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  • Ross Johnson 3:30 pm on 2018/11/12 Permalink
    Tags: behind the music, , gift guides 2018, justin timberlake, , Patti Smith, roger daltrey   

    6 Musical Memoirs for Fans of All Stripes 

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    There are no fans like music fans, and this fall, several gorgeous new books have arrived in which some of the most iconic musical legends of our time (and all time) tell their own stories. From a classic crooner to stars of hip hop and beyond, there are gifts to be had for music fans of all stripes.

    Hindsight: & All the Things I Can’t See in Front of Me (B&N Exclusive Edition), by Justin Timberlake
    JT is practically pop royalty at this point, with legions of fans who grew up with the idol. In his first book, he’s assembled anecdotes and candid observations about his life and work, and paired them with hundreds of photographs from his own personal archives, spanning the years from his very early days to the present, onstage and off. The Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition includes an additional 16 pages of photographs.

    Beastie Boys Book, by Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz
    Mike D and ADROCK are joined by Amy Poehler, Colson Whitehead, Spike Jonze, Wes Anderson, Luc Sante, and many more friends and fans to tell the story of a deeply unlikely hip hop superstars. Over the course of three decades, the band members evolved from teenage punks to world class rappers under the tutelage of Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin, producing the first #1 hip hop record before evolving their style and breaking genre rules in later years. This isn’t just a band biography, though: alongside photos and illustrations, it also includes recipes, a graphic novel, maps, playlists, and much more.  It’s as wildly eclectic as the band itself, and the perfect gift for fans.

    Tony Bennett Onstage and in the Studio, by Tony Bennett, Dick Golden, Danny Bennett, and Michael Bublé
    The greatest of all time? Maybe. With a career spanning almost seven decades, Bennett somehow seems to keep getting cooler. He celebrates the entirety of his life in music in this lavish book, going into detail about his influences and experiences from his own point of view, as well as through the eyes of celebrated friends and colleagues. More than 140 images illustrate the book, including memorabilia, personal notes, album covers and artwork, and photographs of Tony at work. It’s the ultimate gift for a Bennett fan. (And who isn’t one?)

    My Love Story, by Tina Turner
    Suffering a health crisis after her 2013 wedding, Turner found herself with the time and inclination to reflect on her life so far. And it’s been some life: from a Tennessee childhood, to tours of St. Louis nightclubs as she got her feet wet as a performer, to her experiences during the turbulent ’60s, years during which she found mainstream success—and also found herself in a famously abusive relationship. Of course, that was only the beginning. Here, the rock icon tells, in her own words, the fascinating story of the tragedies and triumphs of her life and music career.

    Just Kids Illustrated Edition (Signed Book), by Patti Smith
    A chance encounter in 1967 set poet and singer Patti Smith and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe on a path that made them legends. At a critical time and place, the two developed their individual styles of art from the legendary, infamous Chelsea Hotel. This new edition of her already classic memoir includes new images from iconic photographer’s collection alongside a new introduction from Smith herself. Signed copies make for the ultimate gift.

    Thanks a Lot Mr Kibblewhite: My Story, by Roger Daltrey
    Roger Daltrey’s memoir is everything a Who fan could hope for. It’s the life story of Daltrey, sure, and it’s full of music, and mayhem, and more than a few trashed hotel rooms. As the founder and lead singer of one of the bands that defined rock ‘n’ roll in the ’60s, his stories are, like the era, nothing if not over the top. Fortunately, Daltrey is also a wry, witty, and patient observer of his own life and orbit, and as he takes us from an impoverished childhood during the Blitz to the Who’s inception and beyond, the singer proves as great at storytelling as he was at living through great stories.

    What’s on the gift list for your favorite music fan?

    The post 6 Musical Memoirs for Fans of All Stripes appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Joel Cunningham 4:44 pm on 2015/09/25 Permalink
    Tags: , incoming, m train, , Patti Smith, , ,   

    Pre-Order These New Books by Your Favorite Authors 

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    There are so many exciting new books coming over the next few months, it’s best to set your reading plans early. And what better way to do that than to pre-order these new books from some of your favorite authors?

    The Witches: Salem, 1692, by Stacy Schiff
    In Cleopatra: A Life, historian Stacy Schiff explored the life of a legendary figure with the rigor of an expert and the storytelling flair of a novelist. Now, she turns her attention (and considerable skill set) to one of the most infamous periods in early American history: the Salem witch trials of the late 17th century. We may never truly understand how a group of Salem’s most upstanding, educated, prominent citizens lost their minds to paranoia and hysteria, resulting in the horrific executions of some 19 men and women, but Schiff’s exacting eye and compelling narrative voice take us closer than ever before.

