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PREMIUM

Films of Endearment: A Mother, a Son and the ’80s Films That Defined Us

A skilled film critic, Koresky guides readers through salient plot points instead of rehashing entire films, but his real talent is using cinema as a starting point for conversation. This intimate, probing work will appeal to hard-core cinephiles, lovers of memoirs, and many other readers.

PREMIUM

Footnotes: The Black Artists Who Rewrote the Rules of the Great White Way

Theater buffs and students of Black history will be pleased by this cogent defense of Shuffle Along.
PREMIUM

Off the Charts: What I Learned from My Almost Fabulous Life in Music

Much like her music, Goldman’s book is witty, intelligent, and folksy. A must-read for aspiring performers.
PREMIUM

The Seventies: The Decade that Changed American Film Forever

An informative but frustrating volume.
PREMIUM

Mean…Moody…Magnificent! Jane Russell and the Marketing of a Hollywood Legend

Whether readers are intimately familiar with the golden age of Hollywood, or are newcomers to the topic, they’ll come away having learned something about one of its stars.

Beeswing: Losing My Way and Finding My Voice 1967–1975

Thompson’s spell is never broken, and, as on disc, his is a welcome voice to meet on the page. Readers will be eager for the next volume of the story. Like a great Richard Thompson solo, this title contains surprise, beauty, delight, and a voice like no other. His autobiography is as welcome as it is long overdue.
PREMIUM

A Band with Built-In Hate: The Who from Pop Art to Punk

Though the preoccupation with Cohn seems unnecessary, Stanfield has masterfully identified the mod, pop art, and art rock stages of the Who’s career for rock fans and general readers alike.
PREMIUM

Last Chance Texaco: Chronicles of an American Troubadour

Fans will enjoy this buoyant coming-of-age narrative by one of music’s most idiosyncratic performers.
PREMIUM

Naked Screenwriting: Twenty-Two Oscar-Winning Screenwriters Bare Their Secrets to Writing

A clever and original look at the art of screenwriting.
PREMIUM

Finding the Raga: An Improvisation on Indian Music

Readers familiar with Indian music will find much to appreciate, and those unfamiliar with it need only go to YouTube for examples of Chaudhuri’s work as a performer and composer.
PREMIUM

Music Around the World: A Global Encyclopedia

A successful dive into global music culture in an easy-to-digest format for beginner researchers.

PREMIUM

The Lady Swings: Memoirs of a Jazz Drummer

Dodgion’s pull-no-punches style and determination in the face of daunting situations bring an obscure figure to vivid life. The title should appeal to jazz aficionados, who will recognize many of the musicians with whom she played, as well as those interested in ways in which women have flourished in the creative arts.
PREMIUM

The Marathon Don’t Stop: The Life and Times of Nipsey Hussle

Kenner provides a behind-the-scenes look at the rap business and a musical genius. Rousing and powerful, this work will be devoured by Hussle’s fans and appreciated by students of Black culture and the music industry.
PREMIUM

Decoding “Despacito”: An Oral History of Latin Music

An enlightening and insightful chronicle. For Latin music fans as well as for those eager to learn more about this style of music.

PREMIUM

Just as I Am

Recommend to readers who enjoy engaging and sassy memoirs, and those interested in learning about 20th-century Black theater, film, and television.
PREMIUM

Nöthin’ but a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the ‘80s Hard Rock Explosion

Rock music fans will be banging their heads to this book.

The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock: An Anatomy of the Master of Suspense

An absorbing, thoughtful, and balanced look at a master of his medium.
PREMIUM

When Women Invented Television: The Untold Story of the Female Powerhouses Who Pioneered the Way We Watch Today

Armstrong preserves an important part of television’s--and women’s--history in this engaging book.

