3 Books Every Joni Mitchell Fan Should Read

Over the past 60 years, Joni Mitchell has evolved from a burgeoning figure of the 1960s folk scene to a genre-spanning innovator. The prolific songwriter began to hone her talents as a musician during her early years in Canada before moving to California, where she forged friendships with other creative talents.

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[RELATED: The Legacy of Joni Mitchell In 5 Albums]

Although her first three records won critical acclaim, even leading to her first Grammy Award, it was her fourth album that changed everything for Mitchell. Blue, a powerful and intimate collection of songs that convey the depth of her artistry, is now often cited as one of the best LPs ever released.

Mitchell, now 79, has mostly stepped away from the spotlight in recent decades. In June 2023, with the help of longtime friend Brandi Carlile, she performed her first headlining show in more than 20 years. The event drew thousands of fans, young and old, reinforcing the widespread appeal of Mitchell’s incredible songbook.

From a revealing memoir to a collection of handwritten works, these are the Joni Mitchell books every music fan should read:

1. Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell

Music journalist David Yaffe spoke to Mitchell and the friends, family, and fellow artists who know her best for his 2017 autobiography. A Portrait of Joni Mitchell uses Yaffe’s extensive interviews and intensive research to retell her journey from a free-spirited painter to one of folk music’s most impactful artists.

2. Morning Glory on the Vine: Early Songs and Drawings

During the life-changing year of 1971, while Mitchell was fresh off the release of her iconic album Blue, the singer/songwriter hand-crafted one hundred copies of a book she titled “Morning Glory on the Vine.” The compilation was formally published in 2019 to celebrate Mitchell’s 75th birthday, offering fans a chance to enjoy a stunning mixture of drawings, watercolors, and abstract art pieces.

3. Joni Mitchell: In Her Own Words

This moving memoir, written in partnership with longtime journalist Malka Marom, is a must-read for anyone searching for details about Mitchell’s creative process. Released in 2014, Joni Mitchell: In Her Own Words sheds light on her approach to songwriting and art in general, along with meditations on the successes and challenges she faced through the decades.

Photo by Sherry Rayn Barnett/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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