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Posted by Maria Castellano-Usery on March 23rd, 2016

There’s nothing quite like getting lost in a book. When you’re lucky (and when you have the resources available to you), you can take getting lost in a book to another level. Technically, I live in Brunswick, but at the moment, my address should read “Pettyville, USA”. For a while now, I’ve been reading “Petty: The Biography” by Warren Zanes. I want to rip right through this book, but life has been busy lately…so instead, I’ve been savoring it. I love finding out about the lives of my favorite artists, especially someone who has had an impact on our culture the way Tom Petty has. I find the story of the struggle fascinating: Tom’s humble beginnings in Gainesville, Florida, meeting the guys who would become his bandmates, getting gigs and losing gigs, performing in steak houses and strip clubs just to be heard…in other words, paying his dues before earning his much-deserved success.

I can’t seem to get enough of Tom Petty right now, and thankfully, there’s more out there than just “Petty: The Biography” to scratch that itch: between Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Tom Petty solo, Mudcrutch (his first band before the Heartbreakers), and the supergroup known as the Traveling Wilburys, he has over twenty albums to choose from. He’s also the subject of a fantastic documentary by Peter Bogdanovich called “Runnin’ Down A Dream,” which is four hours long…and I wish it were eight hours long! In fact, I’m listening to Tom Petty Radio on Sirius right now as I type (“Listen To Her Heart,” in case you were wondering).


The last time I had this kind of total immersion experience was when I read “The Beatles” by Bob Spitz. I absolutely fell in love with this book, and my already large appreciation for the Beatles grew. Again, the story of the struggle intrigues me. It’s hard to imagine the Beatles as a bunch of kids getting turned down by record labels, playing to half-full rooms, and losing “Battle Of The Bands” contests, but sure enough, they had their share of heartache before (and after) making it. After reading the Bob Spitz biography, I watched the Beatles Anthology mini-series (which is 5 DVDs), then I watched “Living In The Material World” (the Martin Scorsese documentary of George Harrison), then I read “John Lennon: The Life” by Philip Norman. It was all Beatles, all the time in my house…not a bad thing.

The good news is that if you’re looking for an experience such as this but you’re not looking to drop a lot of cash, fear not: Curtis Memorial Library is here to help! The Beatles books and DVDs are all available right here in Brunswick, and the Tom Petty material is available via the very handy inter-library loan. Have you had a similar experience with a band or an artist where you just couldn’t get enough of their work? Tell me about it in the comments!