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Record Collecting for Girls: Unleashing Your Inner Music Nerd, One Album at a Time Paperback – 6 Sep 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 226 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Original edition (6 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547502230
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547502236
  • Product Dimensions: 20.5 x 13.6 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 912,300 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Paperback. Pub Date: 2011 09 Pages: 240 in Publisher: Mariner Books Record Collecting for Girls is an invitation for all of you stereophiles (who happen to be female) to make your own top-five lists. and then. witharmed and ready with the book's fun facts. to argue their merits to the ever-present boys' club of music snobs in your life. -Sarahbeth Purcell. author of Love Is the Drug and This Is Not a Love Song You never leave home without your iPod. You're always on the lookout for new bands. and you have strong opinions when it comes to music debates. like Beatles vs. Stones. For years. you've listened to guys talk about all things music. but the female perspective has been missing. Until now. Drawing on her personal life as a music enthusiast. as well as her experience working at MTV and in radio. Courtney E. Smith explores what music can tell women about themselves-and th...

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Indolent on 14 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
First of all, let's get the title out of the way. This book is not literally some kind of how-to "guide" on collecting records or being a music fan in general if you happen to be female. In reality it's part memoir, part collection of essays on the music industry and its treatment of women, and on music fandom from the female perspective. That's not to say that women experience music differently from men, but it's still nice to read a book written by a woman as a contrast to the countless memoirs out there penned by male rock journalists and other assorted industry types.

Courtney E. Smith's book is a fun, tongue-in-cheek twist on that whole genre, and well worth the read for any music lover. It's not necessarily a book you'll learn much from if you already have even a passing familiarity with the history of rock and pop music, but rather one that will have you nodding in agreement in a lot of places, and laughing out loud at in others. There were a few parts that I wasn't so interested in which had me zoning out and flipping through the pages until we got back to something I could relate to, but for the most part this book made for an enjoyable, engaging and interesting read.

The author comes across as someone I'd probably want to be friends with if I knew her in real life, a girl who obsesses and fixates to just the right degree (that is to say, the nth degree) about the bands she likes, the bands she doesn't like, and the bands she might like but hasn't heard yet. What's not to love about a girl who can't get enough of Swedish indie music, keeps a special place in her heart for Car Wash Hair by Mercury Rev, and who lets slip that she's listened to Pulp's Razzmatazz forty-one times since 2008? Nothing, that's what.
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By H. Stoevring on 13 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I didn't grow up listening to a lot of classic rock; my mom raised me on mostly pop music so I've always felt there was a big hole in musical knowledge. This book helped me uncover some bands I had heard but never known, and the influences behind music I already loved.

At the same time the author is a great story teller and shares entertaining stories from her life, explaining how they all lead her to love various types of music and many different bands and songs. After each chapter she has included a playlist of the songs mentioned in the chapter, which really ties the whole thing together.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 32 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Badly Marketed, Mostly About Author's Life 7 Sept. 2011
By E. A. Montgomery - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I approached this book expecting rock criticism written by a woman. The first chapter is an excellent essay on that very topic. Sadly for me, the book quickly changes course to focus on the author's love life. Record Collecting reads like a blog to book memoir and as such it's marketing does author and reader no favors. If I had approached this as "My Years At MTV" or "The Guys I Dated And The Music We Listened To" I am certain my reading experience would have been different. Courtney Smith can be entertaining. I might have given it a 3. As a music guide - it's completely lacking. Smith offers little in the way of musical education or expanding one's knowledge base. Her advice is fairly simple, listen to things and see if you like them. Readers expecting a personal memoir will be far more satisfied than readers looking for a woman's take on building a record collection of depth.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Music Nerds: It's Different for Girls 19 Dec. 2011
By A. Whitney - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I agree with author Courtney Smith that music nerdism has largely been the realm of guys, and that women should come forward and embrace their own musical obsessions. I'm just not sure that Smith is the one I want leading me in the charge. I was hoping that it would be inspirational, give ideas for finding new music, that it would explore new genres and give insight to what connects us to music. Yet the book actually feels more like a printed blog. It's more memoir than true essay. For a book about empowering women's musical tastes it is too boy-crazy. Every essay seems to reference some guy she dated or was obsessed over. I get that the friends (and especially the people that we date) can greatly influence our musical taste, but the boy talk was distracting and I think a more skilled writer could have done it much better.

