Category Archives: Beatles books

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: “The Beatles Story” by Angus Allan and Arthur Ranson

The Beatles Story Arthur RansonThe Beatles Story is a 56 page black & white graphic novel written by Angus Allan and illustrated by Arthur Ranson due to be released on February 20, 2018. I was lucky enough to get at advanced copy from Rebellion Publishing and it is available for pre-order at

Despite what it says on Amazon, the dimensions of this book are 8.5″ x 11″. The beautiful cover is white with black matte text and illustrations except for the title and the Beatles hair which is done is high gloss black.

This book starts at the very beginning with the story of all the young Fabs and includes their birthdays…except Paul McCartney’s. How this could have gone unnoticed, beats me. I admit I wasn’t too pleased with this book as I continued to read it. There were even more errors, starting with the now debunked claim that John Lennon was born during an air-raid and Mimi ran through the streets of Liverpool at night dodging bombs to see him in the hospital. The author also gives Stu Sutcliff a bigger part in Beatles history than he actually had. On and on the pages go until the John, Paul, George and Ringo decide to call it quits as a band.

So, I guess at this point it would seem that I’m about to throw this book and it’s author and illustrator into my list of books written just to make a dime off our beloved boys…but wait! At the end of the book is the Afterword by Rob Power. It was there that I learned that this book is actually a collection of a series that was originally printed in Look-In magazine back in 1981 (truth be told, I would have known this if I had just read the back cover first!). It was then that I realized that in 1981 it was still widely believed that John was born during an air-raid and as for the mistakes in the book, it wasn’t exactly like they could go back and correct 32 year old comics. It was left in its original form. Bravo to them for doing that…

As a collection and with it’s outstanding cover, I look forward to moving it onto my Beatles bookshelf. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!







Filed under Beatles books, graphic novel

Review of 3 Different Beatles Quiz Books

My husband had a function to attend in Connecticut this past weekend that he wanted to write about in his Cigar Blog. I decided that the five hour road trip there and back would be an excellent time to test our knowledge of the Beatles by asking each other questions from three different used Beatles quiz books that I picked up cheap at AbeBooks online. Here are my thoughts for each one.


The Beatles Quiz Book by Eric Saunders

A hardcover spiral bound book with a book marker, this is the prettiest of the three books. But don’t judge a book by it’s cover, right? This book contains 100 separate 10 question multiple choice quizzes with the answers provided at the end of each quiz. The first question: What was the name of the very first band (actually a skiffle group) formed by John Lennon and his friend from childhood, Peter Shotton? A. The Jets B. The Black Jacks C. The Wanderers D. The Dockers. Second question: Born on the 7th July 1940, who was the oldest member of the final Beatles Line-up? A. George Harrison B. Ringo Starr C. Paul McCartney D. John Lennon. These particular questions make the book seem like an easy read, but there are some toughies mixed in for us mere mortals! Still, a fun book just to test you and your friends knowledge of the best band the world has ever known.


Complete Beatles Quiz Book by Edwin Goodgold and Dan Carlinsky

A nice book with questions for all levels of expertise and non-experts. I read several pages of this to my husband while driving. After all I’ve read, I still think I did slightly better than 50% on the quiz questions. The first question: What’s Maxwell’s last name and what was he majoring in? Second question: Would the Beatles believe in love at first sight? The book also contains picture puzzles like guess which eyes or nose belong to which Beatle. There are word searches, crosswords and other type of puzzles including put events, albums or songs in their chronological order. All the answers are provided in the back of the book. A lot of fun built into this little book (91 pages of questions and puzzles).


The Ultimate Beatles Quiz Book by Michael J. Hockinson

Wow! This book gave me a run for my money. Definitely a book for ‘the ultimate Beatles freak’. The first question in the book is: List the titles on the Beatles’ Decca audition tape penned by Lennon and McCartney. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read about the Fab Four’s Decca audition, but never did it occur to me that someday, someone would ask me what songs were on the tape! The second question: Issued nearly twenty years apart, which U.S. Beatles singles feature “I’m Happy Just To Dance With You” as their B-side?. Uh….(insert cricket noises here). If you know the answers to these questions, I never want to want to play Trivial Pursuit Beatles Edition with you! 🙂 All the answers are at the end of each of the 50 chapters.


Any of these books would be fun to pick up cheaply online or at a used book sale just to have around to either test your own knowledge or to pass around and play with friends. It’s like playing Beatles’ Trivial Pursuit without having to collect little pie pieces or throw dice.



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Book Review: “The Lennon Companion” by Elizabeth Thomson and David Gutman

First and foremost, I need to apologize to one of my avid readers for the review I’m about to give on this book. She recommended it to me and told me it’s one of the best books about the Beatles/Lennon that she’s read. My other readers may want to keep her opinion in mind while reading my thoughts on this book, because everyone sees (and reads) things differently.

The Lennon Companion by Elizabeth Thomson and David Gutman was first published in 1987 and then revised in 2004. My copy is the 2004 edition that I bought used on for a penny. It’s a collection of articles and thoughts on both the Beatles and John Lennon from various reporters, writers, magazines and newspapers around the world starting in 1963.9780028725956-us-300

Well, for the first time, dear readers, I’m going to admit that I didn’t finish a book. I take my book reviews very seriously and find it insulting to the authors and my readers to not read the book in its entirety before giving my opinion. I managed to get over halfway through the 260 pages after skipping several wordy articles that managed to say nothing as far as I was concerned. Many of the articles seemed to be written by reporters who wanted to jump on the Beatles’ bandwagon to help boost their own popularity and ratings. Page after page of nonsense was written for newspapers and then published again in this book!

