Love for Sale: Pop Music in America by David HajduThe printing of sheet music in the late 1800s, which allowed the general public to make music themselves, spurred interest in popular music; after that came records, radio, the first music videos, and digital files, all of which music critic David Hajdu references in this personal and somewhat idiosyncratic history of pop music. While he shares some of his favorite songs, he also thoughtfully discusses how music creates culture, including how changes in music technology have changed the listening experience, how music and memory are tied together, and how African American musicians have influenced popular culture.
Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded by Hannah HartHannah Hart is best known -- and much loved -- for her YouTube series in which she cooks...tipsy. Inebriated. Three sheets to the wind -- you get the idea. But in this very personal collection of essays (culled from journals she's kept for much of her life), the host of My Drunk Kitchen puts together a sobering, more complete picture of what drives her and what's important to her. From her family's battle with mental health to her own sexuality and self-worth, Hart makes herself vulnerable as she addresses heart-wrenching moments from her past -- and tells plenty of funny stories.
Play It Loud: An Epic History of the Style, Sound, and Revolution of the Electric Guitar by Brad Tolinski and Alan di PernaIf you're fanatic about the electric guitar or curious about technology in popular music, this comprehensive book is a must-read. It includes both a history of the electric guitar and an exploration of how it influenced musical movements. Big names are dropped -- not just engineers like Leo Fender and guitarist Les Paul, but also Jimi Hendrix, Chet Atkins, Muddy Waters, and Eddie Van Halen -- as well as those generally lost to history, like George Delmetia Beauchamp, who invented the first functional guitar pickup. "Every guitar player will want to read this book twice," says the Wall Street Journal about this meticulously detailed, lively history.
I Loved Her in the Movies: Memories of Hollywood's Legendary Actresses by Robert Wagnerin his third memoir on life in Hollywood (after Pieces of My Heart and You Must Remember This), iconic actor Robert Wagner looks to his leading ladies, the "female movie stars that defined my generation." Beginning in the 1930s (when Wagner was just a child) and moving through the '50s, '60s, and '80s, Wagner touches on colleagues, friends, and wives alike, from Joan Crawford and Bette Davis to Natalie Wood and Marilyn Monroe. While there's no real "dirt," Wagner shares plenty of personal stories, making this an excellent choice for movie fans.
It Gets Worse by Shane DawsonIn I Hate Myselfie, entertaining YouTube vlogger Shane Dawson shared some of the best -- and worst -- moments of his life. In this follow-up, he's got even more stories to share, though they tackle some tough topics, including Dawson's struggles with food and his difficulties accepting his bisexuality. But despite the more serious material, Dawson's humor can be a bit controversial, so while this is a must-read for fans, sensitive souls may want to take a pass.
You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia DayKnown to fans of quirky, Internet-based entertainment options like Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog or The Guild, Felicia Day is a violinist, a gamer, an actress, and a writer. Home-schooled until she went awkwardly off to college at the age of 16 (she graduated at 19, still uncomfortable in social situations), Day doesn't offer a standard memoir. Jumping from her personal and professional successes (and setbacks) to her thoughts on creativity, depression, and feminism, Day incorporates images, plays with fonts, and employs a sincere, often humorous voice. Fans will enjoy it, as will readers who have ever felt a bit out of place.
Rob Delaney: Mother, Wife, Sister, Human, Warrior, Falcon, Yardstick... by Rob DelaneyComedian Rob Delaney made his mark on Twitter, first posting in 2009, and winning a "Funniest Person on Twitter Award" in 2012. He also co-writes and co-stars in the British sitcom Catastrophe. Much like the subtitle of his book, his humor runs from kooky to absurdist ("Walking around Brooklyn, slapping people's brunches to the ground," goes a tweet from 2014) but his essays touch on personal subjects, primarily his battle with alcohol abuse and his long road to sobriety. Though scatological humor runs rampant, so too does Delaney's empathy for others. "Hilarious," says Rolling Stone.
Binge by Tyler OakleyIn his first book, prominent LGBTQ YouTube social rights advocate Tyler Oakley presents a collection of essays -- in his signature humorous style -- that bounce around from the goofy (fashion stand-offs with the White House Secret Service) to more revealing, painful topics like suicide and abuse. Written to support the idea that taking chances has value (even if it's just learning from your mistakes), Oakley is both candid and charismatic. Superfans may want to try the audiobook version, which he narrates himself.
The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa RaeDid you like Mindy Kaling's misfit honesty in Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? If so, you'll likely enjoy The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl -- both on YouTube and in print. An introvert in a world that values being cool, Issa Rae shares her thoughts (in a witty, self-deprecating style) on her daily challenges, whether it's eating out alone or trying to figure out how to fit in. Fun and relatable, the book concentrates a bit more on her childhood and adolescence than on her adult successes, but it's plain to see that Rae isn't resting on her laurels -- she's got a new show on HBO, Insecure.
The Only Pirate at the Party by Lindsey Stirling and Brooke S. PasseyLindsey Stirling is a classically trained violinist who became a YouTube sensation after she was voted off America's Got Talent in 2010 (she'd launched the station, Lindseystomp, in 2007). Her electrifying style -- dancing while playing her violin, mixing musical genres with aplomb -- has garnered her millions of followers, several Billboard nominations and awards, and a measure of commercial success. In The Only Pirate at the Party, Stirling details her relatively charmed childhood, her Mormon faith, and her struggles with eating disorders. Engaging and candid, it's like reading a letter from a friend.
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