Performing Arts | Nonfiction Previews, Jun. 2017, Pt. 2

Aikman, Becky. Off the Cliff: How the Making of Thelma & Louise Drove Hollywood to the Edge. Penguin Pr. Jun. 2017. 288p. ISBN 9781594206719. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780698405639. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. FILM
Former Business Week/Newsday reporter Aikman explains how 30-year-old production assistant aikmanCallie Khouri persisted in the face of considerable indifference to write a film script that won her an Oscar for best original screenplay (becoming the first woman to have won on her own since 1932). Decades later, Thelma and Louise remains an iconic films that still serves as a lightning rod for feminist films and aspirations in the industry.

Hart, Kevin with Neil Strauss. I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons. Atria. Jun. 2017. 256p. ISBN 9781501155567. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781501155581. MEMOIR
Award-winning actor and comedian Hart has appeared in films that together grossed over $3.5 billion, and his tours sell out football stadiums. There’s no doubt from this memoir that the road he trod on the way to stardom was rough. His solution to managing the world: “Why not choose the interpretation that serves your life the best?”

Powers, Ann. Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music. Dey Street: Harper Collins. Jun. 2017. 256p. ISBN 9780062463692. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062463715. MUSIC
NPR music critic Powers, a Deems Taylor Award winner, moves from the 19th-century New Orleans music scene to Jazz Age New York to mid-century teen fandom and the current craze for web-based pop stars to explain how popular music became America’s primary erotic art form. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

Sachs, Harvey. Toscanini: Musician of Conscience. Liveright: Norton. Jun. 2017. 992p. ISBN 9781631492716. $39.95. MUSIC
Music historian Sachs offers a massive life-and-times of one of the 20th century’s greatest toscaninimusicians—not a composer but Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini, known for his phenomenal memory, passionate performances, and fierce opposition to Nazism and Fascism. Just in time for the 150th anniversary of Toscanini’s birth.

Setoodeh, Ramin. The Ladies of The View: How Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie O’Donnell, and Their Quarreling Co-Hosts Transformed Daytime TV. Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. Jun. 2017. 320p. ISBN 9781250112095. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250112101. TELEVISION
Barbara Walters’s idea of creating a daytime talk show hosted by women addressing key social and political ideas seemed radical in 1997 (in fact, ABC executives thought she was crazy). But the show has since become a long-running and lucrative proposition generating its own controversy and sometimes making news. New York bureau chief for Variety, Setoodeh tracks the show’s history.

Wolff, Daniel. Grown-Up Anger: The Connected Mysteries of Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, and the Calumet Massacre of 1913. Harper. Jun. 2017. 369p. ISBN 9780062451699. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062451712. MUSIC
With or without a Nobel Prize, Bob Dylan attracts attention. This study traces the underlying rage in early Dylan to his hero Woody Guthrie and particularly to Guthrie’s song “1913 Massacre,” honoring the 74 people who died at a union Christmas party during a strike in Calumet, MI. Personal testimonial, too, about the passion ignited when 13-year-old Wolff first heard Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone.” From an award-winning music historian and filmmaker; with a mitchellj30,000-copy first printing.

Yaffe, David. Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell. Sarah Crichton: Farrar. Jun. 2017. 544p. ISBN 9780374248130. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780374715601. MUSIC
The author of Fascinating Rhythm: Reading Jazz in American Writing and Bob Dylan: Like a Complete Unknown, Yaffe turns his attention to one of the great originals of 20th-century music, whose voice and lyrics could cut through anything. Lot of interviews with folks (e.g., Joan Baez, Judy Collins, and Leonard Cohen) themselves of deep interest.


Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.