This isn’t to say that all the articles were worthless. I did find one piece that was written about a playwright that was being considered to write a third movie for the Beatles. His screenplay was returned to him without ever being told why it was rejected, but it’s easy to figure out from the playwrights own thoughts on the subject. I did find it interesting to hear about the Beatles movie that was never made.8387494._UY200_

Now maybe somewhere in the second half of this book there is another gem of an article that could bring some enlightening new fact to my limited knowledge of the Fab Four. But truth be told, the book literally kept putting me to sleep. I could not keep my eyes open and napped frequently during my quest to finish the book.

Despite my review, and as I’ve already said, one of my readers considers this to be the best book she’s read. You can judge for yourself whether it’s a real page turner or a replacement for your sleeping pills by buying a used copy for yourself for $0.01 on Amazon.

I rate this book, 1 out of 4 Beetles!







Filed under Beatles books, Book Review, John Lennon

Book Review: “From Me to You” by Kelly Marie Thompson and Garry Berman

The book that I had originally planned to review this week was late showing up in my mail.  In the meantime, I had finished reading a book that a friend of mine wrote.  I make it a point not to review friend’s works because it’s not fair to them or to my readers if I feel I can’t be honest.  So, in this case, I’m going to tell you about the story behind this book and a quick synopsis, but I’m not going to rate it.

From Me To You by Garry Berman and Kelly Marie Thompson is the second published work by these writers.  This book is listed as a coming-of-age story, but I believe it would be of more interest to the Young Adult sector.

The story is about two penpals, one in New Jersey and one in Liverpool, UK, who begin writing to each other as part of a high school project.   Maggie, living in Liverpool, introduces Ricky, in New Jersey, to the music of the Beatles by sending him 45 rpms before anyone in the U.S. has even heard of the band.  As Beatlemania grows, so does their friendship.   The book takes you through their ever growing friendship up until the day it’s announced that the Beatles are splitting up in 1970.  But will their friendship last?  That’s the big question!

What makes this story even more interesting is that the two authors, Garry Berman and Kelly Thompson, met on the internet in a writer’s group.  They both like each other’s style of writing so much that they soon started co-writing projects via email, including their original hilarious six episode sitcom Barkers Upon Tyne (currently available as an ebook).

As I said, I think this would be a great book for a young teen girl, but for adults I would recommend getting the $2.99 Kindle version.


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Book Review: “Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY, and the Lost Story of 1970” by David Browne

Fire and RainA couple weeks ago, while doing research at my county library, I decided to try something a little different to help me find a book to review.  I walked up to the computer and searched “Beatles” in the catalog, hoping to find something I hadn’t heard of to read.  That’s how I found –  Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY, and the Lost Story of 1970 by David Browne.

One of the hardest things to understand about this book is that the way the book starts, is the way if flows until the end.  There really is no climax.  But after several chapters, that becomes alright.

The book gives a brief set up to the creation of extraordinary careers of The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, before telling their musical highs and lows of 1970.  Each of the bands seemed to cross paths along the way, with many of them seeming to mirror what the others were doing, including the dissolution of The Beatles, the break-up of CSNY and the drifting apart of Simon & Garfunkel.  David Browne walks you through it all, season by season, from each artists successful album releases that year, through their feuds and to their final demise.

Author David Browne also provides the political back-drop at the time to help the readers who were too young or not born yet to understand the socio-economic changes that were not only successful musicians of the time, but also influencing the beginning of the new decade, including Vietnam, Nixon and the riot at Kent State.

This book was good, but it did leave me wondering if similar books could be written about 1971, 1972 or 1973?  And for that reason…

I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!





You can buy a used copy of this book for $0.01 on Amazon!



Filed under Beatles books, Book Review

Book Review: “The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story” by Vivek J. Tiwary

The Fifth BeatleContinuing on my theme – The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story, this week I decided to actually get around to reading the book!  Written by Vivek J. Tiwary with artwork by Andrew C. Robinson and Kyle Baker, The Fifth Beatle is a graphic novel about the rise and fall of Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein.

For those that haven’t read this book yet, here is the book’s trailer so you can get an idea of what this “adult comic book” looks like on the inside:


I purchased my copy at Vivek’s lecture last week at Monmouth University.  He only had collector’s editions (which includes “a unique, textured cover and a section of bonus materials including unique Beatles and Brian Epstein memorabilia, artist sketches, and alternate covers”), so this review is based on this edition.

This book is beautiful.  From the cover to the artwork, it’s a wonderful addition to my collection…even though I’m not a Beatles collector.  But, putting appearances aside…the writing seems to be lacking.  The dialog and story seem to be very. halting. and. static.  It lacks a certain flow.  I want to say it would have been better written with more detail and spread out as a series of books then to cram the entire story into one 139 page book, making it all a bit confusing to those that really don’t know Brian Epstein’s tragic story.

Still, it is a stunning book that I think any true Beatles collector would be proud to add to their collection and display on their shelf.  And for that reason…

I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!

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If you’d like to meet Vivek and get a signed copy of his book, he will be at the Fest for Beatles Fans in Rye, NY in April 2016.




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