Four books I won’t be reviewing for you this week…

A funny thing happened this week. I read three books that I knew I wasn’t going to review. And then, come Friday, I finally cracked open (not literally since it was on my iPad) a book that I had planned on reviewing for this blog…but that’s not going to happen either. This left me in quite a predicament today with nothing at all to review! So, I decided I would tell you about each of the books and why I’m not going to review them for you. I still think you may find them of interest and you’re more than welcome to invest in your own copies if you’d like, but you’re going to have to develop your own opinion of them. So, here goes…

Rock Critic Law Michael AzerradLast month, I received this book in the mail unsolicited. I’m not sure why, but I believe it’s because I had once inquired about getting a review copy of another book the publishing house had recently announced. My copy of Rock Critic Law: 101 Unbreakable Rules for Writing Badly About Music by Michael Azerrad is labeled “Uncorrected PROOF Not for Sale”. When I looked up more details of the book (that weren’t listed on the one-off sheet that came with the book), it turns out that it won’t be published until December 2018. I wrote to the publicist on the one-off sheet and asked if I could review it and she said they would prefer I wait until closer to the release date. Okay….so we wait!

As some of you may know, I fill my daytime hours with being a publicist for authors who write about the Beatles. It’s a strict rule of mine not to review my clients work. It’s not fair to them, me or my blog audience. So when I was sent Mary’s Prayer by Mary McGuinness to read and consider her as a perspective client, I knew I wouldn’t/couldn’t review it. I’ll leave it at that since I seem to have already toed the line on what I feel I can ethically post on my blog. So, no review on this book either…

Long Players A Love Story in Eighteen Songs Peter Coviello

This is another book I got from Penguin books First to Read program, where I get advanced copies of ebooks in exchange for my reviews. I’ve reviewed a couple of them here in the past, but Long Players: A Love Story in Eighteen Songs by Peter Coviello is not a book I plan on reviewing on this page. As anyone can see, the title and cover (and Penguin’s description) might give one the impression that this book is about music, but it’s not…trust me…IT’S NOT! I still need to finish reading it though for the program, but it left me without a book to blog about this week.

As I mentioned in earlier, I’m a publicist by day, blogger by night and napper in-between. So this week, for the fourth (or fifth), but absolutely the final time, I proof-read Sandi A. Borowsky‘s soon to be published Exploring Fab Four Landmarks. I’m happy to report that the book is now on its way to the printers and will be released (most likely) in June.

So there you have it! I spent the week reading three books that I knew I wouldn’t review and one book that there was just no point in reviewing. Why did I publish this, you ask? Because I feel like a schlepp after waiting until the end of the week to start reading a book that I found to be so off topic that my fans would have questioned my sanity on choosing it to review!

I’ll try to redeem myself in next week’s post…

 

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Book Review: “Rock & Roll’s Most Wanted” by Stuart Shea

Rock and Roll's Most Wanted Stuart SheaRock & Roll’s Most Wanted: The Top 10 Book of Lame Lyrics, Egregious Egos, and Other Oddities by Stuart Shea is another book I picked up for free at The Book Thing in Baltimore this past March. Released in August 2006, this 304 page book is an amusing collection of rock n roll Top 10 lists.

There isn’t really much more to say about this book than what’s already in the title. If you’re wondering if they Beatles get mention, the answer is “yes…often!” There is even one Top Ten list of who’s been called or deemed worthy of the title of The Fifth Beatle. I admit that some of the author’s choices in the category are a little shaky in my opinion, but you’ll have to get the book and decide for yourself if you agree or disagree.

I found this book not only entertaining, but also enlightening and educational when it comes to learning about some of my favorite rock stars. At times, though, it does show it’s age when it talks of personalities that are no longer with us on this earth. But, if you can find this book in your local library or cheap used copy online, pick it up for some easy reading and enjoyment. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: “Visualizing The Beatles: A Complete Graphic History of the World’s Favorite Band” by John Pring and Rob Thomas

I consider myself extremely lucky to have gotten an advanced copy of Visualizing The Beatles: A Complete Graphic History of the World’s Favorite Band by John Pring and Rob Thomas. Visualizing The Beatles John Pring Rob ThomasThis beautiful and colorful 288 page book is being released today, May 1, 2018, and you really need to see it to believe it. If you click through on the link, Amazon has 6 images available, but they just don’t seem to do the book justice. I did my best to snap some photos of some of the pages, but even these don’t project the visual appeal contained in the pages of this book.

