100 books like Chuck Berry

By Chuck Berry,

Here are 100 books that Chuck Berry fans have personally recommended if you like Chuck Berry. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Footsteps: Adventures of a Romantic Biographer

Elizabeth Buchan Author Of Two Women in Rome

From my list on soothing after a love affair, divorce or Covid.

Who am I?

Elizabeth Buchan began her career as a blurb writer at Penguin Books. She moved on to become a fiction editor at Random House before leaving to write full-time. Her novels include the award-winning Consider the Lily, The Museum of Broken Promises, and the international bestseller, Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman, which was made into a CBS Primetime Drama. Elizabeth’s short stories are broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and published in magazines. She has reviewed for The Times, the Sunday Times, and the Daily Mail, and has chaired the Betty Trask and Desmond Elliot literary prizes. She has been a judge for the Whitbread First Novel Award and for the 2014 Costa Novel Award.

Elizabeth's book list on soothing after a love affair, divorce or Covid

Elizabeth Buchan Why did Elizabeth love this book?

I first read this many years ago and it has stayed with me. Every so often, I return to it in order to immerse myself in its wonderful prose and insights. It combines travelogue with biography, detective work with a probing inner exploration and is both an account of a physical journey and a remap of the writer’s imagination. He begins with his homage to Robert Louis Stevenson’s Travels with a Donkey and describes his own trek over the Cevennes. He starts out with the idea that he will be a poet and finishes his walk having been led "far away into the undiscovered land of other’s men and women’s lives. It led towards biography."

It is the turning point of his life and for the remainder of the book – as he hunts down his subjects which include Mary Wollstonecraft, Shelley, Gerard de Nerval, and Gautier – he goes…

By Richard Holmes,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Footsteps as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Richard Holmes knew he had become a true biographer the day his bank bounced a check that he had inadvertently dated 1772. Because for the acclaimed chronicler of Shelley and Coleridge, biography is a physical pursuit, an ardent and arduous retracing of footsteps that may have vanished centuries before.
In this gripping book, Holmes takes us from France’s Massif Central, where he followed the route taken by Robert Louis Stevenson and a sweet-natured donkey, to Mary Wollstonecraft’s Revolutionary Paris, to the Italian villages where Percy Shelley tried to cast off the strictures of English morality and marriage. Footsteps is a…

Book cover of Parting the Waters

Jim Carrier Author Of A Traveler’s Guide to the Civil Rights Movement

From my list on understanding the South’s Civil Rights Movement.

Who am I?

As a journalist who learned his craft on the job in the tumultuous 1960s, I happened to find myself living in states where racial history was being written. Reporting that story required me to understand why discrimination, poverty, and violence remained so deeply rooted in modern America. I wrote Ten Ways to Fight Hate, I made a movie about civil rights martyrs, and, after seeing people from around the world making a pilgrimage to the sites of the civil rights struggle, published my guidebook. Over the course of a 50-year career, I have written a million words. I am proudest of those that tried to right wrongs, and sometimes did.

Jim's book list on understanding the South’s Civil Rights Movement

Jim Carrier Why did Jim love this book?

As I drove through the South researching my guidebook to civil rights sites, my back seat was filled with books. Atop the pile was Taylor Branch’s magisterial three-volume history – America in the King Years 1954-1968: Parting the Waters, Pillar of Fire, and At Canaan’s Edge.

Though encyclopedic, Branch’s story-telling is riveting—weaving together personalities, legalities, strategies, and geography in a way that made me feel as if I were there witnessing history as it was made. Taylor’s detail, reflecting a journalist’s quest for who, what, where, when, how, and why, showed me that these stories could best be told, understood, and felt where they happened.

By Taylor Branch,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Parting the Waters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Parting the Waters, the first volume of his essential America in the King Years series, Pulitzer Prize winner Taylor Branch gives a “compelling…masterfully told” (The Wall Street Journal) account of Martin Luther King’s early years and rise to greatness.

Hailed as the most masterful story ever told of the American Civil Rights Movement, Parting the Waters is destined to endure for generations.

Moving from the fiery political baptism of Martin Luther King, Jr., to the corridors of Camelot where the Kennedy brothers weighed demands for justice against the deceptions of J. Edgar Hoover, here is a vivid tapestry of…

Book cover of The Fire Next Time

Clarence B. Jones Author Of Last of the Lions: An African American Journey in Memoir

From my list on the realities of being Black in America.

Who am I?

