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Published on February 28th, 2020 | by Darren Paltrowitz

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15 Books Worth Adding to Your “Early 2020” Reading List

Few hobbies are more weather-proof or recession-proof than reading. Whether you prefer hardcovers or e-books, you can read just about anywhere. Fortunately, 2020 has begun as yet another great year for exciting books, and below are 15 literary recommendations for Hype Magazine readers seeking some new (or in some cases forthcoming) titles for their “Early 2020” reading lists.

Oliver Craske’s Indian Sun: The Life & Music Of Ravi Shankar

Ravi Shankar was not just a composer and player of classical Indian Hindustani music, rather he was arguably India’s most important cultural figure of the past century. In Indian Sun: The Life & Music Of Ravi Shankar, author Oliver Craske introduces readers to this legendary figure, carefully combining both the personal and professional story of a musician who influenced, and continues to influence.

Shankar lived through many of the most important international events of the 20th century. He is most commonly known today as the musician who introduced George Harrison and the Beatles to Indian music in the 1960s, dramatically shaping the trajectory of their future albums. He ultimately cultivated genuine friendships with Philip Glass, Yehudi Menuhin, George Harrison, John Coltrane and Benjamin Britten, among many others. Weaving together never-before-seen material from Shankar’s archives along with interviews given and conducted by his widow and daughter, Indian Sun gives readers unprecedented access to a man who defined the modern music landscape as we know it.

Related to Craske’s book, in May 2020, Shankar will be commemorated with a series of Ravi Shankar Centennial Concerts to celebrate 100 years since his birth. The Ravi Shankar Centennial Concerts will feature family members Norah Jones and Anoushka Shankar as well as special guest artists Philip Glass, Dhani Harrison (son of George Harrison) and an orchestra of Shankar’s foremost disciples performing on venerable stages across the globe. Ravi Shankar Centennial Concerts will be presented at San Diego Civic Theatre (San Diego, CA: May 16, Fundraiser for Shankar Foundation), Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles, CA: May 19), Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Chicago, IL: May 22), Carnegie Hall (New York, NY: May 29), and Southbank Centre (Shankar 100 Series, London, UK: January – November 2020). A centenary concert in New Delhi, India in November 2020 is to be expected.

Maura Spiegel’s Sidney Lumet: A Life

Author Maura Spiegel’s new book was described as the first and “likely definitive exploration of the director’s distinguished career” by Kirkus Reviews, and it is practically-impossible to dispute that on any level. Spiegel navigates the reader through Lumet’s family relationships and personal life, his work as an actor in both theater and film, and the onset of his fruitful filmmaking career, including the classic films Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, 12 Angry Men and Network.

Spiegel not only delves into Lumet’s acclaimed films, but also the specifics of his four marriages and two children, also drawing on Lumet’s unfinished memoirs, interviews with his friends, family and those he worked closely with. In turn, you have a book about a world-changing subject that was brilliantly-researched and brilliantly-written. Or as Publisher’s Weekly directly called it in a recently-published review, a “revealing and entertaining biography.”

Jennifer Marcenelle’s From Burning Out To Burning Bright

Burnout is undoubtedly a growing mental and emotional health problem in America and elsewhere. In fact, on May 25, 2019, burnout was officially classified as a medical condition by the World Health Organization. It refers to emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. Studies show that burnout has reached epidemic proportions, yet modern medicine doesn’t have the answer.

This book provides a true story of a woman’s dramatic experience with personal, professional and spiritual burnout, and shares how she overcame it. It is both easy-to-read and has the ability to teach you how to recognize your own physical, logical, emotional and spiritual causes of burnout. Thus, if you are experiencing burnout symptoms, this book ought to be of help to you.

Bonny Meyer’s Perfectly Paired: The Love Affair Behind Silver Oak Cabernet

Silver Oak winery co-founder Bonny Meyers has written an intriguing memoir via Perfectly Paired, which is set for release in May. In short, it is a fascinating story of the making of Silver Oak’s iconic Cabernet through the eyes of Meyers herself.

