Elvis Presley


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The Elvis Book Blog


More blogs: 2020  

August 16, 2020 : A memorable day to start a blog ...
Blog #1

The Elvis Book Blog will be mainly a short impression of books I am currently reading or just have read. And maybe an occasional side-step on related issues for which there is no suitable place elsewhere on this website. So expect no lengthy discussions nor in-depth reviews of any sort.
And is there a more memorable day than the 16th of August to start with a blog?

I will kick-off this first blog with some of the books near my reading-chair which I am hooked to at the moment. Usually I have 1 or 2 books laying within reach and pick one of them to read from for a couple of days. Depending on the contents and size of the book it may take me a couple of days to up to a few weeks before I am finished reading from cover to cover. A book merely composed of photographs and some text is consumed faster than one written with an academic background. These latter ones I may put aside once in a while and slip in another one.
At the moment there are even 3 books open which I am reading. An old one, a new one and one in-between.

IMAGE The first book is Elvis Im Kino: Was wir von Elvis-Filmen über Elvis und das Kino lernen können by Björn Eckel.
Although on my wish list already for a long time (it was released back in 2011) I just felt the need to get hold of a copy after reading again the review on the website The Memphis Flash Blog and the interview with Björn on the same website (note: website is offline since April 2023?).
The book is written in the German language (sorry for the English readers here ...) and the English translation of the title is "Elvis in the cinema: What we can learn from Elvis films about Elvis and the cinema". It gives a refreshing different look at the relation between Elvis and his movies, and sees his movie period as a logical continuation of his music and stage appearances rather than a break (some people call it a serious breakdown) in Elvis career.
I am just halfway thru the book and arrived at the chapter called "Der Star im Zeitalter seiner physischen Reproduzierbarkeit", translated as "The star in the age of its physical reproducibility".
The book is an interesting read sofar. It surely deserves an English translation to reach a broader audience.

The second book on my armrest is called Elvis: Sein Roman (2016) by Robert Graham and Keith Baty. Yes, again a German language book.
But don't worry, the original English version of the book was first released in the UK as Elvis: The Novel (1984) and as reprint a with the same title, Elvis: The Novel (1997). Even a Spanish edition Elvis: La Novela (2000) exists.
I stumbled across the 1985 German edition of this book in a bookshop a couple of years ago. When I saw the German edition from 2016 advertised as "updated and revised" I just had to get it. The saying "don't judge a book by its cover" comes to my mind: the cover of the 2016 doesn't look tempting but clearly does not stand for its contents. The cover of the original 1984 or 1985 editions would have been a better choice. And you probably guessed it: the 2016 German edition is an exact reprint of the 1985 German edition. That statement is even printed on the first page of the book. Don't always trust what's written on the internet ... nor trust book covers.
In the book, Elvis' life is re-told and re-shaped with a lot of turns and twists with plenty of links to his "real life". If you had two people who never heard of Elvis (almost impossible), and one was given a biography by Peter Guralnick and the other one this book it could lead to an interesting discussion.
What makes this book a great read are the funny dialogs which are spelled almost phonetically - as you speak. See for example the backcover of the 1985 German edition. The dialogs in the English edition are phonetically too. A compliment for the translator Alexander Schmitz of the German language edition. Even reading the discography and bibliography at the end of the book is fun. I even discovered a book not yet on the bookshelf: "Elvis - I Sharpened His Pencils" by Merle Barnett, published by Terrible Incoherent Books in 1975.
Only a few pages to go before I am finished reading. In the category novels this is one of my favorites. Read it with a wink.
Älwas vor äwwa!

IMAGE The third book within reach of my chair is Elvis: Roots, Image, Comeback, Phenomenon by Mark Duffett.
Released a couple of months ago, this is a rather academic approach to the phenomenon Elvis. As it has just arrived I was only able to flip hru the book and read some paragraphs. More on this one next time.
Mark Duffett released Understanding Fandom in 2013 and Counting Down Elvis: His 100 Finest Songs in 2018.

Happy reading and till next time!

Books referenced in this blog:

Blog #
1 Elvis Im Kino: Was wir von Elvis-Filmen über Elvis und das Kino lernen können (2011) by Björn Eckel.
1 Elvis: Sein Roman (2016) by Robert Graham and Keith Baty.
Other editions: Elvis: The Novel (1984), Elvis: Sein Roman (1985), Elvis: The Novel (1997) and Elvis: La Novela (2000), all by Robert Graham and Keith Baty.
1 Elvis: Roots, Image, Comeback, Phenomenon (2020) by Mark Duffett
Other books by Mark Duffett: Understanding Fandom (2013) and Counting Down Elvis: His 100 Finest Songs (2018).


More blogs: 2020  

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