    M Train, by Patti Smith
    Singer-songwriter Patti Smith stunned us with her daring, deeply confessional, National Book Award-winning memoir Just Kids. But that chronicle of her relationship with legendary photographer Robert Mapplethrope in the New York City of the 1960s and ’70s hardly told the whole story. In M Train, Smith follows the roadmap of her life, stopping off at 18 “stations” that shaped her as an artist, from a small cafe in Greenwich Village to Frida Kahlo’s castle in Mexico.

    Shadows of Self, by Brandon Sanderson
    Sanderson takes a break from the Stormlight Archive epic fantasy decalogy  (and the Reckoners YA superhero series) to return to the universe of Misborn, already home to a completed trilogy and The Alloy of Law, a standalone set hundreds of years later. Shadows of Self is a companion to Alloy and the start of a new trilogy featuring Wax and Wayne, two magical lawmen in a city undergoing an evolution from the era of magic to the age of technology. Memorable characters, innovative and logically developed magic, and irresistibly cool set-pieces are the hallmarks of Sanderson’s fantasy, and if you like this one, you don’t have to wait long for the sequel—The Bands of Mourning is out in January 2016.

    Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
    A lot has changed since the 2011 release of Mindy Kaling’s hilarious bestseller Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? She wrapped her run on The Office; started her own show, The Mindy Project; and, if the title of her new book is any indication, gained a lot more confidence. And why not? She’s one of today’s most successful comedic creators, and she has plenty of wisdom to share, whether about navigating the perils of fame, falling in love with your irksome body, or figuring out the opposite sex. She doesn’t have all the answers, but the ones she has are pretty darn funny.


  • Monique Alice 4:25 pm on 2015/06/26 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , Patti Smith, portlandia, ,   

    5 Very Specific Book Clubs We’d Love to Join 

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    There is hardly anything more satisfying for a book-lover than finding a troupe of like-minded bibliophiles with whom we can share our favorite reads. Book clubs are experiencing a surge in popularity for this reason, not to mention that they are also inexpensive, tons of fun, and a great way to connect with new people. So, in honor of the book club fever sweeping the land, we propose shaking it up a bit by choosing a unique theme for your book club. Below are some ideas, complete with suggestions for first selections!

    Magical Realism Book Club
    What could be more fun than this book club? Books that feature magical realism are chock full of whimsy, mystery, and symbolism. It is never exactly certain where the book’s reality ends and readers’ imaginations begin. That means two people can read the same book and have two totally different experiences. Sharing interpretations with one another will be sure to up the adventure quotient. Best of all, this club can cover everything from Haruki Murakami to Kelly Link, so you’re sure to have plenty in the queue.
    First selection: One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez

    Stephen King Book Club
    According to the Internet’s most up-to-date sources, King has written over 60 books. However, by the time you read this, there’s no guarantee the Master of Horror won’t have passed the 70 mark. Few authors in history have been so prolific while also remaining so wildly successful—and there’s a reason. Engaging, often terrifying, and always memorable, King’s work is sure to keep your club busy for a spooky eternity. Start at the beginning of King’s career and work your way to his latest release, or alternate horror with drama if you think you might want to sleep occasionally.
    First selection: Carrie, by Stephen King

    Lady Humorists Book Club
    Unless you’ve been hiding under a very large rock for the past year, you probably know that the entire world’s current comic obsession is the hysterical Amy Schumer. It seems that women may finally be getting their due in comedy, and the world of written humor is no exception. What better way to enjoy side-splitting comicality than in a group? From Caitlin Moran to Cynthia Heimel to Celia Rivenbark, you’ll get twice the laughs—once when you read the punchline and again when you revisit it with your fellow club members.
    First selection: Bossypants, by Tina Fey

    Game of Thrones Book Club
    If you have been watching Game of Thrones on HBO, or if you ever happened to glance at your social media feeds on Monday mornings this past spring, you know that George R.R. Martin’s epic saga is, shall we say, a doozey. GoT is based on Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, which currently includes five published novels, with two more forthcoming and several published prequels. The storyline is riveting, the characters are intimately rendered, and the pace is breakneck. You will relish having a group of friends to celebrate or commiserate with, depending on what the latest chapter calls for. Plus, once you’re up-to-date on the books, you can have a series viewing party! It’s a win-win.
    First selection: A Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin, naturally

    Rock ’n’ Roll Memoirs Book Club
    Carrie Brownstein of Portlandia and Sleater-Kinney fame is set to release an autobiography this fall, and that has us thinking about rock memoirs in a big way. If you can remember a band or solo artist that had success in the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, or ‘90s, chances are there is a memoir about it. Everyone from Slash to Patti Smith has committed their most inspiring and most debauched rock ’n’ roll memories to the page, and your book club will relish reliving the best music of the past few decades from a backstage vantage point. Bonus idea: when you meet to discuss a book, everyone comes dressed like a groupie from the band’s heyday!
    First selection: Life, by Keith Richards and James Fox

    What very particular book club would you like to join?

