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Women Who Rock


Last week I stumbled upon a review for M Train, a memoir recently released by singer-songwriter Patti Smith. The book is a journey through eighteen “stations” and is presented in a unique format that really appeals to me. It seems to be a very personal memoir that will give readers an inside look at this highly influential rock musician, poet and visual artist. I had a chance to quickly flip through the pages of it and I can’t wait to read it!   

Being a popular recent release, the book had a substantial holds list, so I decided to search for similar books to fill the gap until it was my turn to read M Train. After searching for a few minutes, I found multiple ‘top rock musician biographies’ lists, but I found that all of them were about male musicians. Not even one female made these lists! This was especially surprising and disappointing because I know of at least three that are fabulous.


Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein was a book quickly added to my to-read list. I love just about everything about this book, down to the title, which comes from the lyrics of a song by Brownstein’s band, Sleater-Kinney. It gives the reader a look into the 1990’s music scene and how Brownstein made her own way within it. What I really like about this book is that she gives the reader an honest look into her own life while remaining respectful to those close to her, never indulging in any stories but her own. 

“Born in Seattle, Washington, Carrie Brownstein is a rock musician, television actress and comedy writer. With the indie punk trio Sleater-Kinney, Brownstein and her bandmates rose to prominence in the burgeoning underground Pacific Northwest Riot Grrrl punk-rock movement that would define music and pop culture in the 1990’s. An intimate and revealing narrative of her escape from a turbulent family life into a world where music was the means toward self-invention, community, and rescue. Along the way, Brownstein chronicles the excitement and contradictions within the era’s flourishing and fiercely independent music subculture, including experiences that sowed the seeds for the observational satire of the television series Portlandia years later.” publisher

When Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon was announced two years ago I was so excited to get my hands on it. I was a huge Sonic Youth fan as a teenager and was very eager to get a more intimate look at Kim Gordon and the role she played in the band. The book surprised me in many ways; it was much more honest and full of raw emotion than I had expected. Unlike Carrie Brownstein, Kim Gordon dishes. She holds nothing back. This makes the book that much more authentic, even if I sometimes felt like I was learning a few too many personal details about the people in her life. Overall, Girl in a Band is worth a read as a fascinating, atmospheric and nostalgic memoir about the life of one of the first women of rock.

“A founding member of Sonic Youth, fashion icon, and role model for a generation of women, now tells her story — a memoir of life as an artist, of music, marriage, motherhood, independence, and as one of the first women of rock and roll.” publisher



The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer is a book I picked up after listening to Amanda Palmer’s very popular TED talk of the same name. Not only was it an extension of her TED talk, it gave a deeply personal look into her very interesting life and provided me with many of my own thought-provoking questions. 

“Performing as a living statue in a wedding dress, she wordlessly asked thousands of passersby for their dollars. When she became a singer, songwriter, and musician, she was not afraid to ask her audience to support her as she surfed the crowd (and slept on their couches while touring). And when she left her record label to strike out on her own, she asked her fans to support her in making an album, leading to the world’s most successful music Kickstarter. Even while Amanda is both celebrated and attacked for her fearlessness in asking for help, she finds that there are important things she cannot ask for — as a musician, as a friend, and as a wife. She learns that she isn’t alone in this, that so many people are afraid to ask for help, and it paralyzes their lives and relationships. In this groundbreaking book, she explores these barriers in her own life and in the lives of those around her, and discovers the emotional, philosophical, and practical aspects of the art of asking. Part manifesto, part revelation, this is the story of an artist struggling with the new rules of exchange in the twenty-first century, both on and off the Internet. This book will inspire readers to rethink their own ideas about asking, giving, art, and love.” publisher

About Halifax Libraries

Welcome to The Reader, a blog from the Readers' Services staff at Halifax Public Libraries. Our goal is to create a forum for book news and related discussion among leisure readers. A place for Halifax leisure readers to interact with their library and the larger community of leisure readers.

 

The views and opinions expressed in this content are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of haligonia.ca.

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