Would you like to fall into a good book? Check out our weekly reading lists, inspired by this list from Bookish. To keep you motivated, we’ll feature one of the categories each week in the e-newsletter along with suggestions from our collection. Happy Reading!
The Mayor of MacDougal Street: A Memoir by Dave Van Ronk
Dave Van Ronk (1936-2002) was one of the founding figures of the 1960s folk revival, but he was far more than that. A pioneer of modern acoustic blues, a fine songwriter and arranger, a powerful singer, and one of the most influential guitarists of the ’60s, he was also a marvelous storyteller, a peerless musical historian, and one of the most quotable figures on the Village scene. Featuring encounters with young stars-to-be like Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, The Mayor of MacDougal Street is a vivid evocation of a singular time and place–a feast not only for fans of folk music and blues, but for anyone interested in the music, politics, and spirit of a revolutionary period in American culture.
Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon
Kim Gordon, founding member of Sonic Youth, fashion icon, and role model for a generation of women, now tells her story. Growing up in California in the ’60s and ’70s, her life in visual art, her move to New York City, the men in her life, her marriage, her relationship with her daughter, her music, and her band. She takes us back to the lost New York of the 1980s and ’90s that gave rise to Sonic Youth, and the Alternative revolution in popular music. The band helped build a vocabulary of music — paving the way for Nirvana, Hole, Smashing Pumpkins and many other acts. But at its core, Girl in a Band examines the route from girl to woman in uncharted territory, music, art career, what partnership means — and what happens when that identity dissolves.
Thanks A Lot, Mr. Kibblewhite: My Story by Roger Daltrey
Born during the air bombing of London in 1944, Daltrey fought his way (literally) through school and poverty and began to assemble the band that would become The Who while working at a sheet metal factory in 1961. In Daltrey’s voice, the familiar stories—how they got into smashing up their kit, the infighting, Keith Moon’s antics—take on a new, intimate life. Amidst all the music and mayhem, the drugs, the premature deaths, the ruined hotel rooms, Roger is our perfect narrator, remaining sober (relatively) and observant and determined to make The Who bigger and bigger. Not only his personal story, this is the definitive biography of The Who.
Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back) by Jeff Tweedy
Wilco singer/songwriter Jeff Tweedy tells stories about his childhood in Belleville, Illinois; the St. Louis record store, rock clubs, and live-music circuit that sparked his songwriting and performing career; and the Chicago scene that brought it all together. He discusses his collaborators in Uncle Tupelo, Wilco, and more; and writes lovingly about his parents, wife Susie, and sons, Spencer and Sammy.
Miles, the Autobiography by Miles Davis
Universally acclaimed as a musical genius, Miles Davis was one of the most important and influential musicians in the world. Here, Miles speaks out about his extraordinary life. Miles: The Autobiography, like Miles himself, holds nothing back. He speaks frankly and openly about his drug problem and how he overcame it. He condemns the racism he encountered in the music business and in American society generally. And he discusses the women in his life. But above all, Miles talks about music and musicians, including the legends he has played with over the years.
Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life In and Out of Jazz by Fred Hersch
Jazz could not contain Fred Hersch. Hersch’s prodigious talent as a sideman—a pianist who played with the giants of the twentieth century in the autumn of their careers, including Art Farmer and Joe Henderson—blossomed further in the eighties and beyond into a compositional genius that defied the boundaries of bop, sweeping in elements of pop, classical, and folk to create a wholly new music. Good Things Happen Slowly is his memoir. It’s the story of the first openly gay, HIV-positive jazz player; a deep look into the cloistered jazz culture that made such a status both transgressive and groundbreaking; and a profound exploration of how Hersch’s two-month-long coma in 2007 led to his creating some of the finest, most direct, and most emotionally compelling music of his career.