I’m a Black man born in Jim Crow America to domestic servants so challenged by their circumstances that they had to place me in a kind of orphanage because they weren’t given permission to raise me in their employer’s home. I’ve known poverty, violence, racism, and law enforcement changing the rules to single me out. But I have also known the rarified success of Wall Street, my own thriving law practice, entertainment industry deals, and, of course, the privilege of a lifetime working side-by-side with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Therefore, I understand both the promise of the American Dream and the cruelty with which it’s mostly (and purposely) withheld from her citizens of color.

Clarence's book list on the realities of being Black in America

Clarence B. Jones Why did Clarence love this book?

I was at that famous Jimmy Baldwin-Robert F. Kennedy meeting off Central Park. Jimmy gave the president’s brother both barrels.

See, he always told people the truth, no matter how hard it was to hear. I set up the publication of the first part of The Fire Next Time at The New Yorker – see, it started as a letter from Jimmy to his nephew. But thanks to the power of the published word, every Black boy and girl can – and should – take his familial wisdom about navigating America while Black to heart.

By James Baldwin,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Fire Next Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A seminal meditation on race by one of our greatest writers' Barack Obama

'We, the black and the white, deeply need each other here if we are really to become a nation'

James Baldwin's impassioned plea to 'end the racial nightmare' in America was a bestseller when it appeared in 1963, galvanising a nation and giving voice to the emerging civil rights movement. Told in the form of two intensely personal 'letters', The Fire Next Time is at once a powerful evocation of Baldwin's early life in Harlem and an excoriating condemnation of the terrible legacy of racial injustice.


Book cover of Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost

Peter Guralnick Author Of Looking to Get Lost: Adventures in Music and Writing

From my list on biographical reading from a biographer.

Who am I?

Peter Guralnick has been called "a national resource" by critic Nat Hentoff for work that has argued passionately and persuasively for the vitality of this country’s intertwined black and white musical traditions. His books include the prize-winning two-volume biography of Elvis Presley, Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love; Searching for Robert Johnson; Sweet Soul Music; and Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke. His 2015 biography, Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll, was a finalist for the Plutarch Award for Best Biography of the Year, awarded by the Biographers International Organization. His most recent book is Looking to Get Lost: Adventures in Music and Writing.

Peter's book list on biographical reading from a biographer

Peter Guralnick Why did Peter love this book?

It was Hemingway’s Boat, with its discursive Shandean style, that set the tone for my book. It was the only way I knew to tell a story that was so uniquely decentralized, so rollickingly exploratory, but I couldn’t begin to rival Paul Hendrickson, who remains the master of the tangential truth, digging deeper into the soul of the man than any Hemingway biography I have ever read – by focusing on his boat. At one point in my Phillips biography, after wandering off-course for 60 pages and finally coming back to the narrative moment I had abandoned, I wrote, “For all of my faith in extended digression I hope I haven’t stretched the limits of reader patience too much by now. Let me just pick up the thread.” But this is nothing compared to Paul Hendrickson’s masterful command of seemingly structureless story-telling, the non-fiction equivalent of some of Alice…

By Paul Hendrickson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hemingway's Boat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A man who let who let his own insides get eaten out by the diseases of fame had dreamed new books on this boat. He'd taught his sons to reel in something that feels like Moby Dick on this boat. He'd accidentally shot himself in both legs on this boat. He'd fallen drunk from the flying bridge on this boat. He'd written achy, generous, uplifting, poetic letters on this boat. He'd propositioned women on this boat. He'd hunted German subs on this boat. He'd saved guests and family members from shark attack on this boat. He'd acted like a bully…

Book cover of A Women's History of the Beatles

Nicholas Tochka Author Of Rocking in the Free World: Popular Music and the Politics of Freedom in Postwar America

From my list on making you rethink everything about rock ’n’ roll.

Who am I?

Hi, my name is Nick, and I’m a recovering rockist. I’ve collected records and vintage gear; I’ve owned Ray Coleman biographies. I’ve played in garage bands that did terrible punk-rock covers of songs like Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love.” I even used to subscribe to Rolling Stone magazine. And most embarrassingly, I believed in the power of rock – to effect political change, to free people’s bodies and minds. But if once I was a true believer, today I’ve become a rock ’n’ roll skeptic. And I hope that this list might help you rethink everything you thought you knew about rock, too.

Nicholas' book list on making you rethink everything about rock ’n’ roll

Nicholas Tochka Why did Nicholas love this book?

Over the past few decades, so much writing about rock has sought to overturn received wisdom about the music.

Feldman-Barrett’s excellent, funny, and beautifully written book – re-examining the Beatles in relation to the lives of women – is the best kind of alternative history. She turns the story of the Beatles upside down, and makes you rethink everything you thought you knew about the group.

