21 books like Nina Simone's Gum

By Warren Ellis,

Here are 21 books that Nina Simone's Gum fans have personally recommended if you like Nina Simone's Gum. 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 Just Kids

John Glynn Author Of Out East: Memoir of a Montauk Summer

From my list on books that feel like Taylor Swift’s “Cruel Summer”.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hi! I'm John Glynn, and I'm excited to share some book recommendations inspired by one of my favorite Taylor Swift songs, "Cruel Summer."  To me, this song perfectly encapsulates the heightened emotions of summer love—a theme at the heart of my memoir Out East. I chose books that capture the "fever dream highs" of the season. But at the same time, as Taylor sings, "Summer's a knife," filled with longing and heartache, primed for nostalgia. All of these books carry the kind of moonlit shimmer I crave in a smart beach read. As a Swiftie, a beach lover, an avid reader, and a hopeless romantic, I hope you enjoy.

John's book list on books that feel like Taylor Swift’s “Cruel Summer”

John Glynn Why did John love this book?

This might be my all-time favorite memoir. Every time I sit down to write, I tend to read a few pages of it to absorb the rhythm of Patti Smith’s unadorned, lyrical writing.

Like Taylor Swift, Patti Smith is a music icon, a poet, and a genius wordsmith. For me, this book totally captured the radiant nostalgia of a bygone era and a romantic love that evolves into something more permanent and transcendent.

By Patti Smith,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Just Kids as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD

“Reading rocker Smith’s account of her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, it’s hard not to believe in fate. How else to explain the chance encounter that threw them together, allowing both to blossom? Quirky and spellbinding.” -- People

It was the summer Coltrane died, the summer of love and riots, and the summer when a chance encounter in Brooklyn led two young people on a path of art, devotion, and initiation.

Patti Smith would evolve as a poet and performer, and Robert Mapplethorpe would direct his highly provocative style toward photography. Bound in innocence…


Book cover of Chronicles

Lo Carmen Author Of Lovers Dreamers Fighters

From my list on being in love with music.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a singer/songwriter and I grew up in a rock’n’roll household. My family has always traded great books about music between us, memoirs, biographies, scientific studies, deep dives into subcultures, industry exposes – I love them all and find a good music book impossible to resist. I always get excited when I find books written by other obsessive music-loving kindred spirits––if I can feel the love I’m right in there with them. I especially love the behind-the-scenes stories and insights into the work and fascinations that helped forge an artist’s career.

Lo's book list on being in love with music

Lo Carmen Why did Lo love this book?

A tender meditation on all the disparate threads, sounds, loves, conversations, and lessons that meld together to create an artist. Watching Bob trying to throw off the accolades and labels that want to pin him down like butterfly and explore whatever takes his fancy is my favorite part of this trip, weaving through all the stolen records and ghosts and signposts and colored lights beckoning. 

By Bob Dylan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Building on the success of Bob Dylan in His Own Words, an autobiographical portrait of the acclaimed musical performer recounts personal and professional experiences and features black-and-white photography. 250,000 first printing.


Book cover of Shots

Lo Carmen Author Of Lovers Dreamers Fighters

From my list on being in love with music.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a singer/songwriter and I grew up in a rock’n’roll household. My family has always traded great books about music between us, memoirs, biographies, scientific studies, deep dives into subcultures, industry exposes – I love them all and find a good music book impossible to resist. I always get excited when I find books written by other obsessive music-loving kindred spirits––if I can feel the love I’m right in there with them. I especially love the behind-the-scenes stories and insights into the work and fascinations that helped forge an artist’s career.

Lo's book list on being in love with music

Lo Carmen Why did Lo love this book?

Written by the revered god-daddy of Australian songcraft, Shots is a beat peek behind the curtain of what it is to be a young band on the road and on the rise, all lens flare vignettes; dry, brutal, and perfect, as cool as The Don himself. His uncanny way with words lets us bear witness to the country hall dances, Kings Cross streets, and back of the van like a poetic spy cam.

