Music books displayed on the chair where they will be read. Photo by Aimsel Ponti

National touring bands are still waiting to hit the road, but several of them have spent time doing something else I’m very happy about: writing books!

There has been a bumper crop of music related books that have come out over the past year that I am delighted with.

A brand new memoir by Brandi Carlile titled “Broken Horses” was released on April 6 and spent a week at the top of the New York Times bestseller list for hardcover non-fiction. I read the book in about 24 hours. As a longtime Carlile fan, I already know part of her life story, but “Broken Horses” opened the door to deeply personal things that she experienced, including a fatal illness when she was a child.

She also shared the story of her friendship with Joni Mitchell (gasp!) I can’t remember the last time I was so enthralled with a book that I had to engage in a read of this magnitude.

Maureen Finlay, deputy manager of Nonesuch Books in South Portland, said “Broken Horses” had been a popular seller in the store since its release, and in fact, the day I was there to chat with her, they were out. of stock. but had other copies on the way.

Finlay also highlighted the Dolly Parton tabletop book “Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics”, which was released last November. “You should have seen people lining up to buy the $ 50 Dolly book. This one is definitely on my list, especially as Parton shares behind-the-scenes details on several of her songs, including “Jolene”, “I Will Always Love You” and “9 to 5”.

Finlay also mentioned “More Myself: A Journey,” by Alicia Keys, released in March of last year. Several copies were sold in his shop, including a lot for a local book club.

Maureen Finlay, deputy director of Nonesuch Books in South Portland owns the book “Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics”. Photo by Aimsel Ponti

Jonathan Moore from the Bull Moose store in Mill Creek in South Portland gathered a stack of books to look at, and I was so intrigued by one that I bought it on the spot and can’t wait to check it out. read. “You’re History: The Twelve Strangest Women in Music” by Lesley Chow was released last month. A quick scan revealed that the author included Kate Bush and Sade, which was all I needed to know. The book was also recommended by Josh Christie, co-owner of Print: A Bookstore in Portland.

Moore and Christie had two other common titles on their lists: “A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance” by Hanif Addurraqib, released last month, and “Do What You Want: The Story of Bad Religion” by Jim. Ruland, published in August.

Some other Moore suggestions were “Total (expletive) Godhead: The Biography of Chris Cornell” by Corbin Reiff, “Remain in Love: Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club, Tina” by Chris Franz and “This Isn’t Happening: Radiohead’s” Kid A “and the beginning of the 21st century.”

Other Christie picks included “Vibrate Higher: A Rap Story” by Talib Kweli and “Decoding ‘Despacito:’ An Oral History of Latin Music” by Leila Cobo.

Print co-owner Emily Russo suggested Mikel Jollett’s “Hollywood Park”. “This is an incredible memoir from the frontman of the Airborne Toxic Event group detailing his tumultuous childhood in the years following his family’s escape from the dangerous cult, Synanon, California,” she said. “It is sincere, honest and beautifully rendered.”

Jonathan Moore at Bull Moose in Mill Creek in South Portland. Photo by Aimsel Ponti

Another musician of whom I have been a huge and long-time fan is Rickie Lee Jones, and on the same day, “Broken Horses” was released, as was Jones’s memoir, “Last Chance Texaco,” which is also the name of the musician. one of his best songs. This, too, is in my stack to read.

I recently opened “All I Ever Wanted: A Rock ‘N’ Roll Memoir” by Kathy Valentine and I love it already. They are part of Go-Go’s, which is the first band I have ever seen live.

I’m also interested in “Crying in H Mart: A Memoir” which was released last week. It’s from Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast, and Amazon describes it as an “unshakeable and powerful memory of growing up in Korean-American, losing her mother, and forging her own identity.”

All this to say: be busy reading!