A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance

Told with humor and grace, Abdurraqib’s stories will inspire and provoke thoughtful meditations on how Black lives matter in all areas of life and art.
PREMIUM

Always a Song: Singers, Songwriters, Sinners, and Saints—My Story of the Folk Music Revival

Folk music aficionados will feel nostalgic at Harper’s reminiscences, and those with an interest in the sociology of the times will appreciate her clear-eyed observations.
PREMIUM

The Spirit of Music: The Lesson Continues

An engaging parable on the power of intention for the musically and mystically inclined.
PREMIUM

Liner Notes for the Revolution: The Intellectual Life of Black Feminist Sound

An ambitious work of great complexity and depth. For scholars and interested readers, particularly in Black studies, but also music, anthropology, and archival studies.
PREMIUM

Mainstream Maverick: John Hughes and New Hollywood Cinema

Though the narrative is at times dry, readers interested in a serious study of Hughes and 1980s cinema will enjoy this engaging book, which serves as a solid companion piece to Susannah Gora’s You Couldn’t Ignore Me if You Tried.
PREMIUM

I Want To Be Where the Normal People Are

A relatable and touching memoir that will resonate both with Bloom’s fans and those unfamiliar with her work.
PREMIUM

Universal Tonality: The Life and Music of William Parker

This meticulously researched, affectionate biography analyzes Parker’s impact as a musician, a composer, and a political revolutionary. An important work that will appeal to jazz historians, scholars of Black history, and music lovers.
PREMIUM

Vibrate Higher: A Rap Story

Music lovers, both fans of Kweli and those less familiar with him, will be gratified by this evocative story of how he has drawn from experiences to craft his art.
PREMIUM

I Died a Million Times: Gangster Noir in Midcentury America

Scholars of cinematic history and aficionados of gangster folklore will be riveted.

The Musical Human: A History of Life on Earth

With humorous and concise prose, Spitzer makes a convincing case for the irreducible musical properties of human beings.
PREMIUM

The James Bond Movie Encyclopedia

Pair this trivia book with Edward Gross and Mark Altman’s Nobody Does It Better: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of James Bond for a comprehensive history of all things Bond.

PREMIUM

I Remember Everything: Life Lessons from Dawson’s Creek

This light and breezy work will be thoroughly enjoyed by über-fans of Dawson’s Creek and might inspire neophytes to binge the whole series. Purchase where popular culture titles circulate well.
PREMIUM

Industrial Strength Bluegrass: Southwestern Ohio’s Musical Legacy

An appealing and accessible musical history that showcases the importance of homegrown regional musical culture. For bluegrass fans and historians of the genre.
PREMIUM

British Thrillers, 1950-1979: 845 Films of Suspense, Mystery, Murder and Espionage

A well-researched and comprehensive guide for film students and movie mavens alike.
PREMIUM

The Search for John Lennon: The Life, Loves, and Death of a Rock Star

Though conducting many interviews, Jones offers few new insights; relies on generalizations, unfounded suppositions, and speculation; and writes in a cliché-ridden, offhand style. Readers would be better served by Ray Connolly’s Being John Lennon: A Restless Life.
PREMIUM

Notes from Africa: A Musical Journey with Youssou N’Dour

An enthusiastic and enlightening view of an entertaining artist and humanitarian and his environment.
PREMIUM

The Seekers: Meetings With Remarkable Musicians (and Other Artists)

Though some chapters (musician Bob Marley, poet Robert Bly) are more convincing than others (actor Jerry Lee Lewis), this intriguing work stands well alongside the author’s other memoirs, such as Riders on the Storm and The Doors Unhinged. General readers and rock aficionados will find it fascinating.

The Essentials Vol. 2: 52 More Must-See Movies and Why They Matter

Arnold’s knowledge is vast, and the joyful tone of his sprightly writing is infectious. With a foreword by current TCM host Ben Mankiewicz, an index and an extensive bibliography, and a list of all the films screened on The Essentials, this book will please film buffs of all ages and levels of cinema knowledge.

PREMIUM

No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality

Infused with intelligence, honesty, and the perfect dose of optimism, Fox’s story will resonate with his fans, including those living with Parkinson’s.
PREMIUM

Wild Minds: The Artists and Rivalries That Inspired the Golden Age of Animation

An entertaining and revealing look into the dawn of a revolutionary art form.
PREMIUM

A Guide to Library Research in Music

Written for students at the undergraduate and graduate level, as well as for general learners, this is a necessary tool for those looking for guidance in finding music research.

Mozart: The Reign of Love

The copious detail will appeal to musicologists, while the flowing, conversational style will draw in general readers who’d like to learn more about the composer. Heartily recommended to everyone with an interest in the subject.
PREMIUM

Another Day’s Begun: Thornton Wilder’s Our Town in the 21st Century

In this time of dark stages and unemployed thespians, Sherman’s reflections will enchant all theater buffs.

