Bookmark the Blog


FOOTNOTES

One of our recommended books is Footnotes by Caseen Gaines

The triumphant story of the all-Black Broadway musical that changed the world forever

Opening night was going better than any of them could have expected, but the performers knew the rapturous applause was obscuring the truth: there was a good chance someone was going to get killed at any moment, and it was likely to be one of them. When the curtain rose on Shuffle Along in 1921, the first all-Black musical to succeed on Broadway, no one was sure if America was ready for a show featuring nuanced, thoughtful portrayals of Black characters–and the potential fallout was terrifying.

read more

SHE COME BY IT NATURAL

One of our recommended books is She Come By It Natural by Sarah Smarsh

The National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author of Heartland focuses her laser-sharp insights on a working-class icon and one of the most unifying figures in American culture: Dolly Parton.

Growing up amid Kansas wheat fields and airplane factories, Sarah Smarsh witnessed firsthand the particular vulnerabilities—and strengths—of women in working poverty. Meanwhile, country songs by female artists played in the background, telling powerful stories about life, men, hard times, and surviving. In her family, she writes, “country music was foremost a language among women. It’s how we talked to each other in a place where feelings aren’t discussed.” And no one provided that language better than Dolly Parton.

read more

ADRIANNE GEFFEL

One of our recommended books is Adrianne Geffel by David Hajdu

A poignant and hilarious oral history of a (fictitious) musical phenomenon.

Adrianne Geffel was a genius. Praised as the “Geyser of Grand Street” and the “Queen of Bleak Chic,” she was a one-of-a-kind artist, a pianist and composer with a rare neurological condition that enabled her to make music that was nothing less than pure, unmediated emotional expression. She and her sensibility are now fully integrated into the cultural lexicon; her music has been portrayed, represented, and appropriated endlessly in popular culture. But what do we really know about her? Despite her renown, Adrianne Geffel vanished from public life,

read more

GENTLE ON MY MIND

One of our recommended books is Gentle on My Mind by Kim Campbell

The page-turning, never-before-told story of Kim Campbell’s roller-coaster thirty-four-year marriage to music legend Glen Campbell, including how Kim helped Glen finally conquer his addictions only to face their greatest challenge when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Kim Campbell was a fresh-faced twenty-two-year-old dancer at Radio City Music Hall when a friend introduced her to Glen Campbell, the chart-topping, Grammy-winning, Oscar-nominated entertainer. The two performers from small Southern towns quickly fell in love, a bond that produced a thirty-four-year marriage and three children.

In Gentle on My Mind, Kim tells the complete, no-holds-barred story of their relationship,

read more

PRIVATE LESSONS

One of our recommended books is Private Lessons by Cynthia Salaysay

After seventeen-year-old Claire Alalay’s father’s death, only music has helped her channel her grief. Claire likes herself best when she plays his old piano, a welcome escape from the sadness — and her traditional Filipino mother’s prayer groups. In the hopes of earning a college scholarship, Claire auditions for Paul Avon, a prominent piano teacher, who agrees to take Claire as a pupil. Soon Claire loses herself in Paul’s world and his way of digging into a composition’s emotional core. She practices constantly, foregoing a social life, but no matter how hard she works or how well she plays, it seems impossible to gain Paul’s approval,

read more

SOUNDS LIKE TITANIC

One of our recommended books for 2020 is Sounds Like Titanic by Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman

Sounds Like Titanic tells the unforgettable story of how Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman became a fake violinist. Struggling to pay her college tuition, Hindman accepts a dream position in an award-winning ensemble that brings ready money. But the ensemble is a sham. When the group performs, the microphones are off while the music—which sounds suspiciously like the soundtrack to the movie Titanic—blares from a hidden CD player. Hindman, who toured with the ensemble and its peculiar Composer for four years, writes with unflinching candor and humor about her surreal and quietly devastating odyssey. Sounds Like Titanic is at once a singular coming-of-age memoir about the lengths to which one woman goes to make ends meet and an incisive articulation of modern anxieties about gender,

read more