Where the book does shine is when Smith is revealing and embracing some of the silly but very real idiosyncrasies of music nerds, the idea of a favorite band selling out, or what a guy's favorite band might say about his date-ability. While I am a diehard Smiths fan, I had to admit that she has a point about overly-obsessed guy fans. She admits to some of these foibles in a genuine and humorous way.

The playlists at the end of each chapter are helpful if the reader wants to explore more of the music she references, but personally I didn't feel the need to actually listen to any of the music as overall I had heard of most of the bands she referenced. While I can respect Smith's experience as a music programmer at MTV, I don't feel that experience makes her the right person to lead the charge. As I mentioned before this book reads more like a blog and probably should have been kept in that format.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
not worth the paper its printed on 18 Nov. 2011
By The Mariners Fan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I tried my hardest to finish this book, and it literally took me almost 3 months to do it. I was excited when I received this and dove right in, and in about 20 minutes i put tossed it on the floor. As others have stated, its a book that is more of a badly written memoir accompanied. Her constant attempts at being funny were annoying and her musical taste is well...just as bad as her writing. Granted we all have different tastes in music, but hers was I felt extremely limited to a couple of genres. If you're going to write a book about music, i expect a broader range of it. Plus her condescending attitude was unnecessary, unless it was meant to be funny....which none of it was.

This book has nothing to do with record collecting, or anything other than her musical tastes and her relationships with men. And these relationships seemed like something a teen would encounter, not a grown adult. Overall, i'm really happy I didn't pay for this book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Not completely terrible... 17 May 2012
By sarabella - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
...but definitely not what I was expecting.

Some decent insights on gender inequality in music and (some of) what influences women in music, but more of a memoir of someone I don't care about and a one reviewer put it "Record Collecting for Girls Who Care What Boys Think".

Overall, I'm kinda bummed I chose this to read over some other great books in my "to read" pile.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Adolescent Popularity Games, Not Music Appreciation 4 Nov. 2011
By Aoife - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was put off by the gendered title of this book (why should "girls" need a different method of record collecting than anyone else?), but as I was receiving it free through the Amazon Vine program, I decided to give it a shot anyhow. I tried to keep an open mind, but it didn't take long for my original fears to be validated. There's a lot in this book about seeming sufficiently hip and judging others (and being judged). For instance, the author approvingly references an incident where a "boy" yanked her iPod out of her hands and scrolled through the tracks with some deliberation before he deemed her worthy of talking to. Oh for Pete's sake. Are we seriously talking about ADULTS here?

There's also the usual prattle about "guilty pleasures," and being excessively embarrassed about having tastes that differ from your friends. There's a lot about having your musical tastes judged by "boys" and how to impress them by giving the right answers and putting up the right kind of front. (For instance, to hide your Tori Amos albums so you don't appear "crazy.") There's much excessive enthusiasm for Hipster Rock Ca. 2005 AD, which was apparently when the author was at the apex of her power at MTV. What there is not much of in this book is actual discussion of music--you know, the series of reverberations organized into rhythms, harmonies, and melodies, often with intriguing, meaningful, or aesthetically pleasing words set as lyrics. There's nothing about analyzing sounds, appreciating context, or otherwise delving deeper into actual music. Thus the book is more of a primer on how to be socially acceptable within certain circles of young people ca. 2004 than it is about music or the love of music or anything else record collectors might be expected to care about.

I highly suggest that "girls" use their ears and their brains to guide them and leave this book aside. There are plenty of guides by real musicologists explaining form and style, plenty of books by better music journalists and historians that will help you get deeper into whatever genre or style you are interested in at the moment. It should be about the music, not the jewel case. And in the immortal words of composer and musicologist Peter Schickele, "if it sounds good, it is good."
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