Book Review: “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography” by Eric Idle

Always look on the bright side of life eric idleAlways Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography by Eric Idle is due to be released on October 2, 2018, but I was lucky enough to get an advanced ebook copy from FirstToRead.com.

Knowing that Eric was very close friends with George Harrison made choosing to read and review this book a no-brainer! The sub-title of this book could actually be “and a semi-autobiography of George Harrison” because from the very beginning Eric Idle talks about their life long friendship. Even in stories that George isn’t in, Idle will end with, “As George Harrison always said….”

But this book isn’t just about Eric Idle, George Harrison and the Pythons. The names of all the notable people Eric has worked and socialized with is outstanding (and take way too much band with to list)! I actually got tired of the name dropping at one point, but that is the way his life has evolved. And every name he drops has a story. From getting Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher drunk the night before a filming a major scene in The Empire Strikes Back (he says you can tell they’re hungover in the scene), to having dinner at Billy Connolly’s house with Robin William and Prince Charles all at the table!

Unfortunately, the ebook copy that I received from Crown Publishing is an unedited proof, so there are some typos and some really rough paragraphs that could use some cleaning up, not to mention one badly placed photo with the wrong caption. Oh…and speaking of the photos! There are photos from so many of Eric Idles stories that you’d think he had them taken just so he could prove that the outrageousness of some of his stories are true.

This book is an absolute must read for everyone…especially George Harrison and Beatles fans…and of course Monty Python fans. And even though they swore they’ll never tour again, Palin, Cleese, Idle, Jones and Gilliam have broken that promise several times already. Let’s hope for another reunion. In the meantime, pre-order this book (https://amzn.to/2wVqOIh). It’ll really make you laugh….and for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: The Beatles Yellow Submarine (Graphic Novel) – by Bill Morrison

The Beatles Yellow Submarine is a new graphic novel that was just released this past Tuesday, August 28, 2018. It was put out by Titan Comics and illustrated by Bill Morrison – the co-founder of Bongo Comics and editor of MAD magazine.

I admit that it’s been a very long time since I’ve watched the movie Yellow Submarine. In fact, I actually wasn’t sure if we owned it and I had to go out into the garage to look through our old box of DVD’s to find it. So by now you all realize that mine is the 1999 version and not the beautifully restored 2012 version. This brings me to my second confession that after getting about 20 pages into this 112 page hardcover, graphic novel, I slipped the movie into my player to see how the book compared to the original story.

Picture yourself…in your favorite chair, with your favorite small child (be it your own kid, niece, nephew, or kid you babysit) curled up next to you as you read them the story of the Yellow Submarine. The book follows the movie as best it can without all the great psychedelic animation or well-known songs as background music. But if you’re a true Beatles’ fan, chances are your kids already know the title and other songs. Where the movie may be a bit much for young minds to absorb, this graphic novel is a great way to introduce your children to reading while at the same time making sure that they are future Beatles freaks like their parents or guardians.

The book isn’t an exact replica of the film and does skip tiny bits of the movie’s dialog here, there and everywhere, while adding tiny snippets to make it all make sense on paper, while at same time staying true to the story. The illustrations are adapted from the movie, but once again, the dialog isn’t going to exactly match up with the movie’s animation. Still, it’s a very, very good adaption with Mr. Morrison fitting in as much of the movie’s background graphics as he can on every colorful page. If you’re a Beatles book collector or the parent of a little Beatle fan, then this book belongs on your shelf. Just be sure to put the soundtrack on your stereo before indulging. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

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The Beatles’ The White Album: An International Symposium – November 8-11, 2018

Here’s a little something to put on your calendar to attend in November…The Beatles’ The White Album: An International Symposium to be held on November 8-11, 2018 at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ. The keynote speaker will be Beatles historian and author Mark Lewisohn. Other speakers will include Geoff Emerick, Chris Thomas, Walter Everett, Bruce Spizer, and Tim Riley.  The conference them will be:  “Producing an Enigma for the Ages” .

If you plan to attend, on the first night of the conference (November 8th), be sure to buy tickets to see The Weeklings in concert. You may remember my review of their last album back in November 2016. If not, you can read more about them and their Beatlesque sound here.

Currently, host Kenneth Womack is still in the process of accepting abstracts for any Beatles experts and authors that wish to speak at this event, but the deadline is drawing near (August 20, 2018), so if you’re interested in presenting at this symposium, you can find the information about how to submit a paper for consideration at: https://www.monmouth.edu/mca/whitealbum/.

For all the Beatles fans and freaks that want to attend, keep your eyes and ears up for more information on tickets to this grand event!

https://www.monmouth.edu/mca/whitealbum/

See you there!

 

 

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The 50 Greatest Beatles Books…How many do you own?

I found this article this morning through another link I followed. I’m happy to see so many authors that I’ve worked with and that I know personally. I didn’t count how many I of these books I actually own, but I probably have at least half of them on my shelf. I guess I need to get back to reading!

Click the link below and Enjoy!