Shooting Midnight Cowboy: Art, Sex, Loneliness, Liberation, and the Making of a Dark Classic

An in-depth, exquisite biography of a legendary film, and a must-read for cinephiles.

PREMIUM

We Had a Little Real Estate Problem: The Unheralded Story of Native Americans & Comedy

With no real comparison book, this well-documented history, though uneven at times, should spark interest and future research.

PREMIUM

A Light in the Dark: A History of Movie Directors

Thomson’s own genius is his ability to remain one of the leading authorities on cinematic history, without shying away from the controversial. Cinephiles seeking provocative arguments will appreciate his work.
PREMIUM

I’m Gonna Say It Now: The Writings of Phil Ochs

Ochs’s work remains relevant today, and this book will appeal to his loyal fans and to readers interested in folk music’s role in promoting justice.

Mike Nichols: A Life

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A compelling storyteller, Harris sweeps readers up into the whirlwind of Nichols's life. Likely to become the definitive book about Nichols, Harris's exhaustive take should have widespread appeal, especially given the dearth of currently available literature about this important and influential entertainment icon.

 

In an earlier version of this review, LJ listed the author as Hermione Lee. We regret the error.

Off the Back of a Truck: Unofficial Contraband for the Sopranos Fan

This love letter to the show is a must-read for all Sopranos devotees and TV history aficionados.

PREMIUM

Can’t Slow Down: How 1984 Became Pop’s Blockbuster Year

Protracted dissections of events such as the Grammys may prove tedious, but pop fans with an appetite for nostalgia will find much to like.
PREMIUM

They Just Seem a Little Weird: How KISS, Cheap Trick, Aerosmith, and Starz Remade Rock and Roll

Devotees of Kiss, Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, and/or Starz, and they are legion, are going to lick this up. Rock this way.
PREMIUM

Beethoven: A Life in Nine Pieces

Music students and aficionados alike will appreciate this engaging and accessible portrait of the composer.
PREMIUM

This Is Bop: Jon Hendricks and the Art of Vocal Jazz

This evocative work conveys the challenges and successes Hendricks experienced and make for an affecting, well-rounded portrait of an underappreciated jazz artist who is ripe for rediscovery.
PREMIUM

Jagged Little Pill

Ardent Morissette fans and Broadway buffs will enjoy this peek behind the curtain.

Patti Smith on Patti Smith: Interviews and Encounters

An illuminating compilation and study of an American artistic treasure. This study is both a finely wrought biographical snapshot and an opportunity to sit in on conversations with one of the sharpest and most provocative minds of our time.
PREMIUM

Star Wars: The Triumph of Nerd Culture

A slight, unnecessary look at cultural divisions between a creator and his creations.
PREMIUM

Beethoven: A Political Artist in Revolutionary Times

Kinderman’s exhaustive scholarship and fluid style combine with up-to-date references to issues such as systemic repression and other provocative topics, which should resonate with both academics and informed general readers.
PREMIUM

Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics

Heartwarming and insightful in equal measure. For Parton fans.
PREMIUM

When Sunday Comes: Gospel Music in the Soul and Hip-Hop Eras

A multilensed view of a continually evolving and consistently vibrant art form. For gospel fans, music scholars, and scholars of African American history and culture generally.
PREMIUM

Sonic Boom: The Impossible Rise of Warner Bros. Records, from Hendrix to Fleetwood Mac to Madonna to Prince

Carlin’s spring-loaded narrative keeps the reader involved, and characterizing the empathetic side of some of the outsize personalities humanizes the Warner mythos. Record label books abound, but there has been little available about Warner itself or its sister companies since Warren Zanes’s Revolutions in Sound; Carlin’s title admirably fills that gap.

The South Never Plays Itself: A Film Buff’s Journey Through the South on Screen

Recommended for film buffs and those interested in a reflective, nonacademic examination of race and film.
PREMIUM

The Way of Bach: Three Years with the Man, the Music, and the Piano

For the serious music lover and anyone seeking answers to some essential questions about art and music.

