Category: FEM Books

September 1st, 2015
A Million Miles by Amy Fleisher Madden
 
            There are many myths in the music world. Tour nightmares and dreams make up a lot them. You imagine being on the road with your best friends as a lovefest of drinking, sex and music. That is rarely the case.
 
            Amy Fleisher Madden has known the music world. She started her own music label, Fiddler Records, at age 16. She later became an A & R person signing bands including Dashboard Confessional, New Found Glory The Higher and more. One Million Miles is her book.
 
            A Million Miles is about Maddy Traeger, an underage music fan, who starts her own label and gets to tour with her favorite band, Crimson + Clover. Maddy is an ad hoc tour manager who has to sell merch, dealer with the venue owners for money, deal with the all male band’s issues and still get them from point A to point B. In addition she must contend with heavy drinking, drugs, keeping the band in line to perform and stay faithful to their significant others. She also has to keep her parents informed and question whether a musician back home likes her.
 
            Madden flawlessly describes the feeling of a tour. There is the cramped, underslept journey in the dirty van. Every day is a new place. There are the wild fans, drunken nights and sweaty days on the road. Madden sets the book in 1999, a changing period in the music world. Napster is taking over and bands like Jimmy Eat World are huge.
 
            After reading the book one wonders how much of Maddy is Madden. How many of the road stories were altered to protect the guilty. It is the fact that one has to question, that makes A Million Miles a great read. It gives both the dream and the nightmare with clarity and humor enough to feel like you are there. It is a tender, nostalgic and melancholy journey. This is coming of age story on the road. Any YA who who dreams of the music world should read this book as a guide and warning to any road tours in the future. The tour stories are timeless.  For info visit www.amillionmilesbook.com 

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May 1st, 2015

booking the library

Booking The Library: A Guide for Entertainers, Musicians, Speakers & Authors

by Jessica Brawner

Reviewed by Alex Teitz

 

Touring is a challenge for any musician. It involves getting out of your comfort zone and going someplace new to establish a fan base. The prep time can be more complicated and stressful than expected. The rewards can be plentiful or few. When most musicians thing of touring it is to bars, clubs and other big venues. This book is not about that.

Booking the Library is a compact and comprehensive guide on how, why and what challenges there are in booking within the library system nationwide. The guide is actually 2 guides: one on booking for schools & libraries; one on booking in general and survival on the road. It is set up in a clear and logical manner. It begins asking the reader/musician if booking for libraries is even right for them.

The guide is filled with testimonials, checklists and facts. A guide, by its nature, should be easy to pick up and find exactly what you need. This book has that. It gives the reader sample contracts, letters, e-mails that can be customized. It also has tips that are useful for the beginner or pro. Booking The Library makes the point that booking to this selective niche is a way to supplement touring revenue and time.

The author of Booking The Library has a wealth of experience. Brawner ran a successful booking agency that handled over 50 acts for many years. She has toured the world independently and with the Peace Corps, She has moved on from the music industry and is focused on other elements of writing and touring.

Booking the Library is an indispensable guide for most musicians. The practical elements (contracts, sample letters, etc…) are unique to the niche and are not found in any other source specific to musicians. The touring tips, marketing, sales may be found in other sources. Here they supplement what is directly useful. Booking the Library is not meant to be the “be all” guide to touring for every venue. It is a specific guide to a specific niche that should be immediately helpful to any musician. Copies in both print & Kindle can be found an Amazon.com

