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A Spaniard in the Works

(John Lennon's Writings #2)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,343 ratings  ·  66 reviews
"It is fascinating of course to climb inside a Beatle's head to see what's going on there, but what counts is that what's going on there is really fascinating".--London Sunday Times 30 two-color line drawings. ...more
Hardcover, 95 pages
Published June 1st 1995 by Buccaneer Books (first published 1965)
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Jan 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Being a dyed-in-the-wool original Beatlemaniac (saw them twice in Houston on my 13th birthday in 1965, the day I died and went to heaven on a screaming cloud), I bought this book when it was published. My father read it, and although my parents were fairly lenient, my Dad got angry when he came across, "My Last Will and Testicle," shook the book at me and demanded to know, "Do you even know what a testicle is?!" Actually, I did not. He relented and let me keep the book. ...more
Dane Cobain
Apr 29, 2018 rated it liked it
I quite like John Lennon’s books, but they do get a little repetitive after a while. That’s because they’re basically just chock full of wordplay, nonsense poetry and odd little stories and sketches. It’s great to see inside his head of course, but I’m not sure they’re worth reading unless you’re a fan of his. Still, it’s quirky, which I like.

Apr 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Absurdist writings at its best.

Sat Belonely

I sat belonely down a tree,
humbled fat and small.
A little lady sing to me
I couldn't see at all.

I'm looking up and at the sky,
to find such wonderous voice.
Puzzly puzzle, wonder why,
I hear but have no choice.

"Speak up, come forth, you ravel me",
I potty menthol shout.
"I know you hiddy by this tree".
But still she won't come out.

Such softly singing lulled me sleep,
as hour or two or so
I wakeny slow and took a peep
and still no lady show.

Then s
Oct 24, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Same people who already read "In His Own Write"
Same deal as "In His Own Write," but a little darker. Still thin absurdist prose-slinging.

Tragic thing is, I really like absurdist comedy most of all. But I always feel bad laughing at it when no one else does, or putting it in front of people who don't think it's NEARLY as good as I do, or, worse yet, trying to be absurdistly funny myself and getting the same polite or uncomfortable reception.
Jul 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It took me awhile to read this one mainly because you need a good concentration while reading this silly nonsense. It was definitely more mature this time around but still terribly funny. I nearly felt bad for laughing at the dark humour but I just couldn't help myself. It's pure John Lennon. 5/5 as always. ...more
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the weirdests books I've read, but definitely the most amusing and funniest!! Lennon was sure an interesting person ...more
Mar 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Beatles/Lennon fans
I have not read In His Own Write yet, because I have not seen it in any stores. I came across A Spaniard in the Works at a local used book store and just had to pick it up, being such a huge fan of The Beatles.

This is a very nonsensical book filled with jokes that I'm sure on Lennon and the other Beatles understood when it was written. I have no idea whether Lennon decided to publish in a way of mocking literature or if he was truly expressing himself through this writing. Whatever the case may
Dec 28, 2010 rated it it was ok
As much as I adored "In His Own Write," I was disappointed by this book. "A Spaniard in the Works" is to "In His Own Write" as "Help!" is to "A Hard Day's Night." In both cases, the former seemed fresh and fun, while the follow-up seemed a little forced and not quite as delightful.

"In His Own Write" used lots of wordplay, and for his second book, Lennon seems to have decided that if a little creativity was good, then a lot of liberties taken with the language must be great. Unfortunately, in AS
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'd recommend you read "In His Own Write" first, so as to get used to his writing style and peculiar humour; for most of the stories appearing in this one are a bit longer than the ones in IHOW.

Having said that, A Spaniard in the Works comprises substantial stories and much more socio-political criticism. In this second and last book that Lennon published, he gets a bit more political than he did in the first one. Notwithstanding, the writing style used in ASITW is similar to the one in IHOW (wh
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If John had written nothing else, this book would not have assured his immortality. But it still would have been a cult classic. I've always liked it, and it was a big early influence on my own thinking at a critical time of my childhood. I have two copies of the book, different editions. I keep them both behind glass. Honestly, I do. ...more
David Miller
Jun 30, 2018 rated it liked it
John Lennon's nonsense is usually entertaining and often hilarious - occasionally it is crude and bigoted, sometimes it is incomprehensible. Mostly it's meant to be, but time and geography have made the dialect spellings more obscure to me than they might have seemed to a midcentury Liverpudlian.