PREMIUM

The Beatles 101: A Pocket Guide in 101 Moments, Songs, People and Places

Though not writing for aficionados who undoubtedly have pored over the hundreds of detailed books and firsthand accounts about the Beatles, Reilly offers a breezy, heavily illustrated romp through Beatles history for listeners who might not know much about the iconic group.
PREMIUM

The Meaning of Mariah Carey

A must-read for Carey’s fans, though music lovers of all genres will also delight in this personal story.
PREMIUM

Grand

A perfect read for those who enjoyed Michelle Buteau’s Survival of the Thickest and Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please.

Singular Sensation: The Triumph of Broadway

Readers of this breezy, fun, and informative work are the beneficiaries of the rarefied theatrical air of Broadway inhabited by Riedel. An obligatory purchase for all theater collections.
PREMIUM

Woody Guthrie: An Intimate Life

Though sometimes unable to explain the chasm between Guthrie’s words and actions, the author offers a well-researched addition to the Guthrie bibliography for general readers that complements Joe Klein’s standard biography, Woody Guthrie: A Life.
PREMIUM

60 Stories About 30 Seconds: How I Got Away with Becoming a Pretty Big Commercial Director Without Losing My Soul (Or Maybe Just Part of It)

For film students and celebrity mavens alike.
PREMIUM

Emerald Street: A History of Hip Hop in Seattle

This enjoyable and encyclopedic treatment of a thriving and still-growing culture will appeal to listeners and scholars of Seattle hip-hop and the genre in general.
PREMIUM

Giacomo Meyerbeer: The Deliberately Forgotten Composer

Accessible and illuminating, this is required reading for anyone interested in opera and its complete history.
PREMIUM

The Sanity of Satire: Surviving Politics One Joke at a Time

Punch lines and favorite riffs, interspersed with a more academic discussion of political satire, all in about 175 pages before endnotes, make this an interesting but not overbearing choice for humor collections.
PREMIUM

Laura’s Ghost: Women Speak About Twin Peaks

Followers of the convoluted drama series will have an easier time following the conversation. While it’s easy to embrace Twin Peaks for its quirkiness, Stallings successfully centers the conversation on its darkest secrets. The work includes trigger warnings for sexual assault, sexual abuse, and domestic violence, as it embraces difficult topics that are sadly as relevant today as when the show first aired.
PREMIUM

Laughing To Keep from Dying: African American Satire in the Twenty-First Century

This scholarly analysis may find its audience in academic performing arts collections.

Masterpiece: America’s 50-Year-Old Love Affair with British Television Drama

The definitive guide for scholars and fans alike to all things Masterpiece and Mystery!
PREMIUM

Tumult! The Incredible Life and Music of Tina Turner

Students of popular music and Turner devotees who want to know what Tina is doing now will enjoy this well-researched volume.
PREMIUM

Shit, Actually: The Definitive, 100% Objective Guide to Modern Cinema

This irreverent look at film criticism will be popular among West’s many fans and may provide insight for readers grappling with liking flawed films.
PREMIUM

Bluegrass Ambassadors: The McLain Family Band in Appalachia and the World

Jenkins brings renewed focus to an important and influential, if possibly overlooked group from the heyday of bluegrass performance. One might wish for a more dispassionate gaze than his almost universal approbation of their musical contributions, but this is a small quibble in an excellent effort brimming with infectious joy, a signature of the McLain Family Band.
PREMIUM

Love Her Madly: Jim Morrison, Mary, and Me

Die-hard Morrison fans might enjoy this, but it’s a marginal addition for even the largest music or biography collection.
PREMIUM

Sax Appeal: Ivy Benson and Her All-Girls Band

A satisfying look at a trailblazer and noteworthy role model.
PREMIUM

Fast Forward, Play, and Rewind

It’s hard to say who this book is for, exactly, as the musical era of the late Sixties and early Seventies recedes further into the past. But there’s something more than nostalgia here: It’s documentation of a particular period of pop music, from a time whose documents are less than readily accessible. An appealing slice of pop music history for fans and researchers of the era.
PREMIUM

Cary Grant, the Making of a Hollywood Legend

An excellent portrait that emphasizes the man more than the movie star.
PREMIUM

Alright, Alright, Alright: An Oral History of Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused

Linklater devotees, those who love Dazed and Confused, and anyone interested in 1990s indie film will appreciate Maerz’s detailed tribute.

