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Nerd: Adventures in Fandom from this Universe to the Multiverse

Hardcore fans will enjoy the analysis while new viewers will find a wealth of ideas.

Rated X: How Porn Liberated Me from Hollywood

This memoir is an honest account of the transition from Hollywood to adult film actress. The explicit details provided and style of writing may limit its audience.

Phasers on Stun! How the Making (and Remaking) of Star Trek Changed the World

While Britt’s insightful and entertaining history may not take fans where no one has gone before (considering there have been decades of books written about the expansive Star Trek franchise), he still offers a fun ride that few fans will be able to resist.

Directed by James Burrows: Five Decades of Stories from the Legendary Director of Taxi, Cheers, Frasier, Friends, Will & Grace, and More

Burrows’s insights will delight fans and inspire ambitious artists.

Deanna Durbin, Judy Garland, and the Golden Age of Hollywood

A well-written and fascinating biography that celebrity mavens and fans of the Golden Age of Hollywood will enjoy.

George Michael: A Life

Gavin’s fluent, gripping account of Michael’s roller-coaster music career will draw readers in. An emotionally fulfilling read.

About Man and God and Law: The Spiritual Wisdom of Bob Dylan

A deep and distinctive dive into the spirituality of a truly great artist.

Fighting Without Fighting: Kung Fu Cinema’s Journey to the West

White’s scholarly take on Hollywood’s infatuation with kung fu offers multiple entry points for readers, from film historians to sociologists. Action film fans will come away with a deeper appreciation of these films, and an expanded watch list.

Bon: The Last Highway; The Untold Story of Bon Scott and AC/DC’s Back in Black, Updated Edition of the Definitive Biography

Though sometimes obsessed with Scott’s debauchery, Fink delivers a page-turning account of the complicated character and significant contributions of Bon Scott that metalheads will devour.

Shine Bright: A Very Personal History of Black Women in Pop

In this fascinating tribute, Smith ensures that the achievements of these Black women musicians will not be forgotten.

Why Patti Smith Matters

Readers will be better served by Victor Bockris and Roberta Bayley’s Patti Smith: An Unauthorized Biography. Not recommended.

Prop Man: From John Wick to Silver Linings Playbook, from Boardwalk Empire to Parks and Recreation

In this stunning work, MacDonald illustrates that the devil is in the details for a prop man.

On Jazz

This lively book hits all the right notes and will delight both jazz aficionados and neophytes.

Everybody Thought We Were Crazy: Dennis Hopper, Brooke Hayward, and 1960s Los Angeles

Rozzo documents a roller-coaster ride of big ideas, big failures, lasting successes, and lost projects. Recommended for anyone interested in the culture of the 1960s.

This Woman’s Work: Essays on Music

Intimate and accessible, the essays will resonate with audiophiles and inspire budding musicians.

Isn’t Her Grace Amazing! The Women Who Changed Gospel Music

An affectionate yet clear-eyed view of gospel’s brightest voices. For fans of gospel music or those who would like to know more about it.

Reading Franz Liszt: Revealing the Poetry Behind the Piano Music

Readers looking for a musical biography of Liszt will find here instead an excursion through European culture of the 19th century and earlier. Roberts’s accessible style reads like a conversation with his erudite friends

Blake Shelton: Happy Anywhere

Avid Shelton fans who like to wallow in minutiae might enjoy this biography, but others might find it a yawn-fest.

Musical Revolutions: How the Sounds of the Western World Changed

Much like Isacoff’s previous books, this is a sprawling narrative, intertwining history, politics, and musical biography, that’s as entertaining as it is informative. Whether readers are dedicated musicologists or casual fans, they’ll enjoy this thought-provoking dive into the history of Western music.

Grease, Tell Me More, Tell Me More: Stories from the Broadway Phenomenon That Started It All

Capturing Grease’s joyful silliness and moving coming-of-age themes, this narrative will delight fans and musical theater history buffs.

