44 books like Is It My Body?

By Kim Gordon,

Here are 44 books that Is It My Body? fans have personally recommended if you like Is It My Body?. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Other Eighties

William Knoblauch Author Of Nuclear Freeze in a Cold War: The Reagan Administration, Cultural Activism, and the End of the Arms Race

From my list on the Cold War in the 1980s.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in the decade and in the Cold War came during graduate school. This was where I discovered Carl Sagan’s theory of a nuclear winter: that after a nuclear war, the debris and smoke from nuclear bombs would cover the earth and make it inhabitable for life on earth. Tracing debates between this celebrity scientist and U.S. policymakers revealed a hesitancy on either side to even consider each other’s point of view. This research made me reconsider the pop culture of my youth—films like The Day After and Wargames, music like “Shout” and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” and books from Don DeLillo’s White Noise to Dr. Seuss’ Butter Battle Book—and ultimately see them as part of a political contest in which lives—our lives—were in the balance.  

William's book list on the Cold War in the 1980s

William Knoblauch Why did William love this book?

If Andrew Hunt’s book covers swaths of American popular culture to reveal levels of public dissent, Martin’s book takes a similar approach, but with a particular focus on grassroots activism. Across the U.S., activism took many forms. The Nuclear Freeze campaign, with its simple call to halt the arms race, inspired (in June 1982) the largest public protest in American history. Others rebelled against Reagan’s painfully slow response to even recognize the AIDS epidemic, while on college campuses students rallied against Reagan’s policies towards apartheid-era South Africa. Martin’s examination of how various strands of feminism reacted to the conservative backlash of the Reagan Era is an especially welcome addition to the decade’s historiography.

By Bradford Martin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ronald Reagan looms large in most accounts of the period, encouraging Americans to renounce the activist and liberal politics of the 1960s and '70s and embrace the resurgent conservative wave. But a closer look reveals that a sizable swath of Americans strongly disapproved of Reagan's policies throughout his presidency. With a weakened Democratic Party scurrying for the political center, many expressed their dissatisfaction outside electoral politics. Unlike the civil rights and Vietnam-era protesters, activists of the 1980s often found themselves on the defensive, struggling to preserve the hard-won victories of the previous era. Their successes, then, were not in ushering…


Book cover of The Minutemen's Double Nickels on the Dime

Kevin Mattson Author Of We're Not Here to Entertain: Punk Rock, Ronald Reagan, and the Real Culture War of 1980s America

From my list on 1980s punk and politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a participant in the D.C. punk scene during the 1980s and helped start an organization known as Positive Force. I remember hearing about the group “Parents of Punkers,” the head of which compared punk to a violent cult. They would go on television and scare watchers about what their kids might be doing. I remember at the time that this missed the realities of my own experiences and made me want to protest this moral panic. But I knew this required some distance from the “punk rock world” I had inhabited. I kept thinking about writing this book and the timing was right.

Kevin's book list on 1980s punk and politics

Kevin Mattson Why did Kevin love this book?

From Martin’s expansive look at things, let’s move onto a more granular approach – Fournier’s Double Nickels. Fournier focuses on just one band and an album (albeit a double record album and one of the best to come out of punk in the 1980s). The Minutemen played a fast, discordant music that sounded like jazz as much as hardcore thrash music. Fournier’s examination turns up something few people consider, that punk wasn’t all about blistering music but rather sophisticated in its nature. Fournier documents how the bassist in the band, Mike Watt, had extended conversations with one of the most important artists associated with 1980s punk – Raymond Pettibon (who as of now has made his way into accomplished art museums and galleries). They talked about everything from Ludwig Wittgenstein to James Joyce. Band members supposedly got into heated debates about history and would stop at public libraries while…

By Michael T. Fournier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Minutemen's Double Nickels on the Dime as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In recent years, the Minutemen have enjoyed something of a revival, due to both a chapter in Michael Azerrad's book "Our Band Could Be Your Life", and a feature length documentary film, "We Jam Econo", showcasing the band's legacy. (And having a song serve as the theme for MTV's "Jackass" show doesn't hurt, either.) To date, though, the band's actual work hasn't been the subject of much attention - everything has focused on either the interpersonal relationships that made the Minutemen so distinctive or the sudden and tragic death of guitarist/singer D. Boon. This book shines a light on the…


Book cover of The Aesthetic of Our Anger

Kevin Mattson Author Of We're Not Here to Entertain: Punk Rock, Ronald Reagan, and the Real Culture War of 1980s America

From my list on 1980s punk and politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a participant in the D.C. punk scene during the 1980s and helped start an organization known as Positive Force. I remember hearing about the group “Parents of Punkers,” the head of which compared punk to a violent cult. They would go on television and scare watchers about what their kids might be doing. I remember at the time that this missed the realities of my own experiences and made me want to protest this moral panic. But I knew this required some distance from the “punk rock world” I had inhabited. I kept thinking about writing this book and the timing was right.

