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A review of Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender

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Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender
A Life in Pictures
by Sean O’Hagan
Publication Date: Oct. 16th, 2012

I recently received a review copy of the fantastic book pictured here. And I was super excited to see it arrive on my doorstep. Freddie Mercury is one of my favorite musical artists of all time. I grew up listening to Queen. One of the very first Homecoming games I ever went to had We Will Rock You as the theme. (I think we did We Are the Champions one year as well.) In fact, for many years I had the buttons they handed out with our mascot and the Homecoming theme written on it. Ahem. ANYWAY, did I mention how much I love Queen?

I have to admit that I had heard Bohemian Rhapsody for years and years. I liked it, of course, but I really got to know it all over again in Wayne’s World. Yep. I was in college (the first time) and a friend loved that movie so very much I think we watched it in the neighborhood of 25 times. Maybe more.

In the years to follow, I rediscovered so many Queen songs: You’re My Best Friend, Death on Two Legs, Killer Queen, Flash Gordon (yep, even saw the movie), I Want to Break Free, Another One Bites the Dust (ooh, wait, I think that was a Homecoming theme song, too!), Bicycle, Under Pressure, Fat Bottomed Girls…. Really, I could keep going.

When you first open the book, there’s a great history of Freddie Mercury and Queen. And I absolutely loved the section that talked about the amazing infectious qualities to Bohemian Rhapsody. (Another aside – I didn’t know who Scaramouche was until my college English Lit classes.) Some really good stuff.

And then, you reach the photos. So beautiful and touching. I was a little sad looking through them, it made me miss him and his music so much. But it is also a wonderful tribute to Freddie. There are some stunning photos in there, with bits and pieces of Freddie’s history woven throughout. I haven’t even gotten to the audio interviews yet, I’ve been so lost in the photographs.

If you are a fan of Freddie Mercury and / or Queen, I think you’ll really enjoy this book. It’s still sitting on my desk, waiting for me to flip through it again. It’s definitely a keeper.

[I have one very small quibble - the descriptions next to the photos are in a fairly small print. As my eyes get older (hey, I'm not OLD, old, but still, the 40 bus is about to hit me, okay?) I find it harder to read really small print. We're talking smaller than normal book print. So grab your reading glasses - you might need them. Not that we fans of Freddie are aging or anything. Not at all.]

For days after I first cracked it open, I thought about how much Queen’s music has been a part of my life. I even listened to a playlist that Sondra set up on Spotify, and fired up their rotation on my iPod. Bittersweet, but beautiful. As one of my friends commented on my photo of the book when I posted it to Facebook:

“Greatest Rock Voice Ever”

I think that says it all.

Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher, Insight Editions. Opinions are my own. Book link uses my Amazon affiliate account.

Reading: SEO Bible by Jerri L. Ledford

I’m about 1/4 of the way into the SEO Bible by Jerri L. Ledford. I’ve been meaning to read up on Search Engine Optimization. While I know some of the basics, there’s a lot I could learn and do better. And I think Ledford’s book will get me there.

She starts out by explaining SEO, what it means, why it’s important, and why you should be using it. The first two chapters are dedicated to understanding SEO, including the basics of what search engines are and how they work. Ledford also recommends creating an SEO plan before you build your site (if you can). She also makes it clear that certain techniques are more likely to get you banned from search engines and should be avoided.

Ledford’s writing is easy to understand. She doesn’t talk down to the reader or use too much jargon that makes the book difficult to grasp. She explains each concept thoroughly before moving on to the next topic without droning on & on.

I’m currently in Chapter 3. I’m moving through it slowly so I can absorb the information – and there’s a lot! The main book is almost 300 pages, and close to 100 more comprise the appendices and glossary.

So far I’m finding a wealth of information with clearly explained topics and instructions. I feel confident that as I progress through the book I’ll be able to implement Ledford’s recommendations. When I get further along, I’ll revisit my thoughts on the book. And as I incorporate her advice, I’ll let you know how it goes.