10 Books that will immerse you in the world of Music

Spring has sprung and there’s no better time of the year to grab a book, seat under a tree, and read.

But if you are a music lover or a devoted musician, you will appreciate investing precious time in your experience, knowledge and relationship with Music.

Apart from practising your instrument, writing songs and listening to records, reading could also be a way of connecting with the world of Music.

Many books have been written around the subject of music.  Whether they are biographies, fictions, memoirs, letter collections and more, we have a book for every type of reader.


24 hr Party People by Tony Wilson.

In case you don’t know, Tony Wilson is the great mind behind the Mancunian iconic record label Factory Records, responsible for the music catalogue of bands such as Joy Division, New Order, Happy Mondays and more. You might have heard the quote from the homonym movie: “When forced to pick between truth and legend, print the legend.” Well the Movie told the legend. He then wrote a book about it, and once again he told the legend.

This man is probably the only business man in the world famous for not making any money out of his brilliant business. Not only it is inspiring for doing things out of love, but the book is also bold, cult and hilarious.

Here is my review on Goodreads: “Tony, where ever you are, you are my hero.”


Just Kids by Patti Smith

Patti Smith wrote this memoir as a promise she made for her life-long-friend Robert Mapplethorpe. They met in their early twenties in New York and became partners in crime, lovers, muses to each other and unconditional companions.

Parallel to their friendship story, a hectic and exciting art scene unfolds, as a very personal portrait of the city where their dreams came true.

You will come across the names of giants, such as Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones and more.

Beware, there might be a before and after this book in your life.


Road Movies by Lee Ranaldo

Guitarist of the legendary 90’s band Sonic Youth, is the writer of these personal and private poems, which were collected in this little book as a collaboration with photographer Leah Singer, responsible for the black and white analogue photos accompanying the poems.

Lee Ranaldo has a beat-inspired style, and the subject of his poems could also be triggers for Road Movie scripts.

Inspiring and captivating, these poems might show the back stage life-style of the musician. Long hours on the road, spare time to scribble some feelings down, and a way of looking at the world, which is simply beautiful.

Girl in a Band: A Memoir by Kim Gordon

Lee Ranaldo’s female band mate Kim (founder of Sonic Youth with ex-husband Thurston Moore) wrote what is like to be a girl and be in a band.

Always artistic and prolific, Kim opens up to spread some girl power in a world dominated by men. Making public the deepest aspects of her whole personal life, to finally reach the highest level as an artist.

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

An easy an extremely fun read for the young adult men who can find a pop song for every heartbreak.

This novel has turned into the classic movie of the same name, stared by John Cusack.

Hundreds of music references and the struggles of all men reaching their thirties, who are scared of commitment and rather listen to music than confront their life fears.

About love, music, and growing up (old).

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Two teenagers, a very long date and many music references.

Another fiction filled with music that will entertain you and probably recommend some good tunes.

This book has also been taken to the big screen, with indie movie played by Michael Cera and Kat Dennings.

I’m with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie by Pamela Des Barres

Someone in Goodreads gave this book 5 stars and wrote: “her description of Paul McCartney’s balls is priceless.”

So what kind of book is this?

I don’t know, but it screams “different” and not many writers have told the story of 1960’s groupies, especially not in the 1st person.

I got hooked by a recommendation that compared Pamela Des Barres with Penny Lane from Almost Famous.

I will give it a try soon.


So This Is Permanence by Ian Curtis

This is one of those books you buy to have it close to you and look at it every day. As if it was some kind of reminder. It definitely is a work of art.

This collection of lyrics and notebooks from Ian Curtis, lead singer of Joy Division, is a reflection of an era in the music history.

Ian left an unmissable mark in the course of history, without even knowing.

His lyrics and notebooks are the legacy of a deep personality that is still changing lives with its work today, 30 years after his death.


The Sick Bag Song by Nick Cave

If you are familiar with Nick Cave’s music you know its connection with literature.

Nick Cave has 6 books published and he is well known for the amount of surrealism and fiction his creations contain.

His last book, The Sick Bag Song, was inspired by his travels with band Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds during their North American tour in 2014.

He scribbled little notes on airline sick bags while flying through 22 cities, and with all the material he created this one long poem about love, meaning, and inspiration.


Sound Bites by Alex Kapranos

The lead singer of Frank Ferdinand wrote this book about the different experiences he had with food while touring with his band around the world.

He describes his culinary experiences with detail while also portraying how is life like on the road.

How Music Works by David Byrne

If you are going to read one book of this list, read this one.

David Byrne (mainly known as the founder of Talking Heads) used all his experiences as a music lover and a musician to put together this nerdy brilliant study of music, from every single point of view you can imagine.

He spent a lifetime thinking about this subject that gave his existence meaning. All of his conclusions can be found in this book, which celebrates music in all its forms, uses and purposes.



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