Thirty years after their breakup, and 20 years after the death of John Lennon, it’s time yet again to meet the Beatles.
At least nine Beatle-related titles are expected this fall, from the authorized The Beatles Anthology to a biography of their late manager, Brian Epstein. Other books include an illustrated volume of Paul McCartney’s paintings, a reissue of Lennon’s collection of verse, In His Own Write, and a look at the Beatles’ time in India with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
While a generation has been born and raised since the Beatles were together, they remain a major moneymaker and cultural presence. The band’s albums sold more than 50 million copies worldwide over the past decade. Dozens of Beatles fans clubs still exist, from Australia to Russia to Brazil.
Fab Four Re-Issues, New Editions Beatle books have been coming out since the group first started, but readers apparently still want more. The Beatles Anthology, an oral history assembled by the three surviving Beatles and Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, has advance orders of more than 1 million and will be published in at least eight languages.
“I remember being at the booksellers convention a couple of years ago and Linda McCartney was there to promote one of her vegetarian cookbooks,” says Constance Sayre, director of Marketing Partners International, a publishing consultant.
“The publisher gave a party and you should have seen the lineup of people to shake Sir Paul’s hand. You’ve never seen such a crowd. The Beatles are certainly a big deal with booksellers.”
A minor surprise is the reissue of Lennon Remembers, Lennon’s famously bitter, marathon interview with Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner, given just as the group was breaking up. Lennon had agreed to the interview on the condition that Wenner not put it out in book form. When he did so anyway, Lennon was enraged and spoke bitterly about Wenner right until the end of his life.
But the new publication arrives with the approval of Yoko Ono, who contributed a forward. Material originally edited out has been restored and some lyrics never recorded will be included.
Lennon Remembers is classic Lennon, Ono writes.
“It’s not a sit-back-and-put-your-feet-up read … It’s a jolt on your nerves like bad, bad espresso. People with weak stomachs should close the window before reading. You might just feel like jumping out.”
Memoirs from Stephen King, Salinger Also this fall, Tom Wolfe comments on contemporary culture in Hooking Up, Matt Drudge sums up his life — so far — in Drudge Manifesto and Ted Koppel looks back at recent news events in Off Camera.
Although the market remains tiny, some titles will be available only as e-books. They include Blair Witch: Graveyard Shift, which anticipates November’s sequel to The Blair Witch Project, and the science fiction series Star Trek S.C.E. Stephen King fans can expect more installments of his online novel, The Plant.
Back on paper, King remembers his near fatal car accident in On Writing and Mary Karr, author of the best-selling The Liar’s Club, writes about her teenage years in Cherry. J.D. Salinger’s daughter, Margaret, reflects on her family in Dream Catcher. The McCourt franchise continues with Singing Him My Song, Malachy’s McCourt sequel to A Monk Swimming.
Memoirs also are due from historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., the late football star Walter Payton, Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, Natalie Cole, Jerry Butler, the Neville Brothers, Jerry Stiller, Tina Sinatra and the pro wrestler Chyna.
Bellow is James Atlas’ highly anticipated biography of Nobel laureate Saul Bellow. Ian Kershaw, author of an acclaimed history about Hitler’s rise to power, is coming out with the second volume. David Levering Lewis completes his two-volume series on civil rights pioneer W.E.B. DuBois. Other biography subjects this fall include President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Robert Kennedy, George Orwell and Robert E. Lee.
All Star Fiction The fiction list seems especially strong, with books expected from Margaret Atwood, Ha Jin, Carlos Fuentes, William Trevor, Michael Chabon, John Updike, Kazuo Ishiguro, Jane Hamilton, Caleb Carr, Alice Walker and Nobelists Gunter Grass and Jose Saramago. Notable new authors include Bonnie Burnard, Nomi Eve, Allen B. Ballard and F.X. Toole.
Tennessee Williams fans should look for a collection of his letters and a volume of his early plays. Also expected are the letters of Dashiell Hammett, essays by Arthur Miller, stories from Isaac Bashevis Singer and the original, unedited version of Thomas Wolfe’s novel, Look Homeward, Angel, published upon the centennial of the author’s birth.
Among commercial titles, the biggest seller could well be The Mark: The Beast Rules the World, the latest apocalyptic thriller from Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim F. LaHaye. Other names to look for include Anne Rice, Tami Hoag, Elmore Leonard, Johanna Lindsey, Richard Paul Evans, Colleen McCullough, Patricia Cornwall and Philip Margolin.
Two of the season’s more unusual titles could be labeled detective stories. In Author Unknown: On the Trail of Anonymous, handwriting expert Don Foster reveals how he unmasked Primary Colors novelist Joe Klein. The Island of Lost Maps follows the cartographic trail of Gilbert Bland, Jr., an antiques dealer with an unfortunate passion for stealing vintage maps from research libraries throughout the United States and Canada.