Easygoing and thoroughly entertaining.

The Wilco front man muses on 50 favorite songs.

Describing his latest as a “weird little book of love letters to songs,” Tweedy offers a deeply personal, Dylan-esque, “philosophical” take on the works that have influenced him as a songwriter and a person. Woven in and out of his diverse choices are Rememories, “dreamlike passages recounting specific events” in his life. A “bong-bruised, coughed-up lung of a song,” Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” made the “first dent in my musical mind.” Next, the author writes about how Leo Sayer’s “Long Tall Glasses” makes him think about his father. Bob Dylan is Tweedy’s favorite artist, and he chooses “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” because it’s the first of Dylan’s songs he fell for. Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” feels “like it’s been a part of me for as long as I’ve had a me to feel,” and Patti Smith’s “Horses” is a “shard of poetry sung with the spirit and cadence of a taunt.” At age 12, Tweedy was blown away by “My Sharona”—and still is. Whenever he thinks about Volcano Suns’ “Balancing Act,” he feels “frozen forever in the amber of my youth.” The New Lost City Rambler’s “Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down” helped the miserable teenaged author feel better, and the Minutemen’s “History Lesson—Part II” is the “ground on which I stand.” The song “Little Johnny Jewel,” by Television, “simultaneously ripped me apart and held me together.” Tweedy adores the Ramones and “The Weight,” especially the version with Mavis Staples from The Last Waltz. In the early days of Wilco, he often sang Carole King’s “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” as an encore. He wishes he had written Souled American’s “Before Tonight,” and his jog down memory lanes closes with the Staple Singers’ “I’ll Take You There.”

Easygoing and thoroughly entertaining.

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780593472521

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2023


Spears’ vulnerability shines through as she describes her painful journey from vulnerable girl to empowered woman.

A heartfelt memoir from the pop superstar.

Spears grew up with an alcoholic father, an exacting mother, and a fear of disappointing them both. She also displayed a natural talent for singing and dancing and a strong work ethic. Spears is grateful for the adult professionals who helped her get her start, but the same can’t be said of her peers. When she met Justin Timberlake, also a Mouseketeer on the Disney Channel’s updated Mickey Mouse Club, the two formed an instant bond. Spears describes her teenage feelings for Timberlake as “so in love with him it was pathetic,” and she’s clearly angry about the rumors and breakup that followed. This tumultuous period haunted her for years. Out of many candidates for villains of the book, Timberlake included, perhaps the worst are the careless journalists of the late 1990s and early 2000s, who indulged Timberlake while vilifying Spears. The cycle repeated for years, taking its toll on her mental health. Spears gave birth to sons Sean Preston and Jayden James within two years, and she describes the difficulties they all faced living in the spotlight. The author writes passionately about how custody of her boys and visits with them were held over her head, and she recounts how they were used to coerce her to make decisions that weren’t always in her best interest. As many readers know, conservancy followed, and for 13 years, she toured, held a residency in Las Vegas, and performed—all while supposedly unable to take care of herself, an irony not lost on her. Overall, the book is cathartic, though readers who followed her 2021 trial won’t find many revelations, and many of the other newsworthy items have been widely covered in the run-up to the book’s release.

Spears’ vulnerability shines through as she describes her painful journey from vulnerable girl to empowered woman.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2023

ISBN: 9781668009048

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023


What a talent, what a career, what a life, and what a treat to relive it all with this most down-to-earth of demigods.

A gloriously massive memoir from a sui generis star.

When Keith Richards and Bruce Springsteen published 500-page memoirs, that seemed long—but as we learned, they really did have that much to say. Streisand doubles the ante with 1,000 pages. In addition to chronicling her own life, the author offers fascinating lessons on acting, directing, film editing, sound mixing, lighting, and more, as revealed in detailed accounts of the making of each of her projects. As Stephen Sondheim commented about her, “It’s not just the gift, it’s the willingness to take infinite pains.” The pains really pay off. With every phase of her life, from childhood in Brooklyn to her 27-year-romance with current husband, James Brolin, Streisand throws everything she has—including her mother’s scrapbook and her own considerable talent as a writer—into developing the characters, settings, conversations, meals, clothes, and favorite colors and numbers of a passionately lived existence. In the process, she puts her unique stamp on coffee ice cream, egg rolls, dusty rose, pewter gray, the number 24, Donna Karan, Modigliani, and much more. Among the heroes are her father, who died when she was very young but nevertheless became an ongoing inspiration. The villains include her mother, whose coldness and jealousy were just as consistent. An armada of ex-boyfriends, colleagues, and collaborators come to life in a tone that captures the feel of Streisand’s spoken voice by way of Yiddishisms, parenthetical asides, and snappy second thoughts. The end is a little heavy on tributes, but you wouldn’t want to miss the dog cloning, the generous photo section, or this line, delivered in all seriousness: “Looking back, I feel as if I didn't fulfill my potential.”

What a talent, what a career, what a life, and what a treat to relive it all with this most down-to-earth of demigods.

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780525429524

Page Count: 992

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Nov. 6, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2023

Close Quickview