Tag Archives: beatles

Book Review: “Shirley, I Jest!: A Storied Life” by Cindy Williams

Shirley I Jest Cindy WilliamsI 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.

Cindy Williams Shirley Feeney Laverne & ShirleyNow…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. Laverne Shirley BeatlesAt 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!

 

 

 

 

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Bonus Book Review: “New York Times: Footsteps: From Ferrante’s Naples to Hammett’s San Francisco, Literary Pilgrimages Around the World”

New York Times FootstepsWait! 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!

 

 

 

 

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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 Longest Cocktail Party” by Richard DiLello

Oh dear sweet lord, where has this book been all my life?…

The Longest Cocktail Partywritten by the Apple Corps ‘House Hippie’ Richard DiLello and published in 1973, is just the book I needed after reading both Peter Brown‘s book and Alistair Taylor‘s book.

This book as quite the refreshing look inside the workings of the Fab Four’s company Apple Corps. Richard DiLello was a New York born hippie who was traveling around the world trying to find himself, when he picked up a newspaper in London and saw a picture of Beatles PR man Derek Taylor whom he had known from when he spent some time in Hollywood. After giving Derek a call, Richard was offered a job working under Derek as a Client Liaison Officer, (but he was given the unofficial title of House Hippie). Technically, he was a gofer who spent from 1968 to 1970 working at his dream job.

This book is absolute for all Beatles freaks. I’m just sorry I took so long to get a copy after hearing about it for several years. It offers a humorous and very real look inside the going ons and ultimate demise of what was to be the Beatles dream production company that was going to turn away no one with talent. At the start of the company, the Fab Four had put out ads telling any and all talented people to send in their tapes, poems, scripts and artwork for consideration for financial backing by the Beatles new no nonsense company. This book gives us all a glimpse of the diverse characters that walked through the doors, call on the phones and even took up residency within the walls of 3 Savile Road, London. Richard also let’s us in on the early management of Apple’s most successful talent: Mary Hopkins, James Taylor, The Iveys (Badfinger), White Trash, Jackie Lomax and others.

There were a couple points of interest for me in this 286 page memoir that left me scratching my head. The first was the mention of the car accident John had in Scotland. Richard’s book only mentions John, Yoko and Kyoko in the car, but fails to mention that Julian was with them. Odd that he would be left out. Second after reading the book Miss O’Dell in which Chris O’Dell mentions Richard over 30 times (according to the index), Richard only very briefly mentions Chris maybe six times (“Chris O’Dell stuck her head in the door and asked…”). I expected to read more about her having a bigger part in this ‘party’.

Note: In 2010, Liam Gallagher of the band Oasis took on the project of making this book into a movie. In 2014, Liam was picking actors for the film, but by 2016 he was unable to get financing and the production company Revolution Productions pulled out of the project. Boy, would I have loved to see that movie!

I know this review is choppy, but there is just so much information in these pages it’s hard to organize my thoughts onto a page. It’s definitely a book that I would love to sit down and discuss with friends and freaks alike! And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: “How Music Works” by David Byrne

Stop what you’re doing and go get yourself a copy of  How Music Works by David Byrne of the Talking Heads. You won’t be disappointed.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for a review. I usually post these reviews as a Bonus Book Review, but since this book is actually about music and the Beatles get mentioned about 5 times, I thought I should just make it my weekly review. Plus, it was just too good to limited its readership.

David Byrne gently walks readers through the hows and whys music is created. From the drums of Africa to the sound editing software on a laptop, readers can’t help but get engulfed in this book. How Music Works is an easy read, but not one that should be attempted in one sitting or two. You’ll want to read a chapter or two, digest what you’ve read, then pick it back up and learn more. There were times when I thought maybe Mr. Byrne could have backed away a little on his own personal history with creating his own albums, but there is still a lot to learn about music and sound while reading how his genius mind works and how he collaborates with other musicians. And just when you think he’s covered it all, he introduces a new topic like – why CBGB in the Bowery was such a successful music club or why it’s important to support not just large opera and musical halls, but also amateur musicians and music education in schools.

This book is truly a great read for anyone truly and deeply interested in music, including all you Beatles freaks out there. I also think it would be a very interesting book for music educators. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

P.S. – The winner of the Mea Culpa Contest is Joe Birish! Congratulations Joe…please email me your mailing address so I can get your winnings out to you ASAP!

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Mea Culpa Contest

My apologies for not having a review this week, but you’ll be happy to hear that I’m in the middle of reading a very good book. Not a lot of Beatles content, but still great.

So as my ‘mea culpa’ to my readers, I’m going to giveaway some stuff from my trip to NAMM this past January. The prize package includes: a NAMM media bag,  a Voxx Amplification Ltd sticker, a NAMM show guitar pick, a Lennon Educational Bus guitar pick and a Lennon Educational Bus passenger bag.

All you have to do is leave a comment below to be entered. Only one comment per person is allowed. I will announce the winner on Sunday, July 16th. Good luck.

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Book Review: “Lennon: The New York Years” by Foenkinos/Corbeyran/Horne

Well, Amazon got me again! While browsing online at Amazon.com, this book appeared as a Recommendations….

Lennon: The New York Years was written by David Foenkinos and Eric Corbeyran, illustrated by Horne and published on May 30, 2017. According to an article on NME.com, this graphic novel is adapted from a 2010 novel “Lennon” by French author David Foenkinos. After reading this book, there is a part of me that wants to see what the original was like.

This book is touted as “true biographical fiction”, as the setting is John Lennon laying on a psychiatrist’s couch talking about the ups, downs, joys and pains of his life. There are 18 sessions (chapters) in all. Now, I get that when they termed it ‘true biographical fiction’ they were probably referring to his regularly seeing a therapist that happened to also live in the Dakota so Lennon wouldn’t have to go out in public, but unfortunately, some of the fiction seems to have leaked out into Lennon’s life. Starting off with the tall tale that seems to still keep popping up, after long having been dismissed, that John was born during an air raid in Liverpool with the whistling and boom of bombs going off all around the hospital. You be the judge…

“The night I was born it was to the deafening sound of Liverpool being bombed by the Germans. I didn’t come into a life, I came into chaos. And I spent my whole life frightened. That night everything shook. Things fell from the shelves. A building fell down near us. Things had to happen fast so my mother had a cesarean.”

Artistically speaking, this book is actually a pretty nice book. The artist’s interpretation of this story is done in black and white in a 150 page hardcover edition. Comparatively speaking, I personally like the B&W rendition in this graphic novel better than Vivek J. Tiwary’s The Fifth Beatle, but I prefer the linen texture Tiwary cover over the smooth, scratch prone cover of this book. Your mileage may vary…

I leave you with the trailer to this book…

I rate this book, 2 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

 

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