Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Ticket to Read

I had posted a little while ago at how I was rereading John Lennon's first 2 books on one of my business trips. I've since gone on a few more trips and managed to reread his final book, Skywriting By Word of Mouth, as well as begin George Harrison's memoir, I Me Mine.

First up, I finished John's book a couple of weeks ago:

It was very good and I enjoyed it a lot, even though it's not as good as his previous books. Some of his writings get a bit "samey," and his focus on slightly perverted angles, while funny, tends to grate after a while. However, of major interest is the first part of the book, which is titled "The Ballad of John and Yoko" and is a mini-memoir from John and the closest the world will every get to John's autobiography. While it sanitizes, romanticizes, and whitewashes what they did from 1969 onward (something that has been continued with gusto by Yoko since his death in 1980), it's still an interesting peek into John's mind and his views on the whole thing. The book was intended by John to be released, but his death put that on hold until the mid-1980s when Yoko released it. As much as I've made my dislike of her known, I do have to thank her for releasing it.

Next up is George's book:

I'm about 165 pages into it. It comprises of George's mini-memoir in part 1, followed by reproductions of his handwritten song lyrics and his explanations on them. There is a nice section of pictures from throughout his life (up to the publication of the book in 1980, mere months before John's murder), which makes up the final section of the book. The book was put together by longtime Beatles friend and press officer Derek Taylor, who recorded numerous tapes of interviews with George, from which he pieced the book's narrative together. While only the first 60 pages or so are the memoir section, and George rambles a bit, he does give a little bit of his personal insight on the Beatles years and the other 3. What surprised me the most is how bitter and cynical about the Beatles he *DIDN'T* sound, especially given how bitter and cynical he was about them during and after those years, right up until the end of his life. Also, I had read for years and years how the book angered and hurt John because George "never mentioned" him at all in it. Yet, this is also not true, and John is mentioned no more or less than the other 3. All in all, an interesting and essential read about the one Beatle we all probably know least about, and who was in his own way the most complicated and complex of all of them.

So there you have it, that's what I've been reading (among other books which I'm not going to get into here). With a few more essential Beatles books being published in the coming weeks and months, there are sure to be more reviews for me, so if you're a fan and/or you've enjoyed these, stay tuned!




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