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Beyoncégraphica: A Graphic Biography of Beyoncé Hardcover – 7 Sep 2017
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About the Author
Chris Roberts lives in West London. He has written about music, films and books for innumerable publications and websites and interviewed everyone from David Bowie to Janet Jackson. He was the editor of Idle Worship, hailed in the New York Times as ‘the most original book about rock ‘n’ roll ever’, and edited Blondie's Panic of Girls magazine at the band's request.
Often appearing on TV and radio, he has also published books on Kate Moss, Lou Reed, Michael Jackson, Tom Jones, Abba, Talk Talk, Scarlett Johansson, Pharrell Williams, the Gothic arts and many others.
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In my opinion, "Beyoncegraphica" is very appealing considering its focus on visuals. The information that are well-known are presented in a new and interesting way. I would definitely recommend reading it, whether you're new to the BeyHive or you know Beyonce's history by heart.
There are, however, several respects in which these infographics (the book’s big selling feature) are less satisfactory. Firstly, an awful lot of them list quite pedestrian and easily accessible facts, such as chart positions and awards, or record pretty pointless trivia, such as the number of times the words ‘Jelly’, ‘Vibealacious’ and ‘Bootylicious’ are repeated in the song of that name.
Secondly, sometimes the information is only tangentially related to Beyoncé, such as other celebrity couples with twins or the fact that Destiny’s Child was originally Girls Tyme providing the ‘justification’ for an infographic on other bands that changed their name.
Thirdly, some infographics seem incomplete, with Madonna missing from the one comparing Beyoncé’s height to that of other female singers, whilst Mariah Carey/Mimi is absent from the one looking at other female singers with alter egos.
Fourthly, a few of the infographics are really difficult to interpret. For example, I’ve stared at the one comparing Beyoncé’s earnings with those of other high-earning women for some considerable time and still find it confusing.
On the other hand, the photographs have been well chosen and the text is good, albeit veering towards the sycophantic (“another zeitgeist-capturing flourish”).
In short, Chris Roberts has been a busy bee and his honied words will do much to endear his book to the Beyhive, despite the fact that sadly its central visual idea doesn’t fully live up to expectation.
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