hunger makes me

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir
By Carrie Brownstein
(Riverhead Books)

The ’90s were an exciting time for feminism as the riot grrrl movement gave women a voice, both musically and politically. Among the bands of that era with the most staying power was Sleater-Kinney, a group whose skill and inventiveness earned them a devoted following for more than a decade. In this memoir, S-K’s guitarist and vocalist Carrie Brownstein (who later found a second career as a comic actress on the show Portlandia) details her experience in the band, the story of their rise to the top, and the stressors that ultimately led Brownstein to dissolve the group (at least for a while). Her story is a riveting peek inside the riot grrrl scene in Olympia, WA, and her writing is strongest when she describes the passion and sheer joy she experiences by connecting with music. Review by Adrienne Urbanski

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I’ll Never Write My Memoirs
By Grace Jones with Paul Morley
(Gallery Books)

Larger-than-life entertainer Grace Jones did what she swore she wouldn’t in I’ll Never Write My Memoirs. And, girl, did she let the champagne flow. “Before” and “After” sections sandwich 20 dishy chapters that cover Jones’ Jamaican upbringing, showing up late to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s wedding, her hot-ass relationship with Dolph Lundgren, modeling adventures with Jerry Hall and Jessica Lange, innovative music career, drugs, disco balls, over-the-top get-ups, and several orgasms. “I won’t tell all my secrets, but enough,” she promises. “Enough for you to think, I don’t believe you. That never happened. I don’t care if you don’t believe me. The best secrets are beyond belief.” It should be mentioned that timelines are extremely loose here, because Jones has never taken note of time, nor does she know how old she is. Seriously, she just doesn’t give a shit. She’s Grace Jones. Review by Whitney Dwire

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patti smith

M Train
By Patti Smith
(Alfred A. Knopf)

When Patti Smith—the high priestess of punk-rock poetry—won The National Book Award in 2010 for her early-life memoir Just Kids, she set a new literary standard for celeb autobiography. In this follow-up volume that tackles her later years, Smith’s style is much more abstract, meandering, and discursive, as she explores a variety of loves (coffee, TV crime dramas, travel, her husband) and losses (her favorite café, her favorite coat, her favorite boardwalk, her husband). Intellectually rigorous and generously layered with cultural references that will send readers bouncing between Smith’s prose and their Wikipedia app, M Train is the closest thing Patti Smith fans have to walking the world in her shoes. Review by Emily Rems

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These reviews originally appeared in the October/November print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today

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