Bonus Book Review: “21 Ways to a Happier Depression” by Seth Swirsky

21 Ways to a Happier Depression: A Creative Guide to Getting Unstuck from Anxiety, Setbacks, and Stress seth swirsky21 Ways to a Happier Depression: A Creative Guide to Getting Unstuck from Anxiety, Setbacks, and Stress written by Seth Swirsky was released on April 4, 2017 and is just 112 pages from start to finish. If you’re wondering where my current obsession with Seth Swirsky came from, I’m going to have to lay the blame on Paul McCartney’s stepmum Angie McCartney! Angie interview Seth on her Tea Fix Tuesday show last week and now I can’t seem to get enough Seth in my life (but fear not, my Hollywood crushes only last about 2 weeks!) You can watch Angie’s interview with Seth below.

As I said above, this book is only 112 pages and most of those are filled with watercolor pictures and quotes. But don’t let that deter you from getting a copy of this book for either yourself or someone you know who suffers from depression or has tendencies to just get in a funk now and then. Seth has tackled his own occasional depression and his clients (he holds a masters degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University) with the 21 very simple suggestions that he used to write this book.

This book is an easy read…almost too easy in its writing. There were times when I felt like it could be written for a child if the topic weren’t so adult in nature (though, I believe parents could use some of the techniques to help a depressed child). Another slight flaw is that several of the suggestions involve going out and spending money to help bring you up when you’re down…and for a lot of people, that’s just not feasible, which (I believe) might make a depressed person sink even lower. To Seth’s credit, none of his spending suggestions are outrageously expensive, but I have to wonder about a single mother on government support with little to no spare income? None the less, I will be keeping my copy of 21 Ways on my nightstand where I’ll be able to pick it up when I need a little pick me up from the daily grind. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!






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Documentary Review: Beatles Stories

Beatles Stories is an 85 minute documentary film by Seth Swirsky released in October 2012. You may remember me mentioning Seth Swirsky in an earlier review of his band The Red Button‘s new CD back in October. Well, it seems this guy is multi-talented! A singer/songwriter, producer and psychologist all wrapped up in one amazing package. In fact, he wrote Taylor Dayne’s 1988 Grammy nominated hit song, “Tell It to My Heart”

Well, enough about Seth…let’s move on to the review…

An adorable look back at the amazing and interesting ways that so many people interacted with the Beatles over the course of time. But don’t expect any deep discussions or elaborate stories. With this film being just 85 minutes long and with over 40 interviews, Swirsky keeps each clip down to about 2 minutes or less. Personally, that’s what I liked best about this documentary…how in just a brief moment each celebrity (I think I recognized all but 3 interviewees) can emote the joy and elation of their encounter with a Beatle or the Fab Four. I think one of my favorite stories was Henry “The Fonz” Winkler at the height of his career walking down Lexington Avenue in New York City and walking towards him was Paul McCartney. Paul immediately recognized Henry and said that he had always wanted to meet him, much to Henry’s surprise.

This is without a doubt a film that any Beatles freak would find entertaining. In fact, most of you probably already have seen it since I’m so late to the boat in seeing it myself. If your a member of Amazon Prime, you can watch it for free. In the meantime, I’ve heard that Seth is in the process of making a Beatles Stories 2 and is asking people to tell him their stories for possible inclusion in the next edition. If you have a story, you can contact Seth through a form on his website:

And for all the above reasons…

I rate this film, 4 out of 4 Beetles!






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Book Review: “When Life Sends You Lemons, Make LENNONAID: What John Lennon’s life did for mine” by Kaya John

When Life Sends You Lemons, Make LENNONAID: What John Lennon's life did for mine Kaya JohnWhen Life Sends You Lemons, Make LENNONAID: What John Lennon’s life did for mine by Kaya John was recommended to me by a friend. In fact, I was asked if I would be willing to interview the author for my blog. Instead, I think a review of this self-published autobiography/memoir is in order.

