Book List

Kirkus & Rolling Stone’s Best Music Books of 2020

  • NONFICTION

    RESISTANCE

    MAY 5, 2020

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR

RESISTANCE

by Tori Amos

A profound autobiographical playlist and radically political call to action primarily for Amos fans. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    BROTHER ROBERT

    JUNE 9, 2020

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR

BROTHER ROBERT

by Annye C. Anderson with Preston Lauterbach

An illuminating portrait of an artist lost in the mists of history and mystery. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    MY LIFE IN THE PURPLE KINGDOM

    SEPT. 22, 2020

  • NONFICTION

    THE MEANING OF MARIAH CAREY

    SEPT. 29, 2020

NONFICTION

THE MEANING OF MARIAH CAREY

by Mariah Carey with Michaela Angela Davis

100% Mariah, unburdened by filler material and written with pure heart and soul for both die-hard and casual fans. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    THE BADDEST BITCH IN THE ROOM

    SEPT. 8, 2020

NONFICTION

THE BADDEST BITCH IN THE ROOM

by Sophia Chang

An intimate, entertaining, and engrossing read for hip-hop fans. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    GLITTER UP THE DARK

    APRIL 7, 2020

NONFICTION

GLITTER UP THE DARK

by Sasha Geffen

A helpful guided tour that shows how music is the perfect art form in which to “dance between genders.” Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    LOOKING TO GET LOST

    OCT. 27, 2020

NONFICTION

LOOKING TO GET LOST

by Peter Guralnick

A collection that clearly expresses the passion of musical discovery and lasting legacy. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    COOL TOWN

    MARCH 23, 2020

CURRENT EVENTS & SOCIAL ISSUES

COOL TOWN

by Grace Elizabeth Hale

A welcome history of an overlooked milieu, one that provides ample inspiration for art makers today. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    CONFESS

    SEPT. 29, 2020

NONFICTION

CONFESS

by Rob Halford

An entertaining, revealing portrait of the artist as a young—and old—rocker. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    THIS ISN'T HAPPENING

    SEPT. 29, 2020

NONFICTION

THIS ISN'T HAPPENING

by Steven Hyden

A knowledgeable, earnest, always persuasive testament to a cultural touchstone. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    MORE MYSELF

    MARCH 31, 2020

NONFICTION

MORE MYSELF

by Alicia Keys with Michelle Burford

Energetic and keen revelations of the life beyond the spotlight of a significant contemporary musician. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    SING BACKWARDS AND WEEP

    APRIL 28, 2020

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR

SING BACKWARDS AND WEEP

by Mark Lanegan edited by Mishka Shubaly

A stunning tally of the sacrifices that sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll demand of its mortal instruments. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    CAN'T SLOW DOWN

    DEC. 8, 2020

NONFICTION

CAN'T SLOW DOWN

by Michaelangelo Matos

A savvy, effervescent, and definitive document of a pivotal time in pop. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT

    OCT. 13, 2020

NONFICTION

THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT

by Marcus J. Moore

An effective biographical portrait that will serve well until Lamar writes his own retrospective. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    ME AND SISTER BOBBIE

    SEPT. 15, 2020

NONFICTION

ME AND SISTER BOBBIE

by Willie Nelson & Bobbie Nelson with David Ritz

A shift in perspective makes a familiar story seem fresh all over again. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    DOLLY PARTON, SONGTELLER

    NOV. 17, 2020

NONFICTION

DOLLY PARTON, SONGTELLER

by Dolly Parton with Robert K. Oermann

A splashy, entertaining guide to the lyrics of one of the most popular musicians of our time. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    BRING THAT BEAT BACK

    APRIL 28, 2020

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR

BRING THAT BEAT BACK

by Nate Patrin

No one wants a dry hip-hop book, and Patrin’s work is thoroughly engaging from first needle drop to last. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    WAGNERISM

    SEPT. 15, 2020

NONFICTION

WAGNERISM

by Alex Ross

A deeply informed history as vigorous as Wagner’s music. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    LARGER THAN LIFE

    JULY 21, 2020

NONFICTION

LARGER THAN LIFE

by Maria Sherman ; illustrated by Alex Fine

A flashy and knowledgeable foray into boy-band fever. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    OPEN BOOK

    FEB. 4, 2020

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR

OPEN BOOK

by Jessica Simpson

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    ALL I EVER WANTED

    MARCH 31, 2020

NONFICTION

ALL I EVER WANTED

by Kathy Valentine

A vibrantly self-aware rock memoir buzzing with music, drugs, sisterhood, and blissful redemption. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >

More Book Lists

The Magazine: Kirkus Reviews

The Special Indie Issue, celebrating the spark and spirit of independently published books, with a sampler of great Indie writing and conversations with the authors.

subscribe
  • The Kirkus Star

    One of the most coveted designations in the book industry, the Kirkus Star marks books of exceptional merit.

  • The Kirkus Prize

    The Kirkus Prize is among the richest literary awards in America, awarding $50,000 in three categories annually.

    See the 2020 winners.

Great Books & News Curated For You

Be the first to read books news and see reviews, news and features in Kirkus Reviews. Get awesome content delivered to your inbox every week.

Thank you!