Is your uncle always talking about all of the concerts he went to growing up? Do your nieces and nephews make you feel old because you don't know any of the music they like? And is your cousin kind of a music snob? Well, instead of destroying yourself trying to decide which record to buy (which they may or may not think is cool), there are plenty of good reads on the music industry and the players involved that can be just as exciting as a new album.
If you need some help choosing a book for the music-head in your life, here are a few options of releases from 2021 that you can find downtown at Dudley's Bookshop and Cafe.
- (Courtesy from top left, clockwise): Arturo Torres, Faber Books, Bloomsbury Publishing, and Na Kim
"Hip-Hop and Other Things" by Shea SerranoThe Ringer's Shea Serrano is no stranger to writing really good books. Following the release of this year's "Hip-Hop and Other Things," Serrano is officially a four-time New York Times Best Selling Author—the first Mexican author to reach such a feat. His books come packed with a ton of knowledge and research, all told with a touch of humor and personal perspective you won't get anywhere but from Serrano. His works also come designed with special illustrations by Arturo Torres, who manages to bring Serrano's wild and vivid takes even more to life. "Hip-Hop and Other Things" is 32 chapters that answer only the most important questions in hip-hop history—such as, which was the most perfect duo in rap history? Is Action Bronson a good travel partner? Did anyone have a better 2018 than Cardi B? Basically, if you enjoy hip-hop, this is the book for you. And it looks great on your coffee table.
"Nina Simone's Gum" by Warren EllisYes. This book is about a piece of gum. A piece of chewed-up gum that belonged to the late Dr. Nina Simone. The story of the gum begins in 1999, when Simone performed at Nick Cave's Meltdown Festival. Cave's bandmate and collaborator, Warren Ellis, was so stunned by her performance he went on stage after the show and collected Simone's gum in a towel and put it away in a Tower Records bag. Ellis then held onto the gum for 20 years before deciding to put it in Cave's Stranger Than Kindness exhibition. Getting the gum ready for exhibition sent Ellis down a trip of reconnection and looking at attachments to other physical objects. The book places a focus on the meaning different things can have in our lives, no matter how simple. Like a piece of chewing gum. This one just happened to be in the mouth of one of the most prolific voices in the history of music and an avid civil rights activist.
"John Prine's John Prine" by Erin OsmonThis installment of the 33 1/3 book series examines the self-titled debut album of John Prine, which is now 50 years old. If you aren't familiar with the 33 1/3 series, each book takes a look at one individual artist and album, diving into its history and influences, and also what made each author drawn to that particular body of work. In "John Prine's John Prine," Erin Osmon recounts the tales of the people and places that helped and inspired Prine's first album and how he evolved through these early moments of his music career. With new interviews and discoveries, this is a great way to unpack the early works of one of the best songwriters the world has ever seen.
"Crying In H Mart" by Michelle ZaunerMichelle Zauner is best known for her musical project Japanese Breakfast. Her first book, "Crying In H Mart" fits as a memoir detailing loss and grief, growing up as a Korean American, finding an identity and more. When Zauner's mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, she found herself trying to reconnect with her history more—as Zauner's mother was once the biggest connector back to her Korean roots. One way Zauner and her mother would connect is through the art of cooking and eating food, a practice the book shares the beauty of. This is an interesting and personal look into one of the biggest names in alternative music over the past five years—and it's a look that we rarely get the chance to see. From Zauner growing up in Eugene, Oregon, to her taking on adulthood on the East Coast, readers will find themselves not only learning more about the mind behind Japanese Breakfast, but maybe even thinking more about their own family connections.
Dudley's Bookshop and Cafe is located at 135 NW Minnesota Ave in Bend. You can also order books online at dudleysbookshopcafe.com.