Jessica Brawner

booking the libraryClick this picture to buy this book on Amazon.com

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April 1st, 2015
Wonderland by Stacey D’Erasmo
                What if you could do it all over again? If you had the memories of the past and the wisdom of experience, would you make the same choices? That is the question Stacie D’Erasmo brings up with her latest book Wonderland.
                D’Erasmo is an Associate Professor of the MFA program at Columbia University. Her prior books include Sky Below, Tea, A Seahorse Year and The Art of Intimacy. D’Erasmo demonstrates the art of a superb writer in that the images she conveys are full masterpieces in the reader’s mind.
                Wonderland is different from D’Erasmo’s prior works. It is a journey into that surrealistic world of modern rock music as seen through the eyes of a former rock star returning to the road. Anna Brundage is the flawed protagonist. She did two albums in her youth. One was a critical and commercial success. The second was a work of art that few understood. She then disappeared. Her comeback tour is more of a fluke, spur of the moment that forces Anna to look backwards at her journey.
Wonderland is filled with the characters of rock music. There are the temperamental band members who have their own issues. There is the legendary rock force. There is the avant guard musician of the hour who makes YouTube videos. There is the beleaguered tour manager.  There is even the up and coming band who is booking bigger tours. Throw these characters into a small European tour that includes large music festivals, dive bars and upscale clubs and you have part of the adventure Anna is on. The meat of Anna’s story is her loves. They include her past relationships, her wild upbringing and outrageous family. These are the heart of the book and best read, not talked about.
D’Erasmo’s Wonderland is the journey not often talked about. Everyone knows the rock star’s return, but not enough ink has been given to if that rock star is a woman. This is a rare glimpse backstage into a world everyone wants to know and few experience. The real life comeback stories are plentiful from Patti Smith, Kathleen Hanna, Kim Gordon, Juliana Hatfield to name a few. D’Erasmo’s fictional account is visceral and alive from the opening song to the encore. This is a must read for any up and coming artist to grizzled veteran. For more info visit www.hmhco.com

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September 1st, 2001

Tori Amos: Lyrics (Omnibus Press 2001)

Tori Amos just released a new CD of cover songs (see CD reviews) but Lyrics reminds the reader why Tori Amos is such a force to be reckoned with. The book contains the lyrics to over one hundred of Amos’ orginals including “Me and A Gun”, and “The Waitress” to B-Sides and obscure songs that fans may have never heard of.
Amos introduces the book with a description of why it was made. She reiterates describing her songs as children and a legacy and of being a “mother” to them. Amos also talks of the power of words and songs by saying, “Words are like guns. They do wound…as we all know. Sometimes I truly believe that it’s the space between the words that matters…”
Lyrics fulfills both missions of being a legacy and demonstrating the power of Amos’ words. Amos is a passionate songwriter whose songs embody elements of emotion wrapped in metaphors and stark images. These songs stand alone in written form as contrastly as they do with music. They speak, and scream for any who will listen.
Lyrics is a must for any Tori Amos fan. It should also fill the libraries of anyone trying to learn the art of songwriting.

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July 1st, 2001

BIG GIRLS DON'T CRY

by Connie Brisco – (Fawcett Books May 1999)

Reviewed by Stephanie Wright

During Naomi Jefferson’s childhood in Washington D. C. in the 1950’s and 1960’s, she was exposed to blatant racism only intermittently. Her father, a government worker, and her mother, a schoolteacher, were able to provide a comfortable life for Naomi and her brother Joshua, in a nice neighborhood.  They  had plenty of food and clothing and were even able to afford a new Buick at one time.  Naomi seemed to be kind of sheltered from some of the effects of racism.  Of course, she was occasionally witness to the hatred held toward people of color.

When she was verbally assaulted for being a black child, naturally it hurt and confused her.  Why was it so wrong for her to be black instead of white? When she grew older she came to understand that people of color had to work harder than white people to achieve the same amount of success and to get a fraction of the reward.

While a teenager, Naomi’s cherished older brother, Joshua is killed while on his way to a civil rights rally.  Convinced her brother was killed to silence one more voice in the cry for equality, and due to frustrations of having to endure hostile racism in the form of one of her college professors, Naomi begins down the long road of depression, and self destruction with drugs and bad relationships.

Eventually Naomi comes to the fork in the road where she has to decide what path she truly wants to follow.  Should she stay on her current path and end up nothing or dead, or should she show everyone just what a black woman can do and how well she should do it?

This is an excellent novel for anyone to read.  The author, Connie Brisco, follows Naomi’s life from young childhood to middle age, and she does so in a way that makes the reader feel real emotions for this girl and that make the reader urge her forward.  If only the reader can smack this girl upside her head and show her the way.

The choices Naomi makes during the turbulent time of her teen years to her early twenties really do determine her life and successes and failures later in her life.

