Howard Sounes Chronicles The Life Of
New York's Bitter Bard
The Life of Lou Reed: Notes from The Velvet Underground
by Howard Sounes
2019 Diversion Books, New York, NY
384 pages with 8-page photo insert
ISBN 9781635766387 Hardcover $26.99
9781635766412 eBook $9.99
When Lou Reed died in 2013, the general reaction among music journalists and critics was a mix of admiration for the body of work he left behind and speculation about his life. In death, he joined the ranks of singer-songwriters like Warren Zevon and Frank Zappa, artists who were phenomenally talented, but difficult to the extent they were often their own worst enemies in both professional and personal arenas.
Longtime fans will not be surprised by the surfeit of less than cuddly moments. In fact, most, if not all of the stories that are canonical to the lore of Reed's persona are there. What sets this apart from many celebrity biographies is Howard Sounes' journalistic integrity. Every position the author takes that confirms or contradicts what we think we know about Lou Reed is backed up with quotes from interviews with the people who were there.
In spite of the reference to The Velvet Underground in the title, Notes from The Velvet Underground covers Reed's entire life from his tumultuous childhood to his final years of relative contentment and happiness with Laurie Anderson. This book is exhaustively researched, with copious endnotes, a bibliography, and an acknowledgement that could be taken as subtle nod to recommended reading for anyone who wants to go deeper into Lou Reed's years with The Velvet Underground.
Don't let the strong journalistic underpinnings scare you off. This is not a dry historic monograph. The overall feel of the book is intimate. Sounes brings you along and lets his subjects tell their stories. There are places where it is easy to read the prose in the clipped rat-a-tat verbal cadences of people from the boroughs sharing what they remember. The music matters, and Reed's life is a hero's journey in the mythic sense, but at its heart, this is one of many New York stories, and a great one at that.
19 September 2019
ARC Giveaway details:
Want to read The Life of Lou Reed for yourself? I'll do a drawing for the arc on Saturday, September 28th, 2019. Keep in mind this is for an advance reader copy.
To enter, simply send me a note stating you want the book by 12:01 am CST on September 28th. One more thing: Please, please, please ENTER ONCE. I'll disqualify you like the harsh wench I can be if you blow up my email with multiple entries.
Here's a link to the contact form: ENTER HERE!