10 books like Dreams to Remember

By Mark Ribowsky,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Dreams to Remember. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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There Was a Time

By Alan Leeds,

Book cover of There Was a Time: James Brown, the Chitlin' Circuit, and Me

Alan Leeds does a wonderful job presenting his eyewitness experiences as part of the James Brown entourage in the 1960s and beyond. The reader can’t wait to find out what happens next in the riveting story he presents of Soul Brother No. 1, the “hardest working man in show business.” It’s a fascinating tale, which presents Brown as an innovative musical force, determined artist, forceful businessman, and unpredictable personality. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at the Chitlin’ Circuit when soul music was taking off as a dynamic new genre—as recalled by a young, Jewish kid from Queens who joined James Brown’s team and learned the music business at the hand of the performer who mastered it.

There Was a Time

By Alan Leeds,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked There Was a Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As seen in the Wall Street Journal!

“Alan Leeds was a protegé of James Brown and a true historian of the world that nurtured the great entertainer. Alan was a witness to the vibrant black music scene of the ’60s and ’70s—whose book is both a memoir and a document of a lost world of sound.”—Nelson George, an American author, columnist, music and culture critic, journalist, and filmmaker

A behind-the-scenes look at the Chitlin’ Circuit during American’s most vital period of soul music—from the eyes and ears of a young, Jewish kid from Queens who joined the team of the…


Reckless Daughter

By David Yaffe,

Book cover of Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell’s career extended long after the 1960s, but that was the decade when she burst on the scene with her distinctive voice and incredible song-writing and musical abilities. This book provides in-depth details of how she went from being an unknown blonde girl from Saskatchewan to an undisputed folk music superstar with songs like no one else. As Leonard Cohen put it: “She was like a storm.” To present Joni’s story, the author conducted interviews with Mitchell and her childhood friends, and with the many others who played important roles in her life—including Cohen, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, and David Crosby. Along the way, David Yaffe reveals the backstory behind all of Joni’s songs. It’s a fascinating book.

Reckless Daughter

By David Yaffe,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"She was like a storm." ―Leonard Cohen

Reckless Daughter is the story of an artist and an era that have left an indelible mark on American music.

Joni Mitchell may be the most influential female recording artist and composer of the late twentieth century. In Reckless Daughter, the music critic David Yaffe tells the remarkable, heart-wrenching story of how the blond girl with the guitar became a superstar of folk music in the 1960s, a key figure in the Laurel Canyon music scene of the 1970s, and the songwriter who spoke resonantly to, and for, audiences across the country.

A…


How Sweet It Is

By Lamont Dozier, Scott B. Bomar,

Book cover of How Sweet It Is: A Songwriter's Reflections on Music, Motown and the Mystery of the Muse

If you know the music of the 1960s, you know that Lamont Dozier was at the heart of the hit-producing machine that was Motown Records. He was one-third of the Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting team that came up with hit after hit for an amazing number of celebrated artists. Later, after leaving Motown, Dozier continued to be a creative musical force (and still is today). He contributed his song-writing talents to over 100 Top 10 singles and was inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. This book is a window into Dozier’s musical world—in the 1960s and beyond. Dozier recalls what it was like to grow up in Detroit when he did and then reveals his experiences collaborating with some of the greatest musical talents of the era.

How Sweet It Is

By Lamont Dozier, Scott B. Bomar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How Sweet It Is as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As part of Motown’s legendary songwriting and production team of Holland-Dozier-Holland, Lamont Dozier is responsible for such classics as “Baby I Need Your Loving,” “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch),” “Stop! In the Name of Love,” “Heat Wave,” “Baby Love,” “It’s the Same Old Song,” “Nowhere to Run,” “You Keep Me Hanging On,” “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You),” and many more. After leaving Motown, he continued to make his mark as an influential songwriter, artist, and producer with hits such as “Give Me Just a…


The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs

By Greil Marcus,

Book cover of The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs

The title of this book might suggest that it will be a book of lists. It is not, not even close. Instead, Greil Marcus offers something closer to a philosophical meditation on what rock ‘n’ roll is. Or aspires to be when played and sung as a heartfelt, life-altering, reckless abandon musical genre. It’s largely about attitude and feeling. The book is a fascinating read as one travels along with the author while he ruminates on different artists and their work and how some songs have resonated deeply with (and influenced) later musicians across the span of time. 

The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs

By Greil Marcus,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of our finest critics gives us an altogether original history of rock 'n' roll

Unlike all previous versions of rock 'n' roll history, this book omits almost every iconic performer and ignores the storied events and turning points that everyone knows. Instead, in a daring stroke, Greil Marcus selects ten songs recorded between 1956 and 2008, then proceeds to dramatize how each embodies rock 'n' roll as a thing in itself, in the story it tells, inhabits, and acts out-a new language, something new under the sun.

"Transmission" by Joy Division. "All I Could Do Was Cry" by Etta…


Memphis 68

By Stuart Cosgrove,

Book cover of Memphis 68: The Tragedy of Southern Soul

Scottish author Cosgrove wrote probably the ultimate trilogy of books covering the 1967-69 period of soul music, of which the ‘68’ tome dealing with the Memphis sound and southern soul is one. Cosgrove is another author that looks at all the cultural and social aspects of music with an easy and understandable writing style that keeps you turning the pages with ease.

