I bought this copy of Shirley, I Jest!: A Storied Life from the woman herself…Cindy Williams, when I visited the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention last weekend in Maryland. I had gone to the convention to support my friend Garry Berman, the author of several pop-culture books including We’re Going to See the Beatles!, but the place is jam packed with celebrities signing autographs. And while I don’t usually stand in line to meet celebrities, I happen to be walking by at a moment when there was no one at Cindy Williams table, so I bought her book, told her I wished I had brought my “Laverne and Shirley Sing” album for her to sign and then got a quick photo.
Now…about this book. In case you think I’m daft for reviewing it on my Beatles blog, in my defense the word “Beatles” does appear once in this book. And if you remember the television series Laverne & Shirley, you may remember that they had a very large picture of the Fab Four in their apartment when they moved to California. At 159 pages, this book can be read in less than 24 hours, but it’s jam packed with stories that go way beyond what you believe you already know about Cindy Williams. Sure, she played Ron Howard’s girlfriend in American Graffiti…and yeah, Laverne & Shirley was a spin-off of Happy Days that stayed on TV long past the point of jumping the shark. But did you know that before she became famous Cindy Williams was a waitress at the Whiskey A Go Go in Hollywood and the first person she waited on was Jim Morrison?! Funny, funny story that made me literally laugh out loud. And it wasn’t the only one. Cindy’s life during her Hollywood years was funny on and off screen. John Belushi, Ed Begley Jr., and Andy Kaufman are just a few of the people she called close friends. But get ready for the funny stories about Cher, Cary Grant, Harrison Ford and Susan Summers to name a few.
Though her life didn’t start out like a lot of actresses in posh Beverly Hills, she endured poverty and growing up in a less than stable household to go on to become a worldwide phenomenon. You can’t help but love her, Shirley Feeney and Boo Boo Kitty just a little more after reading this book. If you happen to stumble upon a copy in your journeys, pick it up and read it. You won’t be disappointed. And for that reason…
I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beatles!
Wait! Before you change screens or move on to something you think may be more interesting than another review from my BloggingForBooks collection, bear with me for a few minutes and hear me out on why I chose to read – The New York Times: Footsteps: From Ferrante’s Naples to Hammett’s San Francisco, Literary Pilgrimages Around the World.
Let me start by asking my readers: Have you ever gone to New York City to see the Dakota building where John Lennon lived and died? Have you ever walked through Central Park to see the Imagine circle in Strawberry Fields? How many of you have gone (or hope to go) to Liverpool to see the Cavern Club or the houses that John Lennon and Paul McCartney grew up in? How many of you have looked up the meaning behind a Beatles’ song and wondered what inspired John, Paul George or Ringo to write it?
I personally have gone to the house near me where Jim Croce once lived. And his grave is less than 2 miles from my house. I visit it often. People make pilgrimages to France to see Jim Morrison’s grave or to Woodstock to see where history was made with the largest most peaceful concert that world had ever seen.
Well, if you’re also a lover of interpreting words, books and songs, or just finding the meaning in the world around us, than this book will truly fascinate you.
Footsteps began in 1981 as a short-lived series of articles in the New York Times. Writers writing about writers is what this 290 page collection of 38 articles is all about. The reporters retraced the steps of famous authors such as Twain, Hemingway, Kerouac, Fitzgerald, Lovecraft, Shelley, Yeats, Byron and the Brothers Grimm. Imagine that Lake Geneva in Switzerland was the back drop to Mary Shelley writing Frankenstein or that the blinking green lighthouse from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby was an actual lighthouse on the French Riviera. This collection of articles lead you down the streets, alleys and waterways that were the inspiration behind so many of the great classic novels that we know today. Though I did find that a few of the reporters get a little side tracked in telling more about the city than the author that lived there, I looked forward to reading each new story. And for that reason…
I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!
I’m not sure where I first heard or saw The Cutting Edge: The Story of the Beatles’ Hairdresser Who Defined an Era by Leslie Cavendish, but the very thought of the Beatles hairdresser writing a book pretty much made me roll my eyes and snort. Not knowing anything about the author my first thoughts were of a tiny little Beatlemaniac who worked somewhere in Liverpool in the early sixties and managed to cut the Fab Four’s greased back locks long before they ever hit the big time. I could image this girl collecting and selling off these locks to all her screaming little friends who also spent their lunch hours at the cavern club swooning over John, Paul, George and Pete!
Well folks…I couldn’t have been more wrong in my first impression of this book. You see, Leslie Cavendish is a man! In fact, he’s a man who loves women so much that after accompanying his mother to her hair salon as a teen, he decided that being a hairdresser would be the ultimate job for a guy who wants to be around glamorous, sexy women all the time. Conveniently, his best childhood friend Lawrence had the same idea and recommended that Leslie try to get an apprenticeship at the hottest salon in London…Vidal Sassoon! After two years as an apprentice, and as luck would have it one day, Jane Asher came into the salon to find that her regular stylist was behind schedule and being in a hurry, she remarkably ended up in the chair of junior stylist Leslie Cavendish. If he thought he was nervous working on Jane Asher’s hair, imagine his surprise when she asked if he would come over to her house later that day to cut her boyfriend’s hair. Leslie knew exactly who that was…Paul McCartney. And so the story goes…
This is actually an incredibly fascinating book with little snippets in between of other famous rock stars and artists sitting in Leslie’s chair. Yes, there is sex, drugs and rock n’ roll, but he does keep it clean, funny and oh so interesting in this very well written and quick read. And for that reason…
I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!