Kevin's book list on 1980s punk and politics

Kevin Mattson Why did Kevin love this book?

Albeit about Britain more than America, the authors collected together here show how easy it was for young punks to move from just listening to music to political engagement. Most of it being direct action: squatting abandoned buildings or civil disobedience against the nuclear arms race. The most accomplished band here was Crass who had an immense impact in the United States and who drew from different sources, including, I quote, “Ghandian principles, radical philosophy, the aesthetic of the Beat and Bohemian poets, and the words of Rimbaud and Baudelaire, as much as… the formal anarchist tradition.” It’s unfair that many believe punk just to be nihilistic and violent – and the authors here show why (it should be pointed out that Worley has his own book on this, which is also quite good: No Future)

By Mike Dines (editor), Matthew Worley (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Literary Nonfiction. Music. Punk is one of the most fiercely debated post-war subcultures. Despite the attention surrounding the movement's origins, analyses of punk have been drawn predominantly from a now well-trodden historical narrative. This simplification of punk's histories erases its breadth and vibrancy, leaving out bands from Crass to the Subhumans who took the call for anarchy in the UK seriously.

Disillusioned by the commercialization of punk, the anarcho-punk scene fought against dependence on large record labels. Anarcho-punk re-ignited the punk ethos, including a return to an `anyone-can-do-it' culture of music production and performance. Anarcho-punk encouraged focused political debate and…


Book cover of Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991

Katherine Rye Jewell Author Of Live from the Underground: A History of College Radio

From my list on the political side of music scenes.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interests as a historian involve examining how Americans organize to change policy or politics through affiliations beyond political parties and, by extension, thinking about how culture is made and supported through institutions and businesses. These messy networks and relationships ultimately define how we relate to one another in the U.S. Indie music scenes are one way to trace all of these relationships, from federal policy governing radio stations and what goes out over the airwaves to the contours of local music scenes, to the business of record labels, to ordinary DJs and music fans trying to access information and new sounds that they love.

Katherine's book list on the political side of music scenes

Katherine Rye Jewell Why did Katherine love this book?

No list of books on the indie music scenes of the 1980s is complete without this classic tale of the rise of commercial tensions regarding indie rock bands.

Music offered a form of rebellion against conformity – and punk challenged the corporate music industry of the 1970s with its DIY code and aesthetics. But in its wake, new forms of rebellion and alternative pathways to success emerged – at least for a time.

These bands that Azerrad chronicles became the giants of this alternative scene, and they were the sound of college radio. As Azerrad writes, corporate labels co-opted new wave in the early 1980s, “but they couldn’t co-opt punk’s infrastructure—the local underground scenes, labels, radio stations, fanzines, and stores. They, perhaps more so than any particular musical style, are punk’s most enduring legacy.” 

By Michael Azerrad,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Our Band Could Be Your Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Finally in paperback, the story of the musical revolution that happened right under the nose of the Reagan Eighties - when a small but sprawling network of bands, labels, fanzines, radio stations and other subversives re-energised American rock with punk rock's d-I-y credo and created music that was deeply personal, often brilliant, always challenging and immensely influential. OUR BAND COULD BE YOUR LIFE is a sweeping chronicle of music, politics, drugs, fear, loathing and faith that is already being recognized as an indie rock classic in its own right.

Among the legendary bands featured are: Black Flag, the Minutement, Mission…


Book cover of The Best of Boneshaker: A Bicycling Almanac

Evan P. Schneider Author Of A Simple Machine, Like the Lever

From my list on the beautiful act of bicycling.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a cyclist from a young age (thanks to the encouragement and engineering of my dad—he literally welded one of my first bikes together from the carcass of another kid’s bike that was run over by a car in his driveway on accident), I’ve always had a fondness for bicycles and, more specifically, *riding* bicycles. So, as is probably common for anyone who is fond of something, I’ve spent years exploring it from as many angles as possible. In the process, I’ve loved studying bicycles in motion, along with collecting artistic and philosophical expressions that center the act of getting around on two wheels under your own power. 

Evan's book list on the beautiful act of bicycling

Evan P. Schneider Why did Evan love this book?

If you’ve ever found yourself commuting by bicycle across a city on a wet winter’s night, or wondered about riding across the country, there are nuggets of raw truth and solidarity in the essays, interviews, stories, artwork, and poetry that compromise The Best of Boneshaker.

Ten years in the making, this throwback, almanac-inspired collection features contributors that range from Lee Ranaldo (of Sonic Youth) to writer Kjerstin Johnson, poets Michael Bazzett and Susan Moore, and Colorado Book Award-winning author and journalist Jonathan Waldman.

