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Life by Keith Richards
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Nov 17, 2010

bookshelves: staff-picks-blog, nonfiction, john, biographies
Read in November, 2010

Librarian wannabe Keith Richards’s autobiography is sort of a dream come true–the dream where you sit down with him, ask what it was like, and he answers candidly and at some length. The man’s survived enough close calls (legal, pharmaceutical, and physical) for any ten lives. Great stories, very well told.

“I wrote Gimme Shelter on a stormy day…” Mick was sleeping with his girlfriend Anita Pallenberg, and he got even with Marianne Faithful, Mick’s girl. Keith describes the waxing and (especially) the waning of their relationship often over the years. “It’s not an act, no matter what Mick Jagger thinks.”

“A degenerate, even by my standards.” He settles a few scores, but mostly talks about friendship, loyalty being his biggest virtue. Says he didn’t so much steal Anita from Brian Jones as rescue her.

On her deathbed, his mom told him, “you know, that morphine’s not bad.” He has great drug stories, of course. This is the guy who told the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to give him back his heroin. He needed it, and was just going to buy more. Did you know he’s been off heroin for 31 years? Off cocaine for four?

“. . .how can I help these poor people who have to sleep every day? . . . Nine days was my record.” Lost in the legend is how hard Keith worked, and how successful his band became.

Looking for a book with advice on knife fighting, as well as guitar tuning tips and a recipe? Here you go. --John

From ICPL Staff Picks Blog
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