After a short five months, I finally finished reading The Beatles by Bob Spitz. It was excellent. I don't think I'm saying anything controversial when I say that it is the definitive Beatles biography. Spitz's research was extremely thorough, and there is a lot in this book that was not previously known. It is well worth the time to read the nearly thousand pages in the book. The biggest thing that I took away from the book was that John was more volatile and more of an asshole that I had previously believed. Also, even if Paul now wants to revise history and say that Yoko didn't break up The Beatles, she (or, more appropriately, John's decision to allow her to come into the studio while The Beatles recorded, and offer unsolicited advice) certainly advanced the break-up and raised tensions between the band members. But my takeaways from the book weren't all downers. The book is a reminder of just how influential and monumental The Beatles were. There are so many things in the music industry that are taken for granted that The Beatles pioneered, from music videos to using feedback to certain recording techniques, not to mention the actual music, which, of course, continues to influence musicians today. I especially like that the book stopped when The Beatles broke up, rather than delve into the post-Beatles bickering and music -- not that the book could have handled any extra pages anyway. The book is a must read for any Beatles fan, and probably for any rock and roll fan as well.
After 900+ pages, something shorter seemed like a zesty undertaking. I decided to go with The Great Gatsby. I figured it was timely, given the recent release (and relative flop) of the Baz Luhrmann-directed film adaptation of the book. The last time I read The Great Gatsby was at some point in high school, when it was required reading for English class. I remember very little about it, other than there are places called East Egg and West Egg, and that's because there is about a 25% chance I actually read it. Back then, I pretty much despised any assigned reading, and, therefore, either skimmed or just didn't read the books that were assigned in class. And for you kids out there, just know that I still got As and Bs in honors English, so it's possible to get good grades without doing all the work. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
Books read in 2013:The Beatles by Bob Spitz