Fame-Ish: My Life at the Edge of Stardom

Aspiring actors and fans of 24 and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia will enjoy Rajskub’s humor, words of wisdom, and down-to-earth tone.


Mandolin Man: The Bluegrass Life of Roland White

Black’s own relevant musical experience, alongside his interviews with White, his family, and country music icons such as Marty Stuart, make this biography a must-read for bluegrass aficionados. Although White may not be a household name to those outside the bluegrass scene, he richly deserves this long-awaited tribute.

Split Decision: Life Stories

Poignant and powerful, this work will resonate with a wide audience: rap and Law & Order fans, young adults, and readers of memoir.

Take a Sad Song: The Emotional Currency of “Hey Jude”

Not hiding his obsession for “Hey Jude,” Campion delivers an in-depth account of an important song; Beatlemaniacs will be pleased.

The Dylan Tapes: Friends, Players, and Lovers Talkin’ Early Bob Dylan

Though not for newcomers to Dylan’s work, this is a valuable resource for Dylan experts and researchers producing content for future biographies and scholarship.

Being Patrick Swayze: Essential Teachings from the Master of the Mullet

A charming addition that will add style and substance to the pop culture corner of library collections.

Red Carpet: Hollywood, China, and the Global Battle for Cultural Supremacy

In an industry famous for self-congratulation Schwartzel takes viewers behind the silver screen to reveal a reality where revenues trump values and artistic choices take a back seat to political pressures. A must-read for anyone influenced by media in general and film in particular. And that means all of us.

How You Get Famous: Ten Years of Drag Madness in Brooklyn

An entertaining, absorbing behind-the-scenes look at drag that will especially appeal to fans of Drag Race and the TV drama Pose.

Her Country: How the Women of Country Music Became the Success They Were Never Supposed To Be

A must for anyone interested in country music and how the genre reflects on the United States as a whole.

Hard Rain: Bob Dylan, Oral Cultures, and the Meaning of History

Dylan fans, and they are legion, will appreciate the backstory and long history that influenced the style, structure, and content of one of his most powerful songs.

DJ Screw: A Life in Slow Revolution

Walker’s years of research and personal expertise about Houston’s music scene will help cement Screw’s legacy as an innovator who still inspires.

Love Me as I Am

An inspirational memoir that fans of the Real Housewives franchise or The Real will enjoy..

Serenade: A Balanchine Story

A touching tribute to a master, this work will delight balletomanes.

TV Snapshots: An Archive of Everyday Life

A vital addition to media studies and popular culture collections.

My Old Kentucky Home: The Astonishing Life and Reckoning of an Iconic American Song

Bingham convincingly argues that listeners cannot disconnect “My Old Kentucky Home” from its fraught and dishonest history and that the only way forward is to stop performing it altogether. Readers familiar with the song will get the most out of this book, as will anyone with a deep interest in the intersections of music and history.

They Shouldn’t Have Killed His Dog: The Complete Uncensored Ass-Kicking Oral History of John Wick, Gun Fu, and the New Age of Action

A must-read for John Wick fans, and a great behind-the-scenes look at contemporary action films.

Queer Country

An empathetic and illuminating study, sure to expand country playlists. For scholars interested in queer studies and fans of country music.

The Beat Cop: Chicago’s Chief O’Neill and the Creation of Irish Music

A thorough and sometimes surprising lens into how Irish music in the U.S. came to be codified and understood. For Irish music historians and ethnomusicologists, and scholars of the Irish immigrant experience.

Long Train Runnin’: Our Story of the Doobie Brothers

Though they’re sometimes repetitive, Johnston and Simmons ably and vividly recount the Doobie Brothers’ hard-working, highly successful 50-year career. Their account will appeal to fans of ’70s rock.


An engrossing biography of a cinema icon, not to be missed by fans of classic Hollywood.

The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music

This is an essential purchase for public libraries with patrons who are interested in popular culture, music, or awesome dudes.

Citizen Cash: The Political Life and Times of Johnny Cash

A unique and interesting perspective that will be of particular interest to Cash fans.