By Don Walker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This remarkable memoir begins with Don Walker's early life in rural Australia and goes up to the late ’80s. In mesmerising prose, Walker evokes childhood and youth, wild times in the ’70s, life on the road and in Kings Cross, music-making and much more. Shots is a stunningly original book, a set of word pictures – shots – that conjure up the lowlife and backroads of Australia.

‘Singular, strong and beguiling’ —The Sydney Morning Herald

‘Better than good. Most of the time it is brilliant.’ —Australian Book Review

‘The book shines with its descriptive sense of place. Shots carries the…


Book cover of Her Country: How the Women of Country Music Became the Success They Were Never Supposed to Be

Tracey Laird Author Of Dolly Parton: 100 Remarkable Moments in an Extraordinary Life

From my list on people who want a Dolly Parton deeper dive.

Why am I passionate about this?

My research and writing about music, particularly country and other Southern genres, began with the "Louisiana Hayride", a radio barn dance in the post-World War II era that launched both Hank Williams and Elvis Presley to prominence. From there, I turned to the long-running PBS music showcase Austin City Limits, which now names a huge music festival as well. In both projects, understanding music encompassed larger contexts of region, media, and meaning, all of which bear on understanding Dolly Parton as a musician and songwriter; as Appalachian; as a recording, TV, and movie star; and as a global cultural icon. I’ve never known life without Dolly Parton in it. Of this, I’m glad.

Tracey's book list on people who want a Dolly Parton deeper dive

Tracey Laird Why did Tracey love this book?

Marissa centers on three contemporary songwriters, Kacey Musgraves; Maren Morris; and Mickey Guyton, to illuminate the experiences of country women more broadly during the twenty-first century. Facing closed doors and narrowed constraints, this trio carved channels for music business success, using new-century tools to reach audiences and ears. The industry-old guard was left to catch up.

The backdrop for their stories is the well-documented nosedive for women on country radio airwaves since 2000, but terrestrial radio matters less for this younger generation. Dolly’s own path-clearing journey inspired these artists. At one notable intersection of their stories and hers, Dolly’s surprise appearance onstage during an all-women performance at the Newport Folk Festival drew a reaction from musicians and the crowd alike. One close observer remembered it was like they had seen “f-ing Snow White.” 

By Marissa R. Moss,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Her Country as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In country music, the men might dominate the radio waves. But it’s women—like Maren Morris, Mickey Guyton, and Kacey Musgraves—who are making history.

This is the full and unbridled story of the past twenty years of country music seen through the lens of these trailblazers’ careers—their paths to stardom and their battles against a deeply embedded boys’ club, as well as their efforts to transform the genre into a more inclusive place—as told by award-winning Nashville journalist Marissa R. Moss.

For the women of country music, 1999 was an entirely different universe—a brief blip in time, when women like Shania…


Book cover of The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art

Gareth Southwell Author Of Pale Kings

From my list on understanding the crazy world of contemporary art.

Why am I passionate about this?

From the moment I could pick up a pencil, I’ve loved to draw. Since then, my art career has developed alongside my writing, and I’m now a professional illustrator. Despite this background, I still feel alienated from the “art world”. Contemporary art seems like a scam. Its pieces leave me cold, there’s rarely any skill to be appreciated, and their “meaning” is often obscure or trivial – at the end of the day, a pickled sheep is a pickled sheep, right? Pale Kings is a satire of all this, where a group of chancers set out to scam the scammers at their own game. But would anyone really buy a hole?

Gareth's book list on understanding the crazy world of contemporary art

Gareth Southwell Why did Gareth love this book?

The staggering thing about contemporary art is the money involved. Why would anyone pay $12 million for a dead shark preserved in formaldehyde?

This question drives Don Thompson’s book, as he explores the contemporary art market from the point of view of a professional economist. It’s a relatively unbiased work, free of ridicule or outrage, and is perhaps the better for that. Thompson shows us how the market works, and the role of each player – the buyers and collectors and investors, the rock star artists, the museums and galleries and auction houses – but also explores the psychology at work.

Why did hedge fund manager Steven A. Cohen buy Damien Hirst’s The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living for $12 million?

By Don Thompson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The $12 Million Stuffed Shark as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why would a smart New York investment banker pay $12 million for the decaying, stuffed carcass of a shark? By what alchemy does Jackson Pollock's drip painting No. 5, 1948 sell for $140 million?

