{Book Talk} So, two musicians walk into a publishing house …

I find it slightly amusing that I never ever read memoir/autobiography-type books and then I go ahead and read TWO in one month. One was kind of a fluke and one was highly anticipated. BOTH were pretty awesome.

where i belongFirst off, we have Where I Belong by Alan Doyle. Alan is the lead singer from the Canadian band Great Big Sea, a band I remember listening to PLENTY of times growing up since my brother was a fan. I wouldn’t say that I ever went out of my way to listen to them as I grew older, but after reading Alan’s memoir I really want to go and find some of their music to listen to! I feel like their music is just rooted in Canada and old folk songs and since I’m older (and wiser) I thnk I would really enjoy it.

Anyway, right from the first pages, I was in love with this book. Alan has such a way with words and storytelling that it was hard to NOT get sucked into the stories. It was a lot of fun reading about growing up in Petty Harbour and while Alan’s stories weren’t always easy to stomach (really … there was one story that involved a hook and a hand and I just about got sick), he really conveyed the innocence of growing up in the small town. Not only that, but I could just see the beauty of the land as I read … when I finished reading, I really, really wanted to go visit Petty Harbour and see all the sites Alan talked about — and hopefully one day I’ll be able to!

I had originally started reading this book because Alan was coming to town for a book signing. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it to the signing (though Brie from A Slice of Brie was nice enough to get a book signed for me!) but I’m so so glad that I read this book! It brought a whole new perspective of growing up in Canada to me and I hope to read more stories from that part of the country. And it just goes to show some of the great talent we have to offer!

And now for something completely different …

the art of askingI never actually started listening to Amanda Palmer’s music until early this summer, so I am a brand new fan! I completely fell in love with her music and just her as a person, since I was following her on Twitter and Facebook. When I heard she had a book coming out, I was very excited since that meant I could read something by her in conjunction with listening to her albums whenever I’m in the car (my husband can attest to this — I listen to them on repeat ALL the time).

Admittedly, I wasn’t one of those super fans while reading this. I didn’t fall over myself crying and the book didn’t change my life, but it really was an inspiring read. It wasn’t your typical autobiography because the book wasn’t intended to be like that. I personally would love to read more about Amanda growing up and how she got into music and all that, but this book was more about asking for help and how it’s okay to ask for help. Some of it was repetitive but it worked, it really helped the message hit home.

I felt like the whole book was a perfect blend of personal and business and I kind of loved the sections where Amanda talked about her and Neil the most. I will admit, I was one of those people who thought that Neil and Amanda’s relationship was a joke in the beginning, but after I’ve had months to see them interact together and to read about their relationship, I couldn’t see it any other way. I feel like they completely compliment one another and it’s just such a beautiful thing to see them support one another in everything they do.

While I may not have been a superfan before I began reading this book, the whole story made me love Amanda even more and I find myself listening to her music more than I did before (if that’s even possible). Not only that, but I feel like she helped me with not only my business, but also as a person in feeling that it’s okay to ask people for help — I don’t have to feel like everything should be done just by me.

Such a great read for Amanda fans and non-Amanda fans alike!

I’m kind of stoked that I have a signed copy of BOTH of these books. After I finished, I wanted to read more non-fiction books, too! And while Alan and Amanda are completely different in their music, I feel like they’d totally get along if they met in real life.

Have you read either of these books? What did you think? What’s your favourite book by a musician? 



8 thoughts on “{Book Talk} So, two musicians walk into a publishing house …

  1. I really want to read Where I Belong at some point, I think I actually want to buy a copy instead of using the library too. I love their music and based on your review it sounds like it would be good.
    I haven’t heard of the other singer, but I’ll try and check out some of her music and you never know, I might end up liking it. 🙂

    • I hope you check out both the books and the music! 🙂 I think I loved the Alan Doyle book mainly because it was so Canadian … and it really shed light on a part of the country that sounds so beautiful!

      And Amanda’s music is awesome … I hope you can check it out!

  2. I have read very few biographies. I can’t even think of one, honestly. I’ve got my eye on the 33 1/3 series, which are books about albums – not really biography, but still non-fiction and musicy!

    So Amanda Palmer – I admit, the only thing I know about her is the controversy that sprang up a while ago – a year ago maybe? Something about her doing a Kickstarter and misusing the funds? There seem to be as many haters as rabid fans. It all seems a little odd to me!

    • I don’t think it was her misusing the funds, but people not understanding what exactly the funds raised were for. I know she raised over a million dollars, but with kickstarter, you’re also promising things to people at certain price levels and they have to be created and paid for, plus there’s the album itself that needs to be created and paid for (studio time, packaging, etc.). I think there were people in the music business that just didn’t understand why she was asking for help, but I thought it was pretty awesome that she was trying to include devoted fans in her music so much. I find that authors are getting more and more connected with their fans, but musicians still seem to be this elusive, untouchable thing, so it’s nice to see a musician who’s being honest and asking for help, even when society thinks that they shoudn’t. And I think it was mostly the higher ups in the music business who said she shouldn’t be doing it because she was showing that you CAN do it a different way. Sure, not all musicians have the outreach she does, but with social media these days, I think that’s changing.

      I don’t read a lot of biographies either … and then two in a row! I’ll have to read more in the future …

  3. I can’t believe you’ve never really listened to Great Big Sea!! They are one of my top 5 favourite bands! And the one band I would choose to see live over and over and over! We have all their albums, but if you need to start with one, go with their recent greatest hits album: XX. I’m still working my way through the book, but it’s an enjoyable read!

    • I’ll have to try that one out! We don’t go to concerts at all really, anymore. Sometimes if a favourite singer of mine comes to town, I’ll see them, but I’m super picky about venues. I hate the HUGE concerts, but love the more intimate ones.

      It was really good! I’d love to visit Petty Harbour one day. 🙂

My home is where my books are. - Ellen Thompson

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s