But what grabbed me outright was the musically-oriented section of the book. Without spoiling too much, there is a story in there from Meyers about the time sjr went to Hawaii to visit “a mate” who was housesitting for John McVie, bassist of Fleetwood Mac. Said “mate” insisted she and her husband stay at John’s house, who supposedly was never there. McVie came back to his home, unexpectedly, and walked into 15 people sitting around his dinning room table. Noted Meyers, the usually-reserved McVie could not have been more gracious and insisted they continue to stay there.

Julian David Stone’s No Cameras Allowed: My Career As An Outlaw Rock & Roll Photographer

No Cameras Allowed tells the story, in words and photos, of how Julian David Stone – entirely by sneaking his equipment into concerts – amassed an incredible archive of over 10,000 rock & roll photos. Starting by simply stashing a camera in his socks, then taping equipment all over his body, to finally customizing a jacket to hide equipment from security guards, he shot dozens of the greatest acts, including Prince, U2, The Police, R.E.M., The Ramones, Elvis Costello, The Talking Heads, The Grateful Dead, Joan Jett, and David Bowie. Culled from Stone’s incredible, never-before-seen archive, No Cameras Allowed contains over 250 of his best photos, along with some of the craziest adventures he had as he evaded oversized roadies, aggressive security, and more than a few drunken fans.

In short, expect a visually-stunning 12×12 coffee table book with over 250 pages, covering 40 different music artists and bands and hundreds of never before seen photos,

Chef Emeril Lagasse’s Power AirFryer 360 Cookbook

Emeril Lagasse’s Power AirFryer 360 rotisserie spit can accommodate up to a 6-pound chicken and ensure the meat is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The rotation of the meat allows the protein to cook evenly in its own juices, more so than if one were to cook the protein on a cooking rack, with easy cleanup. The intuitive heating elements ensure the protein reaches the perfect temperature every time, so there’s no need to stand in front of a hot oven or fussing with a meat thermometer.

Accompanying the AirFryer 360 is a cookbook which is full of top-notch, Lagasse-approved recipes. This includes recipes for a Turkey Roulade with Peach & Sage and Cornish Game Hens with Honey, Lemon & Thyme. Rarely does a new kitchen applicance inspire creativity, but Lagasse’s latest cookbook ought to do that for you and plenty more if and when used correctly.

Marty Stuart’s The Pilgrim: Wall-To-Wall Odyssey

On Valentine’s Day, country music legend Marty Stuart released The Pilgrim: A Wall-to-Wall Odyssey, a beautifully-illustrated, 11″ by 10.5″ tabletop book that details the making of his seminal record The Pilgrim. Interestingly, the book also comes with a CD.

The Pilgrim, Stuart’s tenth studio album, was originally released in 1999. While not a commercial success at the time, The Pilgrim represents a rediscovery of Stuart’s roots and a creative rebirth that has since become a modern-day country music classic. This hefty hardcover volume, however, is about much more than just one landmark album. It’s about spiritual discovery, artistic integrity, and a vision that set Stuart on an enlightened path.

Originally available in limited release during the 20th anniversary celebration of the album in the fall, The Pilgrim book is now available as a wide-release title via BMG, which began publishing music-related books in 2017. The aforementioned accompanying newly-remastered CD includes the original album, along with 10 bonus tracks that feature a wide array of top-tier guest performances, including Ralph Stanley, Emmylou Harris, Uncle Josh Graves, Earl Scruggs, and Stuart’s wife, Grand Ole Opry legend Connie Smith. Meanwhile, the book includes intimate photographs of Stuart making music with Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Rick Nelson, Bill Monroe, Bob Dylan, B.B. King, Tom Petty, John Lee Hooker, Willie Nelson, Keith Richards, George Jones, and Dolly Parton, among others.

Ben Sidran’s The Ballad Of Tommy LiPuma

Award-winning musician, writer and broadcaster Ben Sidran tells the little-known story of music executive Tommy LiPuma in the aptly-titled new biography The Ballad Of Tommy LiPuma. Available on May 5th, Sidran’s book was largely based on more than 80 hours of interviews of LiPuma by Sidran, who recorded three albums for LiPuma’s Blue Thumb Records in the early 1970s. It’s an inspired account of how music saved one man’s life, and how he went on to affect the lives of millions.

