Reading material to help you fill the concert void.
After six months without proper concerts and no relief in sight, musicians and music lovers have been going especially stir-crazy during quarantine.
Drive-in shows and livestreams can't replace the joy of good old-fashioned live music, but thankfully, there are other ways we can try to get our fix: movies and books.
The music world provides an endless stream of memoirs, criticism, and oral histories for a deeper understanding of our heroes; It seems music books are being released nearly daily these days. But, since the industry has historically left women underappreciated, we've decided to focus this reading list specifically on women in rock.
Below, check out our must-reads for the rock lover and feminist in all of us.
Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzgwMDI5OC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwNDE2MTI0OH0.RqCLoGQcadgMho_VomAQ0ukLwn3CaWt6vzqb_7geY84/img.jpg?width=980" id="37214" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f73c79579a99c7a178f4bd1fddcd6b0d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Girl In a Band" /><p>As a founding member of Sonic Youth, one of the most influential bands of the '80s and '90s, Kim Gordon has become inextricably linked with the no-wave and grunge movements in rock. Her memoir <em>Girl in a Band </em>follows her upbringing in Los Angeles through the trajectory of Sonic Youth, name-dropping countless fellow icons who inspired Gordon along the way. The book also details her divorce from bandmate Thurston Moore—which led to Sonic Youth's demise—making it a poignant tale of overcoming heartbreak, as well.</p>
The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic by Jessica Hopper<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzgwMDMwMC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNTUwNjQzMn0.JpjMjVNrpJ1Iw6RnBZ9VOScOEncEcnp9RZPZsvS62DQ/img.jpg?width=980" id="501a9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="57e0b0662d6ec70ae8b3d846a64ba812" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic by Jessica Hopper" /><p>Chicago-based music journalist Jessica Hopper has often been deemed one of the most influential writers in her class. In <em>The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic</em>, a compilation of just some of her best work over the past two decades, Hopper chronicles how the culture shifts throughout landmark events in music history, such as the rise of assault allegations against R. Kelly and the death of Michael Jackson. As she tells it all, she forces readers to reckon with their relationship to an industry that has so often left women out.</p>
I, Tina by Tina Turner<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzgwMDMwMi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MTQ1MTgwN30.h3DQmzWSMGliKL4E_uD8_xbHVR-JLGbGs3bmW7XTkSs/img.jpg?width=980" id="b5bf7" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e9e02b4db4acc3a18458429a9318a1b1" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="I, Tina by Tina Turner" /><p>Tina Turner has long been regarded as the Queen of Rock 'n' Roll, having risen to prominence alongside her then-husband Ike Turner before kicking off her whirlwind solo career. Turner delineates her most formative moments in<em> I, Tina, </em>a gut-wrenching autobiography that provides a deeper understanding of the show business icon and living legend. The book's success upon release went on to prompt a film adaptation called <em>What's Love Got to Do With It, </em>starring Angela Bassett. </p>
Rock She Wrote<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzgwMDMwNC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MTg3OTU1MX0.E8xz7waQ_iZN635BlseHr1P5Q8vydDhn2CGj0ih7bCc/img.jpg?width=980" id="6d778" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d5163d4718fb59840b72d485160155aa" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Rock She Wrote: Women Write about Rock, Pop, and Rap, edited by Evelyn McDonnell and Ann Powers" /><p>Those who have read a lot of music journalism know far too well that the industry is heavily saturated with men. <em>Rock She Wrote</em> compiles writing from over 60 women in a delightfully broad compilation of criticism, fan stories, and first-person accounts from female performers on stage. With writing spanning from the psych and blues era of the 1960s to the hip-hop and riot grrrl movements of the '90s, <em>Rock She Wrote</em> is a near-flawless ode to the female pioneers of some of America's greatest eras in music.</p>
Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution by Sara Marcus<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzgwMDM1NC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyOTI2NDg3Nn0.5vAjKlDHCfpRfIww84iFF1TsccMZcEZOytyc_mKcKyQ/img.jpg?width=980" id="1db72" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9b80dd5cd0e03c51ce203ddad8d6e6e8" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Girls to the Front" /><p>In the 1990s, the punk scene was shaken to its core by the riot grrrl movement—a radical feminist subgenre that angrily fought the patriarchy in the music world and beyond. Taking its title from Bikini Kill frontwoman Kathleen Hanna's trademark battle cry, <em>Girls to the Front</em> chronicles the beginning of riot grrrl, pioneered by the young women in bands like Bratmobile, L7, and Heavens to Betsy. Sparked by events like the first Iraq War and <em>Roe v. Wade</em>, women were pissed off—and their rebellious legacy lives on.</p>
Swing Shift: “All-Girl” Bands of the 1940s by Sherrie Tucker<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzgwMDM4MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNjI3MDgyOX0.wc0ItqZgdi3IqEAwxRfJSRHjCxsfiOdR_-9szY2k1Ds/img.jpg?width=980" id="baf1d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4a4420774c1a5f33d4b6ec606ce067d6" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Swing Shift: \u201cAll-Girl\u201d Bands of the 1940s by Sherrie Tucker" /><p>Before there were girls in rock bands, there were "all girl" bands of the '40s—a largely forgotten era where all-female jazz bands exploded. Though these groups had existed for a couple of decades at this point, the tragedy of World War II ushered in a heightened interest in feel-good music.<em> Swing Shift</em> analyzes the history of these women in jazz and dance music, compiling first-hand accounts by over a hundred women. The book provides a much-needed spotlight on an era that's often overlooked; these women weren't simply stand-ins for the men away at war. They were building a movement all by themselves.</p>