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January 1st, 2001

The Indie Bible 

The Indie Bible 3rd Edition (Big Meteor Publishing 2001)
By David Wimble
Reviewed by Alex Teitz

The Independent Musicians’ Contact Bible (IMCB) now known as The Indie Bible is the creation of David Wimble. It is one of the most comprehensive listings of websites available for music in the world. The book is arranged into six sections: Reviews of Independent Music, Radio Stations that are Willing to Play Independent Music, Services that will Help You Sell Your Music, Sites That Will Allow You to Upload Music & Video Files, Helpful Resources that Will Promote Your Band for Free!, and Articles that Will Help You Succeed in the Music Industry. The last section includes pieces from Ariel Publicity, The Muse’s Muse, and many more. There is also a new Women in Music section. There are few books that should be in an artist’s library including The Musician’s Atlas, How to Be Your Own Booking Agent (And Save Thousands of Dollars), and now The Indie Bible. The Indie Bible is available in print or CD-ROM format and for a small additional fee, yearly updates are available. For more information visit www.indiecontactbible.com

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January 1st, 2001

Yesterday, I Cried

by  Iyanla Vanzant

Reviewed By Stephanie Wright

Now, as a general rule, I tend to do my best to steer very clear from the self help sections in the bookstores and libraries just for  the simple reason that to me (and this is just MY naive opinion) they are not really something that I can use.  I figure that I should be equipped to handle my own problems and not have to rely on some book written by someone who has never met me before in life.  I mean, how could they possibly know the answers to MY problems?

So, there I was, in the bookstore/music store/video game store here in good old downtown Denver, browsing around in the book section, looking through the new releases, and the bestseller section, not in too particularly good a mood, due to some recent revelations, and I happened upon Yesterday, I Cried.  The name caught my eye because I thought I had seen on Oprah that she had chosen it for her book club part of the show she does.  I remembered that she had liked it, and that for some reason, when she read an excerpt from it, it touched me.  So, curiosity got the better of me and I picked it up.  Then, I noticed it was classified as Self-Help.  My curiosity again got the better of me, and I read a little of the book right there. Well, curiosity, and the recent events of my life that had seemed bound and determined to send me to a bitter depression, and family illness, and a few other such odds and ends.

I ended up buying the book, and reading some of it that same night.  I must say, this book is very uplifting to me.  I don’t consider it to be a self-help book.  I consider it to be an auto-biography of  Iyanla’s life that others can take into their hearts and get some understanding and perspective on some things going on or that have already happened in their lives.  There are parts of this book that are very sad, such as the child abuse the author had to endure, and the failed marriage and husband that died.  Her life has not been easy, by any means.  She got off welfare and made something of herself.  For several years, she has worked not only as an author, but as a motivational speaker, healer, and teacher.

Believe me when I say that this book will help a lot of women who are going through some of life’s troubles right now, or who have been unlucky enough to have gone through them in the past.

One thing you have to remember, if anything, is to not give up.  You never get dealt more than you can handle. Yes, things do get worse before they get better, but they always do get better.

Read this book.  If not because you need a little encouragement (and not from one of those loudmouthed windbags who tell you your life can be fixed in a week with just a little positive thinking), or because things are just a little rocky for you, then read it because you are curious and you would like a new perspective.

I particularly like Iyanla’s style of writing this book.  She is very honest and candid.  Even though honesty seems to be the hardest part of it. You’ll see what I mean.  One of her lessons in this story is that we must be honest with ourselves before we can even begin to get rid of all the other garbage that seems to have a way of weighing us down from time to time.

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April 1st, 2000

Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex and the Fight For Women’s Rights

Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex and the Fight For Women’s Rights (New York University Press, May 2000)

by Nadine Strossen

Reviewed by Geneva World

“If you love freedom and like sex, censorship is bad news.” K. Peratis

Let’s take a little test:

  1. Pornorgraphy

What thoughts and feelings come to mind when you read that word?

  1. Bondage. Lesbians.

Do the above words make you feel and think the same?

  1. Sex. Health Books. Pregnancy.

Now, do these words make the same impact as the word, “Pornography?”

If all three questions had you hot and ready to start marching and praying for my soul, please start doing so and find yourself a better suited book review. For everyone else who were not completely offended, please continue.

“If Pornography is part of your sexuality, then you have no right to your sexuality” C. MacKinnion

You may have been angry or indifferent to the word “Pornography” but words like “sex” and “pregnancy” probably felt comfortable. Afterall, those two words are a large part of the human experience and are honored in a variety of ways. There is a verbal war out against pornography and marital sex as well as motherhood and art are being sucked into mean the “p” word. They also wear the “suppression of women” stamp. The Anti-Pornography movement isn’t just after kiddie porn and bondage scenes. They are out to get anything remotely sexual involving women. Anti-Porn advocates have already overpowered Canada and they are setting their sites on the U.S. Just think, no more Cosmo,Joy of Sex, or breast exam pamphlets. Remember porn is anything that reduces a woman to her parts or talk in a sexual explicit way. It is also based on a community’s basis of morality. Sex Education will be rather boring as well as a museum full of landscapes and bowls of fruit.