Without giving too much away, it spins the engaging story of LiPuma’s career, from his origins as a jazz-obsessed tenor saxophonist in Midwestern territory bands to fame and fortune as the Grammy Award-winning producer of titles by George Benson and Natalie Cole and a peer of superstars like Barbra Streisand, Paul McCartney and Willie Nelson. It also delves deeply into LiPuma’s deft work as a jazz producer prior to his Blue Thumb days. LiPuma was a one-of-a-kind character in many ways, and Sidran’s well-written title helps reinforce that concept.

Sonia Kurtz & Steven Grasse’s The Good Reverend’s Guide To Infused Spirits

Subtitled “Alchemical Cocktails, Healing Elixirs, and Cleansing Solutions for the Home and Bar,” this title provides over 100 recipes for infusions, tinctures, cocktails, cordials, elixirs, punches, and even household cleaners. Ultimately, this handbook will teach you to replicate famous liqueurs and classic cocktails, and help you prepare perfect garnishes and celebratory toasts. With step-by-step instructions and photos, you will learn processes culinary, scientific, and alchemical to improve everything from your parties to your health. In turn, you willl learn the processes of osmosis and dissolution that create the perfect infusions.

Related to Kurtz and Grasse’s book, Good Reverend’s Universal Spirit Vodka is a 151-proof vodka and serves as the main ingredient to each recipe in the book. Offering a multitude of versatile uses, this high-ABV spirit is corn-based and can be used to create infusions such as tinctures and cordials, energy cleaning concoctions, and cocktails. Described as a “DIY-kit in a bottle,” the Universal Spirit allows its users to create their own concoctions at home, saving them both time and money. Notably The Universal Spirit is a product of Art In The Age. The Philadelphia-based Art In the Age Tasting Room & Home Bar Supply is the workshop and testing ground for Quaker City Mercantile, and the only place to taste the company’s newest innovations. It serves as a designated satellite location for New Liberty Distilling, allowing the store to sell New Liberty’s products as well as new Art In The Age products which were bottled exactly there on-site.

Lou Brutus’ Sonic Warrior

Lou Brutus is arguably one of the most influential and respected rock radio hosts of the century. That labeling aside, Brutus is a music industry legend and a self-proclaimed “professional music fan” and was arguably the first DJ to introduce the world to Slipknot, Disturbed, Godsmack, Avenged Sevenfold, Sevendust and countless other rock-oriented artists of note.

On April 14th he will release his first book Sonic Warrior: My Life As A Rock N Roll Reprobate (Tales Of Sex, Drugs & Vomiting At Inopportune Moments. Sonic Warrior is a collection of insane-but-true stories from his storied career. Each chapter is a separate tale that careens around his 40+ years of covering concerts, interviewing music’s biggest stars and influencing generations of radio listeners. The book also features a foreword by his friend Corey Taylor, Grammy Award-winning singer for Slipknot and Stone Sour, as well as an original illustration for each chapter by artist Alan MacBain.

Alan Leeds’ There Was A Time: James Brown, The Chitlin’ Circuit & Me

In the mid-1960s, Alan Leeds was a young DJ looking for his way into the music business. He had no way of knowing that an interview with James Brown would lead to the opportunity of a lifetime. Brown ultimately hired Leeds to help coordinate the remainder of his tour and before long, Leeds was wearing many hats and traveling around the world with Brown as his official tour manager.

In his new book, There Was A Time — part-memoir and part music-history –Leeds gives a behind-the-scenes look at the Chitlin’ Circuit during America’s most vital period of soul music and weaves a new, remarkable portrait of James Brown as an artist and businessman who was incredibly determined to stand out from other soul artists of the time.

Spoiler alert: Leeds would also go on to serve as a tour manager for plenty of other entertainment legends, including Prince, Chris Rock, D’Angelo, and Kool & The Gang.

Douglas Esper’s Reintroducing Chuck Mosley: Life On & Off The Road

Original Faith No More vocalist (and later Bad Brains frontman) Chuck Mosley inspired multiple generations of musicians. Case in point, said Jonathan Davis of Korn about Mosley: “I was blown away by his voice. So original. Chuck has a great style that you can tell it’s him as soon as he starts singing. I’m a big fan and I was honored when he asked me to appear on his new stuff.”

