If you don’t know “Abbey Road” from “Penny Lane,” then “Dreaming the Beatles” is not the book for you.
But if you’re the type who can argue for hours about which is the better Beatles album, “Revolver” or “Rubber Soul,” then Rob Sheffield’s unconventional rock-band bio is must-read material.
The Rolling Stone columnist recaps all the requisite anecdotes regarding the lives and music of John, Paul, George and Ringo. But he keeps the journey interesting by veering off the beaten path whenever possible and taking lesser-traveled side streets.
Sheffield also sprinkles in his own insights and crackpot opinions, the kind that can come only from a lifelong Beatlemaniac.
As a result, the book (Dey St., $24.99) works on two levels: It tells the Beatles story, but also sparks arguments.
Sheffield maintains, for example, that Ringo Starr was a brilliant drummer — a position sure to rile fans who consider Ringo’s pounding to be barely competent.
As for the best-album debate, he tries to have it both ways, declaring that “Rubber Soul” is his favorite “even if ‘Revolver’ is slightly better.” That said, we now invite Beatles fans to choose sides.
All of you “Sgt. Pepper” supporters are welcome to join in the fray, too.
Also new in bookstores this week:
“Will’s Red Coat,” by Tom Ryan (William Morrow, $25.99). You’ll need a box of tissues to read the story of a deaf and nearly blind dog named Will. The author adopted the angry, depressed 15-year-old Schnauzer, hoping only to give the animal a home in which to die with dignity. To Ryan’s delight, new surroundings and some love gave Will a new, puppylike enthusiasm for life.
“Beartown,” by Fredrik Backman (Atria, $26.99). The beloved Swedish author — best known for his feel-good 2012 debut, “A Man Called Ove” — is back. Don’t be fooled by the bleak opening: a teenager, a shotgun and tragedy. This story is a charmer. It’s about a hockey-loving town in which residents all root for the junior team competing in the national semifinals.
“Golden Prey,” by John Sandford (Putnam, $29). In the 27th “Prey” thriller, Lucas Davenport is a U.S. marshal hot on the trail of Garvin Poole, a cutthroat criminal who’s been in hiding out in Dallas and living off his stockpile of gold. Poole, who has no conscience, has resurfaced for a heist in Biloxi that leaves five dead, including a 6-year-old child.