In what is definitely the biggest music book of the year, Sir Elton John follows the release of his biopic Rocketman with Me (Holt, $30), his first and only official autobiography. Elton John does not need an introduction, but this book is a cathartic, no-holds-barred memoir. There are dark years of addiction and recovery, losses of friends, and a battle with cancer. The memoir was written with the help of British music critic Alexis Petridis, but John’s voice comes through clearly in the final version. He is a candid and warm narrator of his own struggles and actions, good and bad, and his passion for life, his friends, and his music shines throughout the volume. Ultimately, Me is about hardearned wisdom and life changes, and while many of us might not carry on such a star-studded dramatic existence, we can definitely appreciate recognition of mistakes and coming to face the darkest parts of our lives. This is a wonderful account of an incredible life.
High School (MCD, $27), perhaps unsurprisingly, is like one of Tegan and Sara’s songs in book form: intimate yet vivid, urgent and animated. Yet their memoir is not only about music, although it does culminate with the duo landing their first record deal, which would lead to nine full-length albums. The twins tell their stories of growing up in ‘90s Calgary in alternating chapters, narrating their teenage confl icts, coming out, fi nding allies, having unrequited crushes, and discovering music. The songwriters’ candid prose style perfectly evokes that time in life when everything was too much, when every moment seemed like a crisis, but also when one desperately needed to know that they were not alone. High School is a queer coming-out-of-age story, a messy journey of adolescence, and a book I wish my teenage self had read.
An extremely underrated aspect of dance performance is the costuming. Placing a dancer in loose, flowing robes as opposed to tights and a dance belt changes the quality of movement, power, and feeling of a piece. Ken Browar and Deborah Ory of NYC Dance Project have a new book, The Style of Movement (Rizzoli,
$75), which combines their groundbreaking dance photography with costume designs from some of the most important names in fashion today, including Dior, Oscar de la Renta, and Valentino (who also wrote the introduction to the book). In an interview, the authors said, “No one can move, or bring life to an item of clothing quite like a dancer. Even when you see a child put on a dress—they twirl in circles to see how it moves with them.” By working directly with the dancers to capture their own unique styles (both fashion and movement), Browar and Ory capture the spirits and authentic joy of the dancers, as well demonstrating that fashion is not a static art form but rather one as dynamic and vital as the dancers who bring them to life.