For Reintroducing Chuck Mosley, author Douglas Esper — Mosley’s “fan, band mate, cheerleader, unknowing drug mule, AA plus one, friend” and more — chronicled their 150+ shows together on the row and plenty more. Notably, Esper will appear in the upcoming horror film Dwellers, as produced by Dave Ellefson of Megadeth’s own Ellefson Films.

Derek Sandhaus’ Drunk In China

Drunk In China — as subtitled “Baijiu & The World’s Oldest Drinking Culture” was released in November 2019 and won the 2020 Gourmand Award in Spirits. Drunk In China follows Derek Sandhaus’s journey of discovery into the world’s oldest drinking culture. He travels throughout the country and around the globe to meet with distillers, brewers, snake-oil salesmen, archaeologists, and ordinary drinkers. He examines the many ways in which alcohol has shaped Chinese society and its rituals. He visits production floors, karaoke parlors, hotpot joints, and speakeasies.

Sandhaus is also a co-founder of the Ming River Sichuan Baijiu and author of Baijiu: The Essential Guide To Chinese Spirits, the first English-language book on the subject. A smart gentleman, to say the (least.

Paul Rees’ The Ox: The Authorized Biography Of The Who’s John Entwistle

Simply put, author Paul Rees has written the definitive, no-holds-barred biography of John Entwistle, The Who’s legendary bass guitarist. In the 18 years since the untimely passing of Entwistle, the bassist remains an enigmatic yet undeniably influential figure. However, many of unlike his fellow influential musicians, Entwistle has yet to be the subject of a major biography until Rees got on the case.

For the first time, and with the full cooperation of the Entwistle family, The Ox shines a long overdue light on one of the most important figures in rock history. Drawing on his own notes for an unfinished autobiography that he started before his death in 2002, as well as his personal archives and interviews with his family and friends, The Ox gives readers a never-before-seen glimpse into the two very distinct poles of John Entwistle. On the one hand, he was the rock star incarnate-larger than life, self-obsessed to a fault, and proudly and almost defiantly so.

Extravagant with money, Entwistle famously shipped vintage American cars across the Atlantic without having so much as a driver’s license, built exponentially bigger and grandiose bars into every home he owned, and amassed an extraordinary collection of possessions. But beneath this fame and flutter, he was also a man of simple tastes and traditional opinions. The Ox explores all of that and plenty more.

Jenny Boyd’s Jennifer Juniper: A Journey Beyond The Muse

Raised in Kenya, Jenny Boyd and her sister Pattie were among London’s top fashion models and witnessed the evolving British music scene firsthand. As Beatle George Harrison’s sister-in-law — and later Eric Clapton’s as well — Jenny Boyd accompanied The Beatles on their well-documented trip to India to study meditation, worked in The Beatles’ London shop Apple, helped run a clothing boutique in San Francisco’s North Beach during the momentous “Summer of Love,” and became part of the chaotic 1970’s traveling circus that was Fleetwood Mac while married to the band’s Mick Fleetwood.

Her journey to find her own sense of self and creative ability makes her story both captivating and inspiring. Jennifer Juniper: A Journey Beyond The Muse comes out on March 26, 2020 via Urbane Publications. Boyd will launch the book in the U.S. at the annual New York Metro Fest for Beatles Fans from March 27 through 29, 2020 and will be in the United States in support of Jennifer Juniper: A Journey Beyond The Muse promotional efforts until early May 2020.


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About the Author

Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident with over 20 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. Since then, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer. Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World, TheStreet.com, Businessweek, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal. Beyond being "Editor At Large" for The Hype Magazine, Darren is also the host of the bi-weekly "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" podcast, as co-produced with V13 (formerly PureGrainAudio.com). He has also co-authored two published books, 2018's "Pocket Change: Your Happy Money" (Book Web Publishing) and 2019's "Good Advice From Professional Wrestling" (6623 Press), with a second podcast set for a June 2020 launch.


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