November 29, 1982 12:00 PM

Martha Hume’s Guide to the Greatest in Country Music

So you want to be a country star? Drinkin’, cheat-in’ and prison helps, of course, but do you know to buy your furniture at Sears like Willie Nelson, eat beans and corn bread and never admit to reading a book unless caught in the act? This slyly humorous guide is the essential companion to your George Jones albums. Hume, a frequent contributor to Country Music and Rolling Stone, provides lists of stars’ nicknames, trademarks, theme songs and awards, as well as memorable chapters on the perfect country songs. Illustrated with dozens of photos, there’s plenty of history, milestones and perhaps the first definitive exploration of blood-and-marriage lines among the genre’s first families, including the incredibly complex Carter-Cash clan. Irreverent and chatty, Hume’s book is pure entertainment when it delves into the industry’s juiciest gossip and most outrageous characters. Is Loretta Lynn a psychic? Did George Jones really drive a lawn mower 10 miles to Nashville just for a drink? Did Dolly Parton have her bust enlarged? Here’s the real lowdown on the stars. (Viking, $17.95; Penguin, paper, $8.95)

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