Yesterday was the 34th anniversary of John Lennon’s murder. A typically somber day, made all the more gloomy by this recent weather. Seems depressing to have gone thirty-four years without the music that could have been, and occasionally I’ll wonder about Lennon had he lived. He’d probably be on Twitter, that much I can predict with confidence. Would he and Yoko still be married? Still touring? Waving signs in Union Square, pleading for us to Occupy? Who knows. Some people had hinted of Lennon’s closet conservatism before his death, but I doubt he’d align with the Tea Party. Then again, I never met the guy. I can’t say what he’d be doing now or what he’d say about fracking or Ferguson.

I can, however, recommend some books to you. I’ve been reading about the Beatles for thirty years. I’ve torn through several Lennon bios, fiction, band theory, and even a graphic novel. For somebody who didn’t live very long, he led a life interesting enough for print. I have a Lennon story in the back of my head and one day it will go to print as well. Why not? People write One Direction fan fic and get book contracts. What’s stopping me?

Want to read some Lennon? Here’s my Top 3:

The John Lennon Letters by John Lennon and Hunter Davies, ed. – The John Lennon Letters has the look and feel of a coffee table book – you could probably jump back and forth reading the letters and notes, but reading all the way through creates a more rounded picture of Lennon by Lennon. If you are mostly a digital reader now, as I am, you’ll find the price for hardcover well worth the investment. My full review(AMZ / BN)

Shoulda Been There by Jude Southerland Kessler – Author Kessler has taken on the incredible project of novelizing Lennon’s life story. So far she’s three books in, and Shoulda chronicles Lennon’s birth through meeting Brian Epstein. It’s probably the book of most ambitious scope since it covers nearly half his life. Great attention to detail and authenticity. My full review.  (AMZ / BN)

Starting Over: The Making of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy by Ken Sharp – For readers interested in Lennon’s later history with a concentration on work rather than gossip, Starting Over is a nice “oral” history, but may come off as a bittersweet read given how the story ends. My full review.

What will next year bring? Hopefully peace.