It’s been called a delightful companion for you and your bike, and for good reason. If you’re looking for inspiration to get out on your bike more often, it lies within these pocket-sized pages.  

By Evan P. Schneider (editor),

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Girl in a Band: A Memoir

Joyce Raskin Author Of My Misadventures as a Teenage Rock Star

From my list on female musician rock memoirs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a female musician who has toured and experienced life on the road in the male-dominated world of rock and roll. I am always looking for female musicians (famous and unknown) who led the way to me being able to do what I do. Female musicians still don’t get equal time with their male counterparts. There are still so few women who have been recognized in the media, so reading about them makes me feel less alone. Their memoirs inspire me to keep playing and bring to music what only a female musician can do.

Joyce's book list on female musician rock memoirs

Joyce Raskin Why did Joyce love this book?

I was very surprised by this book about Kim Gordon the bassist of the band Sonic Youth. It wasn’t what I was expecting. 

Kim Gordon was someone I always thought of as very cool and extremely reserved. In her memoir she opens up quite a bit about who she is, as opposed to the persona she had been given in the band Sonic Youth. Playing music was not her first love—it was art.

I loved reading about her artistic explorations, traveling with hippies in California, and being a free spirit. She describes tenderly her relationship with her older brother Keller who suffered from schizophrenia and was hospitalized. The Sonic Youth song, “Sister” is about him. The book also describes her painful divorce from Thurston Moore (founding member of Sonic Youth). Kim Gordon redefines herself as much more than just the bass player in a rock band.  

By Kim Gordon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Girl in a Band as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A new edition, part of the Faber Greatest Hits series -- books that have taken writing about music in new and exciting directions for the twenty-first century.

In Girl in a Band Kim Gordon, founding member of Sonic Youth and role model for a generation of women, tells her story. She writes frankly about her route from girl to woman and pioneering icon within the music and art scene of New York City in the 1980s and 90s as well as marriage, motherhood, and independence.

Filled with the sights and sounds of a changing world and a remarkable life, Girl…


Book cover of Iggy Pop: Open Up and Bleed

Ian Gittins Author Of The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star

From my list on rock biographies that go the extra mile.

Why am I passionate about this?

After years as a London-based music journalist for publications such as Melody Maker, Q, and The Guardian, I turned to ghostwriting rock autobiographies and discovered how much more satisfying it is to tell someone’s full, unadulterated life story rather than to feed on carefully cultivated scraps gleaned from half-hour interviews. I never imagined anybody would be as lewdly transparent as my first memoir subject, Nikki Sixx, but many others have run him close—not least Judas Priest singer Rob Halford, in 2020’s appositely named Confess. Its follow-up, Biblical, is imminent. Does it go the extra mile? I don’t think it will disappoint…

Ian's book list on rock biographies that go the extra mile

Ian Gittins Why did Ian love this book?

It’s not an easy task to convey the carnal intensity and animal abandon of a performer whose default mode has always been unadulterated excess, but Paul Trynka’s masterful study of Iggy Pop hit the motherlode. Trynka went the extra mile and then some, tracking down hundreds of key witnesses to, and victims of, Pop’s creative chaos, and even attending his high school reunion (which is more than Iggy did). Jaw-dropping anecdotes were legion (taking a mid-gig dump behind the speakers, anyone?) and Trynka captured the driven essence of this brittle soul, perennially fighting the world while never even knowing why.

By Paul Trynka,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Fellow rock stars, casual members of the public, lords and media magnates, countless thousands of people will talk of their encounters with this driven, talented, indomitable creature, a man who has plumbed the depths of depravity, yet emerged with an indisputable nobility. Each of them will share an admiration and appreciation of the contradictions and ironies of his incredible life. Even so, they are unlikely to fully comprehend both the heights and the depths of his experience, for the extremes are simply beyond the realms of most people’s understanding.”

—from the Prologue

The first full biography of one of rock…


Book cover of A Visit from the Goon Squad

Kevin Clouther Author Of Maximum Speed

From my list on literary fiction about the passage of time.

Why am I passionate about this?

I live in the past, even as the wellness industry tells me to be present. I try to be present! Of course, I also worry about the future. Time for me, inexorably, moves both backward and forward. I’m always writing things down, scared of forgetting. How do other people do it? That’s why I read fiction (or one of the reasons). As Philip Roth said of his father in Patrimony, “To be alive, to him, is to be made of memory—to him if a man’s not made of memory, he’s made of nothing.”

Kevin's book list on literary fiction about the passage of time

Kevin Clouther Why did Kevin love this book?

