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The Essential Directors: The Art and Impact of Cinema’s Most Influential Filmmakers

Just lovely. Fans of the “TCM Library” series will be delighted.

Best Pick: A Journey Through Film History and the Academy Awards

A treat for movie fans: Two thumbs up!

Party Like a Rockstar: The Crazy, Coincidental, Hard-Luck, and Harmonious Life of a Songwriter

Aspiring songwriters will find a treasure trove of tips and inspiration. Heartwarming, funny, and entertaining.

Horror Films of the 2000s

Highly recommended. Beyond the insightful main text, horror fans will find the supplementary material an incredibly useful way to find movies by convention (e.g., “Road Trip Gone Wrong”).

Endless Endless: A Lo-Fi History of the Elephant 6 Mystery

Despite the flaws, die-hard fans of Neutral Milk Hotel may find this title worth checking out.

Paint My Name in Black and Gold: The Rise of the Sisters of Mercy

This thorough work will appeal not only to fans of the Sisters of Mercy but also to readers interested in English popular music and 1980s post-punk music history.

The First True Hitchcock: The Making of a Filmmaker

A highly detailed and exceptionally well researched look at Hitchcock’s cinematic beginnings, best left to scholars and Hitchcock completists.

The Women of Jenji Kohan: A Collection of Essays

A brief, unique tribute to the impact of Kohan’s work to date, but only for truly devoted fans.

Tupac Behind Bars

Die-hard fans of the artist might find the work entertaining, but most readers will want to give this one a pass.

Putting the Rabbit in the Hat

An enjoyable and conversational backstage pass to the life of a highly respected character actor.

The Hag: The Life, Times, and Music of Merle Haggard

Likely to become the definitive Merle Haggard biography and will sit nicely alongside Haggard’s own two memoirs.

Camera Man: Buster Keaton, the Dawn of Cinema, and the Invention of the Twentieth Century

More than a biography of Buster Keaton, this is a stunning, extensively researched, and eminently readable cultural history.

From Hollywood with Love: The Rise and Fall (and Rise Again) of the Romantic Comedy

Fans of the popular but often under-appreciated genre of romantic comedy will appreciate Meslow’s book, which offers insight on the development of landmark films and how some of Hollywood’s biggest names launched their careers.

The New Female Antihero: The Disruptive Women of Twenty-First-Century US Television

This extremely thought-provoking look at radical changes in depictions of women on TV will appeal to readers interested in media and cultural theory.

I Was Better Last Night: A Memoir

Written with verve and enthusiasm, Fierstein’s memoir will be a must-read for his fans and for theater lovers and anyone who appreciates pop culture.


Enchanted Strings: A History of Bob Baker Marionette Theater

A solid addition to collections that have a focus on unique art forms and community building through the arts.


An enjoyable series of insights into an artist’s creative process. For Reich fans and scholars of American musical composition.

Beethoven in Beijing: Stories from the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Historic Journey to China

Fans of classical music will enjoy reading about one of the most important cultural events of the 20th century, while students of history will appreciate this account of a pivotal moment in U.S.-China relations.

In Love with Movies: From New Yorker Films to Lincoln Plaza Cinemas

Cinephiles will be captivated by Talbot’s insights and passion.


Truly, Madly: Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier, and the Romance of the Century

Will greatly appeal to cinema buffs, theater aficionados, and fans of the doomed lovebirds.

Colorization: One Hundred Years of Black Films in a White World

Chronicling Black contributions to film in the United States, this is an engaging, well-crafted work that will appeal to pop culture fans, film geeks, history buffs, and academics.

The Limits of #MeToo in Hollywood: Gender and Power in the Entertainment Industry

Readers interested in pop culture will find this an enlightening look at the role of women as a creative force in media.

The Annotated Ring Cycle: The Valkyrie (Die Walküre)

Walter’s useful introduction to Wagner’s masterpiece breaks down the epic opera’s plot, musical motifs, and poetic structure into digestible pieces of information; ideal for readers with any amount of previous knowledge of the Ring cycle.

From the Streets of Shaolin: The Wu-Tang Saga

Fernando brilliantly reconstructs the Wu-Tang story and, in the process, sketches a concise history of hip-hop and illuminates the challenges the group members encountered growing up. Whether readers are long-time Wu-Tang Clan fans or have never listened, they’ll be captivated.

Hollywood Victory: The Movies, Stars, and Stories of World War II

A fun, informative, and stunning look at the American movie industry’s role in the success of the war effort.

Ode to a Tenor Titan: The Life and Times and Music of Michael Brecker

Though sometimes overly detailed, Milkowski’s book is an entertaining, balanced, thoroughly researched, and informative study of the even-tempered saxophone great Michael Brecker; will engage fans of popular music and jazz.