As a publicist for several self-published authors, I’m generally very lenient when reviewing self-published books. I believe everyone has a story to tell and should at some point in their life share their story with the world. I went into this book with the same attitude and early on came to the decision that it would be very hard to rate someone’s memoir, let alone judge their life story. Kaya’s story is that of a broken and abusive childhood and the only thing that brought her joy was the music of the Beatles and John Lennon. I could relate…until page 131.

I somehow feel quieter inside now that Cynthia has finally let it all out. That needed to happen. We needed to know that about John and Cynthia really needed to tell it. I was always so afraid of what her truth might be. I understood about the coldness and the temper but I must say I was relieved to find out he only hit her once, I was really afraid he could have been a real constant physical abuser. So he wasn’t as bad as I though he might be.

Did she really just justify all of John’s abuse because he only hit his wife Cynthia once? Is she excusing the physical abuse against May and Yoko too? I found this one paragraph incredibly disturbing. But the author didn’t stop there.

Ms. John talks excessively about her parent’s flaws, illnesses and addictions that led to her not so happy childhood, but only hints at her own flaws including addiction and a failed marriage at some point in her life. She also goes on to lecture about the importance of becoming a vegetarian or vegan, even sinking so low as to say about those who eat meat: “And I wonder what the mutilation, torture, rape, confinement and murder of conscious, intelligent animals is doing to their soul.”

The last 26 pages of this 180 page book are all about the “Beatles friends and family” that Kaya has met over the years and all of her best memories of attending all but one Fest for Beatles Fans, making this book read more like a blog than a book. In fact, I would recommend she take up blogging instead of writing books…

I couldn’t rate this book even if I wanted to…sorry.

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New-used bookstores in Baltimore lead to Beatles treasures!

I’ve been reading a book for the past two weeks, but life has been too busy to finish it to post a review. It’s actually only 180 pages, so I don’t have a really good excuse except for life getting in the way. I promise to finish it and post my review on Wednesday. In the meantime…

Yesterday my husband and I headed down to Baltimore, Maryland, to visit a used bookstore I had read about online. Since it was a two hour drive, we had planned to have lunch at the Inner Harbor and visit a cigar store, too, since he’s the editor/owner of a very popular cigar blog.

The Book Thing, Baltimore, MD

The Book Thing, Baltimore, MD

The bookstore isn’t really a bookstore at all. In fact, they give away all the books for FREE! The name of this place is The Book Thing. This place is a huge warehouse of donated used books on every topic under the sun. People bring their books to donate and others come with boxes to fill with books from the shelves. And let me tell you…it was crowded! The store is only open on Saturdays and Sundays and parking is a bit tricky, but if you’re in the Baltimore area and love books, check this place out. I wasn’t able to find any Beatles books on this trip, but I did leave with a handful of useful reading material for other endeavors. If you’re interested in going, you can read more about the who, where, when and why of how this place came to be in this article.

The Book Escape, Baltimore, MD

The Book Escape, Baltimore, MD

After driving less than 4 miles south to the Inner Harbor to have lunch, Craig and I realized that the cigar shop we wanted to visit was only 1.3 miles away, so we decided to hoof it. Lucky for me, we came upon another bookstore along the way! This store is called The Book Escape and sells both new and used books. It’s an absolutely charming store stuffed to the gills! From the front, it appears to be small, but after asking the gentleman behind the desk where his music section was, he led us to the back of the store, through a door into a courtyard and into an adjoining store front next door. This time, I managed to find 3 Beatles related books and one book written by a friend that I just had to buy for $5. But…my discoveries didn’t end there. When I got to the counter to checkout, I asked if there were any other Beatles books. Next thing I know, this guy is pulling out 5 more books from places around the store. Decisions…decisions. I limited myself to just 4 new/used books.

A couple blocks farther down on Light Street and we found ourselves at the Cross Street Tobacco store and lounge. It was a great little store and my husband says the humidor was very well stocked. Now I know most of you don’t give a hoot about cigars, but once I mentioned to the clerk that I came to Baltimore to check out bookstores and specifically to find books about the Beatles, he called over one of his regular clients who I spent the next half hour talking to about the Beatles, Stones, Bowie and other various rock bands and books written about them. He even suggested 4 books I should find. It was then that he asked if I had been to Protean Books & Records. He even called the owner to let him know we were on our way, but the owner wasn’t there. So after my husband finished his cigar, we walked the less than half a mile to the next store.

