Joe’s Jukebox – “Women Who Rock”

Welcome to another installment of “Joe’s Jukebox,” a new series highlighting the library’s most marvelous musical materials– presented by Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian, Joe O’Brien.

Women’s History Month may have ended a couple weeks ago, but of course that doesn’t mean we can’t continue appreciating all the contributions women have made to our culture. And you can read about some of music’s most indomitable women in this book, Women Who Rock: Bessie to Beyonce, Girl Groups to Riot Grrrl, edited by Evelyn McDonnell and published in 2018. 

It includes over 100 essays, each about a woman who has left her unique fingerprints in the pages of music history. And while the book’s called Women Who Rock, we’re not just talking strictly about rock musicians; more like women who “rock” in the sense that they made waves, pulled no punches, and did it loudly and proudly. It starts with legendary blues singer Bessie Smith, it ends with Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes, and in between there’s Patsy Cline, Nina Simone, Odetta, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Dusty Springfield, Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, Yoko Ono, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Grace Jones, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Salt-N-Pepa, Selena, Tori Amos, PJ Harvey, Fiona Apple, Missy Elliott, Laura Jane Grace, Amy Winehouse, M.I.A., and Lady Gaga…just to name a few.

All the short essays in Women Who Rock come from accomplished writers, such as Ann Powers, Daphne A. Brooks, and Gillian Gaar, and they’re accompanied by gorgeous illustrations of each musician. Although you may have already heard much about the iconic ladies in this book over the years, the essays offer sharp and fresh insights about them. Plus, not all the subjects in here are exactly household names; personally, I was happy to be introduced to musicians I wasn’t familiar with before, such as Alice Bag, and Angelique Kidjo.

So whether you’re a casual music fan or a serious one, whether you’d want to read the whole thing cover to cover or just flip through to check out the subjects that pique your interest, I highly recommend Women Who Rock. It’s currently in our print collection, though if our copy’s currently unavailable you can always request one from a number of other BCCLS libraries. 

And if you read this book and then want to dive even deeper into these women’s stories, we also have no shortage of books written about or by many of the musicians in it. We have biographies on the likes of Janis Joplin, Nina Simone, Odetta, and Joni Mitchell. We have memoirs and autobiographies by the women themselves, like Face It by Debbie Harry, Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir by Cyndi Lauper with Jancee Dunn, Resistance by Tori Amos, Just Kids by Patti Smith, and the wonderfully-titled I’ll Never Write My Memoirs by Grace Jones

We have a memoir written by Loretta Lynn about her friendship with Patsy Cline called Me & Patsy: Kickin’ Up Dust. Speaking of country music legends, we have Dolly Parton, Songteller, which I wrote about in more detail in another one of these blog posts. If you’re interested in learning more about the contributions of Black women to rock music, we have Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll by Maureen Mahon, with sections on influential artists like Big Mama Thornton and Tina Turner. Or if you want to examine Beyonce’s work through a Black feminist perspective, we have Beyonce in Formation: Remixing Black Feminism by Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley.

Again, all of these books are in our print collection, with many also available from other BCCLS libraries, or as ebooks or audiobooks from Overdrive and Hoopla Digital. And of course, hours and hours of the actual music recorded by these women who rock can be streamed on Hoopla Digital, or borrowed on CD from select BCCLS libraries. That’s all for now, but til next time, remember: Sisters are doin it for themselves, standing on their own two feet, and ringin’ on their own bells…

Cozy Mysteries

Looking for a wholesome mystery to add to your to-read pile this spring? Check out these cozy mysteries available in the Livingston Public Library’s digital collection Overdrive / the Libby app

Lavender Blue Murder by Laura Childs 

From the Publisher: “Tea maven Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier Drayton Conneley are guests at a bird hunt styled in the precise manner of an English shooting party. Which means elevenses (sloe gin fizzes), gun loaders, the drawing of pegs, fine looking bird dogs, and shooting costumes of tweed, herringbone, and suede.

