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Nirvana dominates bookshelves

Nirvana dominates bookshelves — Books on the band, like ”Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana,” are popular with publishers

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At last count, there are more books being written about Nirvana than there are band members. In order of probable kindliness toward the gods of grunge, the first of the four titles is 1992: The Year Punk Rock Died, a fanzine scrapbook by Everett True of England’s Melody Maker magazine. True says he coined the term grunge and that Nirvana leader Kurt Cobain will ”pretty much coauthor” the book. The tome, says True, may contain medical charts from the pregnancy of Mrs. Cobain, Courtney Love, who has denied published reports that she used heroin while carrying the couple’s first child last year. (Their daughter, Frances Bean, was born healthy last August.) True has yet to find a publisher.

Next nicest is apt to be Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana, by Michael Azzerad (Doubleday). ”It will focus on the sociomusicological background,” he says, ”and how the twentysomething Slacker generation came of age as, to put it crassly, a marketing bloc.” Will the book, out next fall, peeve the Cobains? ”No doubt,” says Azzerad.

Gina Arnold aims to top Joan Didion’s essay on the Beatles’ White Album in On the Road to Nirvana (originally titled Route 666), coming from St. Martin’s Press in June. Arnold theorizes that punk rock triggered the Nirvana revolution: ”Madonna would never have worn a bustier, Lollapalooza wouldn’t have happened — and neither would Nirvana.”

The book least anticipated by the band is Nirvana: Flower Sniffin’, Kitty Pettin’, Baby Kissin’, Corporate Rock Whores, by Britt Collins and Victoria Clarke (Hyperion), due in July. The Cobains have made threats against the authors, and Love will soon meet Clarke in court, thanks to their recent rumble in an L.A. rock club. Still, says coauthor Collins, ”We’re probably more empathetic than Nirvana thinks we are.”