It’s officially August, which means summer is quickly coming to an end. And while that might feel a little disappointing for the beach, it makes us appreciate what we have left of summer all the more. Plus, August is its own month to celebrate. Jerry Garcia’s birthday is the first day of August, the Swifties are exploding everywhere folklore“August” and the MTV Awards announce the song of the summer.
Perhaps what excites us most is summer reading. It’s not the summer reading you wrote college reading reports for, though. Instead, this read includes books by and about rockstar Patti Smith and folk genius Art Garfunkel, groupie escapades, and shared secrets from some of our favorite artists. In August, we recommend some of our favorite books for you, music lover.
1. just children by Patti Smith
What happens when a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musician meets an iconic photographer? A truly, truly miraculous book. Rockstar Patti Smith is capable of anything, and her New York Times bestseller, just children, prove. The book is an elegy on the fantastic photographer and artist Robert Mapplethorpe. A complex love story between two passionate artists, the two meet as teenagers in 1960s New York. Thanks to Smith, we learn what it’s like to be a starving artist in town and how to get back on your feet when you’ve lost everything. This poetic memoir acknowledges the highs and lows of love, loss and art, and explores how the two famous artists survived when they had only each other and their work. just children received the National Book Award in 2010. This is an unforgettable memoir you won’t regret.
2. Broken horses: a memoir by Brandi Carlile
Six-time Grammy Award winner Brandi Carlile takes us on her emotional journey to discover herself, her faith, and her sexuality. The artist grew up in Seattle, constantly moving to and from different trailer parks as a child. Once her pastor found out she was openly gay in high school, he refused to baptize her. Carlile’s story is deeply personal as she struggles with her faith and her sexuality. It is for anyone who has a similar story and is enduring similar experiences. Through her novel, we explore a lens of the country musician we’ve never seen before. She’s brutally honest as she trusts the world with that intimate side of her, and is so openly vulnerable with her readers. broken horses is a raw and lyrical work that you won’t read anywhere else.
3. Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner (Japanese Breakfast)
You might know Michelle Zauner best by her stage name, Japanese Breakfast, but did you know she went to college for creative writing? That’s right, Japanese breakfast is actually a book lover. Her New York Times bestselling book Crying in H Mart is painful, but beautiful as she reflects on her relationship with her mother. When she was 25, her mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, forcing Zauner to rethink her relationship with her mother as well as her own identity. A mother-daughter memoir, this book is a tribute to Zauner’s mother and all the relationships between a daughter and her mother. Crying in H Mart is relatable and intimate, and is one of Zauner’s finest works to date.
4. Secrets for Mad People: Obsessions, Confessions and Life Lessons by Dodie Clark
Dorothy Miranda Clark, better known by her stage name Dodie, is an English singer-songwriter who got her start on Youtube. She quickly became a musician and influencer for young girls, especially those who questioned their sexuality. She published her book in 2017 and, as her introduction says, “It’s for people whose minds don’t stop.” The British vlogger’s book features song lyrics, personal stories, lessons and photos. You will quickly learn from her words that she is a deep empath and is immediately relatable and unapproachably kind. Secrets for the Fools is warm and comforting, reassuring us that we are not alone in our difficulties.
5. I’m with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie by Pamela Des Barres
The real Almost Famous Penny Lane does exist, and her name is Pamela Des Barres. Probably the most famous groupie of the 70s, Barres’ book I’m With the Band looks back on her time traveling with different bands, having relationships with many members and experimenting with various drugs. The “sex, drugs, and rock & roll” mantra couldn’t hold truer for Barres’ novel. She recounts traveling with Led Zeppelin, turning down a date with Elvis Presley, and becoming close friends with Frank Zappa. Between learning the secrets of the bands, the kisses of the 70s and the thrilling love affairs of Barres, this is the perfect book for the music lover.
6. What is anything but bright? Notes of an Underground Man by Art Garfunkel
Have you ever wondered how the most famous folk duo of the 20th century met? Well, now you can find out in Garfunkel’s own words. This lyric book includes poetry and prose, original handwritten notes, and stories about the band’s formation and how it broke up. Garfunkel talks about what it was like growing up in the prime of rock & roll as a young Jewish boy in Queens, New York. He’s not afraid to unpack his life, and more specifically his time with Paul Simon. The undeniably talented musician is also very good at writing. This touching book is a masterpiece on its own and gives us all the more reason to appreciate his music.
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