Title: Ringo – With a Little Help

Author: Michael Seth Starr

Pages: 456 Pages

Publisher: Backbeat Books

The Blurb

Ringo: With a Little Help is the first in-depth biography of Beatles drummer Ringo Starr, who kept the beat for an entire generation and who remains a rock icon over fifty years since the Beatles took the world by storm.

Born in 1940 as Richard Starkey in the Dingle, one of Liverpool’s most gritty, rough-and-tumble neighbourhoods, he rose from a hardscrabble childhood – marked by serious illnesses, long hospital stays, and little schooling – to emerge, against all odds, as a locally renowned drummer. Taking the stage name Ringo Starr, his big break with the Beatles rocketed him to the pinnacle of worldwide acclaim in a remarkably short time. He was the last member of the Beatles to join the group but also the most vulnerable, and his post-Beatles career was marked by chart-topping successes, a jet-setting life of excess and alcohol abuse, and, ultimately, his rebirth as one of rock’s revered elder statesman.

Ringo: With a Little Help traces the entire arc of Ringo’s remarkable life and career, from his sickly childhood to his life as the world’s most famous drummer to his triumphs, addictions, and emotional battles following the breakup of the Beatles as he comes to terms with his legacy.

The Review

Okay. So, I read Ringo by Michael Seth Starr because I wanted to like Ringo. He is probably my least favourite Beatle and this is because of some o the negative things he has said and done over the years. For example, he has made seriously negative comments about Liverpool, then tried to backtrack saying that this is just ‘Scouse humour’ and anyone really from Liverpool would not have taken offence. As someone who was born, raised and still lives in this great city I beg to differ with his comments. They were – nay are – offensive and more importantly they are just plain wrong. Liverpool is amazing.

However, I am always willing to admit I was wrong or have my mind changed. Therefore I picked up the book Ringo – With a Little Help fully expecting to have my mind changed. Unfortunately, my mind remains the same. Michael Seth Starr has written a great book,. It is well researched and whilst you get the impression that his agenda for writing about Ringo is because he is a fan of Ringo, Starr’s appreciation didn’t manage to budge my over riding belief that Ringo isn’t very nice.

You also get the feeling that Starr (the author not the drummer) has a bit of a dislike for John Lennon. I think this general bias also had a bit of an impact on my reading of the book.

Whilst Ringo – A Little Help is well researched and well written, Starr did not manage to make me change my mind. Those who are a fan of The Beatles and of Ringo will enjoy Michael Seth Starr’s attention to detail.

Ringo – With a Little Help by Michael Seth Starr is available now.

For more information regarding Michael Seth Starr (@biowriter61) please visit www.michaelsethstarr.com.

For more information regarding Backbeat Books (@backbeatbooks) please visit www.backbeatbooks.com.

Title: Beatlebone

Author: Kevin Barry

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Canongate

The Blurb

He will spend three days alone on his island. That is all that he asks . . . John is so many miles from love now and home. This is the story of his strangest trip.

John owns a tiny island off the west coast of Ireland. Maybe it is there that he can at last outrun the shadows of his past.

The tale of a wild journey into the world and a wild journey within, Beatlebone is a mystery box of a novel. It’s a portrait of an artist at a time of creative strife. It is most of all a sad and beautiful comedy from one of the most gifted stylists now at work.

The Review

I genuinely have no idea what this book was about or what I was supposed to take from it. I felt this way midway through and after 320 pages I still feel this way.

John Lennon wandering around with no purpose. Ok. I still don’t get it.

Beatlebone by Kevin Barry is available now.

For more information regarding Canongate (@canongatebooks) please visit www.canongate.co.uk.

Title: Get Back

Author: Donovan Day

Pages: 270 Pages

Publisher: Park Slope Publishing

The Blurb

Imagine going back in time and befriending The Beatles at the height of their fame. Imagine seeing “the boys” interact onstage and off, hanging out with them in the dance clubs of London, visiting John & Paul at Paul’s house across from Abbey Road Studios.

Imagine all the questions they’d ask when they learn you’re from the future – questions about how music is recorded, whether their music will last, if anyone will people remember The Beatles. And then John Lennon asks the biggest question of them all – “What will become of me?”

That last question sets 17-year-old Lenny Funk off on the adventure of his young life with a goal that seems impossible – to stop John Lennon’s assassin, Mark David Chapman!