This kind of book seems right as a reflection of Lennon's legacy - one of the world's biggest pop stars, having a "larf" at his audience while reveling in grotesque satire, pausing frequently to giggle
Therese Thompson
Feb 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
So, I’ve this and In His Own Write on my shelf for eons. Of one my favorite and most respected fellow Earthlings has sworn by it. So, easy choice-dust these off for the 2019 Pop Sugar prompt, a book written by a musician. And what a musician! One of the world’s best songwriters!!

Aaaaaargh!! Cannot begin to express how painful it was to read this. And only after I could not get much past the first piece in In His Own Write, I bailed and went to Spaniard. Almost as hideous. How can the man who wro
Oct 01, 2018 rated it liked it
I first read Lennon's books not long after his death. (The book was impossible to find before that. After his death -- lo and behold, it's everywhere) I was surprised and puzzled. I’d never read anything like this. Now that I’m a bit older (well, a lot older) I enjoy the nonsense of Carroll and Lear and Joyce.

The stories/poems have a sophomoric darkness. Some are good like No Flies on Frank. Most are just okay. But there is a kernel of genius in them and I wonder what he might have done had he
Connor Broderick
Sep 03, 2017 rated it liked it
I'd say "In His Own Write" was definitely better, but this is pretty good nonetheless. It might just be a personal preference but I liked that "In His Own Write" had a lot of quick and short poems and stories that didn't take long to read. Some of the stories in this book kind of dragged for me, and I think I like reading nonsense (which is all that both books are) in smaller quantities, but that might just be me. ...more
Debbie Sue
Oct 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is 100 percent crazy wacky word play. Be prepared. It will twist your brain in ways it has never been twisted .... trust me.

Some of the whimsy is downright hilarious and laugh out loud in parts and reading it lets you weave in and out of his cute and clever and creative and weird and lovable brain.

IMAGINE having had another 40 years of John Lennon. 40 more years of love and protests and art and songs and lyrics. If only that could have been true.
In addition to John Lennon's obvious talents, he was a master of nonsense and whimsy.

Unfortunately, this obligatory sequel to In His Own Write feels forced. The doggerel poetry is cute but the prose is just silly, even allowing for the fact that being silly is the whole point.

For completists only.
May 22, 2017 rated it liked it
A demented Lewis Carroll at times. Irreverent fun at others. And also unreadable nonsense. Not nearly as good as Lennon's first outing, but still contains a handful of selections that are worthwhile. ...more
Carson Smith
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Manages to push the limits much more than its predecessor, whilst somehow managing to create a funnier and craftier way with the language and wordplay it boasts. Bizarrely, whimsically confusing in the best of ways.
Dec 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-and-sweet
Very clever and witty. Full of nonsense. It's reminiscent of Lewis Carroll. ...more
Richey Gone
Nov 25, 2019 rated it did not like it
Utter, utter shite.
Goutam Choudhury
May 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Well..instead of Marx & Lenin...they bannered 'Marx & Lennon'..meaning Groucho,of course..! A competitive effort against Dylan's 'Tarantula'...both are must reads...if not 'must own'..! ...more
Sep 10, 2020 rated it liked it
God I’m a huge Lennon fan and I love what he is trying to do here, but it leaves me cold, and even thinking he was anti Semitic (Jew jokes number at least three here)
Dec 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Wordplay. A play-on-words.
Garrett Zecker
Mar 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
More doggerel poetry from "the writing Beatle." Honestly, it was nothing special, but it was more interesting and engaging than the first one I had read, "In His Own Write." To paraphrase my review of that book, I had gotten both as a gift from someone who had read them in the time that they were released. In the context of the artistic expression and experimentation of the time, it is original and exotic, but the writing is really just a manifestation of witty cockney-rhyme-slang that is actual ...more
Mar 14, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Beatles fans, John Lennon fans
Shelves: the-beatles
Absurd. This is more ridiculous and nonsensical than In His Own Write. However, I wonder if the whole collection of stories and poems is John just mocking what is considered "literary." Perhaps as a result of his fame as a musician, he could basically churn out whatever he wanted and people would eat it up, calling him the "intellectual" Beatle or saying that it's "deep," when really, he's just laughing his way to the bank.

And yes, I deem this book absurd, ridiculous, and nonsensical, yet, it is
Jun 23, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: John Lennon fans, Beatle fans, poetry fans
Recommended to J.P. by: Yoko Ono's accountant not really
See my review of Lennon's IN HIS OWN WRITE, which includes insights on this title.