The Savvy Sphinx: How Garbo Conquered Hollywood

An informative and enjoyable book, but simply not as good as Gottlieb’s.

Through the Prism: Untold Rock Stories from the Hipgnosis Archive

Anyone who has wondered about the background of these iconic covers, and what it’s like working with these musicians, will find much to savor here. Powell reminds readers how closely these images are entwined with the music. Highly recommended for fans of classic rock.

Uncommon Measure: A Journey Through Music, Performance, and the Science of Time

In all, this title makes a valuable contribution to the ever-expanding universe of works addressing science and music, two seemingly disparate fields that have surprisingly much in common.

Solid Ivory: A Memoir

Much like a Merchant Ivory film, this memoir is filled with lush detail, enchanting stories, and memorable characters that will thrill fans both of Merchant’s movies and of film and culture in general.

The American Girl Goes to War: Women and National Identity in U.S. Silent Film

Although focused on film, this exciting, well-researched work crosses multidisciplinary boundaries and will be of value to those interested in cinema, gender studies, propaganda, history, and political science. Recommended for academic libraries.

The Impossible Art: Adventures in Opera

Opera lovers will be delighted by this conversational, memoir-style book from an author who has spent years studying and writing in the art form.

Disaster Mon Amour

An unconvincing analysis of the disaster film; not recommended.

All About Me! My Remarkable Life in Show Business

A must-read for fans of comedy, film, and theater.

The Definitive Golden Girls Cultural Reference Guide

A superb resource for popular culture and media studies collections; Golden Girls fans will be delighted.


Rock Me on the Water: 1974—The Year Los Angeles Transformed Movies, Music, Television, and Politics

Brownstein spends much more time on the years before 1974 than actual events occurring that year, and much of the content is repetitive, but there are interesting backstories that fans of television history will enjoy.


A welcome tribute to the career of Spike Lee, best appreciated by his fans.

Oasis: Knebworth; Two Nights That Will Live Forever

An up-close and personal view of a cultural high point for Oasis.

Confessions of a Puppetmaster: A Hollywood Memoir of Ghouls, Guts, and Gonzo Filmmaking

Band’s prolific body of work, along with his ability to anticipate the newest and best ways to promote his films, ensures that his multigenerational fan base will be clamoring for this book. A wildly entertaining read.

Supernatural: A History of Television’s Unearthly Road Trip

An insightful and entertaining analysis that fans of the series will devour.

Bamboozled by Jesus: How God Tricked Me into the Life of My Dreams

Not just for fans of Orji, this will inspire general readers and fans of uplifting memoirs with a Christian bent.


Draper’s biography does not add anything new to Prince’s story for devoted fans, but his coverage of all decades of the artist’s career make it worth the read; newer fans will appreciate this easily digestible book that covers both personal and professional aspects of the musician’s life.

Tenement Kid: From the Streets of Glasgow in the 1960s to Drummer in Jesus and Mary Chain and Frontman in Primal Scream

Both rock fanatics and anyone interested in memoirs will appreciate his candid account.

Walking with Ghosts

Byrne has the soul of a poet; his use of language is exquisite. His stories will touch not just his fans but anyone who has experienced the pain of being on the outside looking in.

The Lyrics

McCartney’s contributions to culture are foundational, extending well beyond enthusiasts and devotees. This set serves as his testament of a career and a life dedicated to music.

Who Got the Camera? A History of Rap and Reality

A skilled and fascinating analysis tracing the interwoven threads of emerging media, hip-hop’s transformation from street art to commercial juggernaut, and Black civil rights in the United States. For scholars of, and readers with an interest in, any or all three.

Woke Up This Morning: The Definitive Oral History of The Sopranos

This nostalgia-inducing, funny, and thought-provoking tribute rises to the top of works about The Sopranos.

The Jazz Masters: Setting the Record Straight

Though more successful with some interviews than with others, Zimmerman has coaxed noteworthy insights from seasoned jazz musicians for this book, which will appeal to fans of the genre.

Bunnyman: Post-War Kid to Post-Punk Guitarist of Echo and the Bunnymen

Those looking for stories of the Bunnymen’s heyday may be disappointed, and there are times Sargent struggles with narrative focus, blurring tenses and scenes. But those interested in the memoir of a boy from Liverpool finding his way into the music business will be pleased.

Movie Mavens: US Newspaper Women Take on the Movies, 1914–1923

With a scholar’s knack for detail, Abel provides context for this crucial period of cinema history. An illuminating combination of scholarship and nostalgia.

An OutKast Reader: Essays on Race, Gender, and the Postmodern South

Though this volume is uneven, with a largely unsatisfactory third section, it successfully casts the duo as part of the ongoing update of the Black South; scholars will find this compelling reading.


