Fascinating, if spotty insight into Lennon's life, marred by sketchy commentary and innumerable transcription errors (for which I've sent in several c...moreFascinating, if spotty insight into Lennon's life, marred by sketchy commentary and innumerable transcription errors (for which I've sent in several corrections to the editor). Only some two dozen of the 285 "letters" included in this collection are worth the time to read (fewer than half are even letters, most being quickly jotted notes), as shining any light on Lennon's thoughts or mental state (questionable at most times for entirely understandable reasons). Most are laundry lists and postcards containing nothing more than a quick hello. More than half are indecipherable, due not as much to poor penmanship (and worse typing) than their unintelligible content, which consists in the main of personal inside jokes and a litany of bad literary puns (often in pseudo dialect with phonetic spelling).
To make matters worse, while each entry is given a more or less useful introduction by the compiler for the sake of context, only a very few merit a follow-up comment as to what resulted from the correspondence, rendering that context incomplete - even those who know John's story well will need to refer to outside sources. Of those meriting post-comment content, John Sinclair's release from prison (on possession of two joints) after Lennon's impromptu concert benefit is already well documented, although the outcome of a press release sent to world leaders asking clemency for Michael X (accused of murder) is less well known, as it was not successful. The majority, however, are simply a snapshot in time with no outcome.
All in all the general impression this collection gives is of a great creative mind in turmoil, ranting incoherently on random subjects from political/spiritual causes to personal family matters, lashing out in reactionary attacks on perceived accusers (sometimes rightly, sometimes not), expecting to be heard, but usually unable to express himself clearly enough that it might make an impact on the intended audience. John's music was his voice, focused into concentrated thoughts and vivid images, but on paper he was just as often a jabbering maniac. Half a dozen only of these nearly 300 missives are enlightening, informative, or argued rationally enough even to make sense. Of these a few are deeply philosophical, a few honestly emotional, a couple riotously funny (though not as many as their author must have thought) - the rest are little more than trash bin remnants.(less)
Mixed bag of essays aimed for the most part at medium to large scale publishing houses whose outmoded production model is in flux. Wh...morePart 1: The Setup
Mixed bag of essays aimed for the most part at medium to large scale publishing houses whose outmoded production model is in flux. While much of the content is of little use to indie authors and other content creators, the overall discussion of the changing landscape of publishing is informative and enlightening (if often pedantic and heavy-handed).
Of most value and interest for myself (as an author and independent publisher) were Liza Daly's essay on "What We Can Do with Books" (which discusses the malleable nature of digital and how interactive elements can give readers a chance to participate and explore a more immersive text), as well as Craig Mod's insightful analysis of the "post-artifact" landscape of content creation, with its direct interaction between author and reader.
Additional essays cover topics from distribution to metadata and the usual concerns with DRM. Discussions of digital workflow and context vs. content are strictly for large-scale production facilities and irrelevant to the average reader. The overall impression is of not just an industry in turmoil, but a cultural icon undergoing a fundamental change.
The ebook itself was produced using the new PressBooks conversion utility, which suffers from some inconsistent formatting, broken external links, and at least one garbled graphic on the Kindle Fire. It also currently contains only the first of three parts at this point, with the next two said to be forthcoming as free "updates" for anyone who purchases part one.