1. What are you currently reading?
Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life by Richard Ben Cramer. "Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you." Joe D is more than a sports legend. He's an American myth. This ambitious (546 pages!) biography attempts to deconstruct the myth and give us the man.
So far he's painfully shy, hates the humble circumstances he was born into, and yearns for "class." He is greedy. He appears unflappable. And he is amazingly good at baseball. He can hit the ball, throw the ball, outrun the ball. That ball was his ticket out of his poor San Francisco neighborhood and into the New York, and then national, limelight.
Often a bookish Marilyn* glamorizes reading on my WWW posts, but it hardly seems appropriate as I write about DiMaggio. For she was the love of his life and he was her personal hero, on a level and in a way distinct from the nation's.
*You don't have to ask "Marilyn, who?" do you? He married a myth even more enduring than his own.
2. What did you recently finish reading?Ticket to Ride: Inside the Beatles 1964 Tour by Larry Kane. I enjoyed this memoir of life on the road with The Lads. It gives you a real sense of what it was like at that unique and hectic time ... we're on the private (but not at all luxurious) plane with the Beatles as they traverse America; we experience the claustrophobia of the hotels, locked in with the band and their entourage; we're in the stands, listening to the screams that often drown out the music.
Because Kane was a journalist, not a fan, his take was objective. Still, by the end of the book it was obvious that he was very impressed by John Lennon. John comes off as rebellious, curious, inventive, clever. Brian Epstein is a compelling, sad figure, too.
I just wish Mr. Kane hadn't spent so much space on fan recollections. A couple stories about sneaking into the hotel, a few reminiscences from concert goers would be interesting and give context. But this many just dragged the story down.