This week, we're collaborating with Books Are My Bag to talk about all of the joys of shopping on the high street. Record Shops and bookshops have faced similar changes and transformations over the last few years and so we’re proud to join in the high street festivities of the #onlyonthehighstreet campaign. If you pop over to the BAMB blog now, Ashlie Green of David’s Music shares her 10 albums inspired by books.
Nic Bottomley, owner of award-winning independent bookshop Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath shares his top 10 books inspired by music for Books Are My Bag 2016. An award-winning bookshop, Mr B’s opened its doors to the people of Bath in June 2006 after owners Nic and Juliette Bottomley left their jobs as city lawyers in London and Prague in favour of a career in independent bookselling. With a fantastic team (including bookshop dog Vlashka!), the thriving bookshop offers unique experiences including the popular Reading Spa – a bookish pampering session with recommendations suited to your favourite reads, a pot of tea and cake! Another new addition to their impressive catalogue, Mr B’s also has its very own publishing collective called Fox Finch and Tepper with a focus on resurrecting literary fiction titles they feel deserve much more recognition and a greater audience. Wonderfully-curated and beautifully designed, the shop is a must-see for book lovers. As part of the Books Are My Bag campaign taking place this week, the first-ever National Bookshop Day kicks off tomorrow, Saturday 8th October celebrating all bricks and mortar bookshops with more information including participating bookshops available here.
Top 10 books inspired by music
Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon (Fiction)
A homage to life and work in an independent vinyl store, the community that such places can create and to the battles that independent businesses of many types face when developers and councillors combine forces to bring about unwelcome change.
Bound for Glory by Woody Guthrie (Autobiography)
There’s one scene early on in this autobiography in which the usually modest author accidentally lets slip just how important he was in keeping hope alive in Great Depression and dust-bowl addled America. A young boy takes off his shirt and hands it to Guthrie as they sit side-by-side atop a railroad wagon heading into a rainstorm. Guthrie resists, but the boy won’t have it anyway – the shirt must be used to protect Guthrie’s guitar.
Accordion Crimes by Annie Proulx (Fiction)
A sweeping portrait of America’s melting pot told through the meanderings of a Sicilian accordion that arrives into Ellis Island in New York and then reappears to play the music at the heart of communities from zydeco in Louisiana to polkas by Mexican immigrants in Texas. The story itself revolves around the folk who acquire and play the instrument, but the music is often the star.
The Chitlin’ Circuit and the Road to Rock by Preston Lauterbach (Music History)
A fascinating account of the bars and clubs in working class black America where rock and roll was born and legends like Little Richard cut their teeth. It’s not the future stars that are the focus here though so much as the birth of the R&B sound, the grimly atmospheric dives themselves and the hoodlums who ran them.
R Crumb’s Heroes of Blues, Jazz and Country by Robert Crumb (Illustrated/Comic)
Underground comic man extraordinaire reveals his true passion – music – with this book compiling the contents of three sets of trading cards he wrote and illustrated in the 1980s to give his own very personal view of the crucial.
31 Songs by Nick Hornby (Music)
A very personal selection from the man behind “High Fidelity” of the songs that have acted as the soundtrack to his life and why they are so important to him.
Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen (Autobiography)
Released this September 2016 and quite simply the most eagerly anticipated memoir by a performing artist of all time (in my house at least). This account of over 45 years of live performance and some agonising studio sessions in between promises to be every bit as compelling as his shows.
Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Boys, Boys, Boys, Music, Music, Music by Viv Albertine (Autobiography)
No-holds barred memoir from the guitarist of post-punk all-female band, The Slits, who toured with The Clash in the late 1970s and released the hugely influential album “Cut” in 1979. The swearing starts on word 9 of the intro, but these are the musings of a woman who hung out with The Sex Pistols so how could it be any other way? A punchy patchwork of memories that document and incredible period of music history.
The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos (Fiction)
This tale of two brothers from Cuba picked up the Pulitzer Prize in the late 1980s. Sensual, smoky and intoxicating this novel moves from Havana to New York and has a dramatic plot that contemplates what it’s like to have a fragment of fame and then fade away.
M Train by Patti Smith (Memoir)
A memoir that is as near as we’ll ever come to being allowed to accompany a music legend and their notepad around their favourite writing and relaxing haunts. Wander from New York to cities around the world as she explores the landscapes of her heroes (she makes a pilgrimage to Frieda Kahlo’s house) and introduces us to many of her favourite writers.
Bookshops and record shops alike, it is only on the high street you can get … helpful and knowledgeable staff - booksellers and record store owners sure know their stuff; the luxury of browsing – browsing the bookshelves or flicking through vinyl, an experience no online retailer can beat; instant gratification – no need to wait for delivery – leaving a shop with a new book/record in your (tote) bag IS gratifying and you don’t have to wait at home for the postman (bonus!). There are many reasons why shopping on the high street is such a special experience and why as a community, we must do more to keep our high streets thriving.
#BookshopDay takes place Saturday 8th October – why not pop by your local bookshop and treat yourself to a new book?