Depending on when you’re reading this, you either are patiently (or not-so-patiently) waiting for Taylor Swift’s new album, The Tortured Poets Department, to come out or you have been listening to it nonstop, as it is after April 19, 2024. I guess you could be one of those people out there who isn’t a confirmed Swiftie, but I guarantee you, a whole bunch of your patrons are, and getting as many things as you can on your shelves with Taylor-vibes will be the way to go. These titles are either going to be directly about the famed musician herself or give you all of the feels that we hope that we get from this upcoming album or are some of the best and brightest poetry collections, as we cannot forget that April is also National Poetry Month. These are sure to go platinum for your patrons!  

Books you should know about

The Breakup TourThe Breakup Tour by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

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This is a breakup album (or so we’re all imagining it to be), so we need to start with a breakup book. And what better breakup book than one that has to do with a famous singer-songwriter whose emotionally charged album about a breakup leader her to stardom? Sound familiar and like some good romance catnip? Read on! 

From the publisher:  

Riley Wynn went from a promising singer-songwriter to a superstar overnight, thanks to her breakup song concept album and its unforgettable lead single. When Riley’s ex-husband claims the hit song is about him, she does something she hasn’t in ten years and calls Max Harcourt, her college boyfriend and the real inspiration for the song of the summer.

Max hasn’t spoken to Riley since their relationship ended. He’s content with managing the retirement home his family owns, but it’s not the life filled with music he dreamed of. When Riley asks him to go public as her songwriting muse, he agrees on one condition: he’ll join her band on tour.

As they perform across the country, Max and Riley start to realize that while they hit some wrong notes in the past, their future could hold incredible things. And their rekindled relationship will either last forever or go down in flames.  

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

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We don’t yet know anything more than the tracklist, but we’re getting serious Dark Acadamia moods from the title of the album, so we’d be remiss to forget about this modern classic of the genre. 

From the publisher: Under the influence of a charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at a New England college discover a way of thought and life a world away from their banal contemporaries. But their search for the transcendent leads them down a dangerous path, beyond human constructs of morality.

Instructions for Traveling West: Poems by Joy Sullivan 

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Part of Taylor Swift’s appeal is her desire to find herself and know her place in the world, which in turn allows us to go on our own journeys. This collection of poetry will allow patrons to do the same. 

From the publisher: First, you must realize you’re homesick for all the lives you’re not living. Then, you must commit to the road and the rising loneliness. To the sincere thrill of coming apart.

So begins Joy Sullivan’s Instructions for Traveling West—a lush debut collection that examines what happens when we leave home and leap into the deep unknown. Mid-pandemic, Sullivan left the man she planned to marry, sold her house, quit her corporate job, and drove west. This dazzling collection tells that story as it illuminates the questions haunting us all: What possible futures lie on the horizon? What happens when we heed the call of furious reinvention?

A book for anyone flinging themselves into fresh starts, Instructions for Traveling West grapples with loss, loneliness and belonging. These poems teach us that naming our desire is profound alchemy. Each of us holds the power to set our own course forward.

Expansive and heart-opening—exquisite in their specificity, galvanizing in their scope—the poems in Instructions for Traveling West speak to the longing that lives within us all. They remind us that “joy is not a trick.” 

The Unfortunate Side Effects of Heartbreak and Magic by Breanne Randall 

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Taylor sings heartbreak that sounds like spells. This book is witchy and heartfelt and reads like a favorite song. 

From the publisher: For fans of Practical Magic and Gilmore Girls, The Unfortunate Side Effects of Heartbreak and Magic is a debut novel that explores the shields we build around our hearts to retain our own magic.

Sadie Revelare has always believed that the curse of four heartbreaks that accompanies her magic would be worth the price. But when her grandmother is diagnosed with cancer with only weeks to live, and her first heartbreak, Jake McNealy, returns to town after a decade, her carefully structured life begins to unravel.

With the news of their grandmother’s impending death, Sadie’s estranged twin brother Seth returns to town, bringing with him deeply buried family secrets that threaten to tear Sadie’s world apart. Their grandmother has been the backbone of the family for generations, and with her death, Sadie isn’t sure she’ll have the strength to keep the family, and her magic, together.

As feelings for Jake begin to rekindle, and her grandmother growing sicker by the day, Sadie faces the last of her heartbreaks, and she has to decide: is love more important than magic? 

With My Back to the World: Poems by Victoria Chang 

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The way that you react to music, from T. Swift or any other artist, and the way that you experience all art is vastly different than how anyone else does. This poetry collection delves deeply into how we experience not only art, but also the full range of human emotions. 

From the publisher: Yesterday I slung my depression on my back and went to the museum. I only asked four attendants where the Agnes painting was and the fifth one knew. I walked into the room and saw it right away. From afar, it was a large white square.

With My Back to the World engages with the paintings and writings of Agnes Martin, the celebrated abstract artist, in ways that open up new modes of expression, expanding the scope of what art, poetry, and the human mind can do. Filled with surprise and insight, wit and profundity, the book explores the nature of the self, of existence, life and death, grief and depression, time and space. Strikingly original, fluidly strange, Victoria Chang’s new collection is a book that speaks to how we see and are seen. 

Florida by Lauren Groff 

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So, all I know is that there is a track called “Florida!” on the new album. Not sure what it’s about yet, but the Lauren Groff book of short stories by the same name is totally worth the read, regardless of what the song ends up discussing.  

From the publisher: In her thrilling new book, Lauren Groff brings the reader into a physical world that is at once domestic and wild—a place where the hazards of the natural world lie waiting to pounce, yet the greatest threats and mysteries are still of an emotional, psychological nature. A family retreat can be derailed by a prowling panther, or by a sexual secret. Among those navigating this place are a resourceful pair of abandoned sisters; a lonely boy, grown up; a restless, childless couple, a searching, homeless woman; and an unforgettable, recurring character—a steely and conflicted wife and mother.

The stories in this collection span characters, towns, decades, even centuries, but Florida—its landscape, climate, history, and state of mind—becomes its gravitational center: an energy, a mood, as much as a place of residence. Groff transports the reader, then jolts us alert with a crackle of wit, a wave of sadness, a flash of cruelty, as she writes about loneliness, rage, family, and the passage of time. With shocking accuracy and effect, she pinpoints the moments and decisions and connections behind human pleasure and pain, hope and despair, love and fury—the moments that make us alive. Startling, precise, and affecting, Florida is a magnificent achievement.

Anna O by Matthew Blake 

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Another mystery track is “Guilty as Sin?” and the question mark at the end is really what inspires my next pick of a book about a woman who may or may not have committed murder, but the truth is buried in her dreams. 

From the publisher: What if your nightmares weren’t really nightmares at all? 

We spend an average of 33 years of our lives asleep. But what really happens, and what are we capable of, when we sleep? 

Anna Ogilvy was a budding twenty-five-year-old writer with a bright future. Then, one night, she stabbed two people to death with no apparent motive—and hasn’t woken up since. Dubbed “Sleeping Beauty” by the tabloids, Anna’s condition is a rare psychosomatic disorder known to neurologists as “resignation syndrome.” 

Dr. Benedict Prince is a forensic psychologist and an expert in the field of sleep-related homicides. His methods are the last hope of solving the infamous “Anna O'”case and waking Anna up so she can stand trial. But he must be careful treating such a high-profile suspect—he’s got career secrets and a complicated personal life of his own. 

As Anna shows the first signs of stirring, Benedict must determine what really happened and whether Anna should be held responsible for her crimes. 

Only Anna knows the truth about that night, but only Benedict knows how to discover it. And they’re both in danger from what they find out. 

Rangikura by Tayi Tibble 

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A recurring theme in Swift’s songs is that of coming-of-age and that experience as a woman. These poems will highlight that theme and more, while also making readers think of womanhood and growth in a greater context. 

From the publisher: Tayi Tibble returns on the heels of her incendiary debut with a bold new follow-up. Barbed and erotic, vulnerable and searching, Rangikura asks readers to think about our relationship to desire and exploitation. Moving between hotel lobbies and all-night clubs, these poems chronicle life spent in spaces that are stalked by transaction and reward. “I grew up tacky and hungry and dazzling,” Tibble writes. “Mum you should have tied me/to the ground./Instead I was given/to this city freely.”

Here is a poet staking out a sense of freedom on her own terms in times that very often feel like end times. Tibble’s range of forms and sounds are dazzling. Written with Māori moteatea, purakau, and karakia (chants, legends, and prayers) in mind, Rangikura explores the way the past comes back, even when she tries to turn her back on it. “I was forced to remember that,/wherever I go,/even if I go nowhere at all,/I am still a descendent of mountains.”

At once a coming-of-age and an elegy to the traumas born from colonization, especially the violence enacted against indigenous women, Rangikura interrogates not only the poets’ pain, but also that of her ancestors. The intimacy of these poems will move readers to laughter and tears. Speaking to herself, sometimes to the reader, these poems arc away from and return to their ancestral roots to imagine the end of the world and a new day. They invite us into the swirl of nostalgia and exhaustion produced in the pursuit of an endless summer. (“My heart goes out like an abandoned swan boat/ghosting along a lake”). They are a new highpoint from a writer of endless talent.  

Scandals of Classic Hollywood by Anne Helen Peterson 

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Another “trying to get as much as we can from a title” pick, this book includes the story of Clara Bow, original Hollywood “It Girl” and title of an upcoming track. While we wait to hear Taylor’s version, learn more about the original Hollywood behind-the-scenes stories. 

From the publisher:  

Believe it or not, America’s fascination with celebrity culture was thriving well before the days of TMZ, Cardi B, Kanye’s tweets, and the #metoo allegations that have gripped Hollywood. And the stars of yesteryear? They weren’t always the saints that we make them out to be. BuzzFeed’s Anne Helen Petersen, author of Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud, is here to set the record straight. Pulling little-known gems from the archives of film history, Petersen reveals eyebrow-raising information, including:

  • The smear campaign against the original It Girl, Clara Bow, started by her best friend
  • The heartbreaking story of Montgomery Clift’s rapid rise to fame, the car accident that destroyed his face, and the “long suicide” that followed
  • Fatty Arbuckle’s descent from Hollywood royalty, fueled by allegations of a boozy orgy turned violent assault
  • Why Mae West was arrested and jailed for “indecency charges”
  • And much more

Part biography, part cultural history, these stories cover the stuff that films are made of: love, sex, drugs, illegitimate children, illicit affairs, and botched cover-ups. But it’s not all just tawdry gossip in the pages of this book. The stories are all contextualized within the boundaries of film, cultural, political, and gender history, making for a read that will inform as it entertains. Based on Petersen’s beloved column on the Hairpin, but featuring 100% new content, Scandals of Classic Hollywood is sensationalism made smart.

If you’re interested in exploring more titles that center around Taylor and the TPD, along with poetry you can explore our full Reader’s Advisory lists here: 

The Tortured Swiftie’s TBR List

In My Libby Era: Books for Swiftes

New and Notable Poetry

National Poetry Month

Poetry is Meant to Be Spoken (audiobooks)

Hot off the press 

Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour Commemorative Issue 

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From the studio: Taylor Swift has had her fair share of haters over the years, but even they can’t deny her Eras Tour has been the hottest ticket since it kicked off in March 2023. And while anticipation and speculation went into overdrive, Taylor delivered on the hype with a three-and-a-half-hour concert that spanned her 17-year musical history in cities throughout the United States before taking her tour internationally. Swifties were so excited about the show that many complained of not being able to remember it afterward. Concertgoer Nicole Booz told Time it felt like “an out-of-body experience, as though it didn’t really happen to me. Yet I know it did because my bank account took a $950 hit to cover the ticket.” In this 100-page special commemorative issue, we look at every aspect of Taylor’s Eras Tour, from how she prepped during rehearsals, to her opening night, to all the special guests who have joined her on stage. We dive into each of the 10 eras featured in her concert, with more than 100 photos, and info about the songs, sets, and all of Taylor’s designer outfits, as well as the special moments—some funny, some emotional—that fans will remember forever. Whether you were there in the audience or are looking forward to Taylor coming to a city near you, this is one keepsake magazine all Swifties need to have in their collection. 

Learn more about OverDrive Magazines here.

Must-Watch Films

The Taylor Swift Story: Wild Dreams (2021)

Watch on Kanopy here

From the studio: The amazingly talented Taylor Swift is more than her catchy pop, country, and rock songs. A life story filled with love and loss, all Taylor-made. Music was her mission fulfilling her wildest dreams. 

 Country: Portraits of An American Sound 

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From the studio: Embark on a visual odyssey through the history of country music as told by legendary artists and captured by elite photographers over 90 years. From the Carter Family to Taylor Swift, the film chroicles country’s rise from regional sound to international phenomenon as seen in the evolving image of the country singer – from rhinestone cowboy to pot-smoking outlaw to stadium filling megastar. 

The film features never-before-seen photographs, footage and interviews with over 20 artists including Rosanne Cash, Merle Haggard, Lyle Lovett, Charley Pride, Kenny Rogers, LeAnn Rhimes, The Band Perry, Tanya Tucker and Keith Urban. Featured imagery and commentary come from Grand Ole Opry photographer Les Leverett, iconic music photographers Henry Diltz and Raeanne Rubenstein, celebrity portraitist Leigh Weiner, documentarian Henry Horenstein, and contemporary shooters David McClister and Michael Wilson.

A little Extra something

Stream the world’s largest collection of on-demand full-length music performances, concert films, and music documentaries. Qello Concerts transforms your connected devices into the ultimate live music concert film experience. Give your favorite headliners a standing ovation from the best seat in the house anywhere, anytime! 

Test run Libby Extras to see how each service can entertain and educate your patrons. 

Thank you for joining us on this week’s round up of Tortured Poets Society materials! Reach out to your Digital Content Librarian or Account Manager for more information on how to provide the best content for your community. 

About the author: Meghan Volchko is an OverDrive Collection Development Librarian and former academic librarian. Her English degree set her up perfectly for grad school, where she received her MLIS and has been immersed in the world of books ever since. You can find her reading with her cat, traveling with her friends and family, or having dance parties with her daughter. HEAs are life.