When Jennifer Egan published “Found Objects” “Safari,” and “Ask Me If I Care” in The New Yorker I knew she was onto something, but I wasn’t prepared for the cumulative effect of A Visit from the Good Squad, which bounces between past and present (and, occasionally, into the future).

One character asks, “Time’s a goon, right?” Time is, though I hadn’t considered how until surrendering to Egan’s vision, which spans from NYC to Africa to PowerPoint. Whether this is a collection of linked stories or novel or some other hybrid form is irrelevant; the book is pure sorcery.

It was one of the thrills of my career to bring Egan to Omaha in 2019 to lecture to the University of Nebraska MFA in Writing.

By Jennifer Egan,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked A Visit from the Goon Squad as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION
NEW YORK TIMES TOP 10 BOOKS OF 2010

Jennifer Egan's spellbinding novel circles the lives of Bennie Salazar, an aging former punk rocker and record executive, and Sasha, the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Although Bennie and Sasha never discover each other's pasts, the reader does, in intimate detail, along with the secret lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs, over many years, in locales as varied as New York, San Francisco, Naples, and Africa.

We first meet Sasha in her mid-thirties, on her therapist's couch in…


Book cover of The Gospel According to St. Rage

Adam Oster Author Of The Agora Files - Part 1

From my list on independent books you’ve never heard of.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an independent author, I’ve been lucky enough to find a wealth of other independent authors out there. People who are doing things that aren’t quite mainstream. Artists who are experimenting with the written word and doing truly unique things. Where the world is filled with books made for the sole purpose of being turned into movies, these authors are creating works of fiction that are suited for the written word. Masterpieces that will make you think and want to find even more new forms of fiction. Simply put, independent authors are pushing books into new realms that you simply can’t find in the mainstream market.

Adam's book list on independent books you’ve never heard of

Adam Oster Why did Adam love this book?

Loser girl turned punk rock superhero... Those six words should sell you on The Gospel According to St. Rage alone. But that still doesn't do this book any sort of justice because this isn't really a superhero book. Sure, Barbara may have the powers to cause flocks of birds to release their...um...payload onto her enemies with the simple flick of a finger, but she's not out to save the world, she's just out to finally live the life she's been hiding from.

Eisenbrey brought me back to my own high school days with this book that feels like a punk rock song. To those days of trying to make friends, of trying to define who I am. And she does so with rock star class.

By Karen Eisenbrey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Gospel According to St. Rage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Meet Barbara Bernsen, Former Invisible Girl.

Barbara isn't your typical high school junior. She's been invisible since the third grade. But when a magic hat brings her back into the light, Barbara is ready to take on the world. First priority? Start an all-girl garage band. Miraculous super powers were never in her plan, but sometimes you get what you need. Bullies and school shooters don't stand a chance.

Yes, we all love Wonder Woman, Black Widow, and Jessica Jones, but Barbara is the hero her high school deserves.

Truth. Justice. Rock & Roll.


Book cover of Chuco Punk: Sonic Insurgency in El Paso

Jason Mellard Author Of Progressive Country: How the 1970s Transformed the Texan in Popular Culture

From my list on new books on Texas music.

Why am I passionate about this?

As the Director of the Center for Texas Music History at Texas State University, I’m excited to stay on top of all that’s being done in the field of Texas Music and let me assure you that it is a great way to spend one’s days. Texas music and culture reflect the state’s diverse and contested past, and every month, it seems that there is not only a new artist appearing on the stage to sing her or his truth but a writer helping us to understand how those truths fit into the larger narratives of Texas history. 

Jason's book list on new books on Texas music

Jason Mellard Why did Jason love this book?

Tara Lopez suggests something new, prioritizing punk’s diverse expression over its tired origin myths. By turning our attention to the 1990s El Paso scene that produced bands like At the Drive-In, Lopez gives us a granular, expressive take on all the things that draw us to punk: its liberatory potential, DIY ethos, and ability to impact individual lives.

Through accessible oral histories, we get a sense of how vital punk rock could be against the backdrop of border politics and in a scene off the beaten path where DIY takes on new meanings. As a punk-curious 90s adolescent myself who listened in on El Paso from Austin, Dallas, and South Texas, this account resonated deeply—there was much that was familiar, but even more to learn. 

By Tara Lopez,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An immersive study of the influential and predominantly Chicanx punk rock scene in El Paso, Texas.

Punk rock is known for its daring subversion, and so is the West Texas city of El Paso. In Chuco Punk, Tara Lopez dives into the rebellious sonic history of the city, drawing on more than seventy interviews with punks, as well as unarchived flyers, photos, and other punk memorabilia. Connecting the scene to El Paso's own history as a borderland, a site of segregation, and a city with a long lineage of cultural and musical resistance, Lopez throws readers into the heat of…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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