The husband and I took a night off to go out to dinner and movie. This time we were lucky enough to have a Beatles themed flick playing one town over from us.
Deconstructing The Beatles is the brain child of musicologist and Beatles scholar Scott Freiman. He’s made four ‘Deconstructing’ films so far that are showing around the country. You can find out if any of them are playing near you on the website. Before I give my thoughts, here’s the trailer for this film:
I’ve seen several great Beatles experts who do lectures similar to this one…Kenneth Womack and Walter Everett come to mind and if you’ve ever been lucky enough to see either of these Beatles experts’ lectures, you’re sure to love this film. Scott Freiman literally walks his audience through each day of the 30 days the Beatles had to record their Rubber Soul album. What songs they recorded on what days, what instruments where used on each song, the tracks used, etc.. An amazing process to experience that just about any Beatles fan is sure to enjoy. In fact, I’m going to need to go back and find out where I can go to see the first three Deconstructing films about the White Album, Sgt. Peppers and Revolver. And for that reason…
I rate this film, 4 out of 4 Beetles!
The winners of last week’s giveaway for a copy of John Lennon: The stories behind every song 1970-1980 are: Meredith Floate, Deborah Allen and Rob Conlin! Please email me your mailing addresses so I can get your books out to you ASAP. Congrats!
John Lennon: The Stories Behind Every Song 1970-1980 is written by Paul Du Noyer – a rock journalist from Liverpool. I picked up this book off the 75% off rack at Barnes & Noble. When I realized it was only going to cost me $1.98, I went back and bought the other three copies to give away to my readers. (But then again, maybe after reading my review you might not want a copy!)
The Stories Behind Every Song 1970-1980 is now in it’s 4th edition. I’m not sure why it takes four tries and 20 years to get a book about John Lennon’s songs right, but obviously it wasn’t to fix the few minor typos throughout. Yet, despite my head scratching moment of confusion over the reprinting, I did find this book really well written and informative.
Du Noyer tells John’s life story while telling what motivated John to write each of his solo albums and songs. Like many other Beatles experts, he believes that when it came to John’s music, he wore his heart on his sleeve. John only knew how to write about his own life experiences…no made up story lines. So I’m happy to report that Du Noyer does include John’s lost weekend years in this book along with his time with May Pang. But I’m also sad to report that the author believes that the lost weekend was also a very dark, drunken time in John’s life where he pined endlessly for 18 months for Yoko to take him back.
Still a great book for those who want to delve deeper into Lennon’s music and the meaning and story behind the albums and songs. And for that reason…
I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!
GIVEAWAY: I have three copies of this book to give to three of my readers. Just leave a comment below and you’re entered. It’s that simple. Rules: Only one entry per person. I will pick the winners next Sunday morning (September 3, 2017) and announce them in my blog.
My Beatles Hell: The Tragical History Tour of Beryl Adams by Lew Baxter is one of those books that you keep seeing popping up in Amazon’s recommended reading list or on other people’s bookshelf and eventually you hunt down a used copy and probably pay way to much for it, only to realize that ….yeah, you paid too much for an awful book!
To be completely honest, I started this review yesterday, but decided that I needed to read more than 93 of the 222 pages in this book to be able to give an honest review. Sixteen pages later, I’m more adamant in my opinion that this book is a sham!
She was scathing about the legions of folks – mostly men – although the recently published “ramblings” of Pauline Sutcliffe on her newly “exotic” brother caused incandescent ire in Beryl. These are people, she ranted, who’ve relentlessly jumped on the Beatles’ bandwagon over the last four decades; many touting mythical tales of links with the Fab Four or fabricating stories to make themselves look good or to savor some vicarious pleasure.
This is just a huge embarrassment to the Beatles world. There are very few who don’t/didn’t come under fire from Beryl in this book including Alastair Taylor, Peter Brown, John Lennon, Cynthia Lennon, Bob Wooler (who was married to Beryl), Allan Williams (who was Beryl’s live in lover) and Brian Epstein (for HIS decision to sack Pete Best). I’d truly like to believe that if Beryl hadn’t passed away suddenly (from mad cow disease), she would never have allowed this awful portrayal of her, her time as Brian Epstein’s secretary and her life to have ever been published!
Lew Baxter should be ashamed of himself. And for that reason…
I rate this book, 1 out of 4 Beetles!
I’m a little behind on my reading, but I promise to have a new book review tomorrow!
In the meantime, I’d like to share a wonderful Beatle-y gift that was given to me last weekend by my dear friend Lisa…
The Yellow Submarine Bath Bomb by Lush cosmetics! The image is a little deceptive…the bath bomb is a good 4″ long.
You may remember my review of A Hard Days Night spa treatment I had at Lush. Now, I can’t wait to have submarine races (or battles) with my husband with a couple of these! You can purchase them online at Lush for $5.95 each. Enjoy!