The 14 Best Books for Music Lovers

Like your favorite song, these page turners—fiction and nonfiction alike—will stay with you.

(Image credit: Future)

We've all slipped into internet rabbit holes about our favorite songs, singers, and performances. Music can bind to our life moments, marrying melody to memory and imbuing that song or that band with impossible-to-explain meaning. For that reason, music—and the people who create it—can carry a mysterious magic: How did somebody just come up with the soundtrack to our summer, breakup, graduation, relationship?

To help answer that question, countless books have sprouted to explore the kaleidoscopic nature of music, its performers, and the people who love both. Like wading through an artist’s B-sides, there's plenty to dig into, depending on how niche you're willing to get. Below, we've compiled a starter reading list for music lovers, no matter your genre of choice. From novels about super fans and front-door girls to biographies about living icons and memories that spill the story behind the songs, these books belong in any music lover's library.

'Y/N' by Esther Yi

'Madonna: a Rebel Life' by Mary Gabriel

'Just Kids' by Patti Smith

'Supreme Sirens: Iconic Black Women Who Revolutionized Music' by Marcellas Reynolds

'Lo Fi' by Liz Riggs

'A Little Devil in America' by Hanif Abdurraqib

'Daisy Jones & the Six' by Taylor Jenkins Reid

'Night Train to Nashville: the Greatest Untold Story of Music City' by Paula Blackman

'Decoding "Despacito": an Oral History of Latin Music' by Leila Cobo

'Music Is History' by Questlove

'Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics' by Dolly Parton

'Nobody Ever Asked Me About the Girls: Women, Music and Fame' by Lisa Robinson

'The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes' by Elissa R. Sloan

'Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001-2011' by Lizzy Goodman

Liz Doupnik

Liz is a freelance fashion and lifestyle journalist. With nearly 20 years of experience working in digital publishing, she applies rigorous editorial judgment to every project, without losing her sense of humor. A pop culture fanatic—and an even bigger book nerd—Liz is always on the quest to discover the next story before it breaks. She thrives at identifying cultural undercurrents and relating it to larger shifts that impact industries, shoppers, and readers.