April 18, 2013
The coming of spring and summer bring a variety of sounds: rain falling, birds singing, insects chirping. But another type of sound that seems to permeate our lives along with the warmer weather is music. To saturate yourself in this particular world of sound, visit the Chatham Area Public Library to check out some books and movies that feature your favorite musicians.
Our shelves are packed with biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs of rock and pop musicians. If this genre interests you, among our many recently-published titles, you might want to check out: Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir, The John Lennon Letters, 1940-1980, Light and Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page by Brad Tolinski, My Cross to Bear by Gregg Allman, The Soundtrack of my Life by Clive Davis, Who I Am: A Memoir by Pete Townsend, David Bowie: Starman by Paul Trynka, Does the Noise in my Head Bother You? A Rock ‘n’ Roll Memoir by Steven Tyler, or Jagger: Rebel, Rock Star, Rambler, Rogue by Marc Spitz.
In our DVD collection, three documentaries might capture the imagination of the music lover in you. One is Sound City, in which Dave Grohl of Nirvana and the Foo Fighers, buys an analog recording system and uses it to record a new album. By exploring the history of the classic equipment, the story of rock ‘n’ roll’s history is also told. Another is Young @ Heart, a charming true story about a group of senior citizens preparing their choir concert of rock music, including songs by James Brown and Coldplay. Finally, look for Searching for Sugar Man, an intriguing documentary about Sixto Rodriguez, who recorded one album in Detroit in the 1970s. While the album was considered a failure here, a bootleg copy took off in South Africa and made Rodriguez a star there.
Of course the library also owns a variety of concert DVDs by musicians in various genres. You might want to see George Jones: Golden Hits, Joni Mitchell: Shadows and Light, James Taylor Live at the Beacon Theatre, Eric Clapton Unplugged, Il Divo Live at the Greek Theatre, Jamie Cullum Live at Blenheim Palace, or Paul McCartney: The Space within US. With the recent success of the movie Les Misérables, perhaps you might want to watch the 25th anniversary concert DVD, Les Misérables: The Musical Event of a Lifetime. Another fun concert DVD is The TAMI Show, a 1964 gig for the Teenage Awards Music International, featuring performances by The Beach Boys, Chuck Berry, James Brown, The Supremes, The Rolling Stones, and many other legendary musicians and bands.
The milieu of rock ‘n’ roll is also a popular fictional setting. Take real-life rocker Pete Wentz’s novel, Gray, which takes you inside the head of a touring rock musician who may or may not regret the successes he’s had in life. Popular author Nick Hornby’s novel Juliet, Naked tells the story of a reclusive rock star and a lonely woman who make a connection via the internet. Thomas Cobb’s Crazy Heart may sound familiar to you because of the film version with Jeff Bridges that was released in 2010, but it was a novel first, telling the story of an aging musician with a troubled life who meets a woman who might be able to sort him out.
In young adult fiction, look for Catherine by April Lindner. This retelling of Wuthering Heights casts Brontë’s Heathcliff and Cathy as a modern day rock musician and groupie. Lindner has also taken on another Brontë sister’s novel (Charlotte’s Jane Eyre) in Jane, in which a young nanny falls for her brooding rock star employer with a troubled past. Revolution is another young adult fiction title, this one by Jennifer Donnelly, which intertwines the story of a modern day teenager and aspiring musician in Paris who discovers a French Revolution era diary in the guitar of a French composer about whom she is writing a research paper. And in another historical story, The Musician’s Daughter by Susanne Emily Dunlop features a fifteen-year-old girl in eighteenth-century Vienna, investigating the death of her musician father.
All of this doesn’t even address our collection of music CDs, which includes hundreds of discs in dozens of genres, all available to check out for two weeks. If your ears are longing for some sounds or your brain is yearning for a good musical tale, be sure to drop by the Chatham Area Public Library for all your musical needs for this spring and summer.