From “They say California is a recipe for a black hole” in “Pictures of Success”,(2001), to the dreamy images of “Hollywood Lawn” (2019), Maha’s Friday night headliner Jenny Lewis has always held a special place in her music for the Golden State. Read another iconic California writer’s work with “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” by Joan Didion, or entertain yourself with some historic drama in the industry that introduced Lewis into entertainment with “The Castle on Sunset: Life, Death, Love, Art, and Scandal at Hollywood's Chateau Marmont” by Shawn Levy. For something more timely, pick up “The Dreamt Land: Chasing Water and Dust Across California” by Mark Arax. If these titles have put westward travel on your mind or in your future, grab “The Best Coast, A Road Trip Atlas : Illustrated Adventures Along the West Coast's Historic Highways” by Chandler O’Leary. “There are no bad words for the coast today,” indeed.
From her first solo venture featuring the Watson Twins, Lewis has explored style and visual aesthetics to compliment her music. Throughout her career, Lewis’ commitment to a visual theme has been both strong and playful. For reads that reflect on style, check out “Pink: The History of A Punk, Pretty, Powerful Color, opens a new window” by Valerie Steele, or “Creating the Illusion: A Fashionable History of Hollywood Costume Designers” by Jay Jorgenson. It wouldn’t be a conversation about Lewis’ fashion without mentioning her signature 1950s-style Nudie suits. It’s a pretty straight line from the most famous of the bunch to “A Woman's Guide to Cannabis: Using Marijuana to Feel Better, Look Better, Sleep Better--and Get High Like A Lady” by Nikki Furrer.
I’ll leave you with a little fiction to round out these Jenny Lewis read-a-likes. For something with the same tone as the title track off of “Acid Tongue,” (think, “To be lonely is a habit like smoking or taking drugs / And I've quit them both, but, man, was it rough”) pick up “The Gin Closet” by Leslie Jamison. If you’re more of a “Rabbit Fur Coat” type, try “The Gulf” by Belle Boggs, a witty novel about an atheist running a residency for Christian writers. Finally, explore two different parts of the decade that heavily influence her aesthetics, sound and lyrics with “One Night in Georgia” by Celeste Norfleet, and “Revolutionaries” by Joshua Furst.
If you like the idea of reading recommendations based off of you favorite bands or performers, visit the Well-Read Collective, opens a new window at OPL’s booth in the Community Village at MAHA, Saturday, August 17, or request a custom reading list anytime.