  • Monique Alice 4:30 pm on 2015/06/11 Permalink
    Tags: , betty smith, bright lights big city, candace bushnell, james t. murray, , , karla l. murray, , Patti Smith, Sex And The City, start spreading the news,   

    5 Books to Read When You’re Moving to New York 

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    So, you’re finally taking the plunge and moving to New York City! As everyone knows, New York is the literal center of the universe. The city has a gritty, edgy magic found nowhere else on Earth, and a rich history unlike any other. But in addition to its glitzy skyscraper facade, the Big Apple also has a dark underbelly, undoubtedly part of its charm. As such, you’d better get to know the New York basics if you want to avoid some of the more glaring pitfalls of city life and blend in like a native. Here are a few tidbits to start you off: slower foot traffic stays to the right (especially on escalators, which do not move fast enough for the average New Yorker), smiling at strangers will make them think you’re selling something, and you only have to wear your seatbelt in cabs if you prefer to live a life free of head trauma. The titles below will continue your New York education, and inspire you to make your own mark on the big city.

    Just Kids, by Patti Smith
    In many ways, the New York we now know and love was born in the 1960s. Writer and performer Patti Smith captures this truth with her unflinching 2010 memoir, Just Kids. The book centers on Smith’s relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, her best friend, lover, and muse. Smith recounts the pair’s haphazard exploits against the backdrop of a city in the midst of reinventing itself. The reader gets to experience NYC for what it once was: a crucible of heightened political awareness and revolutionary artistry in all its Bohemian glory. In addition to being a funny, vivacious, often heart-rending read, this book also deepens our appreciation of NYC as an incubator for the free spirits who go on to shape our culture.

    Broken Windows: Graffiti NYC, by James T. Murray & Karla L. Murray
    Speaking of counterculture art forms, there is perhaps none more fascinating and controversial than graffiti. Beginning in the late ’70s, graffiti artists (or “writers,” for those in the know) began to take the city by storm, first covering train and subway cars with their massive works before moving on to building facades. Graffiti has long straddled the line between art and vandalism, and, as such, has been consistently targeted for eradication by city officials. Broken Windows captures graffiti’s struggle for recognition as a valid form of expression while flouting the law. With its captivating interviews and gorgeous layouts of impressive pieces, this book challenges us to redefine our notions about art and public space. Broken Windows leaves you with the sense that graffiti, like the larger hip-hop culture to which it belongs, is an indelible part of New York history.

    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith
    Anyone who’s ever lived in NYC will tell you the soul of the city is not in Manhattan, but in the outer boroughs. The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island harbor the rich history of how a city full of transplants grew new roots in New York. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn tells the tale of Francine “Francie” Nolan and her family’s struggle for survival at the turn of the 20th century. The Nolans live in a tenement in a tough Brooklyn neighborhood, constantly dogged by crushing poverty, as well as Francie’s father’s alcoholism. Through it all, the family’s will to make a better life for themselves sustains them through unimaginable circumstances. In addition to teaching us about the trials of life in 1900s Brooklyn, this classic tale reminds us of the unbreakable nature of the human spirit.

    Bright Lights, Big City, by Jay McInerney
    This book could be considered the ultimate manifesto on the cocktail of seduction and peril that was New York City in the ’80s. The story focuses on an unnamed narrator, an upstart in the magazine world who is struggling to find himself and forget his pain. His girlfriend left him after he followed her to the city, he can’t seem to catch a break in his career, and he has family troubles to boot. In an apparent effort to suffocate his sorrow, the narrator fills his nights with debauchery in the era’s yuppie club scene. In a trailblazing literary moment, McInerney wrote the entire book in the second person, demanding the reader identify with the narrator despite his often off-putting behavior. Bright Lights, Big City details a very particular moment in the city’s cultural history, and yet we can still clearly see traces of McInerney’s Big Apple in the NYC of today.

