A charming, approachable, and thoroughly researched exploration for McCartney fans and novices alike.

LISTENING TO WHAT THE MAN SANG

THE CASUAL FAN’S GUIDE TO APPRECIATING PAUL MCCARTNEY

A debut guide examines the life and works of former Beatle and prolific music icon Paul McCartney by diving into his song catalog.

Lifelong McCartney fan Styburski begins his book with an introduction explaining his love of the songwriter and the Beatles as well as acknowledging the already extensive writings on the band that exist. But he posits that many McCartney-focused features rarely explore his body of work beyond the 1960s and often pay little attention to the quality of the man’s music itself. “So many of us have loved the Beatles for so long,” the author asserts, “that we might forget…that their lives wouldn’t be of interest if we hadn’t fallen first and foremost for their songs.” What follows is Styburski’s own attempt to engage “the casual fan” in a primer on the context, reception, and legacy of McCartney’s enormous catalog. In neither chronological nor alphabetical order, but rather in a relaxed and organic progression, the volume dives into not just the Beatles’ hits, but also songs from McCartney’s time with the band Wings, his solo work, and his collaborations with artists like Elvis Costello and Michael Jackson. The book also dissects more obscure offerings that have enticed McCartney devotees for decades. Along the way, Styburski injects anecdotes (alternatively cheeky, self-deprecating, and deeply sincere) about his own life and connection to the music he’s dissecting. With a pleasant voice and surprising wells of empathy, the author clarifies the details and nuances of McCartney’s tumultuous relationships with his ex–band mates as well as figures like his former wife Heather Mills and record label executive Allen Klein without ever coming across as uncharitable or overly protective of the guide’s subject. Also discussed with great care are the tragedies that have shaped the musician’s songwriting over time, from the death of his mother to the murder of John Lennon and the loss of McCartney’s first wife, Linda. Throughout, Styburski gives readers an unbiased and thoughtful analysis of McCartney’s personality, his flaws, and, most of all, his influences and growth as both a songwriter and industry legend.

A charming, approachable, and thoroughly researched exploration for McCartney fans and novices alike.

Pub Date: July 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-578-90799-4

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Mmm Pie Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

TANQUERAY

A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2022

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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