Now, if you're like me and don't feel quite up-to-date with the music scene, a good way to get into the spirit of things here is stacking up a pile of musically themed books to get your toes a-tapping.
A fine example is Windy City Blues by Renee Rosen, set in Chicago during the late 1950s. Leeba Groski starts working at Chess Records, run by her neighbor Leonard, and at first, it's strictly just another job for her.
After seeing and getting to know the many amazing artists that are flocking to the label such as Muddy Waters, Etta James and Chuck Berry, Leeba finds encouragement to pursue her own dreams as a songwriter. She also falls in love with Red Dupree, an African American guitarist whose friends are as less than thrilled about their relationship as her Orthodox Jewish family is.
On the cusp of the growing Civil Rights Movement, Leeba and Red must strengthen their love during such troubled times through the power of their music. I've never read Renee Rosen before but she does appear to write about Chicago quite a bit,so this should be an engaging read with solid background knowledge. While the book isn't out until later this month(2/28,to be precise) it sounds like a timely page turner that you can reserve for your after party entertainment:
For something to read a little sooner, Alexander Chee's The Queen of the Night is readily available in paperback. This gorgeous tale of Lillet Berne, the ultimate diva who travels from one country to the next and one identity to the next with only her incredible voice as her constant guide, is a true opera in the best sense of the term.
Don't be daunted by the opera setting; this story has plenty of open doorways from folks who love historical fiction, fans of epic romance and those who enjoy watching the highs and lows that mark the path of a musical legend:
Most of the story is set in 1988, when a fifteen year old Mercedes "Meche" Vega discovers that she can use music to cast spells that can change her life for the better. Aided by her two best friends Sebastian and Daniela, Meche feels powerful and in control for the first time in her life.
Yet that power comes with a price and it could cost her a friend or even worse. This is a beautifully written novel that sings a song of regret and love, the kind that you can't resist playing just one more time:
Of course, a list like this wouldn't be complete without having Nick Hornby's contemporary classic, High Fidelity, on it.
While High Fidelity has become a pop culture realm where you can find the walking,talking definition of a die hard music fan(to the point of snobbery), the deeper notes of the novel takes the reader as well as frustrated in love leading man Rob on a journey towards maturity.
Accepting maturity doesn't mean you have to give up certain cherished interests there, what the story showcases nicely is that you need to make what you truly love work for you. In other words, music is supposed to reflect your life , not the other way around and Hornby sets up that mixtape message up perfectly:
Hopefully, any one of these books will give you the right beat to enjoy the Grammy awards and in my opinion, finding that special song is much like finding a great book.
Flipping through the racks or shelves gives you a rush as each title with it's colorful covers briefly engages your eye and interest and when you do finally stop to select that perfect one to take home with you, it can become a truly memorable moment in your life, much like winning an award: