I Put a Spell On You

A true diva and genius, of course. This is one the best autobiographies I’ve ever read, recounting Simone’s upbringing in North Carolina in a non-segregated community; her schooling as a child prodigy by a Russian grand dame piano teacher; playing rough bars in evening dress and telling the winos to shut up or she wouldn’t play (and they did!); to the absolute shock when she didn’t get into Juilliard because of her color. By the time she’s describing writing “Mississippi Goddam,” all my hairs were standing on end! A powerful woman, powerful activist, and amazing musician.