On Our Shelves Now
James Baldwin used to tell Nina Simone, "This is the world you have made for yourself, now you have to live in it." Simone has created for herself a world of magnificent peaks. Often compared to Billie Holiday and Edith Piaf, Simone is known as one of the greatest singers of her generation. She has recorded forty-three albums, ranging from blues to jazz to folk, and her hits like "I Loves You, Porgy," "My Baby Just Cares for Me," "I Put a Spell on You," and "Mississippi Goddam" have confirmed her as an enduring force in popular music. Her song "Young, Gifted, and Black" became the anthem for the Civil Rights Movement and thrust her beyond international stardom into the center of activism. But such worlds as Simone's are not without their grim valleys: disastrous marriages, arrest and the threat of imprisonment, mental breakdown, poverty, and attempted suicide. She has survived these trials and continues to perform throughout Europe and the United States. With undiminished passion and in her unconquerable voice, this is Nina Simone's powerful memoir of her tempestuous life.
"Brilliant, gifted, and bitter, Nina Simone offers a heartfelt and humble rendering of her exceptional journey in I Put a Spell On You, in hopes of providing clarity and truth to her often misunderstood life...Much like her music, I Put A Spell On You is compelling, honest, and powerful. It is meticulously packed with historical information on America during some of its ugliest times, coming from the voice of someone who lived through it every day...a voice of a woman who devoted her adult life to changing the face of society. The book also contains fascinating black-and-white images. From a musical standpoint alone, I Put a Spell On You is an extremely valuable read. However, in my opinion, this would also be a unique, relevant, and worthwhile addition to any high-school or collegiate history library, or anyone with an interest in the civil rights movement both politically and artistically. It may present an opportunity to spark an interest in the crucial connection between art and society, while significantly illustrating the need for and role of art during cultural transformations."—Lincoln Center Institute's Resource Center blog
"Offers readers a candid look at the highs and lows of the singer's remarkable career and life in addition to her civil rights activism and time spent as an expatriate."—Ebony
"Her artistry represents human indomitability."—Washington Post