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Baby Plays Around: A Love Affair, with Music

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By the author of the bestselling Five-Finger Discount, a hip, funny, and absorbing memoir of a journalist realizing a lifelong dream—playing drums in a rock band—as her marriage hits the rocks Helene Stapinski took guitar lessons when she was a girl, but it was her brother’s drums that really held her interest. She used to sneak in and play them when he was away; when he r By the author of the bestselling Five-Finger Discount, a hip, funny, and absorbing memoir of a journalist realizing a lifelong dream—playing drums in a rock band—as her marriage hits the rocks Helene Stapinski took guitar lessons when she was a girl, but it was her brother’s drums that really held her interest. She used to sneak in and play them when he was away; when he realized what she was doing, he dismantled them each time he finished playing. But Helene figured out how to put them back together. She learned the classic drum solos and followed the careers of famous drummers. As an adult, Helene put the drums aside and became a journalist. When she was thirty she interviewed Julie, the leader of a rock band, for a story. The band needed a drummer, and Helene’s long-forgotten ambitions came flooding back. She joined, and then she brought her husband aboard on bass. Just as they started playing out at clubs, though, Helene’s husband quit the group. And as Helene’s involvement with her bandmates deepened, her relationship with her husband became distant and strained—and very nearly shattered. Baby Plays Around reads like a novel but will ring true to anyone who has ever been in a band or just dreamed of it. Set amid the bars, clubs, and rehearsal studios of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, it’s an incisive exploration of the romance of rock and roll, and of the realization and relinquishing of youthful dreams—about ambition, freedom, and infidelity, about love lost and found again. Written with the same wit and insight that distinguished Stapinski’s uproarious memoir Five-Finger Discount—and a sense of humor as sharp as the crack of a snare drum—Baby Plays Around is a unique and deeply personal story of music and passion. From the Hardcover edition.


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By the author of the bestselling Five-Finger Discount, a hip, funny, and absorbing memoir of a journalist realizing a lifelong dream—playing drums in a rock band—as her marriage hits the rocks Helene Stapinski took guitar lessons when she was a girl, but it was her brother’s drums that really held her interest. She used to sneak in and play them when he was away; when he r By the author of the bestselling Five-Finger Discount, a hip, funny, and absorbing memoir of a journalist realizing a lifelong dream—playing drums in a rock band—as her marriage hits the rocks Helene Stapinski took guitar lessons when she was a girl, but it was her brother’s drums that really held her interest. She used to sneak in and play them when he was away; when he realized what she was doing, he dismantled them each time he finished playing. But Helene figured out how to put them back together. She learned the classic drum solos and followed the careers of famous drummers. As an adult, Helene put the drums aside and became a journalist. When she was thirty she interviewed Julie, the leader of a rock band, for a story. The band needed a drummer, and Helene’s long-forgotten ambitions came flooding back. She joined, and then she brought her husband aboard on bass. Just as they started playing out at clubs, though, Helene’s husband quit the group. And as Helene’s involvement with her bandmates deepened, her relationship with her husband became distant and strained—and very nearly shattered. Baby Plays Around reads like a novel but will ring true to anyone who has ever been in a band or just dreamed of it. Set amid the bars, clubs, and rehearsal studios of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, it’s an incisive exploration of the romance of rock and roll, and of the realization and relinquishing of youthful dreams—about ambition, freedom, and infidelity, about love lost and found again. Written with the same wit and insight that distinguished Stapinski’s uproarious memoir Five-Finger Discount—and a sense of humor as sharp as the crack of a snare drum—Baby Plays Around is a unique and deeply personal story of music and passion. From the Hardcover edition.