Visualizing the Beatles take readers through the history (and trivia) of the Beatles with color filled graphics like you’ve never seen. Whoever came up with the concepts of each section has one of the most creative minds I’ve ever seen. Even the albums are broken down with who wrote, sang or played on each song. Also included are graphs about famous locations around London that they lived, set lists from concerts and their work after post Beatles.

I admit that this book may not be for everyone. It’s most likely suited for the newer Beatles fans, but I do think every Beatles fan should at least give it a look if you can get your hands on a copy (ask your local librarian if they can get a copy from another library for you to check out if they don’t have one).

Authors John Pring and Rob Thomas really did their homework on this book. In my opinion, this isn’t some half-ass’d effort to cash in on the Fab Four. This is a unique and stylish way to appeal to a new generation of Beatles fans. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beatles!

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: “A Dose of Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Nancy Lee Andrews

A Dose of Rock n Roll Nancy Lee AndrewsFor Christmas last year, my daughter gave me a gift certificate for The Fest for Beatles Fans. My intent was to use the certificate to actually go to the fest, but sometimes life has other plans for us, so instead, I headed over to the fest online store and bought myself a copy of a book I’ve been wanting for a long time…A Dose of Rock ‘n’ Roll by former model and photographer Nancy Lee Andrews that was published in 2008 and is 292 pages.

My copy isn’t just any copy…it’s the deluxe signed and number edition and it’s absolutely gorgeous! A hardcover book complete with dust jacket and a hardcover sleeve to keep it safe. A Dose of Rock n Roll Deluxe Edition Nancy Lee Andrews

I picked this up the other day to finally glance through it for review and an hour later I found myself over one third of the way through it. Definitely way more interesting than I had originally thought it would be. Ms. Andrews starts each chapter telling us about her photographic subjects/friends, how she met each one and their history together. And while not all the photos are her photos, but most of them were taken while she was in attendance at an event or party.

A Dose of Rock n Roll Deluxe Edition Nancy Lee Andrews

For those of you ‘not in the know’, Nancy is the former fiancè of Ringo Starr, having spent 5 years with the former Beatle in the late seventies. And even though Nancy already ran with the hip and trendy folks of the seventies because of her career as a Ford model, Ringo opened up a lot of doors that allowed her to photograph Sir Richard Starkey in many a situation and so many other stars in and out of the studio. This collection is awe inspiring and the picture of Ringo and his children and precious.

Now here’s the clincher about why there’s not excuse for every Beatles fan and book collector not to have this book – the original cover price on this deluxe edition is $69.00, but…the Fest for Beatles Fans’ online store is currently selling it for just $29 + S&H. And before you ask, no, I have no affiliation with the fest and I’m not receiving any kickbacks or bonuses for telling you to buy a copy at their site. Hell…I don’t even know if Nancy is still getting paid for the copies the fest owns. But I did email them to make sure they had plenty of copies (which they do) for when I post this blog. And for all the reasons above…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

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Bonus Book Review: “The Unknown Unknowns: Bookshops and the delight of not getting what you wanted” by Mark Forsyth

The Unknown Unknowns

Bear with me while I continue to clear the books off my end table and reading list…

The Unknown Unknown: Bookshops and the delight of not getting what you wanted A is by Mark Forsyth, the same author of one of my previous reviews Short History of Drunkenness. It was the subtitle of this book that drew me to it after my recent tour of used bookshops in Baltimore. I love going in bookstores…especially used bookstores. But I digress…

I guess I should have paid a little more attention to this books description before buying a paperback copy online, as it appear in my mailbox in a thin brown envelope! The book measures just about 4″ x 5″ and is only 23 pages long. It reminds me of those little word search books you find out the checkout counter at your local grocery store.

Still, it’s an amusing little book that’s probably just as witty in the $1.99 ebook version as it is in the $5.94 + shipping paperback version! Mark Forsyth has proven to me with both the books I’ve read of his that he is capable of tickling my funny bone in his British humor sort of way. If you’re bored and have an extra $1.99 in your account, download a copy.

