"Who I Am"
HarperCollins: 544 pp, $32.50
The Who mastermind has served for decades as one of rock's most fearless seekers, and in this long-anticipated book he plunges headlong into red-letter episodes including Who bassist John Entwistle's unexpected 2002 death and Townshend's 2003 arrest on child-pornography charges (he was later cleared).
Most rock 'n' roll line: "I had no doubt whatsoever that if I had failed to deliver The Who an operatic masterpiece that would change people's lives, with 'Pinball Wizard' I was giving them something almost as good: a hit."
"In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death & Duran Duran"
Dutton: 387 pages, $27.95
Unlike most cred-obsessed rockers, the Duran Duran bassist presents his (and the band's) story as one of substance in the service of style. And his natural raconteur's wit lends Duran's ruthless ambition some crucial charm.
Most rakish line: "Now, as the dark streets of Birmingham flashed past the cab, we plotted an audacious goal for this band of ours that had so far written only ten songs: to headline shows at Hammersmith Odeon by '82, Wembley by '83, and New York's
"Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir"
Cyndi Lauper, with Jancee Dunn
Atria: 338 pp, $26
One of the
Most revealing line: "So when my mom came home from work one day and said she was in love, we all were happy for her and thought it would be better. But unfortunately, she married a pedophile who beat and bullied her."
"Coal to Diamonds: A Memoir"
Beth Ditto, with Michelle Tea
Spiegel & Grau: 176, $22
This Arkansas-born belter leads Gossip, a fiery disco-punk trio whose cult-fave renown seems not quite to have justified the memoir treatment. Aware of that disconnect, perhaps, Ditto's tone here vacillates curiously between the bildungsroman and the kaffeeklatsch.
Most digressive line: "My friend Lyndell is an amazing hairdresser, and she has recurrent dreams that her hands are cut off and she can never work with hair again, slicing locks into feathering cascades, blunting a bob, building a sculpture with a can of hairspray and a fistful of bobby pins."