was one of those books that I regretted finishing. It won the Guardian First Book Award, and the Guardian describes it as 'A sound drenched masterpiece'.
The book isn't limited to 'classical' music and explores different genres, often making connections between influences. A bonus of the paper-back is an extended listening and reading list. And just to cap it all, if you go to the website, 'The Rest is Noise', Alex Ross has extensive musical illustrations to listen to that correspond to those referred to in the book. At £7.79 at Amazon, it's a steal! The only downside is that it encourages the purchase of new discoveries on CD, but is that really a downside?