Fall Guide 2012: Books

'The Encyclopedia of Dead Rock Stars: Heroin, Handguns, and Ham Sandwiches' (Second Edition)

By Jeremy Simmonds, November 1

Granted, there have been two previous versions of this morbid look at the music business, first published in 2006 as Number One in Heaven and later updated with the new title in 2008. But the rash of shocking, untimely deaths since then, including Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, and Whitney Houston, certainly merits a "30 percent increase" in content, and in addition to the superstars, the heavenly roll call now details the demises of Heavy D, Lux Interior, and TV on the Radio bassist Gerard Smith. Simmonds manages to be thorough and reverent yet wry, pointing out, for example, the irony that Faith Evans and Puffy commemorated Biggie's unsolved murder by sampling a song by the Police. Chicago Review, 768 pp., $24.95

Memoirist of the county?
Memoirist of the county?


The Village Voice's Fall Arts Guide:
Einstein Heads Back to the Beach
BAM hosts the Return of a now classic avant-garde opera.
By Seth Colter Walls

Let's Irk the Rabbis
Writer Nathan Englander relieves some theater urges.
By Alexis Siloski

Forget Olivier
Andrea Arnold adapts Wuthering Heights.
By Aaron Hillis

Red-Sauce Diaries
For fall, try some classic Italian joints.
By Robert Sietsema

Fall Picks: Art
By Christian Viveros-Fauné

Fall Picks: Books
By James Hannaham

Fall Picks: Dance
By Deborah Jowitt

Fall Picks: Film
By Aaron Hillis

Fall Picks: Music
By Seth Colter Walls

'All You Need to Know About the Music Business' (Eighth Edition)

By Donald S. Passman, December 4

Over the course of its editions, respected entertainment lawyer Passman's avuncular advice has told of a declining industry. This eighth version seems poised to hammer a wooden stake into the heart of the music biz. In the age of downloads legal and illegal, as well as the social-media frenzy, Passman finds himself asking whether musicians need or even want record deals, given that the spoils might be minuscule. When he describes the Byzantine tricks record companies use to keep from paying artists, even the most ambitious musician will no longer want one. Free Press, 480 pp., $32

'Song Reader'

By Beck, December 11

Beck's Song Reader means to one-better Trent Reznor's 2008 you-remix-it album The Slip in a low-tech, artisanal, steampunk way—it's a book of sheet music for 20 previously unreleased songs, with booklets and artwork galore, à la McSweeney's, its publisher. That's right, Beck wrote it, Guero artist Marcel Dzama drew many funky, antique-style illustrations for it, but you are going to play it. Too bad if you can't read sheet music—find a computer program to feed it into or an octogenarian piano teacher to plunk it out for you. Sadly, though, the possibilities for idiosyncratic mayhem and YouTube videos that this release could engender sound more exciting than the prospect of another OK Beck record. McSweeney's, 108 pp., $28

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