Just Kids by Patti Smith<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzgwMDM4Mi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwMjQ2MTgxMH0.pBiKl1uzOvs1vFMgcm1H0Jnvve1YQbvKMGMq7Sv-ShY/img.jpg?width=980" id="81ed9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b313e07bc77479ae1f18bc4d8322c756" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Just Kids by Patti Smith" /><p><em>Just Kids</em> isn't entirely a "music book," but it's a must-read for anyone interested in the punk rock movement of 1970s New York City. Patti Smith's first memoir follows her young adult years as a starving artist trying to make a living in New York, creating poetry and being swept into music alongside her then-partner, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. The idyllic beauty of Smith's poetry is evident even in her nonfiction writing, making <em>Just Kids</em> a poignant memoir for anybody paving their own way as an artist themselves.</p>
Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzgwMDM4OS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MzM5MTEwMH0.ykvCDZmwUtKfwXhrD6aa49Wrlyn3ESjJ4luww0ei1CQ/img.jpg?width=980" id="9ca7e" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="76bf60a7caf9cec2c1513066f7f49fc9" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein" /><p>Before Carrie Brownstein rose to prominence as a comedian alongside Fred Armisen in their irreverent sitcom <em>Portlandia, </em>she was a leading figure in feminist rock as a member of Sleater-Kinney. Sleater-Kinney's music brought together the best of riot grrrl's feminist ideals with the melodic brilliance of Pacific Northwest indie rock, and in Brownstein's memoir <em>Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, </em>she offers a close look at her experience navigating it all.</p>
These sci-fi books will help you make sense of the real world.
Sci-fi may often be about alternate histories or futuristic societies, but it tends to offer very necessary reflections on our own world.
This fall, as we speed through a stressful election that has existential implications for all of our lives and continue to grapple with a pandemic, we'll need great sci-fi books to get us through the season. And what could be better than sitting back with some hot cider, watching the autumn leaves fall, and traveling to a distant sci-fi universe?
Here are 7 sci-fi books to help get you through the fall.
The Three-Body Problem
Game of Thrones' creators just announced that their next blockbuster adaptation will be based on The Three-Body Problem, an award-winning series about extraterrestrials that's really a reflection on humanity.
Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents
Octavia Butler is a must-read for any fan of science fiction, but her book Parable of the Sower feels extra-relevant today. It tells the story of a society brought to its knees by environmental destruction, racism, and economic crises. It stars a girl suffering from hyperempathy, or an extreme sensitivity to others' suffering. Studded with poetry and filled with reflections on dystopia, zealotry, and other problems, it also offers something extremely rare: a blueprint for a potential solution.
Dune by Frank Herbert
The 2020 movie version may star Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya, but the actual print book Dune has been beloved by science fiction fans since 1965. Taking place around 20,000 years in the future, it is set in a feudal society in which varying powers compete for sovereignty over planets. The central planet in question is Arrakis, a wasteland of a planet that is also the only source of melange, a drug that allows users to travel through dimensions.
Dune has been translated to computer games, follow-up films, and many other forms of entertainment, but the original still occupies a very specific place in the sci-fi and fantasy canons. Whether you're looking to brush up on your Timothee Chalamet lore or want to dive into a distant and fascinating world, Dune is a surefire bet.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has remained perpetually relevant since it was published in 1966. Confronting meaninglessness, global annihilation, inane leaders, and the absurdity of human life, it offers a roadmap for getting through the (hopefully) last few months of the Trump presidency; and it may even be, as one writer put it, "The Book of 2020."
The Invisible Man
Ellison's classic novel appears on many books-to-read-before-you-die lists. It addresses what it means to be a Black man, but it also addresses and interrogates human identity on the whole. In the midst of a second Civil Rights movement, this book offers perspective and wisdom.
Broken Earth Series
N. K. Jemisin's highly lauded Broken Earth series consists of three books—The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate, and The Stone Sky. Taking place on a fictional planet, it tells the story of a world whose inhabitants are faced with regular, cyclical catastrophic periods of climate change. The series is difficult to explain in brief, but its nuanced perspectives on the war between humans and the earth made Jemisin the first author in the history of sci-fi to win three consecutive Hugo Awards.
Feed M. T. Anderson
Feeling exhausted by the Internet, but not exactly sure why—or how to detach yourself from it? M. T. Anderson's YA cyberpunk novel "Feed" might provide the impetus you need to finally abandon the Internet once and for all, and it might also awaken you to the fact that everything on the Internet is specifically designed to sell you something.
The novel takes place in a future dominated completely by corporate exploitation, in which most people's brains are connected and controlled by digital implants that allow corporations to target and control them. The book takes place in an ecologically devastated world and offers a complex critique of capitalism, groupthink, and endless targeted advertisements.
Vladimir Nabokov intended to invoke outrage and confusion in his readers by romanticizing pedophilia.
While social media has the power to make the world a more interconnected place, it also tends to foster misunderstanding born from too little explanation.
A recent example of this unfortunate effect is the case of Madison Beer, a TikTok star and singer. In an Instagram Live Q&A session, Beer told viewers that her favorite book was Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. She went on to emphasize that she "definitely" romanticizes the 1955 novel. Though the video is no longer available from Beer's account, it's been shared widely across social media.
Trigger Warning for child abuse, sexual abuse and assault.
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