At the weekend I was browsing in the music section of the bookshop when I noticed something – all the books on the five shelves appeared to be written by men. At first I thought it was a mistake. Surely my hyper sensitive feminist brain was just seeing things? So I checked each shelf more carefully this time.
There was an array of different autobiographies, biographies, historical books, music related memoirs by journalists and fans, academic music books, photography books, list books etc and it looked like every single one of them was written by men, mainly about male artists. They may as well have called the section ‘men’s interest’ or ‘no women allowed’ such was our gender’s exclusion from the narrative.
Then just as I was about to storm off in another rage at the patriarchy I took one last look. Wait a sec! I spotted one! The name of the writer was Virginia Grohl and I picked up the book to discover that it was written by Dave’s mother, exploring the perils of raising a rock star. All was not lost. The book looked interesting to me and I was going to buy it but then I realised if I did there really would be no women in the music section at all (plus it cost £20). This might have been a one-off bad selection at a bookshop but it illustrated a wider problem: women are underrepresented everywhere in the music industry.
So I placed the book back on the shelf and decided there and then that I would start a music book club on the blog.
One of my most popular posts on the blog is my overview of favourite music books written by women so I know there are people out there looking for recommendations. Not every music fan is interested in another book about Bowie or the Beatles written by greying old men.
This is how the book club will work: each month I will read a book related to music written by a woman, write a review and post a few questions to facilitate a discussion. If you would like to read the chosen selection that would be awesome, although I don’t mind being the only member of the club. By recommending the books I will be doing my bit to promote women writing about music and that is the most important thing.
The first selection for the book club will be ‘Composed’ by Rosanne Cash.
Check back here on the 14th April for a review and to join in with the discussion. If you’ve already read the chosen book it would be great to hear your thoughts then too.
Also add me on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/highwayqueens
Let me know if you would like to participate and add any recommendations for future choices in the comments below.