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In Their Lives: Great Writers on Great Beatles Songs

Edited by Andrew Blauner
Beatles biographies? We’ve probably had enough for a lifetime. But personal essays that dive into how the band’s music helps filter the way we experience the world? Those will always be as welcome as they are inexhaustible, especially when they’re as beautifully written as most of the entries commissioned for In Their Lives, which has 29 mostly well-known writers taking on a single song that meant something particularly special to them. For singer Rosanne Cash, it’s connecting the sense of betrayal in “No Reply” to overhearing her parents talking about splitting up. Similarly, novelist Rick Moody associates the final suite on “Abbey Road” with his parents’ divorce. But don’t worry, there’s a lot of joy here, too, whether it’s in actor David Duchovny exploring his love for “Dear Prudence” or Chuck Klosterman trying to decide whether “Helter Skelter” is silly or brilliant. An extra hat tip to the great musical biographer David Hadju for having the courage to pick, as the object of his devotional zeal, “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number).”

(Photo: Blue Rider Press)

Beatles Book Club: A Recommended Reading List of Paperback (and Hardback) Writers

Chris Willman

It’s a good thing John Lennon’s round spectacles made eyeglasses suddenly cool 50 years ago, because you’ll definitely want to keep your reading glasses handy for all the Beatles-related books hitting stores to roughly coincide with the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Settle into your favorite reading chair and re-meet the band that spawned a thousand paperback (and hardback) writers!