Lenny Funk (given name: Lennon) is able to time travel thanks in part to his grandfather’s old iPod Nano which is loaded with classic music from the ‘60s and ‘70s. Together with new friend Yoko (yes, she’s named after that Yoko), Lenny “time slips” backwards to a world he thought he’d missed where he meets some of his musical heroes, including the Beatles, Jim Morrison and James Taylor, among others.

Lenny must make some difficult and heart-breaking decisions. Should he change the course of history or not? And what are the consequences if he does? Would John reunite with Paul? Would he remain married to Yoko and, if not, who would be his next wife?

The year 2015 marks what would have been John Lennon’s 75th birthday and also the 35th year since his murder.

The Review

I love The Beatles. As a Liverpudlian – born and bred – I find books that are about the fab four to be really entertaining and I guess I find it titillating when my hometown is referenced. Alongside those reasons, I also thought the concept of Get Back by Donovan Day sounded interesting.

If you could go back in time and save someone, would you?

It is a question that people get asked but usually it is Hitler put as the subject of the question. Would you kill Hitler if you had the chance? Get Back is less dark that that, it is asking if you had the chance to save John Lennon, would you?

Most people would say, yeah sure, why not. It makes sense to do a good deed but like all classic time travel stories, by altering the present you create a ripple in the time space continuum that will impact on the real present day.

It is delicious time travel headache inducing science.

Either way, Get Back is a great story. I loved going back in time and seeing musicians that I know and love and sing along to and getting to imagine what they would be like on a more personal level was great.

What I loved most about Get Back is that Day did not make a cliché out of the fab four. The colloquial vernacular was great. As a scouser, I hate it when writers overwrite the way we speak. Day got the balance right.

Get Back by Donovan Day is available now.

For more information regarding Park Slope Publishing (@parkslopepub) please visit www.parkslopepublishing.com/books/

Title: Diary of a Beatlemaniac – A Fab Insider’s Look at the Beatles Era

Author: Patricia Gallo Stenman

Pages: 202 Pages

Publisher: Cynren Press

The Blurb

Driven by the frenzy of fan clubs, Beatles concerts, and endless dreams and meeting schemes, Diary of a Beatlemaniac: A Fab Insider’s Look at the Beatles Era romps through the heady, roller-coaster days of Beatlemania as seen through the eyes of one Philadelphia schoolgirl and her band of “Beatle Buddies.” Compiled from the author’s own diary and extensive scrap-booking, and featuring a wealth of original photographs and exclusive interviews with Victor Spinetti and Hy Lit, this extraordinary slice of life peeks into the heart of an inner-city teen at the forefront of Beatlemania. For Beatlemaniacs of any age, this memoir offers a unique glimpse into the groovy days of the Swingin’ Sixties and the chance to relive the magic of the pop-culture phenomenon called the Beatles.

The Review

As those of you who have read my reviews before may know, I am always drawn to books about The Beatles. Call it a bit o home town glory but being from Liverpool it is hard to escape what The Beatles did for Liverpool and what their legacy still does. So bank holiday weekend in August – also known as The Beatles Festival in Liverpool – I sat and read Diary of a Beatlemaniac by Patricia Gallo Stenman.

Now, I have read a lot about The Beatle but I can honestly say that I have never read anything from an actual fan of the band. This was really refreshing. Patricia Gallo Stenman has kept memorabilia from her days as a fan of the Fab Four. More than that, she kept her teenage diaries where in her naivety she expressed her love for the band.

Naive and innocent. That is the best way to describe this book. It is the teenage dreams of a young girl who is desperate to meet and marry her favourite Beatle. We have all been there. Whilst Gallo Stenman’s story takes place in the 60s, my mum went through the same thing in the 70s, my older sister in the 90s and myself in the early 00s. And thank god we do. It is a rite of passage that all teenagers must go through at some point and I wish I had diaries reminding me of those feelings that I felt.

With a sense of nostalgia, I finished reading Diary of a Beatlemaniac and it made me thankful that the world has given us such great music.

Diary of a Beatlemaniac – A Fab Insider’s Look at the Beatles Era by Patricia Gallo Stenman is available now.

For more information regarding Patricia Gallo Stenman (@PTGalloStenman) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Cynren Press (@CynrenPress) please visit www.cynren.com.