Lightning Striking: Ten Transformative Moments in Rock and Roll

Kaye’s felicitous turns of phrase and ability to humanize his subject paint vivid pictures of each venue and its denizens; readers of any vintage will appreciate the chance to either relive these musical moments or experience them for the first time.

Gus Van Sant: The Art of Making Movies

A thoroughly engaging and well-designed portrait of a true artist.

Apparently There Were Complaints

Cagney and Lacey fans and celebrity memoir mavens alike will enjoy Gless’s candid and heartfelt book, which is full of insider tidbits about the famous.

Rock Concert: An Oral History as Told by the Artists, Backstage Insiders, and Fans Who Were There

While not a totally comprehensive account, this book places the live concert in context with the broader story of popular music; its insider perspectives have an immediacy that will appeal to a broad swath of music fans.


Singing Like Germans: Black Musicians in the Land of Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms

A long-overdue tribute to musical artists whose stories should not be forgotten.

We Could Be: Bowie and His Heroes

Readers will find many humorously intriguing or infuriating nuggets here; though some tend toward gossipy tabloid fodder, the overall impression is that of a lost soul participating in an alienating and self-destructive environment but who overcame that at times to create impressive, norm-shattering musical works.

How To Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey’s Anatomy

There’s a simple reason why Grey’s is entering its 18th season: its passionate superfans, who will devour this tell-all book.

Baggage: Tales from a Fully Packed Life

This second act is sure to be another hit in Cumming’s career; readers will be left hoping for a third memoir.

David Copperfield’s History of Magic

An immersive tour of magic through the ages that will appeal most to readers with a fondness for Copperfield.


This is a brilliantly written and constructed portrait of a true icon of the cinema.

The Beatles: Get Back

This work illuminates both the camaraderie and growing dissatisfaction among the creative Beatles. Because the book is so in-depth, casual music fans likely won’t pick it up, but Beatlemaniacs will find it a strong companion to the upcoming three-part documentary Get Back by director Peter Jackson, who also contributes the book’s foreword.


Entertaining and funny, this work will delight fans of Rogen and his cohort.

Set the Night on Fire: Living, Dying, and Playing Guitar with the Doors

Krieger brings another perspective to the mythology of the Doors; music aficionados will devour his intimate memoir.

Designed for Dancing: How Midcentury Records Taught America To Dance

An intriguing look at social dance culture through a material lens. For scholars and aficionados of mid-20th-century popular culture.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: My Life in the Music Business

Entertaining, straightforward, and honest, Copeland offers an engaging look at the fascinating acts he worked with and the inner workings of the music business during the past 50 years. Rock fans and general readers alike will be delighted.

Billie Eilish

Eilish’s numerous fans will appreciate the star’s vulnerability and desire to connect.

Robots in Popular Culture: Androids and Cyborgs in the American Imagination

Fun, thought-provoking examination of contemporary society’s use of robots and the continual evolution of AI and robotics. Will fascinate sci-fi buffs, ethicists, computer scientists, programmers, and robotics engineers.

The Cold War on Film

It’s difficult to decide whom this volume is suited to. The history is accurate but very brief, while the film discussion is largely consumed by plot synopses. Not recommended.

Like Some Forgotten Dream: What If the Beatles Hadn’t Split Up?

A solid synopsis of the Beatles in 1969, though the information won’t be new to die-hard fans. When Peter Jackson’s Get Back movie releases later this year, Rachel’s book will be an excellent backgrounder.

The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music

Grohl bares his soul and shares his passion in this must-read memoir, which will resonate with music lovers and his fans.

You’ve Got Red on You: How Shaun of the Dead Was Brought to Life

This book covers every facet of Shaun of the Dead’s production, from storyboarding to translation for foreign markets, resulting in a work that will be useful to film students and wildly entertaining to horror buffs.

Fun City Cinema: New York City and the Movies That Made It

A superb study of films set in and representative of the Big Apple. Anyone interested in the history of American film will find much to savor here.

Woody Guthrie: Songs and Art * Words and Wisdom

Light on commentary and context, this is a book to browse for insight and inspiration. Enthusiasts of American folk could open this book to any page and find something of interest, and it’s sure to delight Woody Guthrie fans. Recommended for public and academic library collections.

Eruption: Conversations with Eddie Van Halen

Fans and guitar enthusiasts will appreciate this fresh look at the legendary Van Halen, with an emphasis on his technical wizardry; their work will supplement other books about the Van Halen legacy.

Neil Young on Neil Young: Interviews and Encounters

This fascinating account of a wildly productive, sometimes brilliant, sometimes self-absorbed rock icon will supplement Jimmy McDonough’s well-received Shakey: Neil Young’s Biography and Young’s autobiography, Waging Peace: A Hippie’s Dream.

Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama

Odenkirk’s account of triumph, struggle, and his firm belief that comedy is a unifying source of connection will inspire his fans and motivate aspiring entertainers.

