BOOKS I READ IN 2016

  1. "Laurel Canyon: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll's Legendary Neighborhood" by Michael Walker
    4/5 Fantastic book. Fell apart towards the end just a bit.
  2. "High on Arrival" by Mackenzie Phillips
    3/5 Mackenzie Phillips is a survivor. I admit, I have a tough time with certain memoirs about addiction when the entirety of the book is dedicated to their ride on the sober/relapse carousel. But I respect the hell out of her for speaking so openly and eloquently about the horrific trauma she endured.
  3. "Dancing at Ciro's: A Family's Love, Loss, and Scandal on the Sunset Strip" by Sheila Weller
    2/5 I don't even remember reading it. I definitely did, so I guess it was kind of forgettable.
  4. "Los Angeles Noir 2: The Classics" by Denise Hamilton
    4/5 A collection of the best in early noir writers bringing Los Angeles to life. Gave me a much clearer picture of life here in the early 20th century than any history book ever could. Featured writers like Raymond Chandler, James Ellroy, Chester Himes, Leigh Brackett, and more.
  5. "Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell is This?" by Marion Meade
    5/5 Best biography about Mrs. Parker, hands down. And I've read them all. Trust me, this is the only one you NEED to read.
  6. "Mickey Cohen: The Life and Crimes of L.A.'s Notorious Mobster" by Tere Tereba
    3/5 Some of the anecdotes in here were really interesting, and Tereba does a great job of placing Cohen into his place in time. That being said, there was a real lack of credible sources and some careless mistakes in historical events. Bordered on gossip rather than a straight biography. Entertaining, though.
  7. "The Technology of Orgasm: 'Hysteria,' the Vibrator, and Women's Sexual Satisfaction" by Rachel P. Maines
    5/5 ATTENTION: SHOULD BE REQUIRED READING FOR ALL. Maines covers the entire frightening, oftentimes heartbreaking history of the way women's sexuality has been suppressed, demonized, pathologized, and often misunderstood by the medical and psychiatric professions. She also shares the history of science's study of the female orgasm and the mechanization of orgasm (the vibrator).
  8. "She's a Rebel: The History of Women in Rock n Roll" by Gillian G. Gaar
    5/5 Brilliant and well-researched history of women in rock music. One of my new favorite books. Can't recommend it highly enough.
  9. "Girls Rock!: Fifty Years of Women Making Music" by Mina Carson
    3.5/5 Carson approaches the topic from a more academic angle. She explains why women playing rock music is so revolutionary, what it means for us to break the mold, rebel, express the full range of emotion, etc. A few pockets of boredom.
  10. "Women Singer-Songwriters in Rock: A Populist Rebellion in the 1990s" by Ronald D. Lankford Jr.
    2.5/5 This is one of those books that I didn't really like, yet, it has stayed with me since reading. Lankford covers the onslaught of female singer-songwriters in the 1990s (Phair, Morrissette, Love, Crow, Harvey) and explains their importance in music history. I loved his whole piece on Woodstock '99, because everyone tends to forget that festival of misogyny. Despite that, it was really dry, and Lankford didn't have any real connection to the subject.
  11. "Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness, or My Life as a Fabulous Ronette" by Ronnie Spector
    4/5 Alternative title: "How I Survived Phil Spector." Ronnie was put through the ringer. Between a racist music industry that didn't know where to place "half breeds" (she uses this term a few times) like the Ronettes, to marrying a man who abused her psychologically and emotionally, Ronnie survived it all. This book will leave you wondering why we held Phil Spector up on a pedestal for so long.
  12. "Tearing Down the Wall of Sound: The Rise and Fall of Phil Spector" by Mick Brown
    4.5/5 ...And so will this one. I read this right after Ronnie's book, while her story was still fresh in my mind. In business and in his personal life, Spector was notoriously disrespectful, threatening, and violent towards women. It was a very clear and disturbing pattern. Brown seems convinced of this, too, but he manages to stay neutral. Great book about a terrible man.
  13. "Waiting for the Sun: Strange Days, Weird Scenes, and the Sound of Los Angeles" by Barney Hoskyns
    4.5/5 Hoskyns does a marvelous job of showing the distinct music subcultures and genres that have been formed here in Los Angeles and how they've thrived. Everything from the jazz clubs on Central Ave to the sounds of The Byrds in the 60s.
  14. "Sex Ed: Film, Video, and the Framework of Desire" by Robert Eberwein
    3/5 A little too academic, however, it was a solid start. Eberwein looks at the first sex education films in the early 20th century through a postmodern lens - what these films told us about ourselves and our bodies, the messages about sexual desire, and who was allowed to possess it. Best part was how he covered the fear-based (and non-educational) narrative about STDs in sex ed classrooms.
  15. "The King and Queen of Malibu: The True Story of the Battle for Paradise" by David K. Randall
    3.5/5 Interesting history about the fight over the land that we now know as Malibu. At times, it felt like Randall was stuffing too many facts into the book without giving us any real understanding of why those facts were important.
  16. "Sex Object" by Jessica Valenti
    5/5 Ok so I'm only like 60% done but I can already tell you this is the one of the greatest books I've read all year. Read it ASAP. Now. Go.
  17. Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture and What We Can Do About It
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  18. The Ice Cream Blonde: The Whirlwind Life and Mysterious Death of Screwball Comedienne Thelma Todd by Michelle Morgan
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  19. Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  20. Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  21. Bugsy's Baby: The Secret Life of Mob Queen Virginia Hill by Andy Edmonds
    ⭐️⭐️
  22. Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear...and Why by Sady Doyle
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  23. Wages of Sin: Censorship and the Fallen Woman Film, 1928-1942 by Lea Jacobs
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  24. Bad Women: Regulating Sexuality in Early American Cinema by Janet Staiger
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  25. All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation by Rebecca Traister
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  26. The Girl Before by Rena Olsen
    ⭐️⭐️
  27. Blackout: World War II and the Origins of Film Noir by Sheri Chinen Biesen
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  28. Brighton Rock by Graham Greene
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  29. [REREAD] Men Explain Things to Me and Other Essays by Rebecca Solnit
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ never lets me down
  30. Inga: Kennedy's Great Love, Hitler's Perfect Beauty, and J. Edgar Hoover's Prime Suspect by Scott Farris
    Only halfway through but so far it's looking like a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️