By Christine Feldman-Barrett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Women's History of the Beatles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2022 Open Publication Prize by the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM-ANZ) A Women's History of the Beatles is the first book to offer a detailed presentation of the band's social and cultural impact as understood through the experiences and lives of women. Drawing on a mix of interviews, archival research, textual analysis, and autoethnography, this scholarly work depicts how the Beatles have profoundly shaped and enriched the lives of women, while also reexamining key, influential female figures within the group's history. Organized topically based on key themes important to the Beatles story, each…

Book cover of On the Road: Recording the Stars in a Golden Era of Live Music

Seth Mallios Author Of Let it Rock! Live From San Diego State

From my list on die-hard rockers.

Who am I?

While it is tempting to insist that the reason we wrote a five-volume set on the history of local rock ‘n’ roll was as context for rescuing the famed 1976 “Backdoor Mural,” it’s not entirely true. Jaime and I love live music, mark major life events with important musical milestones, and delight in bizarre musical tangents. Music moves us, history matters, and the intersection of song and society is profound, elucidating, and eternally relevant.

Seth's book list on die-hard rockers

Seth Mallios Why did Seth love this book?

David Hewitt’s On the Road: Recording the Stars in a Golden Era of Live Music is an important contribution to the extensive annals of popular music history in that it focuses on the business of live recording that was an integral component to the explosion of rock ‘n’ roll from the 1960s through the 1980s. Hewitt was a top live recording engineer and his expertise permeates the pages of the richly detailed book.

By David W. Hewitt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On the Road as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book tells the story of a life spent on the road recording the rich diversity of music in America when it was a major part of our lives, not just digital background noise. For music fans, there was a golden era of live music, stretching from the 1960s through the 1980s, and even evolving into the 1990s, if you want to be generous.

In the pre-digital era, music fans spent a large part of their free time (and money) listening to their favorite artist’s recordings. It was an analog world so if they wanted to hear the music, they…

Book cover of Shock Mount

Barbara Kellyn Author Of Morning Man

From my list on romance if you’re a sucker for witty banter.

Who am I?

Is there any better foreplay than great wordplay? Not in my book! After years of studying the romcom repartee gospel according to Nora Ephron and Nancy Meyers, I know this much is true: what’s said on the lips is first sparked in the hips! As a rom-com writer recently crowned “the Queen of Banter” by a reader (blush), I bow to the greats who taught me that witty banter is a symptom of unrealized or unsatisfied attraction. And as a lover of skillfully-written sparring, I squirm with delight whenever a sly remark, slick comeback, or sexy euphemism makes potential paramours pop. Want to enchant her? Use banter!

Barbara's book list on romance if you’re a sucker for witty banter

Barbara Kellyn Why did Barbara love this book?

Rock star romances have been my jam since back when my teen bedroom walls were filled with Tiger Beat pinups. The beautifully-orchestrated banter that keeps the beat of a rock and roll love affair fraught with hit and miss encounters helps build the tension towards a satisfying crescendo. (Full disclosure: I begged author Kelly Kay to disclose her real-life inspiration, and it was exactly who I’d pictured!) The hotel pool scene where Meg and rockstar Ian do nothing more than talk (fully clothed) lives rent free in my head as one of the steamiest scenes I’ve ever read. 

By Kelly Kay,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shock Mount as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

★★★★★"I LOVE this book."
A rockstar romance love triangle without crossover, and everyone gets a happily ever after. And it all begins with a spilled glass of wine and a broken watch.

If Meghan Hannah's not falling down, she's falling in love.

She's a mess of herself and always has been. She's an expert at putting her foot in her mouth, tripping over nothing, and being a very loyal friend but love, not so much. But she thinks she has finally got it all figured out. Until she spills her wine on the wrong Rock Star. Now Meg needs to…

Book cover of Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung: The Work of a Legendary Critic: Rock'n'roll as Literature and Literature as Rock 'n'roll

Daniel de Visé Author Of King of the Blues: The Rise and Reign of B.B. King

From my list on music books to build a record collection.

Who am I?

Music has obsessed me since I got my first record player, around age five, and learned how to play the stack of used Beatles records that seeded my collection. I could probably pick a favorite music book from every decade of my life, and this list isn’t far off.

Daniel's book list on music books to build a record collection

Daniel de Visé Why did Daniel love this book?

Lester Bangs ranks as one of the great music writers and as a high priest of gonzo, the new-journalism approach that posited the writer as the dominant character in rambling, straight-from-the-typewriter pop-cultural manifestos published in Rolling Stone and Creem and their ilk. I think Lester rivals Hunter Thompson and Joan Didion as the most potent and enduring voice of that era. He’s one of my favorite writers. I don’t think he wrote anything but record reviews.