But as gunshots explode like a riff of Black Cat firecrackers, another shot sounds too close for comfort to Theodosia and Drayton. Intrigued but worried, Theodosia wanders into the neighbor’s lavender field where she discovers their host, Reginald Doyle, bleeding to death.

His wife, Meredith, is beside herself with grief and begs Theodosia and Drayton to stay the night. But Theodosia awakens at 2:00A.M. to find smoke in her room and the house on fire. As the fire department screams in and the investigating sheriff returns, Meredith again pleads with Theodosia for help.

As Theodosia investigates, fingers are pointed, secrets are uncovered, Reginald’s daughter-in-law goes missing presumed drowned, and Meredith is determined to find answers via a séance. All the while Theodosia worries if she’s made a mistake in inviting a prime suspect to her upscale Lavender Lady Tea. ” 

Crime and Poetry by Amanda Flower 

From the Publisher: “Rushing home to sit by her ailing grandmother’s bedside, Violet Waverly is shocked to find Grandma Daisy the picture of perfect health. Violet doesn’t need to read between the lines: her grandma wants Violet back home and working in her magical store, Charming Books. It’s where the perfect book tends to fly off the shelf and pick you…

Violet has every intention to hightail it back to Chicago, but then a dead man is discovered clutching a volume of Emily Dickinson’s poems from Grandma Daisy’s shop. The victim is Benedict Raisin, who recently put Grandma Daisy in his will, making her a prime suspect. Now, with the help of a tuxedo cat named Emerson, Violet will have to find a killer to keep Grandma from getting booked for good.”

Strawberry Shortcake Murder by Joanne Fluke 

From the Publisher: “When the president of Hartland Flour chooses cozy Lake Eden, Minnesota, as the spot for their first annual Dessert Bake-Off, bakery owner Hannah Swensen is thrilled to serve as the head judge. But when a fellow judge, Coach Boyd Watson, is found stone-cold dead, facedown in Hannah’s celebrated strawberry shortcake, Lake Eden’s sweet ride to fame turns very sour indeed.

While perfecting her Cheddar Cheese Apple Pie and Chocolate Crunchies, Hannah’s also snooping into the coach’s private life, which yields plenty of suspects. Or could Watson’s harsh criticism during the judging have lethally ticked off one of the contestants? The stakes are rising faster than dough, because somebody’s cooking up a recipe for murder—with Hannah landing on the “necessary ingredients” list.”

Hospitality and Homicide by Lynn Cahoo 

From the Publisher:A visit to the serene coastal town of South Cove, California, could make anybody feel refreshed and inspired. But as Jill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books, and More—discovers, some folks won’t live to tell about it .

Mystery author Nathan Pike checked into South Cove Bed & Breakfast to compose a compelling novel, not commit murder. But things get real when a rival B&B owner ends up exactly like the victim in his draft—undeniably dead. As Nathan prepares to complete his magnum opus behind bars, Jill’s the only one who can prove his innocence and deconstruct the plot of a twisted killer!”

Caramel Crush by Jen McKinlay 

From the Publisher: “Love is in the air at Fairy Tale Cupcakes as Angie prepares for her wedding, but co-owner, Mel, is preparing for a breakup. Her old friend, Diane Earnest, is dumping her fiancé after discovering he’s only marrying her for her money. She wants Mel to personally deliver a batch of caramel breakup cupcakes to the louse and give her a play-by-play of his reaction.

When Mel finally tracks the man down, the look on his face isn’t the reaction she was expecting: he’s dead. After the police arrive and see the incriminating cupcakes, Diane becomes their prime suspect. If she hopes to taste freedom again, Mel and Angie must make sure the real killer gets their just desserts… ”

You can find more cozy mysteries inside the Livingston Public Library.  Stop by the library and browse our print collection! 

Happy reading!

-Jessica, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian