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Did You Know John Lennon Wrote Weird Hilarious Books?!

So they say it's his birthday.

I'll go out on a thin limb here and say we are all familiar with John Lennon. If you don't know him from his star-making career as one of the core members of The Beatles— most of whose songs were written by the Lennon-McCartney (as in Paul McCartney) songwriting duo— you might know him from his stellar post-Beatles career, or from his work with his partner, Yoko Ono. However, there is another creative medium in John Lennon's repertoire that has not received quite as much attention as his music. 

 

Gif of Lennon smiling

Image Via Gifer

 

In honor of what would have been Lennon's 78th birthday, we here at Bookstr would like to draw some attention to his less-regarded creative output: his writing— not songwriting, but creative writing, in the form of his books, In His Own WriteA Spaniard in the Works, and Skywriting by Word of Mouth.

 

 

In His Own Write

 

The cover of In His Own Write

Image Via Ultimate Classic Rock

 

In His Own Write was Lennon's first book, published in 1964 by Simon & Schuster. The book is made up of short stories and Lennon's drawings. It is written in a nonsensical style that is characterized by intentional misspellings, surrealism, free association, and abrupt shifts in thought. The book also happened to be the first solo project by any of The Beatles. 

 

Pages 62-63 of In His Own Write, displaying Lennon's drawings and prose style.

Image Via 13th Dimension

 

An example of the book's unique style can be found in the "About the Author" page:

 

About The Awful 
I was bored on the 9th of Octover 1940 when, I believe, the Nasties were still booming us led by Madolf Heatlump (who only had one). Anyway they didn't get me. I attended to varicous schools in Liddypol. And still didn't pass -- much to my Aunties supplies. As a member of the most publified Beatles my (P, G, and R's) records might seem funnier to some of you than this book, but as far as I'm conceived this correction of short writty is the most wonderfoul larf I've every ready. 
God help and breed you all.

 

 

A Spaniard in the Works

 

Cover of A Spaniard in the Works

Image Via The Saleroom

 

A Spaniard in the Works was Lennon's second book, published only a year after In His Own Write. The style is very similar to In His Own Write, featuring the same intentional misspellings, short stories accompanied by drawings, and absurdism.

 

 

A still from the movie 'Help' in which John Lennon holds up a copy of A Spaniard in the Works

Image Via The Hand of Count Petofi

 

The book's table of contents offers a clue as to what you can expect from a read-through of it:

 

A Spaniard in the Works
The Fat Budgie
Snore Wife and some Several Dwarts
The Singularge Experience of Miss Anne Duffield
The Faulty Bagnose
We must not forget the General Erection
Benjaman Distasteful
The Wumberlog (or The Magic Dog)
Araminta Ditch
Cassandle
The National Health Cow
Readers Lettuce
Silly Norman
Mr. Boris Morris
Bernice's Sheep
Last Will and Testicle
Our Dad
I Believe, Boot . . .

 

 

Skywriting by Word of Mouth

 

Cover of Skywriting by Word of Mouth

Image Via AbeBooks

 

This was Lennon's final book, posthumously published in 1986, a whole twenty-one years after his last book, and six years after his death. This book is rather different from his others; for one thing, it abides by typical spelling convention. The book is also a sort of autobiography, rather than a collection of surrealist stories.

 

An excerpt from 'Skywriting by Word of Mouth'

Image Via Beatles Blog

 

Written in its author’s much-imitated, never-duplicated voice, populated with his own illustrations, full of the wit and honesty that helped make him one of the most iconic, polarizing figures of the 20th Century, Skywriting by Word of Mouth is the lost and recovered, posthumously published autobiography of John Lennon.

 

A still from the movie 'Help': Lennon laying on a bed surrounded by copies of his own book, the captions read: "Stop trying to drag things down to your own level."

Image Via The Hand of Count Petofi

 

 

Featured Image Via Billboard, Saleroom, AbeBooks, and Ultimate Classic Rock. Excerpts and Synopses Via Amazon