From Manchester with Love: The Life and Opinions of Tony Wilson

Though at times the text pulls readers away from Wilson, at other times, Wilson feels as though he’s the center of the universe. For readers ready to spend the time and take this trip with Morley, it is worth it.

Keanu Reeves: Most Triumphant: The Movies and Meaning of an Irrepressible Icon

Highlighting the cultural moments surrounding Reeves, as well as some of the acting choices that have made him such an intriguing performer over the years, this is a solid addition to any library’s pop culture collection.

Corporate Rock Sucks: The Rise and Fall of SST Records

Supplementing previous works, such as Michael Azerrad’s Our Band Could Be Your Life and Steven Blush’s American Hardcore, with new in-depth interviews, Ruland expertly conveys the importance of SST to the rise of hardcore and indie rock and the challenges faced by a small label in the cutthroat corporate music industry. Rock fans will be fascinated.

Most Dope: The Extraordinary Life of Mac Miller

While Cantor relies heavily on previously published interviews, he does provide fresh insights from Miller’s professional acquaintances, and the result is an honest, cautionary tale about a troubled musician gone too soon.


Hearts on Fire: Six Years that Changed Canadian Music 2000–2005

A thorough and intriguing history made no less appealing by its length. For pop music historians and fans, particularly of Canadian bands from 2000 to 2005, whether they know it or not.

Bet My Soul on Rock ’n’ Roll: Diary of a Black Punk Icon

Flaws aside, many fans of rock and roll will appreciate this account.

Age of Cage: Four Decades of Hollywood Through One Singular Career

Fans and detractors alike will find films to revisit and new things to ponder about Cage’s protean career.

Cimino: The Deer Hunter, Heaven’s Gate, and the Price of a Vision

A must for film aficionados. Fans of Cimino’s will be satisfied that he has been vindicated.

The Method: How the Twentieth Century Learned To Act

Butler has produced an essential study of this hugely influential theory and practice of American acting. This work should be in every collection of books on theater and film.

Fearlessly Different: An Autistic Actor’s Journey to Broadway’s Biggest Stage

A powerful book that will appeal to fans of stirring and inspiring memoirs.

Buster Keaton: A Filmmaker’s Life

This decade will mark the centenaries of Buster Keaton’s most celebrated features, and Curtis has assembled a biography that will be a go-to source for fans both old and new during the centenary celebration and beyond.

In on the Joke: The Original Queens of Standup Comedy

Levy gives these trailblazers their due, and fans of comedy will adore the snippets of classic banter and long-lost one-liners.

Music and Mystique in Muscle Shoals

Though mired in minutiae and scholarly lingo, Reali’s work successfully shatters misconceptions about soul music and an identifiable Shoals sound and will appeal to academics and music aficionados.

Filmmakers on Film: How They Create, Craft and Communicate

An enjoyable diversion for most, and a useful stepping stone for burgeoning cinephiles.

It Was All a Dream: Biggie and the World That Made Him

Hip-hop and Biggie fans will appreciate the book’s context of his rise to fame and the reminiscences of those closest to him. [See interview, p. 73, and Editors’ Picks, p. 24.]

Dilla Time: The Life and Afterlife of J Dilla, the Hip-Hop Producer Who Reinvented Rhythm

Examining Dilla’s posthumous legacy in detail, Charnas asserts that the once best-kept secret in music is now a recognized trailblazer. A must-read for those interested in music history and in Dilla.

Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road

An insider's guide to Fury Road that will inspire fans to rewatch and leave them eager for the next installment on Furiosa.

Tim: The Official Biography of Avicii

Mosesson’s poignant demonstration of the tragic costs of superstardom for an introverted, highly creative, anxiety-ridden young man will resonate with anyone interested in popular culture. Highly recommended.

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.

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!

Correction: A coauthor of this book was erroneously listed as Tom Sainsky. It has been updated to read Tom Salinsky.


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.

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”).

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.

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.

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.

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.

Putting the Rabbit in the Hat

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

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.

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.


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.

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.

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

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


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.

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