Purchase this book only if you're a Lennon completist or the thought of padding Yoko's pocket$ makes you feel warm n' snuggly inside. Otherwise, check for the paperback "two-fer" edition.

A SPANIARD IN THE WORKS is also notable for the cameo appearance it makes in the 1965 Beatles film "Help!" It's the book Lennon pulls from the bookshelf and kisses repeatedly in his hole-in-the-floor bedroom, as Paul pl
Oct 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humour
A delightful collection of scribblings - poerty, short prose, cartoons -from a music legend.

It's seriously weird in places, but wonderfully poignant in others. Written by someone who likes playing with language.

In 'A Spaniard...' many of the best pieces are twisted children's tales - 'The Fat Budgie' or 'The Wumberlog (Or The Magic Dog)'. It's here that he reins in his more experimental word-play.

His messy fusion of words is great, a continual flow of neologisms jumping at you off the page. Lin
Joan Lattanzio
Jul 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this one too, thing that didnt happen with In his own write (language so changed and adepted which made it really hard to understand and given that the books are nonsense already, hard and almost impossible to keep up with) This one though ia genius, just like skywrting by word o mouth, the poems are extraordinary and a little macabre, funny and entertaining. Made me fall in love once again, weird little characters with huge complicated stories that reminded me of people in real life and ...more
Tyler Jones
Mar 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: the-beatles
Occasional flashes of brilliance, but a whole lotta gobbled-gook. Kevin Barry, in his novel Beatlebone, has a good take on the writing of Lennon that sums it up quite nicely:

His prose writing flitters along the surface of things only, and it is funny and vivid and pacy, but it never slows or comes down through the gears sufficiently to allow moments of tenderness, sadness, love, anger, bitterness, or rancour, all the sweet and thorny emotions he routinely sprang in his brilliant and nerveless s
Sofia Scanlon
Mar 30, 2016 rated it liked it
This book is very famous. I've heard many people talk about this book, it's even shown in the Beatle movie Help. I've loved john Lennon since I was in first grade, but even though I liked this much more than In His own Write, I believe the song Across the universe is better than this book. (even though that is my favorite Beatle song, but it's true). This book is very corny and kind of meaningful, I enjoyed it very much. I was just a little impressed with John, but I only recommend this book to ...more
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John Winston Ono Lennon, MBE, was an English singer-songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as one of the founding members of The Beatles, and together with Paul McCartney formed one of the most successful songwriting partnerships of the 20th century.

Born and raised in Liverpool, Lennon became involved in the skiffle craze as a teenager, his first band, The Quarrymen, evolving into The Beatles in 19

Other books in the series

John Lennon's Writings (3 books)
  • In His Own Write
  • The Penguin John Lennon

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  Kerine Wint is a software engineering graduate with more love for books than for computers. As an avid reader, writer, and fan of all things...
29 likes · 11 comments
“A man travelling on a train - like you or I - to
Scotland, had two or two bad eggs in his pocket -
and you know - no one would sit by him.”
“Araminta Ditch was always larfing. She woof larf at these, larf at thas. Always larfing she was. Many body peofle woof look atat her saying, 'Why does that Araminta Ditch keep larfing?' They could never understamp why she was ever larfing about the place. 'I hope she's not larfing at me,' some peokle would say, 'I certainly hope that Araminta Ditch is not larfing at me.
One date Araminta rose up out of her duffle bed, larfing as usual with that insaje larf peojle had come to know her form. 'Hee! Hee! Hee!' she larfed all the way down to breakfart. 'Hee! Hee! Hee!' she gurgled over the morman papiers. 'Hee! Hee! Hee!' continude Araminta on the buzz to wirk. This pubbled the passages and condoctor equally both. 'Why is that boot larfing all the time?' inqueered an elderberry passengeorge who trabelled regularge on that roof and had a write to know.
'I bet nobody knows why I am always larfing,' said Araminta to herself privately, to herself. 'They would dearly love to know why I am always larfing like this to myselve privately to myselve. I bet some peoble would really like to know.' She was right, off course, lots of peotle would.
Araminta Ditch had a boyfred who could never see the joke. 'As long as she's happy,' he said. He was a good man. 'Pray tell me, Araminta, why is it that you larf so readily.
Yeaye, but I am sorly troubled sometimes when thy larfter causes sitch tribulation and embarresment amongst my family and elders.' Araminta would larf all the more at an outburp like this, even to the point of hysteriffs. 'Hee! Hee! Hee!' she would scream as if possesed by the very double himself.”
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