    Sex and the City, by Candace Bushnell
    Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking! After 10 years of the HBO series and two full-length feature films, no one can blame you for being a little Sex and the City-ed out. But the magic of the book often gets lost in the show’s fanfare. Bushnell’s ’90s New York, and Carrie Bradshaw along with it, is still reeling from the collective hangover of the ’80s. Carrie and her friends reinvent dating in this new, progressive landscape, and do so in a funny, awkward, imperfectly human way. Compared to the show, the book has a refreshingly cutting bite, and its ending is far more ambivalent than Carrie and Big running off into the sunset. Although the book has some years on it now, it’s still a necessity on the NYC newcomer’s (tiny, space-saving) bookshelf. After all, there are some things about NYC dating that, for better or worse, never seem to change.

    What are your favorite Big Apple books?

  • Jeff Somers 3:15 pm on 2015/05/14 Permalink
    Tags: astor place vintage, before it was cool, , losers live longer, , Patti Smith, , russell atwood, stephanie lehmann, ten thousand saints,   

    5 Great Books Set in New York’s East Village 

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    Great writing is the World’s Most Affordable Travel Agency: It shows us places, times, and lives we otherwise might never experience or understand. There are a few places around the world that literature returns to as a setting over and over again—because they are beautiful, because they are culturally significant, or simply because they are cool. The East Village in New York City is cool, and has been for decades now. Never had the chance to see it in person? Never fear: books have your back. Here are five novels set in New York’s East Village that will teach you what it’s really like—or what it used to be.

    Losers Live Longer, by Russell Atwood
    Bringing back his downtrodden private investigator Payton Sherwood in this 2011 novel, Atwood—once Managing Editor of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine—has crafted a story that’s one part throwback to old-school detective fiction and one part detailed tour of the Lower East Side and the East Village (which were once considered one neighborhood). When Sherwood, struggling to make a living, gets tossed a case by a retired mentor, it’s salvation—until the mentor is killed in the street in front of Sherwood’s office, setting off a tense and exciting mystery that gives you all the flavors of the East Village’s less-than-savory areas. You may never experience the neighborhood the way Sherwood does, but you should be grateful for that.

    Lush Life, by Richard Price
    Richard Price uses his immense talent to bring the East Village and Lower East Side to grim life in this remarkable novel, often compared to Bonfire of the Vanities (and often considered the superior of the two, if the less well-known). Price uses a murder as the launching point for an examination of the East Village as a character, a force that changes and evolves throughout history along with the people who populate its sagging old buildings. Immigrants come, struggle, and leave, only to be replaced by the next wave. Price captures the fundamental rhythm of life and language on the streets of this eclectic neighborhood, masterfully turning a story of a murder into an examination of an iconic area, how it’s changed over the years—and how it’s remained exactly the same.

    Ten Thousand Saints, by Eleanor Henderson
    Adapted into a film starring Hailee Steinfeld and Ethan Hawke scheduled for release this year, Henderson’s novel gives us a glimpse of an East Village that no longer exists: the 1980s neighborhood where CBGB was still a vibrant force in the music world, where straight-edge kids with X’s on their hands refused to drink or do drugs while listening to hardcore punk bands, and where young people from all over the world gathered, seeking to make their own sorts of families. The past can’t be visited like a tourist spot, and our only hope for any clue as to what it might have been like to be 16 and confused and angry and living in the East Village are electric, exciting books like this one.

    Astor Place Vintage, by Stephanie Lehmann
    One of the most charming books you’ll ever read, Lehmann tells the story of Amanda Rosenbloom, who owns a vintage clothing store on Astor Place in the East Village. Amanda despises the gentrification of the neighborhood and the spate of modern buildings going up. When she discovers the hidden diary of Olive Westcott, who moved to New York in 1907 and struggled against sexism and other prejudices to make a life for herself, Amanda finds herself questioning her own life. The East Village is a vibrant part of this wonderful and wonderfully affecting novel, adding to its charm and giving it the heft of reality.

    Just Kids, by Patti Smith
    Patti Smith was born in Chicago, but the punk poet laureate evolved to become more New York than most natives, moving into the Hotel Chelsea in 1969 with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and going on to perform at CBGB, Max’s Kansas City, and other local venues. Just Kids is a love story—but the subject of Smith’s sad look back is as much the East Village itself—an East Village that no longer exists—as it is Mapplethorpe, who of course went on to achieve his own immense fame. Smith, now pushing 70, doesn’t miss a step in her fierce mastery of language, making this book an absorbing and sometimes challenging read that lets you see the East Village of the late 1960s and early ’70s through the eyes of someone who not only lived it, but more or less invented it.

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