Northern Exposure: A Cultural History

Fans will appreciate Samuel’s focus on the real town that provided Northern Exposure’s scenic locations, as well as his useful episode guide. TV historians will benefit from his research and compelling examination of a show truly ahead of its time.

Leonard Cohen: The Mystical Roots of Genius

An intriguing and specific look at the traditions and stories that influenced a brilliant songwriter.


This review has been edited to correct a sentence that originally erroneously stated that all of Cohen's compositions were religious in nature.

The Blues Dream of Billy Boy Arnold

Arnold’s heartfelt, honest, insider’s view of Chicago blues from the 1940s onward will be essential to anyone interested in blues and the origins of rock and roll.

Codex Metallum: The Secret Art of Metal Decoded

This browsable, lavish title will circulate well in collections with lots of fans of rock music and art.

Live Your Life: My Story of Loving and Losing Nick Cordero

Cordero’s story sheds light on the dangers of the virus, and Kloots’s remarkable attitude, infectious faith, love for her family, and ability to find joy in the worst of circumstances are awe-inspiring.

Neo-Burlesque: Striptease as Transformation

Whether readers are new to or familiar with neo-burlesque, they’ll find that Sally’s book is an entertaining and informative study of striptease as performance art.

Extra Salty: Jennifer’s Body

This book presumes the reader is familiar with the film and works best for fans looking to dig into an extended think piece. Blichert’s breezy but insightful writing style makes for a quick read.

Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child

Capturing the flavor, the impact, and the enduring legacy of Jimi Hendrix, this is a delightful addition that will enhance and expand readers’ knowledge and appreciation of one of the great figures of popular music.

Anvils, Mallets & Dynamite: The Unauthorized Biography of Looney Tunes

In Weinman’s capable hands, both the technical and creative elements of animation are rendered deeply fascinating.

The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family

Filled with delightful stories from the sets of The Andy Griffith Show, Gentle Ben, The Music Man, and Happy Days, this memoir will be treasured by television and movie history buffs alike; fans of the Howards will greatly enjoy their teasing, loving banter, and evocation of a gentler era.

Women and Mixed Race Representation in Film: Eight Star Profiles

An excellent and thought-provoking look at racial representation on screen and in American society.

This Will All Be Over Soon

Readers need not be familiar with Strong’s work to appreciate her story, as it reflects the grief that so many have recently experienced. A reassuring, inspiring memoir that will resonate with readers who, like Strong, are trying to make sense of the last year and a half.

A Punkhouse in the Deep South: The Oral History of 309

An appealing people’s history. For punks of all ages, cultural historians, and fans of the group This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb.

The Simpsons Secret: A Cromulent Guide to How The Simpsons Predicted Everything!

Simpsons fans will enjoy this overview of three decades’ worth of animated dysfunctional family life and its analysis of the show’s ability to foreshadow future events.

Bigotry on Broadway

Blank and Reed offer an incisive, critical take on Broadway’s past and present; discuss an alternative vision that incorporates the perspectives missing from Broadway; and look toward a more inclusive future. A book for all readers interested in the history of Broadway musicals, theater criticism, and the role of whiteness in Broadway’s misrepresentations.

Hell of a Hat: The Rise of ’90s Ska and Swing

Partridge’s gritty yet affectionate take on ska and swing brings the bands, their music, and their lasting cultural influence to vivid life.

Forever Young

Movie buffs will be riveted by Mills’s behind-the-scenes tales.

20th Century-Fox: Darryl F. Zanuck and the Creation of the Modern Film Studio

Eyman’s writing is vivid and succinct when he’s synopsizing movies, yet much of this book feels detached and secondhand. Mainly for die-hard “Golden Age” Hollywood fans and Zanuck completists.

Listening to Bob Dylan

A fascinating, worthwhile study of Bob Dylan as poet, vocalist, composer, and performer. If you’re looking for a guide to Dylan’s methods, his genius, and what’s on the tracks, don’t think twice.

Alien Listening: Voyager’s Golden Record and Music from Earth

Heady stuff, but engaging all the same. For scholars of music and science fiction, and perhaps for some general readers too.

Unrequited Infatuations

By turns philosophical, earthy, metaphysical, humorous, and charmingly self-deprecating, Van Zandt chronicles a multifaceted life, charts his musical and political manifestos, and travels intriguing roads that will distinguish his book among music memoirs. It will be appreciated by a wide audience.

I Take My Coffee Black: Reflections on Tupac, Musical Theater, Faith, and Being Black in America

Engaging and at times enraging, this thought-provoking memoir is suitable for general as well as performing arts collections.

Major Labels: A History of Popular Music in Seven Genres

A thoroughly enjoyable and perceptive book that champions the art of popular music.

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