By Lester Bangs,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Until his death aged thirty-three in 1982, Lester Bangs wrote wired, rock 'n' roll pieces on Iggy Pop, The Clash, John Lennon, Kraftwerk, Lou Reed. As a rock critic, he had an eagle-eye for distinguishing the pre-packaged imitation from the real thing; written in a conversational, wisecracking, erotically charged style, his hallucinatory hagiographies and excoriating take-downs reveal an iconoclast unafraid to tell it like it is. To his journalism he brought the talent of a great a renegade Beat poet, and his essays, reviews and scattered notes convey the electric thrill of a music junky indulging the habit of a…

Book cover of Who I Am: A Memoir

Julian David Stone Author Of No Cameras Allowed: My Career as an Outlaw Rock and Roll Photographer

From my list on rock and roll and rock and roll stars.

Who am I?

Julian David Stone is an author, screenwriter, photographer, and filmmaker. He shot dozens of the 1980s greatest acts by sneaking his photography equipment into concerts such as Prince, U2, the Police, David Bowie, R.E.M., the Ramones, Elvis Costello, the Talking Heads, the Grateful Dead, Joan Jett, and many, many more. Other work include screenplays for Disney, Paramount, Sony, and MGM. He is also the writer and director of the hit cult comedy feature film, Follow the Bitch, which has played to packed houses all around the country and received numerous awards.

Julian's book list on rock and roll and rock and roll stars

Julian David Stone Why did Julian love this book?

I found this to be one fo the best of the never-evening parade of rockstar autobiographies. Townshend is very honest about his complex personality and his shortcomings, and reading this, you can easily trace how this informed so much of The Who’s amazing music — and the stories of all the craziness of the early days of The Who are a blast, to boot.

By Pete Townshend,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Who I Am as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Raw and unsparing...as intimate and as painful as a therapy session, while chronicling the history of the band as it took shape in the Mod scene in 1960s London and became the very embodiment of adolescent rebellion and loud, anarchic rock ‘n’ roll.”   — Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

One of rock music's most intelligent and literary performers, Pete Townshend—guitarist, songwriter, editor—tells his closest-held stories about the origins of the preeminent twentieth-century band The Who, his own career as an artist and performer, and his restless life in and out of the public eye in this candid autobiography, Who I…

Book cover of Clapton: The Autobiography

Larry J. Dunlap Author Of Night People

From my list on romantic rock and roll memoirs of the 60s and 70s.

Who am I?

My Indiana singing group was transplanted and reformed into a popular rock band In mid-60s California. We survived San Francisco's East Bay dive bars, thrived in the City's North Beach topless clubs, appeared in several Hollywood rock clubs, opened a showroom/lounge at Caesars Palace, and performed for two years at the Flamingo Hotel. We were discovered by big-name managers, signed to a famous producer, recorded in the best studios, and released several records with a well-known record label. Though we didn't quite make it to the top rung, we checked all the boxes in our journey. In the 70s, I became a personal manager in Hollywood and eventually opened and operated a Sunset Boulevard recording studio. My two books are a passionate retelling of my musical journey. As I worked on them, I turned to memoirs of other musicians and singers for inspiration. These are a few of them.

Larry's book list on romantic rock and roll memoirs of the 60s and 70s

Larry J. Dunlap Why did Larry love this book?

Eric Clapton's early childhood was difficult. He'd been born illegitimately, complicating his relationship with his birth mother. His primary consolation came from playing the guitar. His fantastic talent as a young guitarist made him a cult favorite in the British nightclub scene until the entire world discovered him as a superstar in his first band, the short-lived, Cream. But his memberships in Blind Faith, Delaney and Bonnie, and Friends, and Derek and the Dominoes were also fleeting despite producing some of the most timeless songs in rock history.

All of his weaknesses rose to the top when he convinced Pattie Boyd to leave George Harrison and live with him in 1974. Pattie began traveling with Clapton as he began touring the U.S. In 1979, he and Pattie finally married, with Harrison present as an invited guest. While it seemed that Clapton had everything he had ever wanted, he was sinking…

By Eric Clapton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Clapton as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Eric Clapton is far more than a rock star. Like Dylan and McCartney he is an icon and a living legend. He has sold tens of millions of records, played sell-out concerts all over the world and been central to the significant musical developments of his era. His guitar playing has seen him hailed as 'God'. Tracks such as "Layla", "Sunshine Of Your Love", "Wonderful Tonight" and "Tears In Heaven" have become anthems for generations of music fans. Now for the first time, Eric tells the story of his personal and professional journeys in this pungent, witty and painfully honest…

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