Memphis 68

By Stuart Cosgrove,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Memphis 68 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE PENDERYN MUSIC BOOK PRIZE 2018

In the 1950s and 1960s, Memphis, Tennessee, was the launch pad of musical pioneers such as Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Al Green and Isaac Hayes, and by 1968 was a city synonymous with soul music. It was a deeply segregated city, ill at ease with the modern world and yet to adjust to the era of civil rights and racial integration. Stax Records offered an escape from the turmoil of the real world for many soul and blues musicians, with much of the music created there becoming the soundtrack to…


Goodbye Without Leaving

By Laurie Colwin,

Book cover of Goodbye Without Leaving

Moving away from children's and YA literature, Laurie Colwin's Goodbye Without Leaving nonetheless feels like a transitional book to me. When I first discovered Colwin's work, I was in my early twenties and even though most of her books had been written several years before "my time," I felt like she got me like few writers did. The anguish, desires and self-awareness plaguing her characters always felt true and achingly relatable. In Goodbye Without Leaving, Colwin tells the story of Geraldine, who gets hired as a backup singer for a touring band and is led to reflect on what it means to be young—and what it costs to be free. 

Goodbye Without Leaving

By Laurie Colwin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Goodbye Without Leaving as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most beloved novels from the critically acclaimed novelist Laurie Colwin, Goodbye Without Leaving explores a woman’s attempts to reconcile her rock-and-roll past with her significantly more sedate family life as a wife and mother.

As a bored graduate student, Geraldine Colshares is plucked from her too-tame existence when she is invited to tour as the only White backup singer for Vernon and Ruby Shakely and the Shakettes. The exciting years she spends as a Shakette are a mixed blessing, however, because when she ultimately submits to a conventional life of marriage and children, she finds herself stuck…


The Commitments

By Roddy Doyle,

Book cover of The Commitments

In my opinion, few writers have expressed in words the sensation of what it's like to make and listen to music quite like Roddy Doyle has in The Commitments. The book abounds with youthful energy and humor. His nearly complete reliance on dialogue rather than description creates an immediacy that I've rarely experienced elsewhere. He eschews tired cliches in favor of presenting music-making as a craft that requires prodigious amounts of labor and a high tolerance for BS. This also happens to be the source material for one of the best band movies ever made.

The Commitments

By Roddy Doyle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

First published in 1988, THE COMMITMENTS follows a small band of musicians from the Barrytown area of Dublin as they try to make the big time. From the author of THE SNAPPER, THE VAN and PADDY CLARKE HA HA HA.


Respect Yourself

By Robert Gordon,

Book cover of Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion

Growing up in Memphis, I heard a lot about Elvis Presley. From there, it was just a side step to Sun Studio and Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis. But there was this place across town — Stax. It was in a place called Soulsville, and it was magical. An old movie theater where Blacks and whites came together in the 1960s and ‘70s to make some of the best music anywhere — soul music. Not the polished sounds of Motown, but gritty, stirring music from the gut. In my writing a fictional world of music, the very real world of Otis Redding, Carla Thomas, Booker T. & the MG’s, and so many others provided inspiration against a backdrop of exultation, innovation, beauty, and tragedy. 

Respect Yourself

By Robert Gordon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The story of Stax Records unfolds like a Greek tragedy. A white brother and sister build a record company that becomes a monument to racial harmony in 1960's segregated south Memphis. Their success is startling, and Stax soon defines an international sound. Then, after losses both business and personal, the siblings part, and the brother allies with a visionary African-American partner. Under integrated leadership, Stax explodes as a national player until, Icarus-like, they fall from great heights to a tragic demise. Everything is lost, and the sanctuary that flourished is ripped from the ground. A generation later, Stax is rebuilt…


Ring Shout

By P. Djèlí Clark,

Book cover of Ring Shout

Ring Shout is historical fiction on a whole other level of weirdness, in the best possible way. It’s 1922 in Macon, Georgia, and a ragtag group of Black women and their allies are fighting back against the Ku Kluxes. But not all Ku Kluxes are just men in white hoods. Sure, they all start out that way, but a malign supernatural influence spread by the white supremacist film The Birth of a Nation has started transforming them into bone-white, red-eyed, nine-foot-tall demons. Yes, Klansmen as literal demons. It’s a bit on the nose, but it totally works. Ring Shout is both unapologetically political horror writing and a superbly well-crafted novel. 

Ring Shout

By P. Djèlí Clark,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Ring Shout as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nebula, Locus, and Alex Award-winner P. Djèlí Clark returns with Ring Shout, a dark fantasy historical novella that gives a supernatural twist to the Ku Klux Klan's reign of terror

“A fantastical, brutal and thrilling triumph of the imagination...Clark’s combination of historical and political reimagining is cathartic, exhilarating and fresh.” ―The New York Times

A 2021 Nebula Award Winner
A 2021 Locus Award Winner

A New York Times Editor's Choice Pick!
A Booklist Editor's Choice Pick!

A 2021 Hugo Award Finalist
A 2021 World Fantasy Award Finalist
A 2021 Ignyte Award Finalist
A 2021 Shirley Jackson Award Finalist
A 2021…


Sam & Dave Dig a Hole

By Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen (illustrator),

Book cover of Sam & Dave Dig a Hole

This is such a fun book. Between Mac's clever writing and Jon's perfect illustrations I seem to always feel the same anticipation I did on the very first read. Sam and Dave keep digging deeper and deeper, nearly revealing incredible things along the way. It's such a compelling and entertaining story to read aloud to your kids as you turn the pages and dig alongside the persistent Sam and Dave and their dog.

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole

By Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Sam & Dave Dig a Hole as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With perfect pacing, the multiple award-winning, best-selling team of Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen dig down for a deadpan tale full of visual humour.

From the award-winning team behind Extra Yarn, and illustrated by Jon Klassen, the Kate Greenaway-winning creator of This Is Not My Hat and I Want My Hat Back, comes a perfectly paced, deadpan tale full of visual humour. Sam and Dave are on a mission. A mission to find something spectacular. So they dig a hole. And they keep digging. And they find ... nothing. Yet the day turns out to be pretty spectacular after all.…


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