Calling all Music Lovers! Obviously music is a huge part of my life – it’s how I store my memories, how I get through the work day, how I get (and stay) excited about, well, life. And I’m a sucker for a music story – movies (Begin Again, A Star is Born, School of Rock, Almost Famous, Across the Universe), musicals (Dreamgirls, Hairspray, Jersey Boys), and obviously books! Here are some of my favorite stories that celebrate creating music.
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
This is one of my favorite books of all time. An unnamed South American country throws a birthday party for the Vice President that brings in the chairman of a large Japanese company and a world famous opera singer. That night, a terrorist organization take over the celebration, hoping to kidnap the president. When they discover he is not there, they take the entire party hostage. Over time, a community emerges between the captors and their hostages. A community based on compassion and humanity and the way music can move people, regardless of language or status. Bookworms, I love this story so much.SHOP AMAZON SHOP INDIE
One of my favorite reads of 2018, The Ensemble tells the story of the four members of the Van Ness String Quartet. It’s possible that in a different universe, their lives may never have led to one another, but in this universe, they could not exist without each other. As a result, they are entangled in each other’s life events – in the death of parents, the birth of children, marriages made both for the right and the wrong reasons. Both celebration and grief, frustration and excitement, are shared by all four members of the group, whether it be personal or professional. What sets this book is the artful way Gabel makes you feel the music they are producing through her words.SHOP AMAZON SHOP INDIE
Can’t get enough of A Star is Born? Look no further than this upcoming release (March 2019) from Taylor Jenkins Reid. Daisy Jones & The Six is the oral history of one of the most epic (fictional) rock albums ever created. It was a collaborative effort between Daisy Jones, the young, reckless, and extremely talented solo artist, and The Six, a rock band on the rise, lead by Billy Dunne. Through a compilation of interviews of members of the band and the people who surrounded them, the tale of the creation of this album comes together to form a full picture. It’s a damn good story about the world of rock and roll. It will make you want to rush out and create something.SHOP AMAZON SHOP INDIE
This is a beautiful piece of historical fiction, that sweeps you from rural Brazil in the 1930s, to the streets of Rio de Janeiro in the 1940s, to Hollywood in the 1950s, and back again. This story of two best friends: Dores and Graça, is full of love and loss and a deep connection over samba. If you’re a music lover (or if you’ve ever tried to write a song), you need to read this novel. This story beautifully encapsulates how restorative it can be to write music, to funnel a piece of the life you’re living into something others can identify with.SHOP AMAZON SHOP INDIE
The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee
Another terrific piece of historical fiction, Chee whisks you away into to Paris of the Second Empire and into the shoes of Lilliet Berne, the crown jewel of the Parisian Opera scene. Someone has betrayed Lilliet’s trust, so we follow her as she tries to uncover who it could have been, from the dust of her beginnings to the glitz and glamour of her present. A dark story of love, lust, and betrayal, this beautiful story pulls you into her world of arias and intrigue and opera.SHOP AMAZON SHOP INDIE
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
A very recent release from the author of one of my favorite books of 2017, The Hate U Give, tells the story of sixteen-year-old Bri. Bri wants to be the greatest rapper of all time. She’s the daughter of a rap legend who died before he could make it big. When her mom loses her job and finances get tight at home, homelessness becomes a real possibility. Bri doesn’t just want to make it big. She needs to make it big.