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Day 25: Billie Holiday Sings the Blues in This Bio That's A Work Of Art.

Day 25 in #BookSpine365. Visit a title a day from my bookshelf.

They call her Lady Day. She was the best there was in the jazz vocalist genre. You could hear the pain in her voice and the roughness in her throat yet it was beautiful and so real. Don't Explain A Song of Billie Holiday by Alexis De Veaux is a gorgeous first edition title on my shelf.
It's an older copy, via 1980 rich with illustrations and black and white photographs of the singer sprinkled throughout the book.
Its contents read almost as poetry, with stanzas created to define the bio of what was Holiday's life. Line by line, jazz influences are inserted or influenced, either through language or lyrics, typophaphy, or images. Sheet music dances along the pages and conversations with characters read like a play from ones own scripted life. This is appropriate of the author's background and unique style, as she is a both a poet and a playwright, specifically writing in prose form. 


Design by Ellen Weiss. This was heavily planned and thought of  and provides the experience from which you read the book, as it's not the typical piece of bio or nonfiction. The book is a piece of art. Needless to say, I will never give up this book for trade and the smell is divine. There's some annotations within, as it was once a library book from a career center which no longer stands. There's even the beloved library card pocket holder in the back, holding stamps from the 80's, and my coloring in it when I finally got passed on the book from my cousin long ago. Dewey decimal system anyone?

Time really passes in the literary world, but a good book will always hold your attention. 

Book Details
Title: Don't Explain A Song of Billie Holiday
Author: Alexis De Veaux 
Format: Biography. Hardcover with dust jacket. Titled spine. Jacket photo via Frank Driggs collection. jacket design by Ellen Weiss. 
Contents: Title page, half title page, acknowledgements, dedications, bibliography, discography, author bio, book summary. ©1980 Harper Crest. 
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