By Jameson Ketchum

High School

By Tegan and Sara Quin

What one might think would be an elongated tale of the Calgary sisters’ rise to fame quickly becomes less about the music and more about Tegan and Sara’s journey of self-discovery. It’s a lengthy read but not a slow one, as the duo navigate home life, self-teaching themselves guitar, and ever-rotating friends and crushes. High School has never been captured so beautifully.

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Emery: The Unlikely Masters of Rock

By Aaron Lunsford (As Cities Burn)

Lunsford writes with such searing sarcasm that the reader may think that perpetual cloud that follows him around (as stated by his former mother in law) was squeezing out acid rather than rain. Either way, Lunsford knows Emery inside and out. The book pulls zero punches while giving zero effs. You’ll either put this one down loving Emery even more or wanting to punch Toby Morrell in the face…likely both. Five stars.

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Punk Rock Vs The Lizard People

By Joshua S. Porter (Showbread)

Joshua S. Porter…what can be said about this dude. His science fiction novels are ten time stranger than his former band Showbread but, much like the band, these books have die-hard fans. Punk Rock Vs The Lizard People is Porter’s sixth book and arguably his most tame. He’s also one of the best writers I’ve ever had the good fortune of reading. He’ll make you want to fall in love on one page and make you vomit o the next. If you want real gore pick up his first two releases, Nevada and The Spinal Cord Perception.

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Nothing Feels Good

By Andy Greenwald

Greenwald may be THEE foremost authority on the early 2000’s emo scene. Nothing Feels Good is an absolute must for any music fan even brushing past that era of greatness. Greenwald explores basement shows with Geoff Rickly of Thursday, faces off against security guards with Chris Carrabba, and even takes a deep dive into the world of LiveJournal. I realize I just dated this book big time there but hey, it’s a flawless snapshot in time. For more online diary action, check out his novel Miss Misery.

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From the Basement: A History of Emo Music and How It Changed Society

By Taylor Markarian

I specifically placed From the Basement directly after Nothing Feels Good because Taylor Markarian has written what could be seen as a perfect sequel or continuation of Greenwald’s work.  Markarian, a former Alt Press staffer, speaks with Shane Told (Silverstein), Fred Mascherino (Taking Back Sunday/The Color Fred), Ian Mackaye (Minor Threat/Fugazi), and more on the history of the genre and where it has landed almost 20 years after the likes of Greenwald tackled the subject.

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Religio-cide: A Primer on Deconstructing The Current Religious Structure For The Sake of True Relationship

By Tommy Green (Sleeping Giant)

If you never had the chance to see Sleeping Giant live, well I’m very sorry. Religious or not, audiences LOVED front man Tommy Green and SG, not just for their relentless conviction but for their intense and communal live shows. Green’s book is pure love, breaking down what most see as core issues within religion and instead offering a better engineered pathway toward clarity.

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Unfuckwithable: A Guide to Inspired Badassery

By Lindsay Manfredi (COLD)

Much like Miguel Chen of Teenage Bottlerocket, Manfredi took it upon herself to share her wisdom in the areas of self-care, meditation, and the law of attraction that has so greatly impacted her life. Manfredi got a tattoo of COLD’s spider logo almost twenty years ago. Today she is rocking the bass alongside her heroes. Unfuckwithable is full of stories like this plus countless helpful tips for not only taking care of yourself but caring for those around you without getting the life sucked out of you!

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Go Now

By Richard Hell

The original punk rocker (look it up), Richard Hell (The Voidoids) penned one of the finest and most baffling inspired novels of my youth. For fans of The Ataris, the record So Long Astoria was one hundred percent energized by Go Now. In fact, I now own a copy of the novel signed by Ataris singer Kris Roe which reads “Memories are better than life.” Figure it out for yourself!

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Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide to Emo Culture

By Leslie Simon and Trevor Kelley

This one is just silly but also spot on. Kelley and Simon are former AltPress writers who collected every single detail about the emo culture of the early to mid 2000’s and slapped it all together in this absolutely essential handbook. Reading in 2020 (as I did) gives you a quick rush of nostalgia while simultaneously making you worry that all those MySpace angle selfies are still floating around somewhere. Pete Wentz is cool with it though.

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Body Piercing Saved My Life: Inside the Phenomenon Of Christian Rock

By Andrew Beaujon

For those who grew up collecting Tooth N’ Nail samplers, attending Cornerstone, and hiding Pedro the Lion records under your bed, this one’s for you. Beaujon gives a thorough background of the scene while speaking with the likes of P.O.D., Dave Bazan, and Switchfoot. This is another must-own for any millennial music fan.

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