Intriguing and entertaining, The $12 Million Stuffed Shark is a Freakonomics approach to the economics and psychology of the contemporary art world. Why were record prices achieved at auction for works by 131 contemporary artists in 2006 alone, with astonishing new heights reached in 2007? Don Thompson explores the money, lust, and self-aggrandizement of the art world in an attempt to determine what makes a particular…


Book cover of Possession

Essie Fox Author Of The Fascination

From my list on inspirational and eerie Gothic.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a writer of dark historical novels, I'm always drawn to other books that reflect my gothic themes. I think this interest first began when I read Wuthering Heights, soon afterwards studying the Victorian Sensation novels at university. These vividly described and densely plot-driven stories, often with shocking twists and vivid casts of characters, would thrill and entrance me. Afterwards I'd look out for any newly published books by contemporary writers dealing with similar ideas. I can't describe how it felt when I wrote one myself and saw it on the bookshop shelves. 

Essie's book list on inspirational and eerie Gothic

Essie Fox Why did Essie love this book?

I read this when it was published in 1990, and I've lost count of how many times I've read the novel since.

It is a big complex read in which some modern-day academics chase a treasure hunt of clues to discover the truth about the secret love affair of a famed Victorian writer. Meanwhile, in the past, through the devices of poems and letters we watch that love affair unfold with all its tragic consequences.

Both literary and intellectual, this compelling story of secrets, lies, and mysteries has a wonderful cast. 

By A.S. Byatt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Possession is an exhilarating novel of wit and romance, at once a literary detective novel and a triumphant love story. It is the tale of a pair of young scholars investigating the lives of two Victorian poets. Following a trail of letters, journals and poems they uncover a web of passion, deceit and tragedy, and their quest becomes a battle against time.

WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE


Book cover of Rocks in His Head

Pat Zietlow Miller Author Of What Can You Do with a Rock?

From my list on picture books about rocks.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a lifelong reader of picture books who now writes my own. I hope my books inspire kids to hope, love, dream, and wonder – and to see how they fit into the world around them.

Pat's book list on picture books about rocks

Pat Zietlow Miller Why did Pat love this book?

This book describes the life of the author’s father who was fascinated by rocks. He wasn’t able to go to college and ended up running a filling station where he displayed his favorite rocks. He visited the local science museum to see its rocks whenever he could. He got a job as a janitor at the museum and, eventually, worked his way up to curator of mineralogy. A wonderful story of rock love and never giving up on a dream.

By Carol Otis Hurst, James Stevenson (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rocks in His Head as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Anyone who has ever felt a little out of step with the world will identify with this true story of a man who followed his heart and his passion. This nonfiction picture book is an excellent choice to share during homeschooling, in particular for children ages 6 to 8. It’s a fun way to learn to read and as a supplement for activity books for children.

Some people collect stamps. Other people collect coins. Carol Otis Hurst's father collected rocks. Nobody ever thought his obsession would amount to anything. They said, "You've got rocks in your head" and "There's no…


Book cover of Cardboard Gods: An All-American Tale Told Through Baseball Cards

David Browne Author Of Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY, and the Lost Story of 1970

From my list on why the maligned Seventies were pretty awesome.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a senior writer at Rolling Stone, where I cover a wide range of music-related topics. But as a child of the Seventies, I was shaped by the defining and enthralling pop culture of that era, from singer-songwriters, Southern rock, and disco records to Norman Lear sitcoms. In some of my work, I’ve chronicled the highs and lows of that era, perhaps as a way to answer a question that haunted me during my youth: Why did my older sisters and their friends keep telling me that the Sixties were the most incredible decade ever and the Seventies were awful? What did I miss? And how and where did it all go wrong?

David's book list on why the maligned Seventies were pretty awesome

David Browne Why did David love this book?

Anyone who grew up in the Sixties and Seventies remembers baseball trading cards, using sold with a flat stick of gum. Wilker doesn’t just remember them; he uses them as a narrative device. Each chapter of this touching and honest memoir about growing up in the Me Decade is based around one card in his collection (Tom Seaver, Wade Boggs, Mark “The Bird” Fidrych, and many more) and the year and memories it evokes. What could have been a glib gimmick is transformed into a smart and insightful way to recall a life and a decade. 

