“By the time we got to Woodstock, we were half a million strong…” Joni Mitchell inspired more than just other female recording artists – she is still to this day one of the best and most influential songwriters in the world. She contracted polio at the age of nine, which ended her athletic lifestyle, and forced her to turn to academics and literature. Though she didn’t take to formal education, she was inspired to write poetry, which was perhaps the first form her lyrics took. Now a nine-time Grammy winner, she has allowed her musical tastes and genres to evolve, but in our opinion, her 1971 album Blue is still the best.
This week, Joni Mitchell’s biography Reckless Daughter has been released, alongside Tom Hanks’ book of short stories, Gabrielle Union’s book of collected essays, and many others. From poignant biographies and charming short stories, to powerful fiction and twisted thrillers, here are the new releases for this week.
Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell, David Yaffe
Joni Mitchell was not only one of Prince’s favorite artists, she was, and very much still is an icon for recording artists everywhere. With dozens of interviews of friends, family and colleagues, this is perhaps the most intimate biography of Mitchell yet; from documenting the beginning of her life in the Canadian prairies, to her iconic status as one of the most influential artists of all time, Reckless Daughter not only looks at Mitchell’s life, but really focuses on her music, her lyrics, and their evolution over time. Well-research, this book really emphasizes the profound effect that Mitchell had on the music industry. This book is a must-read for fans of Joni Mitchell – and we know that would include Prince.
We’re Going to Need More Wine: Stories, Gabrielle Union
Gabrielle Union has a reputation for being incredibly courageous – and she deserves every bit of that reputation. A collection of essays on the topics of sexuality, gender, race, the L.A. lifestyle, and the modern woman, Union shares her perspective and her experiences, some funny, some horrifying, and some a little too close to home. Transparent and unflinching in her honesty, Union has always been able to cut through all the red-tape, and get right to the matter at hand, which she does flawlessly in this compilation. We’re Going to Need More Wine is a privilege to read.
Uncommon Type: Some Stories, Tom Hanks
This one is the lead story on USA Today’s Book Section, so it’s definitely one you should know about! A collection of short stories written by Oscar-winner Tom Hanks, each story is inspired by a vintage typewriter, which Tom Hanks actually collects. These stories are warm, and engaging, and Hanks writes in the way you expect him to speak: comfortably, like he’s an old friend telling you a story. An incredibly talented writer, fans of Hanks’ films, as well as readers just looking for a good book, will love this collection of some funny, some intriguing, some serious, short stories.
Dear Martin: A Novel, Nic Stone
Justyce McAllister is at the top of his senior class, and heading for Ivy League, but that doesn’t mean much to anybody when he ends up in handcuffs. When his old friends treat him with scorn, and his new classmates treat him with disdain, Justyce looks to the advice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – by writing a journal to him. Things come to a head when Justyce and his friend are pulled over by a white off-duty police officer for driving with the music playing too loud, when words are spoken, shots get fired, and in the aftermath, Justyce and his friend are the ones under attack. This novel is a raw masterpiece, and more relevant today than ever – if there’s one book that we would say is required reading for you, it’s this one. The 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is in April 2018, and several books have been or will be published, including those by Steve Berry, and Tavis Smiley.
The Last Mrs. Parrish: A Novel, Liv Constantine
Amber Patterson has finally had enough: she’s tired of being the one who just fades into the background, and knows that she deserves more from life; like the life of wealth and influence that Daphne Parrish has, including her perfect marriage. Amber would be more upset about this, but she already has a plan: carefully manipulating Daphne, she inserts herself into the couple’s lives, and before she knows it, Amber is not only Daphne’s closest friend, but she’s traveling to Europe with the family, and growing closer to her husband. But there’s just one skeleton left to take care of in Amber’s closet, and it may be the one that brings her plans crumbling to the ground. This is a stunning debut thriller, and, on USA Today’s list of books not to miss, we cannot recommend it highly enough. Look out for our giveaway on this book next week!
The best-selling author of The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan’s memoir is deep, poignant, and vivid. She dives into exploring her childhood memories, alongside her fears of self-doubt in her journal, and her thoughts about her family; Tan’s work has centered around the relationships between mothers and daughters, and the letters between her and her mother can be heartbreaking to read. Having led a complex life, Tan’s memoirs are not just introspective, they’re an intimate glimpse into her life, and the meanings of truth and fiction.