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!
One thing leads to another…
I found out about Dakota Days by John Green (1983) from reading a book that I had previously reviewed. Who is John Green? Well, a lot of Beatles fans know him as Charlie Swan…Yoko and John’s tarot card reader! Yes folks…even the psychics cashed in on Lennon’s death!
A mere 260 pages, this book is a hoot! Who knows how much of it is factual (probably not much), but it amused me to no end. The book opens with Yoko placing a call to her tarot card reader, John Green, to let him know that John Lennon has moved back home after his “long weekend”. She tells Green that he must change his name to Charlie Swan because John is going to be jealous that he has the same name as him! SERIOUSLY!
For those of us who are not Yoko fans, this book just proves that she really is just as crazy as we all believe she is. (For those that are Yoko fans, this book will be filled with lies). From the beginning, John Green makes himself out to be the Ono-Lennon’s greatest marriage and financial counselor, but fails to mention he was apparently fired by Yoko after he didn’t warn of Lennon’s murder.
One standout moment in this book…when Yoko discloses to Charlie Swan that she originally went after John Lennon to get Paul McCartney’s attention. It was Paul she originally had eyes for. She then continues on to say that Paul is very sexually attracted to her…she can tell by the way that he looks at her that Paul McCartney wants her!
It’s one bizarre moment after another. This book is really a waste of paper, but for a good laugh, Beatles freaks should read it. You can buy a used copy for $1.09 at Half.com. And for that reason…
I rate this book, 2 out of 4 Beetles!
Who Killed John Lennon? By Fenton Bresler was given to me (along with a copy of Fred Seaman’s The Last Days of John Lennon: A Personal Memoir) by someone who was trying to explain to me the conspiracy theories behind John Lennon‘s murder.
Again, this is a book (published in 1989) that has been on my shelf for over 5 years now and I decided it was time to finally getting around to reading it in its entirety. I had made two other prior attempts, but I finally dug up the patience needed to get through Fenton Bresler‘s belief that Lennon’s assassin (or better to known to Beatles’ fans as “He whose name shall not be spoken”) was not a lone gun man, but instead a CIA pawn who had been brainwashed and at the command of a ‘controller’ shot John Lennon.
Why did it take such an effort to read this book? Well, for one, the author (an English lawyer) spends an exorbitant amount of time detailing the CIA hypnosis/mind control programs of the 50’s and 60’s. In fact, he takes it even farther back to when the CIA didn’t even exist. Mr. Bresler even explains how the conspiracy theories tied to the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert and John Kennedy also help to prove his theory of a planned and well executed assassination of Lennon by the U.S. government because of Lennon’s political views and his power to gather masses to protest various political policies. The author also walks the reader through the premeditated killing on the night of December 8, 1980 and the days and months that followed as the killer was lead through the American judicial system. Bresler then backs it all up with documentation that he gathered in his 8 years of researching this book.
The more I read this book, the more I realized there was no conspiracy to kill John Lennon and that the assassin was a lone gunman who was psychotic. It seemed with every passing chapter, the theories became more and more far fetched with even the author seeming to become paranoid because the U.S. judicial system allowed Lennon’s killer to have visits and phone calls within days of the shooting, apparently bringing to a light that just about anyone (read ‘controller’) could have contacted Lennon’s murderer to continue to manipulate what he said to the authorities.
I will say, thought, that this book does have an upside in that it does quote many legal documents and court transcriptions that I had not yet read and that just about anyone interested in the case against the murderer would find very interesting. And for that reason…
I rate this book, 2 out of 4 Beetles!