“Pregnancy is a confirmation that the woman has been fucked. The display marks her as a whore. The vagina (is) saved to serve the husband.” A. Dworkin

Perhaps you are wondering who the middle aged men are? The men who would actually believe such great artworks like the Venus de Milo should be banned. These men are out to make all women dress from head to toe and live like poor Arab women “protected” and excluded from the male gaze and opportunities. The worse enemy is two women: Andrea Dworkin & Cathine MacKinnion. Their call is that porn is bad for women. They believe that when women are presented in books and art they are “reduced to their parts” and therefore unequal. Girls don’t like sex and those who support it are pawns of men.

“It is ironic that just as women are finally making inroads into such a male exclusive venues. We are being told we cannot handle dirty pictures, and certainly would never enjoy them.” Feminist for Free Expression

This book wasn’t written by Larry Flynt to sell more Hustler subscriptions. This isn’t a self-serving cry against censorship. This is probably one of the most important books about censorship and it pleads the case for one of the least supported vices and virtues in America, porn. Nadine Strossen has decided to make an announcement that women like sex. Women like to look at it., like to see it, and don’t mind being in it. It does not mean women want to physically, mentally or emotionally hurt. Strossen is David trying to slay Goliath, except she uses her pen instead of a slingshot.

“Intercourse with men as we now them is increasingly impossible. It means remaining the victim forever annihilating all self-respect…” A. Dworkin

Dworkin’s arguments were disturbing and make one wonder, “How bad was her first time?” As a reviewer, if I wasn’t disgusted, I was turned on. Funnily enough, I’m not the only one. Strossen uses a couple of examples. A woman commented after reading the Meese Commission’s Report on Pornography, she came three times. A poster for Anti-Porn advocates was asked to be removed from New York Subways (it was a picture of a woman in bondage) because it made the passengers uncomfortable. When it was taken down, the advocates pressed censorship charges. So while the Anti-Porn advocates may present images and words to the public of what they are against, women cannot. Hey, the First Amendment doesn’t include all of us, right?

“Physically the women in intercourse is a space invaded, a literal territory occupied. Even if there was no resistance.”  A. Dworkin

Maybe you think the Anti-Porn movement still has potential. Why don’t we take a little tour into the underbelly with Strossen.

“Once there was a reproduction of Goya’s Nude Maja in a classroom at Pennsylvania University. Professor Nancy Stumhofor felt uncomfortable so it was removed – – -from the school! To explain herself, she sent materials to the staff and school body about how the female figure is only the object of male desire. Included were several pictures of nude women. Stumhofer was accused of sexual harassment from two men. She made them feel ‘uncomfortable.’

Asian lesbain Dawn Wan chose to appear painted in flames on the cover of the lesbian magazine On Our Backs. The Dykes Against Porn picketed and destroyed stores who had copies because it promoted violence against women, such as burning then.”

Sexual harassment in the workplace has lead to laws banning people from brining sexual materials to work, even if you keep it in your purse, desk or locker. Also, no comments and no talking about breast exams or last night’s fling. Shhhh! A downside now is managers are getting frightened of hiring women because of potential lawsuits and extra maintenance.

A favorite example is exercise tapes and books. If you aren’t going to have sex, why look good? As said by M. Mead, “I see poses of Jane Fonda sitting on her buttocks with her legs raised in air in a V. The message clearly is ‘I’m powerful but I’m still a woman who needs a man.’”

Anti-Porn advocates are so strong in Canada, don’t bring Debbie Reynold’s exercise video Doing It Debbie’s Way or the spicy cookbook Hot, Hotter, Hottest. You won’t get in.

“From a feminist perspective, there is no choice between equality and freedom of expression.” T. McCormack

FEMbooks recommends this book to all feminists, closet porn freaks, homosexual activists, sex slaves from choice, law students, Playboy Bunnies, and First Amendment supporters. Get mad. Get turned on. Get enlightened and make a choice. It’s still a free country.

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