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Publisher's Summary

A NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER

"A memoir as fierce, freewheeling, and passionate as her music." (O, The Oprah Magazine

A memoir by the celebrated singer-songwriter and social activist Ani DiFranco

In her new memoir, No Walls and the Recurring Dream, Ani DiFranco recounts her early life from a place of hard-won wisdom, combining personal expression, the power of music, feminism, political activism, storytelling, philanthropy, entrepreneurship, and much more into an inspiring whole. In these frank, honest, passionate, and often funny stories is the tale of one woman's eventful and radical journey to the age of 30. Ani's coming of age story is defined by her ethos of fierce independence - from being an emancipated minor sleeping in a Buffalo bus station, to unwaveringly building a career through appearances at small clubs and festivals, to releasing her first album at the age of 18, to consciously rejecting the mainstream recording industry and creating her own label, Righteous Babe Records. In this audiobook, as in life, she never hesitates to question established rules and expectations, maintaining a level of artistic integrity that has inspired and challenged more than a few. Ani continues to be a major touring and recording artist as well as a celebrated activist and feminist, standing as living proof that you can overcome all personal and societal obstacles to be who you are and to follow your dreams.

©2019 Ani DiFranco (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

One of Amazon's Best Books of the Year So Far

“Ani DiFranco has written a memoir as fierce, freewheeling, and passionate as her music. Like Patti Smith’s Just Kids and Bruce Springsteen’s Born to RunNo Walls and the Recurring Dream charts the evolution of an artist whose voice couldn’t be suppressed by poverty, by misogyny, by record executives - and we hear it, loud and true.” (O, the Oprah Magazine)

"The Grammy-winning [Ani DiFranco] recounts the eventful story of her life as a musician and feminist political activist.... Interspersed throughout with feminist/political musings and anecdotes about such music legends as Pete Seeger, Prince, and Bob Dylan, DiFranco's tale celebrates both independent music and an unconventional life daringly lived. A refreshingly frank and free-spirited memoir from a feminist icon." (Kirkus Reviews

"[DiFranco] makes her literary debut in this powerful reflection on her life and career.... Throughout, DiFranco writes of her self-doubts and romantic hardships.... Honest and passionate, DiFranco's memoir will resonate with her many fans." (Publishers Weekly

What listeners say about No Walls and the Recurring Dream

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A lovely peek under the hood

I've been a fan of Ani D's music since 1996 when I was just 16. Like, bigly. It was a treat and a pleasure to get to hear about her life, out of song and poem form. I loved learning about her life as a child, her parents, her friendships, and her relationship to her music, her songwriting process, her touring support and the friendships that flowed forth. Her perspective is one I treasure and I found myself smiling throughout. One thing that I did find offputting was that she sorta left us hangin', choosing, for her own reasons, I'm sure, to stop at something like 2001, what, wha?! So much has happened in her life and music since then, it felt strange to be left there. Ahh well, Ani, as a photographer who captured a dozen of your shows and a deeply devoted fan, you eluded me every time I thought "this will finally be the time I get to meet her" and so you've eluded me here, again, too. Enjoy!

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Beware: Only covers her life until 2001

I was disappointed that Ani didn’t include the last ~17 years of her life. Evolving tech, two decades of politics plus her becoming a parent were some of the things I highly anticipated with this book.

If you’ve been listening to Ani since the early days, you’ll know most of this book as she was so honest in her songwriting. This book adds a bit more depth on the songs, the tours and the people who helped her make it all happen up to 2001. But don’t expect to learn how she’s been evolving since.

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Lyrical behind the scenes honesty

Ani has been my travelling companion in life for over 20 years. I so loved the opportunity to sit down and almost feel like I'm having coffee and deep conversation with a good friend. It was lovely to know her mind better in her own voice.

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Unexpected and delightful in true Ani style

I was pleasantly surprised to learn so much about her unusual childhood before she dove into the the start of RBR. Her music was the sound track to my life through my own angst, rebellion and discovery in college in the 90s. Listening to her story now middle aged and also a mother was a full circle experience that put a big smile on my face. I would absolutely love another book from her.

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Absolutely incredible!!!!!!!

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Ani herself read her book. What a treat! I’ve been a massive fan of Ani since the mid 90s. I’ve grown up alongside her in many ways. It was so cool to get to know her life experiences even further than I have by listening to her music for so many years. We named our daughter Ani, after Ani DiFranco and our son Utah, after Utah Phillips. I highly recommend this book to anyone - current fan or not.

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Delightful and touching

Ani is a special artist in so many ways, not least because she shares so much of her formative history through her songs. So, her “coming of age” story felt like another layer to a story I’d started to hear in poetry and guitar. For a fan, there were a lot of satisfying moments where you can see that the “you”’in song A is the same as the “you” in song B! From all appearances, she got double portions of brains, heart and guts, but she’s forthcoming about her shortcomings and failures, too (or seems so).

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Phenomenal audio book. I'm touched by her story. .

Her delivery is amazing. Highly recommended. Should be a best seller. Award worthy. I'll listen again.

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Not My Style

This book is not bad, it’s just not my style. I enjoyed the book being narrated by the author. I think this helped understand inflection and meaning that would not otherwise come through.

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Therapeutic

I need the next book Ani! You’re the Voice of a generation, or of artists or of a certain kind of soul which is very close to my own. Thank You for this! Entertaining Enlightening Empathic Enjoyment. Beautiful.

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MUST

Ani was the soundtrack to much of my life in the 90s. When I found out she had written a memoir, and She the narrator to her audiobook, I promptly delved into my listening. I wish it wouldn’t have ended so soon. Her wise, witty observations and stories broke my heart and mended it 1000 times. A must listen, read, absorb, savor.

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  • Mrs F Higginson
  • 07-31-19

Inspiring

So pleased I listened to no Walls and the recurring Dreams it was read by Ani DiFranco herself. I’ve been a fan of her music for over 20 years but knew very little about her life. This bounces from info and background to political and social influences, to music and so much more. All with her distinctive writing style.

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  • Isa
  • 07-12-20

A thoughful & insightful memoir

Ani wrote the soundtrack to my late teens and early 20s life. Even though I haven't listened to much of her recent music, this book was so insightful and thoughtful, across such a range of topics, that it reminded me of all the reasons I loved her music so many years ago. Being read by Ani herself was an amazing bonus. I highly recommend it to fans, feminists, and anyone who enjoys a great memoir.

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  • Amy Nicholls
  • 03-14-20

It is beautiful

It is beautiful to hear the stories, with their personality and politics and philosophies, all in Ani's own voice. She is such an inspiration, adds so much energy and is so calm and passionate at the same time! It is a beautiful book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-17-20

This is essential reading (or listening, rather!)

I loved every minute of this book and especially that Ani read it herself. It was like sitting down with her and having one long chat about her memories and her path to becoming one of the most important musicians of our time, not to mention everything she has done in between that, which is a lot! Thoroughly enjoyed.