2014-06-20 / Community

Library Links

The long and winding road
By Rachel Davis

In our house and in our cars it’s not uncommon for Beatles songs to appear as iTunes jumps around on shuffle play. It’s remarkable how timeless the music of the Beatles is, and how the majority of their songs are ageless as well – our 8-year-old daughter is a big Beatles fan (interestingly, “Nowhere Man” is her favorite Beatles tune.) The extraordinary talent and magic that happened when the Beatles came together has not really ever quite been repeated.

It turns out that the publication date of last week’s Sentry, June 13, is a Beatles anniversary of sorts. On June 13, 1970, “The Long and Winding Road” became the Beatles’ 20th and final number one single in the United States. You’re probably aware that the year 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ “U.S. invasion” – Feb. 4, 1964 marks the date of the band’s first appearance on the “Ed Sullivan Show.” Because of this anniversary, there have been a host of books about the Beatles published recently – and not all of them are for adults.

Here at Thomas Memorial Library, in the children’s department, we have, among other titles, “How the Beatles Changed the World,” by Martin W. Sandler, aimed at kids 10 to 14 (Walker, 2014). The author chronicles the many ways in which the Beatles changed popular culture in Britain, the U.S., and around the world, and shows their influence on the social and cultural revolutions of the 1960s. We also have another new book for kids by Mick Manning and Brita Granström, titled simply “The Beatles” (Frances Lincoln, 2014). Aimed at slightly younger kids, ages 8 to 12, the book begins with John Lennon’s childhood and follows his path as he met the other band members, and charts their success, as well as their eventual break-up. Also for younger kids, Kathleen Krull’s recent “The Beatles Were Fab (And They Were Funny)” (Harcourt, 2013) introduces kids to the Beatles through their off-beat sense of humor. And for all ages, Ringo Starr and Ben Cort came out earlier this year with a picture book version of “The Octopus’s Garden” (Aladdin, 2014.)

For adult fans, a new Beatles’ books include the collection of essays entitled, “The Beatles Are Here!: 50 Years After the Band Arrived in America, Writers and Other Fans Remember” (Algonquin Books, 2014). The title pretty much says it all – here you will find essays and remembrances by a wide variety of people, some famous, some not, including Billy Joel, Janice Ian, Lisa See, Gay Talese, RenĂ©e Fleming and Roy Blount Jr. “The Beatles: Six Days that Changed the World” (Rizzoli, 2014) by photographer Bill Eppridge is a collection of rare, mostly unseen photographs of the Beatles. In February 1964, Eppridge went on assignment for “Life Magazine” to cover the Beatles’ arrival in New York City. He ended up staying on to photograph the band during the days that followed, including the “Ed Sullivan Show” rehearsal and performance as well as their performance at Carnegie Hall. This is a great book for browsing, perhaps with some music on in the background?

Other recent adult titles explore different distinct aspects of the band and its history, including “How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin: The Untold Story of a Noisy Revolution” (Bloomsbury, 2013) and “Beatles vs. Stones,” by John McMillan (Simon & Schuster, 2013), which examines the relationship between The Rolling Stones and the Beatles set against the backdrop of the 1960s. Also published last year, Larry Kane’s “When They Were Boys: The True Story of The Beatles’ Rise to the Top” (Running Press, 2013) explores the early days of John, Paul, George, and eventually, Ringo before they were famous, sharing never before told stories from the days when the boys first met until their first appearance on the “Ed Sullivan Show.”

A couple of more unusual titles include a graphic novel by Vivek Tiwary called “The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story,” (M Press, 2013) about the band’s visionary manager who played such a vital role in the Beatles’ success. William Shaw’s novel, “She’s Leaving Home” (Little, Brown, 2014) focuses on the investigation of the murder of a teenage girl, possibly a Beatles fan, found outside the Beatles’ Abbey Road recording studio. While only tangentially about the Beatles, the book nevertheless paints a picture of London in 1968 during Beatlemania. The mind-bending young adult novel, “The Girl Who Became a Beatle,” by Greg Taylor (Feiwel & Friends, 2011) features a 16-year-old Beatles-obsessed musician who travels to an alternate reality in which the Beatles never existed, paving the way for her own band to rise to fame.

All of the titles mentioned here can be borrowed, if not from your own local library, than through your library via our shared catalog known as Minerva. And, while reading about music might not be your thing, did you know you can also borrow music CDs? Recent music selections related to the Beatles available for borrowing include “Glee Sings the Beatles” (Columbia Records, 2013,) “Baby Beatles (Aurora Elephant Music, 2013) and of course plenty of actual Beatles albums on CD. You can also borrow the fantastic five disc DVD set of “The Beatles Anthology,” the definitive video documentary of the Beatles beginning in 1940 and ending with the break of the band at the end of the 1960s. Another fascinating documentary available is “Good Ol’ Freda,” which focuses on the experiences of Freda Kelly, who worked as secretary to the Beatles for 11 years. The Beatles’ films, such as “Hard Days Night” and “Yellow Submarine,” are also available for borrowing from the library on DVD.

Whether you’re interested in learning more about the Beatles, reminiscing about the role of the band in your own life, or introducing the Beatles to your children, your local library has you covered, in print, music, video and more.

Rachel Davis is assistant director/children’s librarian at Thomas Memorial Library in Cape Elizabeth.

Return to top