Friday, April 1, 2016


Despite the demographics of rock and roll performers being predominantly male, there is a growing number of women rock artists. If you are interested in reading about them, here are some new books, all memoirs, written by female rock musicians. Find the books at the Monrovia Public Library.

Linda Ronstadt’s Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir is not a tell-all that dishes the dirt. Instead it is the gentle story of an Arizona youngster who grew up in a loving and musical family and went to Los Angeles where folk was transitioning to rock and where she made it big. Ms. Ronstadt describes the origins of her popular songs and talks about her friendship with the many musicians she knew. This is a musical journey that many readers will enjoy.

A local girl who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from Otis Art Institute, Kim Gordon moved to New York after discovering that she wanted to play in a band. The group she eventually helped form was the indie rock band Sonic Youth. Ms. Gordon’s memoir is called Girl in a Band, the title taken from one of her song lyrics “What's it like to be a girl in a band? I don't quite understand,” and explores her childhood, music and art careers and family life and shows a woman continually transforming herself.

Early punk musician, artist and poet Patti Smith has not just one memoir to her name, but two. Her first Just Kids is about the time before her first hit album, when she shared a friendship with the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.  Just Kids won the National Book Award for Non-Fiction.  M Train is her follow-up book, a collection of Ms. Smith’s reflections and memories.

Carrie Brownstein grew up in the Pacific Northwest and entered rock when her geographic world was a center for alternative music. Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl is a memoir devoted to how she escaped from a troubled home life into music and became the guitarist for the popular feminist punk band Sleator-Kenny. This is a candid and often funny book about a young women inventing herself.

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