 

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Bonus Book Review: “Bella Figura: How to Live, Love and Eat the Italian Way” by Kamin Mohammadi

Bella Figura Kamin Mohammadi

So here I am, behind on my reading again. The past 2 1/2 weeks have turned my world askew. Not only did my son’s girlfriend move in with us while they save to buy a house, my husband got laid off from his job last week. My quiet reading time is now very limited due to the extra people needing my attention. But, I’m determined to get caught up with the ever growing stack of books on my end table and in my e-reader, so let’s get right down to it…

Bella Figura: How to Live, Love, and Eat the Italian Way by Kamin Mohammadi is another ebook I requested from First to Read.  According to Amazon, the book is 6″ x 8.5″ and is 304 pages (it was 290 pages on my iPad). It’s due to be published on May 8, 2018.

Bella figura translates to ‘beautiful figure’ in Italian, but means a whole lot more than that. It’s about taking care of yourself and showing your best ‘you’ to the world at all times. It’s one of the many lessons learned by author Kamin Mohammadi from her cast of real life characters that she meets after she left her high powered job in the publishing industry in London, England, to move into a friend’s apartment for several months in Florence, Italy to write a book.

Bella Figura is very much a chick book. I’ve never read Eat, Pray, Love (or seen the movie), but I can assume that it’s very similar and would appeal to the same crowd. I enjoyed the book and looked forward to reading what Kamin experienced in her year long, month to month adventure in the Tuscany region of Italy. Each month is presented with a new Italian word, lesson, seasonal food and adventure as Kamin learns to live the Italian way. And as someone who spent two weeks in Italy in 2000, I can tell you, it’s nothing like America or the U.K. The lifestyle and people are unique and even I have been known to say that I would love to retire to the countryside of Abruzzo, Itlay. One of the few drawbacks of this book is that Ms. Mohammadi tends not to translate some of the conversations she has with her acquaintances, leaving the reader to guess what was said even when there is very little context to go on. I can only recommend that you’re either familiar with the language or keep your computer open to Google translate when reading this book. I have no doubt that I will be recommending it to my grown daughter who spent a semester in Rome during her college years as I think the lessons contained within it’s pages are for every woman. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

 

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Bonus Book Review: “A Short History of Drunkenness” by Mark Forsyth

Last month, I was informed that the Blogging for Books program that sent me free books to review would be coming to an end this month. They recommended another program called First to Read which is basically the same deal, but I can only get the books in ebook versions. I’m really not a fan of ebooks. I’m old fashioned and want to actually turn pages and display my books on my bookshelf. Still, I decided to take the plunge and this is the first book I chose. On another note, I’m probably going to go off topic for the next couple of weeks as I give my brain a little rest from the Beatles so I can dive into more Fab Four adventures later this month with a clear head.

A short history of drunkenness Mark ForsythA Short History of Drunkenness: How, Why, Where, and When Humankind Has Gotten Merry from the Stone Age to the Present by Mark Forsyth is 256 pages long and will be released on May 8, 2018, but is available for pre-order on Amazon.com and other online booksellers. It is exactly what it says it is and it is as witty as it sounds!

A Short History of Drunkenness starts at the very beginning of the invention or discovery of alcohol. Though there is no record of exactly when man found out about the inhibition releasing effects of fermented berries, Forsyth followed the clues and research the best he could to draft the story of early man’s drunken life. The author goes on to tell the history of the early Greeks, Romans, Chinese, Vikings and other cultures beliefs and rituals involving alcohol, and that of their Gods of beer, wine, gin and other libations.

This book follows the chronological history of intoxication from early man to American prohibition. I had hoped when I offered to review it that it would include modern day stories, like that of John Lennon getting drunk in L.A. and walking around with a sanitary napkin adhered to his head in the 1970’s, but unfortunately it did not (I’m sure if Mr. Forsyth had tried to include drunken stories of the rich and famous, the book would have been proven to be way to long!). Still, the lack of our living gods of music didn’t take anything away from this book.

The one drawback to this book is when the author (who’s born, bred and still living in London, England) breaks into a strange tirade in the last pages of the Prohibition chapter at the very end of the book:

All non-Americans agree that America is stupid. For that matter, quite a lot of Americans agree that American is quite peculiarly stupid, like an embarrassing cousin at a family wedding. American stupidity is famous, and of a quite special kind. It’s a unique sort of stupidity that allows them to put a chap on the moon…

There’s more, but I’ll let you read it. It’s a little offensive and I’m not sure why we deserved such a tongue lashing. I mean we (and by that I mean not me!) did elect a stupid teetotaling President who says and does stupid things and is hated by most of the world, but… I guess I can forgive Mr. Forsyth his discretions since the monarchy has never seemed to get over the fact that they no longer own the colonists! And for that reason…

I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

 

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