30 review for Baby Plays Around: A Love Affair, with Music

  1. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Mostly enjoyable story of a journalist who joins a band late in life (her 30s), to which I could semi-relate. Points off for repeated use of the r-word and patronizing insults of Japanese music fan's accent. Mostly enjoyable story of a journalist who joins a band late in life (her 30s), to which I could semi-relate. Points off for repeated use of the r-word and patronizing insults of Japanese music fan's accent.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Allison Renner

    I'm willing to bet I've read this book every year since it came out in 2004. I absolutely love it. The way it's written is absolutely flawless, and I don't say this to get your hopes up. I don't want to say the writing is beautiful because it's not necessarily, not in every line. It's just… exactly right. It's not too flowery or too matter-of-fact. She's a freelance journalist, and her writing shows this in the best way.The book revolves around Stapinski's time as a drummer in an indie band, del I'm willing to bet I've read this book every year since it came out in 2004. I absolutely love it. The way it's written is absolutely flawless, and I don't say this to get your hopes up. I don't want to say the writing is beautiful because it's not necessarily, not in every line. It's just… exactly right. It's not too flowery or too matter-of-fact. She's a freelance journalist, and her writing shows this in the best way.The book revolves around Stapinski's time as a drummer in an indie band, delving back into her childhood musical beginnings as well as the friendships and relationships she's in at the time. It gets very personal as she openly shares troubles she has in her band as well as in her marriage. For knowing exactly what happens, the book still punches me in the gut at the crucial moments, then soothes me over with the resolution. Absolutely amazing, recommend to everyone.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    I loved Stapinski's writing. She tells a compelling story. I picked up this book with no expectations and I really liked it. I would definitely read more from her. I loved Stapinski's writing. She tells a compelling story. I picked up this book with no expectations and I really liked it. I would definitely read more from her.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Zoe Stark

    Without spoiling it, there were moments I though Stapinski was writing about me. I wanna see the movie.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Laura Allen

    Enjoyable and entertaining

  6. 5 out of 5

    Molly

    I usually give books to page 100 but after the second mention of the 'R' word, I couldn't do it. Even 16 years ago there were other adjectives. I usually give books to page 100 but after the second mention of the 'R' word, I couldn't do it. Even 16 years ago there were other adjectives.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay Gallagher

    Raw, sad and even funny true story of an early marriage that almost falls apart. All while Helene Stapinski has a go as a drummer with an indi rock band. Great read, great writing but also an important slice of time. She's just married and writing for a newspaper all while trying to make it in a band. Those are hard years and she nails the hard work and terrible let down she must face. Raw, sad and even funny true story of an early marriage that almost falls apart. All while Helene Stapinski has a go as a drummer with an indi rock band. Great read, great writing but also an important slice of time. She's just married and writing for a newspaper all while trying to make it in a band. Those are hard years and she nails the hard work and terrible let down she must face.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Grant

    Love that both The Sandwiches and DETROIT are mentioned in this book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Joy

    I related more to this book more than any other book I've read. I've always wanted to play the drums, start a band, and meet Elvis Costello....if any of these apply to you it is the book to read. I related more to this book more than any other book I've read. I've always wanted to play the drums, start a band, and meet Elvis Costello....if any of these apply to you it is the book to read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Another of my cousin's books. Learned quite a bit about her and her love of music. One of the drummer's in our family! Another of my cousin's books. Learned quite a bit about her and her love of music. One of the drummer's in our family!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I started reading this book and couldn't put it down. Stapinski's honest description of starting a band and playing those first few gigs was deliciously real. I started reading this book and couldn't put it down. Stapinski's honest description of starting a band and playing those first few gigs was deliciously real.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    I loved how this woman made a career decision to become a musician at an age when most 30 somethings wouldn't dare. A great book about music and musicians and taking chances. I loved how this woman made a career decision to become a musician at an age when most 30 somethings wouldn't dare. A great book about music and musicians and taking chances.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Joe Hipps

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jason Clarke

  15. 4 out of 5

    Liz Scott

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dana Giusti

  17. 5 out of 5

    Chryssanthe

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  19. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mandy Varelis

  21. 4 out of 5

    Greg Fasolino

  22. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mister Mank

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sylvie

  26. 4 out of 5

    Maura Badji

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

  28. 4 out of 5

    Paula Christen

  29. 4 out of 5

    Beth

  30. 5 out of 5

    Andys Cozine

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