50 Great Books about The Beatles

 

 

 

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Bonus Book Review: “King Con: The Bizarre Adventures of the Jazz Age’s Greatest Impostor” by Paul Willets

Here’s another book review from my First to Read list, but if you’re an avid reader and love true crime or biographies, this book is excellent. King Con: The Bizarre Adventures of the Jazz Age’s Greatest Impostor by Paul Willetts is due to be published on August 7, 2018 but you can pre-order it now. It’s the story of Edgar Laplante who was born in the late 1800’s Rhode Island to white Anglo Saxon parents, who’s troubled childhood eventually landed him in a reform school, but did nothing to reform a man who would go on to be one of the greatest con men in the world!

Author Paul Willetts starts Edgar’s story in 1916, when Edgar is in his mid-30’s and living in California, but Willetts occasionally finds the opportunity to flashback to Edgar’s early years to help explain how he was to become one of the greatest con men in the world. And when I say world, I mean, America, Canada and Europe. After a long stint of traveling, singing and speaking across the U.S. claiming he was the famous Canadian Iroquois Indian athlete Thomas Longboat, Edgar would adopt the persona of Chief White Elk. As the Chief, he toured the U.S., Canada and eventually Europe, conning the unsuspecting out of money he claimed was going to go to American Indian causes in America, but instead was lining his pockets and paying for his extravagant lifestyle and drug & alcohol addiction. Along the way, Edgar would not only con two women into marrying him (one of which was half native American and one British), he would dupe two European contessas out of their fortune.

I couldn’t put this book down. Edgar Laplante’s life is so far out that you actually start to feel like the author must be making this all up and you’re falling for a con story yourself by believing that any one man could pull of what Mr. Laplante did. It’s an incredibly fascinating story that makes one wonder if someone could pull this off today with the technology and fast paced world we live in now? Oh, and if you need a Beatles connection, Chief White Elk did spend some time in Liverpool and stayed at the Adelphi Hotel. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

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Bonus Book Review: “Rock Critic Law: 101 Unbreakable Rules for Writing Badly About Music” by Michael Azerrad

Rock Critic Law Michael AzerradRock Critic Law: 101 Unbreakable Rules for Writing Badly About Music by Michael Azerrad is another book I got from Harper-Collins over three months ago. The copy I got is an unedited proof and according to the letter I got with it, this book won’t be released until October 18, 2018 (Amazon says the release date is December 15th). I’m not sure why they sent it out so early. I wrote to them in May and asked if it was okay to post a review, but they said they would prefer if I hold off until the month before publication (it is available for pre-order on Amazon). And so, this book has remained on the end table in my living room collecting dust for months and at this point, I just need to move it to the bookshelf. I’m going to defend this early review by saying that this book already has 5 reviews on GoodReads.com!

Author Michael Azerrad has written for most of the major music publications: Spin, Rolling Stone, Revolver, Mojo, etc.. He’s also the author of Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana and Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991. Several years ago, he started a Twitter feed under the name @RockCriticLaw and he set about making up ridiculous, yet profound, rules for anyone who reviews rock music.

For obvious reasons, I found this topic intriguing since no one had ever told me that there are rules for what I’ve been putting out on my blog for the last nine years. I’ll start by saying that the Introduction to this book may have more words than the 101 rules themselves. The rules are taken from Azerrad’s Twitter feed and some were even contributed by Twitter followers. Here are some of the rules:

All fan bases are either “devoted,” “dedicated,” or “loyal.”

Bass players are the only musicians that can be “nimble.”

If there are three or more bowed instruments on a track, then you MUST note the “lush orchestration.”

It doesn’t take long to breeze through these rules even with their comic illustrations on the facing pages to add to the humor behind each one. It’s disappointing that the book ends so quickly and makes me wonder if Azerrad should have held out until he could have made a “500 rules…” book to give the reader more bang for their buck, since the book retails for $23.99 and takes less than 30 minutes to read. And even though I was amused by it and got it for free, I probably won’t be keeping this book around to reread or use as a reference guide for my future reviews. It might just be easier to follow him on Twitter. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: “Flower Power Fatality” by Sally Carpenter

Flower Power Fatality Psychodelic Spy Mystery Sally CarpenterFlower Power Fatality: A Psychedelic Spy Mystery is the third book I’ve read by Sally Carpenter and reviewed on this blog. Sandy writes the Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol series of mysteries and now she’s branched out with a new series. She’s a huge Beatles fan and whenever possible, she’ll mention them in her books. In fact, her first novel, The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper is about a mysterious murder at a Beatles convention.

Flower Power Fatality is based in 1967. The lead character Noelle McNabb finds herself knee deep in helping to solve the mysterious murder of a man who knocks at her door on a cold rainy night and falls to her floor from a gunshot wound when she answers. It isn’t long before a secret spy organization shows up looking for information about the dead man that she doesn’t have. Or does she?

I love the way Sally can write a great story that’s so easy to sit back and relax to. These are the books that are true beach books or books for when you just need to escape into another world. There’s not a lot of gore, swearing, sex or nudity. Just simply good writing in a whodunit. Throughout this book, she names some of the chapters after Beatles songs and at least twice, the Beatles are mentioned, whether it’s Noelle putting their album on her turntable to chill out to or some other small incident. No matter where you go, there’s always room for more Beatles. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

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