By Josh Wilker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cardboard Gods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Cardboard Gods is the memoir of Josh Wilker, a brilliant writer who has marked the stages of his life through the baseball cards he collected as a child. It also captures the experience of growing up obsessed with baseball cards and explores what it means to be a fan of the game. Along the way, as we get to know Josh, his family, and his friends, we also get Josh's classic observations about the central artifacts from his life: the baseball cards themselves. Josh writes about an imagined correspondence with his favorite player, Carl Yastrzemski; he uses the magical bubble-blowing…


Book cover of Dewey Bob

Phaea Crede Author Of Jet the Cat (Is Not a Cat)

From my list on animals trying on new identities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always identified as a weirdo and felt misunderstood, which led to lots of wasted time “trying to fit in.” As an adult, I’ve learned to love myself for exactly who I am, but it took a lot of work and self-reflecting. Looking back, I realize there were actually many kids who felt the same way as me and we just never managed to connect with each other! Finding people who “get you” is an important task—but I truly believe self-love and self-acceptance is the greatest goal for all humans. I hope my books speak to the “weirdos” and non-weirdos a like, and encourages all readers to love themselves just the way they are.

Phaea's book list on animals trying on new identities

Phaea Crede Why did Phaea love this book?

Dewey Bob is a cute raccoon who turns trash into treasure and is ostrazied by the other raccoons for being so neat and sweet. I identified with Dewey and his quiet, artistic, and dramatic qualities, and rejoiced at his finding the perfect friend at the end of the story. He is also finally accepted by the other animals, but Dewey already loves himself!

By Judy Schachner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dewey Bob as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

A sweet raccoon character stars in this endearing tale of unexpected friendship from the creator of the bestselling Skippyjon Jones

Dewey Bob Crockett is a durn cute raccoon who lives by himself in a house filled to the brim with the wonderful objects he collects. Buttons, wheels, furniture and bricabrac adorn his cozy quarters and keep him busy as he finds and fixes, turning trash into treasures. But there’s something missing from Dewey’s collections—a friend! He tries gathering up some critters and bringing them home in his shopping cart, but that doesn’t work out so well. In the end, a…


Book cover of A Thousand Cuts: The Bizarre Underground World of Collectors and Dealers Who Saved the Movies

Michael Tau Author Of Extreme Music: From Silence to Noise and Everything In Between

From my list on absolutely arcane corners of human existence.

Why am I passionate about this?

Following mysterious trails and uncovering esoteric stories: it’s what I love to do, and it’s also what I love to read about. Before I released Extreme Music, I wrote extensively about unusual music subcultures and audiological anomalies, for example artists who put out hourlong blocks of unchanging white noise. I’ve learned that the most interesting ideas – and tales – exist in these outer fringes.

Michael's book list on absolutely arcane corners of human existence

Michael Tau Why did Michael love this book?

The filmic counterpart to Amanda Petrusich’s exposé on collectors of 78 RPM records, Do Not Sell at Any Price, this book uncovers the eccentric characters who have devoted their free time to collecting theatrical prints of movies, often risking harm (and jail time) in the process. One highlight is a profile of Mike Vraney, the man who founded Something Weird Video, a film distributor famous for re-releasing arcane Z-movies and shock films. The self-professed owner of the “largest sexploitation archive on Earth,” his stories, and those of a range of other specialized collectors, make this book a worthy compendium of a unique subculture.

By Dennis Bartok, Jeff Joseph,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Thousand Cuts is a candid exploration of one of America's strangest and most quickly vanishing subcultures. It is about the death of physical film in the digital era and about a paranoid, secretive, eccentric, and sometimes obsessive group of film-mad collectors who made movies and their projection a private religion in the time before DVDs and Blu-rays.

The book includes the stories of film historian/critic Leonard Maltin, TCM host Robert Osborne discussing Rock Hudson's secret 1970s film vault, RoboCop producer Jon Davison dropping acid and screening King Kong with Jefferson Airplane at the Fillmore East, and Academy Award-winning film…


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