PREMIUM

Survival of the Thickest: Essays

This wonderful offering can be read in one sitting or savored one essay at a time. Fans of Ali Wong or Mindy Kaling will appreciate this heartbreaking and hopeful volume.

PREMIUM

Cary Grant: A Brilliant Disguise

Combining existing research with voluminous new interviews and access to Grant’s personal papers, this is an informative and entertaining biography of a legendary actor.

PREMIUM

Confess: The Autobiography

Rock fans will naturally enjoy this book, but it is also a significant contribution to LGBTQIA+ nonfiction.

Fright Favorites: 31 Movies To Haunt Your Halloween and Beyond

Skal wrings new life from the undead in this loving tribute to horror cinema. Movie buffs will appreciate his depth of knowledge, and fright fans will treasure this gorgeous look at the ghoulish.
PREMIUM

Starring Women: Celebrity, Patriarchy, and American Theater, 1790-1850

Lampert offers a fascinating glimpse into the complicated history of 19th-century theater and the role of female performers in changing the dynamic of women’s place in society. For libraries with large gender studies and performing arts collections.
PREMIUM

Is This Anything?

Despite the self-deprecating title, Seinfeld has assembled his greatest hits. Readers will delight in seeing how he mined a shifting landscape of inane commercial products, societal norms, and myriad pet peeves for laughs. Just don’t expect him to reveal how all this magic works.
PREMIUM

Time Between: My Life as a Byrd, Burrito Brother, and Beyond

A pleasant memoir that offers an inside look at the history of folk and country rock from one of its founders.
PREMIUM

Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

This book offers a seductive blend of sometimes contradictory insights into Cohen but will be sought after only by his most devoted fans.

The Nolan Variations: The Movies, Mysteries, and Marvels of Christopher Nolan

For the foreseeable future, this is the definitive word on Nolan and a must for film buffs.
PREMIUM

I Don’t Like the Blues: Race, Place, and the Backbeat of Black Life

Foster’s thoughtful and well-researched look at race and the blues via an exploration of a distressed and declining Southern rural town will be useful to music and sociology academics.
PREMIUM

She Come by It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs

A thoughtful musing on the significance of Parton’s work and success, and those she inspires.
PREMIUM

Unlikely Angel: The Songs of Dolly Parton

A persuasive argument for taking Dolly Parton seriously as an artist. For folk and country music scholars, musicians, and fans.
PREMIUM

Dance We Do: A Poet Explores Black Dance

Of interest to those familiar with Shange’s written work, and generally to dancers and dance historians.
PREMIUM

A Sound Mind: How I Fell in Love with Classical Music (and Decided To Rewrite Its Entire History)

An excellent guide for anyone interested in expanding their musical horizons.
PREMIUM

Amplified: A Design History of the Electric Guitar

Acknowledging the significant role guitar historian Tony Bacon has played in this arena through his more popularly oriented publications, Atkinson’s more academic contribution to the literature is decidedly welcome. His rigorous scholarship and clear affection for the subject shine.
PREMIUM

Whose Blues? Facing Up to Race and the Future of the Music

Extremely knowledgeable but a bit overly academic, Gussow ably details the African American core of the blues and the shifting racial dynamics that have made the music so compelling to white Americans and blues fans in other cultures. Blues scholars will find the book illuminating.
PREMIUM

The Butterfly Effect: How Kendrick Lamar Ignited the Soul of Black America

Fans will likely devour this title despite its problems, and the work has crossover appeal to young adult readers, who will be stirred by Lamar’s professional and personal journey. [See Prepub Alert, 4/15/20.]
PREMIUM

Composers: Their Lives and Works

There’s little new here; readers will find the same information covered in similar texts. Still, for nonmusically trained readers, this is an aesthetically pleasing introduction to Western classical music.

150 Glimpses of the Beatles

Brown presents a fresh take on a seemingly inexhaustible subject
PREMIUM

Sun Ra’s Chicago: Afrofuturism and the City

Not the launching point for an introduction to the life of Sun Ra, but rather a deeper dive into the city life and utopian vision informing his work and philosophy, emphasizing that (Urban) Space Is the Place. Recommended for academic libraries.

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