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 All HCPL locations will be closed Wednesday, June 19 in observance of Juneteenth.

Library News

The Stories Behind the Music: Biographies and Memoirs


 We are halfway through the summer and our Summer Reading Club. Hopefully you have enjoyed some excellent books so far! 

One way to explore music is to read about the people creating it. Here are some of our favorite biographies that show just how fascinating the life of a musician can be. Read about the glamour, the trials, tribulations, and travel in these great titles.

Queen of Bebop: the Musical Lives of Sarah Vaughan by Elaine M. Hayes - Unlike a lot of celebrity biographies, Hayes focuses on Vaughan's musical career instead of her personal life, showcasing the artist's great talent and versatility in her performances. It is an wonderful read, even if you know nothing of jazz. 

Kill 'Em And Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul by James McBride - McBride doesn't give us a straightforward account of Brown's life, but instead weaves an impassioned tale of Brown as a legend. The audiobook is excellent. 

Captain Fantastic: Elton John's Stellar Trip Through the '70s by Tom Doyle - This delightful biography effortlessly captures the glitz and glam that defined the artist's unforgettable live performances. 

I'll Never Write My Memoirs by Grace Jones - Jones tells all in this raucous memoir. She dishes about Studio 54 and the disco scene, globetrotting, and how to be in control in a wild and exciting life. 

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen - Go beyond the music and the legend by reading this very personal autobiography. Springsteen is candid when discussing fame, mental health, and his childhood. 

Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon - Often compared to Just Kids by Patti Smith, this book is an introspective look into the '80s and '90s rock scene. With gorgeous prose, Gordon shows the world what it was like to be a woman in the midst of it all. 

The Autobiography of Gucci Mane by Gucci Mane - This memoir depicts the artist's life and the Atlanta rap scene with a direct honesty not usually seen in other biographies. The emphasis he puts on his relationships with his friends, family, and even rivals is wonderful to read. 

Becoming Beyonce: The Untold Story by J. Randy Taraborrelli - The author's engrossing reporting showcases the life and work of one of our most powerful artists. 

These are just a few of our favorites this summer! For more books about music and musicians, check out this month's OverDrive collection. There are also many great biographies for children and teens. Be sure to ask your librarian for suggestions! 

Remember to log your reading at Our prize winner gallery can be found here, and here is a recap of the prizes this summer: 

Once you register and log at least SOME reading you'll be entered into weekly drawings for $25 Gift Certificates to major retailers like Target, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, and Amazon. Drawings are every Monday from June 18 – August 27 (all ages eligible).

Grand Prize Drawings include a $500 Gift Certificate to Great Wolf Lodge (all ages eligible), a YISSVIC Kids Musical Instruments Set (for preschoolers), Kala Mahogany Concert Ukulele (for elementary school kids), Korg Volca Digital Sample Sequencer (for teens), and Bose SoundLink Wireless Headphones (for adults) drawn on August 31.

There will also be drawings at each branch for a $50 gift certificate to a local restaurant for adults. To be eligible for the grand prize, kids and teens need to have read at least twenty minutes on different twenty days, and adults need to have read at least five books.

There is still plenty of time to get your reading in for a chance to win! 

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