The Movie Musical! by Jeanine BasingerWhat it is: a lively, vividly written history of Hollywood musicals from the 1930s to the present, featuring more than 200 eye-catching photos.
Read it for: film historian Jeanine Basinger's infectious enthusiasm and insights into both the genre's biggest hits and forgotten gems.
Don't miss: Basinger's dressing-down of 2016's La La Land.
Jay-Z: Made in America by Michael Eric Dyson; foreword by PharrellWhat it's about: Written to coincide with rapper Jay-Z's 50th birthday, this concise primer celebrates his artistry and cultural impact.
Is it for you? Longtime Jay-Z fans may not find much new info here, though curious newbies and lovers of cultural critique will appreciate Michael Eric Dyson's incisive study.
Try this next: Fans of Jay-Z's equally famous wife will want to pick up Queen Bey, a thought-provoking study of Beyoncé's artistry and activism, edited by Veronica Chambers.
A Marvelous Life: The Amazing Story of Stan Lee by Danny FingerothWhat it is: an engaging and evenhanded biography of Marvel Comics editor Stan Lee that addresses his career triumphs and controversies.
Topics include: Lee's fight against comics censorship in the 1950s; legal battles with artists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko; his cameos in Marvel films; his lasting influence on nerd culture.
Reviewers say: "This is a sure hit for comics fans of all camps" (Publishers Weekly).
Vanity Fair's Women on Women by Radhika Jones (editor) with David FriendWhat's inside: an absorbing collection of 28 Vanity Fair profiles of women by women and published over the last 35 years.
Featuring: illuminating write-ups on Michelle Obama, Frida Kahlo, Gloria Steinem, Tina Turner, Cher, Lena Waithe, Meryl Streep, Princess Diana, Lady Gaga, Emily Post, and many more.
Don't miss: "#MeToo and Me" by Monica Lewinsky.
Canyon Dreams: A Basketball Season on the Navajo Nation by Michael PowellWelcome to... the Navajo reservation's Chinle High School, home of the scrappy Wildcats who've set their sights on a basketball championship despite the odds stacked against them.
Read it for: a clear-eyed portrait of reservation life and culture.
For fans of: Friday Night Lights and underdog sports stories.
All the Pieces Matter: The Inside Story of The Wire by Jonathan AbramsWhat it is: a reflective look back at the groundbreaking HBO crime series The Wire.
What's inside: revealing interviews with the show's cast and crew, including Dominic West, Idris Elba, and Michael B. Jordan.
Further reading: Rafael Alvarez's The Wire: Truth Be Told offers a richly detailed companion to the series.
The World Only Spins Forward: The Ascent of Angels in America by Isaac Butler and Dan KoisWhat it is: a moving oral history of Angels in America, published to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning play's Broadway premiere.
Read it for: humorous anecdotes about the play's inauspicious early days of production; insights from actors like Meryl Streep, who remarks that Angels in America was "the Hamilton of its time."
Book buzz: The World Only Spins Forward was an NPR Best Book of 2018.
Monty Python Speaks!: The Complete Oral History
by David Morgan
What it is: David Morgan has collected interviews with Monty Python's founding members, actors, producers, and other collaborators to produce a no-holds-barred look at the Pythons legendary sketches and films, including Monty Python's Life of Brian, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and Monty Python's The Meaning of Life.
Features: Four new chapters that focus on the groups oeuvre since the first edition's publication twenty years ago, as well as a new foreword and updated resources.
Anatomy of a Song: The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits That Changed Rock, R&B and Pop by Marc MyersWhat it is: a toe-tapping, genre-spanning, five-decade retrospective of 45 popular songs, full of insights from the artists who created them.
Featuring: "Please Mr. Postman;" "Stand by Your Man;" "Walk This Way;" "Heart of Glass;" "London Calling."
Don't miss: Mick Jagger setting the record straight about the drug-laden subtext of "Moonlight Mile."
Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies from a Lifetime Writing for... by Mike Reiss with Mathew Klickstein; foreword by Judd ApatowWhat it is: an engaging behind-the-scenes look at The Simpsons by Emmy Award-winning writer and producer Mike Reiss, who's been involved with the series since its 1989 inception.
What's inside: juicy tidbits on the show's production and famous guest stars; answers to fans' burning questions; an honest assessment of the show's controversial depiction of Indian character Apu.
Reviewers say: "A charming look at a cherished American show" (Kirkus); "laugh-out-loud hilarious" (Booklist).
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