Protean Books and Records, Baltimore, MD

Protean Books and Records, Baltimore, MD

Protean Books and Records is tucked away in warehouse that had no sign on the building letting you know you had arrived. They did have a little stand-up sign on the sidewalk though. Now this place was a book lovers dream store! Racks and racks of used books, new and used CDs & LPs, and video games. My husband tells me they even had a horror museum in the back (I was too focused on the books in the music section to look around). I stumbled upon 3 more Beatles books that I just felt compelled to add to my collection.

I gotta say, this little road-trip turned out way better than I had ever expected! I would highly recommend all the places we visited in Baltimore to anyone who’s going there and an avid reader. Here’s a picture of my haul for the day… 



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Book Review: “Baby’s In Black: Astrid Kirchherr, Stuart Sutcliffe, and The Beatles” by Arne Bellstorf

Baby's In Black Arne BellstorfBaby’s in Black: Astrid Kirchherr, Stuart Sutcliffe, and The Beatles a black and white graphic novel by German cartoonits Arne BellstorfThis hardcover book measures approximately 6″ x 9″ and is 195 pages long. It was originally published in Germany in 2010 under the title Baby’s In Black: The Story of Astrid Kirchherr and Stuart Sutcliffe, and later translated into English in 2011 and released in the U.S. in 2012 with its new title.

This is the latest graphic novel in my quest to find the ultimate Beatles graphic novel. I bought a used ex-library copy off of, so I can really comment on the cover since mine has plastic covering it. I will say that even though this book is in black & white, I enjoyed the artwork much more than the book I read last week in which I had a hard time telling the individual Beatles apart from the artist’s renditions. I believe the author of Baby’s In Black, Arne Bellstorf, was much better at pulling off the emotion of the characters much better than some other cartoonists who used more color and detailed drawings.

This book is the love story of Astrid Kirchherr and Beatles’ bassist Stuart Sutcliffe, from the moment they set eyes on each other at the Kaiserkeller club in Hamburg, Germany, until the day Astrid broke the news to John and Paul that Stu had died. George, Paul and John also play a big part in the story with barely a mention of Pete Best. Klaus Voormann also figures prominently in the story, as does Astrid’s mother. You have to give the author a lot of credit for getting the real Astrid Kirchherr to help in making the story as true as possible. It made it a real delight to read knowing that it came from source. And though I’m weary to label this as the ultimate Beatles graphic novel (since it’s really about Astrid and Stu), I really believe that any Beatle fan would truly enjoy this book. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!





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Book Review: “The Beatles: All Our Yesterdays” by Jason Quinn and Lalit Kumar Sharma

Beatles All Our Yesterdays Jason Quinn Lalit Kumar SharmaAfter reading the graphic novel – The Beatles Story a couple weeks ago, I decided to search on Amazon to see if there were any other graphic novels about the Beatles. I’d love to find one that really WOW’d me and that I think would really impress other Beatles fans and collectors.

The Beatles: All Our Yesterdays, written by Jason Quinn and illustrated by Lalit Kumar Sharma is one of two graphic novels I purchased. This book, published in 2016 by Campfire Books (a division of Kalyani Navyug Media in India), is 149 pages and is in full color. The publishers were even kind enough to include an adorable guitar shaped book mark in the back of the book which I chose to leave intact.

Unfortunately, the good impression stops there. Despites it’s beauty, vibrant colors and bonus bookmark, this book is filled with falsehoods and just sloppy storytelling.  The author starts his story at the very beginning with the birth of each of the Beatles and ends with the release of their first single. I was impressed to see it even mentioned temporary fill-in bass player Chaz Newby! There is also a short epilogue to bring the reader up to date. The typos are non-existent and the text itself is beautifully written (meaning it’s easy to read), but so much of the Beatles history is just blatantly wrong.

I guess my search will continue for the ultimate Beatles graphic novel. I have another one on standby that I will review next week.

I rate this book, 1 out of 4 Beetles!





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