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Music & Performing Arts Recommendations from our 2020 Winter Newsletter

These titles were featured in our 2020 Winter Newsletter.

Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics by Dolly Parton

Told by the legend herself through songs she has written, Dolly Parton, Songteller gives us a peek into the life of Dolly. Including full-color pictures from the very beginning of her fascinating story, this book is a must-have for any fan of Parton or her work. This season is great for Dolly fans, as She Come By It Natural, a more narrative-form biography by Sarah Smarsh, has also been released, which gives a more in-depth look into the trials and triumphs of this musical powerhouse. — MJ

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Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics Cover Image
ISBN: 9781797205090
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Chronicle Books - November 17th, 2020

Dance We Do by Ntozake Shange

Ceremony, reverence, recollection, an ode to Blackness in motion, all in a brief but expansive 160 pages. Ntozake Shange, best known for her choreopoem For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf, illuminates her own intimacy with dance through testimony, interviews with oft-overlooked Black icons of movement, and deeply gorgeous photo inserts. Shange communicates the intergenerational inheritance of Black dance and movement with prose true to her prior writing. A love letter and veneration of the Black diaspora, especially Black women. — Citlalli

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Dance We Do: A Poet Explores Black Dance Cover Image
By Ntozake Shange, Alexis Pauline Gumbs (Foreword by), Reneé L. Charlow (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9780807091876
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Beacon Press - October 13th, 2020

How to Write One Song by Jeff Tweedy

As the primary songwriter for the band Wilco, Tweedy is known for his poetically off-kilter lyrics and unusual melodies. Hot on the heels of his bestselling memoir Let’s Go So We Can Get Back (which I loved), Tweedy offers a meditation on his unique writing process, including suggestions for finding inspiration, his approach to melody and how and when he decides a song is “done.” A small, gift-sized hardback, the book is perfect for the songwriter or other creative types in your life. And of course it’s a must for all Wilco fans. — Rico

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How to Write One Song: Loving the Things We Create and How They Love Us Back Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593183526
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dutton - October 13th, 2020

Nobody Ever Asked Me About the Girls by Lisa Robinson

Legendary music journalist Lisa Robinson, with her more than 40 years’ of experience in the industry, has sifted through thousands of hours of her own interviews to assemble this new compendium. Organized by topics that range from appearance and romance to fame and abuse, Robinson has crafted an indispensable archive of women’s experiences in American popular music while also providing illuminating perspectives from some of pop music’s most beloved icons. Candid, courageous, and sincere, this book takes the challenges and injustices that women in music face head on. — Travis

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Nobody Ever Asked Me about the Girls: Women, Music and Fame Cover Image
ISBN: 9781627794909
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - November 10th, 2020

Shit, Actually: The Definitive, 100% Objective Guide to Modern Cinema by Lindy West

Like many of us, Lindy West loves pointing out plot holes and picking movies apart almost as much as she loves watching them. Unlike many of us, West used to be a professional film critic, lending merit to her commentary. Each chapter focuses on a different classic and often beloved film, summarizing the plot while also pointing out everything that’s wrong with it. This might sound like a bit of a negative premise, but it’s all in good fun and West makes some truly hilarious observations. The book isn’t groundbreaking but it will make you laugh A LOT. — Jade

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Shit, Actually: The Definitive, 100% Objective Guide to Modern Cinema Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316449823
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hachette Books - October 20th, 2020

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho

Acho has given us quite a gift, both in the form of his viral hit video series Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man and his new book of the same name, a companion to or a continuation of these vital conversations. Each chapter addresses a key question about race relations, racial injustices, and systemic racism. Acho gives frank, thoughtful answers, provides historical context, encourages further self-examination, and offers steps for moving forward. It is an important, hopeful, necessary antiracist resource. — Melinda

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Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250800466
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Flatiron Books: An Oprah Book - November 10th, 2020

Decoding “Despacito” by Leila Cobo

Don’t let the title fool you. Leila Cobo’s rich oral history of Latin music in the United States goes far beyond the 2017 hit song, covering the past 50 years of progress and influence in the global music market. Cobo, the Latin music lead at Billboard, uses her knowledge and access to select 19 landmark songs for which she interviews the artists, musicians, and players, allowing them to tell the story of the song’s moment. Decoding “Despacito” is a triumph and a celebration—one that should be read with each song playing in the background. — Melinda

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ISBN: 9780593081334
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Vintage - March 2nd, 2021

American Utopia by David Byrne & Maira Kalman

David Byrne is a quixotic and irrepressible creator, not limited by convention but not afraid to draw inspiration from it. Such leads to Broadway’s American Utopia, originally a kind of live concert album with a curtain by Maira Kalman, now a documentary by Spike Lee, and here a book of Kalman’s mobile illustrations, themselves illustrated by fragments of Byrne’s lines and lyrics. Like the show-concert-documentary, the book evokes feeling versus story and is meant to be experienced more than read. It is a bright spark within a darker year. — Jocelyn

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American Utopia Cover Image
ISBN: 9781635576689
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - October 27th, 2020

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