Music in Our Lives

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A Visit from the Goon Squad / Jennifer Egan

Working side-by-side for a record label, former punk rocker Bennie Salazar and the passionate Sasha hide illicit secrets from one another while interacting with a motley assortment of equally troubled people from 1970s San Francisco to the post-war future.

Ready Player One / Ernest Cline

Immersing himself in a mid-twenty-first-century technological virtual utopia to escape an ugly real world of famine, poverty, and disease, Wade Watts joins an increasingly violent effort to solve a series of puzzles by the virtual world’s creator.

High Fidelity / Nick Hornby

A pop music junkie ponders life, love, and hangs out with the two offbeat clerks who work at his semi-failing record store.

Talking to Girls about Duran Duran : one young man’s quest for true love and a cooler haircut / Rob Sheffield
One young man’s quest for true love and a cooler haircut.

How Music Got Free : the end of an industry, the turn of the century, and the patient zero of piracy / Witt, Stephen

A riveting story of obsession, music, crime, and money, featuring visionaries and criminals, moguls and tech-savvy teenagers. It’s about the greatest pirate in history, the most powerful executive in the music business, a revolutionary invention and an illegal website four times the size of the iTunes Music Store.

Jagger: Rebel, Rock Star, Rambler, Rogue / Marc Spitz

A biography and cultural examination of the Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger and the Cultural Revolution he led.

Station Eleven / Emily St. John Mandel

The sudden death of a Hollywood actor during a production of “King Lear” marks the beginning of the world’s dissolution in a story told at various past and future times from the perspectives of the actor and four of his associates.

Reckless: my life as a Pretender / Chrissie Hynde

A memoir by the frontwoman for The Pretenders traces her 1950s childhood in Ohio, her immersion in the music scenes of subsequent decades, and her band’s instant rise to fame in the heyday of 1980s culture.

In the Pleasure Groove : love, death, & Duran Duran / John Taylor with Tom Sykes

A personal account by the co-founder of Duran Duran traces their meteoric rise in the 1980s while evaluating the impact of fame on the author’s life, his struggles with addiction and depression and his subsequent journey toward peace.

Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink / Elvis Costello

A personal introspective by the influential pop songwriter and performer traces his Liverpool upbringing, artistic influences, creative pursuit of original punk sounds, and emergence in the MTV world.

 

M Train / Patti Smith

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee presents reflections on her inner life from the unique perspectives of the cafes and cultural haunts she has visited and worked in around the world.

The Sun & the Moon & the Rolling Stones / Rich Cohen

Rich Cohen enters the Stones epic as a young journalist on the road with the band and quickly falls under their sway—privy to the jokes, the camaraderie, the bitchiness, the hard living. Inspired by a lifelong appreciation of the music that borders on obsession, Cohen’s chronicle of the band is informed by the rigorous views of a kid who grew up on the music and for whom the Stones will always be the greatest rock ’n’ roll band of all time.

Billie Holiday: the musician and the myth / John Szwed

Drawing on a vast amount of new material that has surfaced in the last decade, … jazz writer John Szwed considers how [Holiday’s] life inflected her art, her influences, her uncanny voice and rhythmic genius, a number of her signature songs, and her legacy.

Just Listen / a novel by Sarah Dessen

Isolated from friends who believe the worst because she has not been truthful with them, sixteen-year-old Annabel finds an ally in classmate Owen, whose honesty and passion for music help her to face and share what really happened at the end-of-the-year party that changed her life.

The piano teacher / Janice Y.K. Lee

Hired by the wealthy Chen family as a piano instructor, Claire Pendleton is seduced by the social life of Hong Kong’s expatriate community and begins an affair with Will Truesdale, an enigmatic Englishman with a devastating past.

This is your Brain on Music : the science of a human obsession / Daniel J. Levitin

Explores the relationship between the mind and music by drawing on recent findings in the fields of neuroscience and evolutionary psychology to discuss topics such as the sources of musical tastes and the brain’s responses to music.

Man on the Run : Paul McCartney in the 1970s / Tom Doyle

Based on exclusive first-hand interviews, a chronicle of Paul McCartney’s struggles in the first decade after the Beatles’ breakup discusses his reclusive life, substance abuses, arrests, and efforts to launch his band Wings.

Waging Heavy Peace : a hippie dream / Neil Young

An iconic figure in the history of rock and pop culture (inducted not once but twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), Neil Young has written his eagerly awaited memoir.

Bob Dylan in America / Sean Wilentz

A noted historian presents an assessment of Bob Dylan and his music that draws on unprecedented access to rare materials and illuminates key cultural influences.

A Freewheelin’ Time: a memoir of Greenwich Village in the sixties / Suze Rotolo

Set against the backdrop of the cultural revolution of the 1960s, a memoir of Greenwich Village describes growing up as the politically active daughter of Italian working-class Communists from Queens, the author’s love affair with Bob Dylan and its disintegration under the pressures of his growing fame, and her memories of a time of dramatic change and possibility.

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl : a memoir / Carrie Brownstein

The guitarist and vocalist of feminist punk trio Sleater-Kinney presents a candid and deeply personal assessment of life in the rock-and-roll industry that reveals her struggles with rock’s double standards and her co-development of the comedy “Portlandia.”

The Soloist : a lost dream, an unlikely friendship, and the redemptive power of music / Steve Lopez

Lost dream, an unlikely friendship, and the redemptive power of music.

Audrey, Wait! / by Robin Benway

While trying to score a date with her cute co-worker at the Scooper Dooper, sixteen-year-old Audrey gains unwanted fame and celebrity status when her ex-boyfriend, a rock musician, records a breakup song about her that soars to the top of the Billboard charts.

Songbook / Nick Hornby

Celebrates thirty-one of the author’s favorite songs in a collection of essays about such musical renditions as Bruce Springsteen’s “Thunder Road,” Led Zeppelin’s “Heartbreaker,” and Van Morrison’s “Caravan.”

There Goes Gravity : a life in rock and roll / Lisa Robinson

An influential music columnist for The New York Post presents an insider’s assessment of major rock-and-roll personalities while tracing her career and the genre’s evolution throughout the past four decades.

Love is a Mix Tape : life and loss, one song at a time / Rob Sheffield

In a memoir of love, loss, and music, a rock and pop culture critic shares the story of his romance and marriage, and his wife’s tragic early death, all viewed from the perspective of the mix tapes that the couple had compiled.

Where She Went / Gayle Forman

Adam, now a rising rock star, and Mia, a successful cellist, reunite in New York and reconnect after the horrific events that tore them apart when Mia almost died in a car accident three years earlier.

This Song will Save your Life / Leila Sales

Nearly a year after a failed suicide attempt, sixteen-year-old Elise discovers that she has the passion, and the talent, to be a disc jockey.

Musicophilia : tales of music and the brain / Oliver Sacks

Drawing on the individual experiences of patients, musicians, composers, and ordinary people, the author explores the complex human response to music, and how music can affect those suffering from a variety of ailments.

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