I just read an awesome book, A Hard Day’s Write by Steve Turner. I have always loved the Beatles. I think that they are one of the most creative bands of all time. I feel like they are a true representation of the 60s as a decade of change since they started out with a squeaky clean image, like what we would consider a boy band today, and slowly became more politically and culturally aware as time went on. Most of my favorite Beatles songs are from their early to middle period, which makes sense because I tend to like light and frothy songs just as I like light and frothy books. After reading this book, though, I have a greater appreciation of every song. There is a story about each song and a lot of times the author features interviews with the people the songs are about (or the people who think the songs are about them). I think this book would appeal to many different people. Obviously Beatles fans would definitely appreciate it, as would anyone who is interested in songwriting. But I actually think this would be a good book for anyone who loves to read and is curious about where writers get their inspiration. This is also a good book for anyone interested in fashion. I think my very favorite thing about the book is the great pictures. The Beatles’ fashion evolved throughout the decade just like their music did. They started off with their matching suits and “mop top” haircuts and as the years went by their hair kept growing and by the late ‘60s they were decked out in flowy, bohemian outfits. By looking at the photos you also get glimpses of the band’s famous friends, like The Beach Boys, and scenes from their movies, like Help! and Yellow Submarine.
To keep my music-themed reading going I followed A Hard Day’s Write with Back to the Garden: The Story of Woodstock by Pete Fornatale. Although the photographs in this book aren’t nearly as good as in the Beatles book I enjoyed this book just as much. This book chronicles the Woodstock Music & Art Fair, which took place in Bethel, New York on the weekend of August 15-18, 1969. The festival is famous for many reasons, from the amazing rock and folk artists that played to the 500,000 people who attended (many more than the festival organizers had planned for) to the overwhelming feeling of unity and love that brought all of the festival-goers together despite the crowding, food shortages, and raging downpours. I’ve always been fascinated by Woodstock. I always think about how wonderful it would have been to have been there, but in reality I would been upset the minute the rain ruined my hair and I definitely would not have been happy without snacks.
The book is great because it chronicles the festival from Friday afternoon to early morning Monday when the festival finally came to a conclusion with a very famous performance by Jimi Hendrix. Actually, several of the performers were famous, from artists who were already established, like the Grateful Dead, to new artists, like Santana, who were discovered that weekend. This is my kind of book, because it is told in a conversational style with first-person accounts by the organizers, performers, and concert-goers. It’s really cool to read how it slowly dawned on everyone how big this event was getting and the ways the organizers dealt with it, from flying people in helicopters to provide food for everyone to juggling the acts around because of the performers who were stuck in gridlock traffic. This book made me feel like I was there, but even better since I didn’t have to give up any of the comforts of home!