Saturday, August 7, 2010

"Reading's good for you sometimes."

This post is going to double up as a (belated) quote of the week post and also as a question. So, first, can anyone guess where this quote is from?

"Reading's good for you sometimes."

And now, the question. My to-read list is very long but I've been working through it more or less steadily. My two favorite genres are kid lit and movie history. In the latter category, I have less titles to choose from because I don't have much of an idea of what's out there. I've read TCM's three books on leads: Leading Men, Leading Ladies, and Leading Couples. I just finished Arlene Croce's The Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers Book. Now, I'm curious as to what to read next. On my to-read list (and, incidentally, to-buy list) are the autobiographies of Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, and Errol Flynn, as well as The Thin Man Movies: Murder Over Cocktails by Charles Tranberg. I wanted to ask a few questions from you guys. First, have you read any of the titles in my to-read list? If so, are they good reads? Second, what else would you recommend? Is Fred Astaire and the Fine Art of Pinache any good? Let me know! I'm currently in a reading frame of mind and am looking for more good picks.

P.S. I really appreciate your well-wishes on my job hunt!


  1. I havent read any of the books you mentioned, however I was watching a documentary type film on Errol Flynn and early in his life was quite interesting and not very well known (at least it wasnt to me). He also wrote two books himself: Beam End and Showdown, but I am not sure if you would be able to locate those. I havent read a biography on him yet, but it seems like it would be an interesting read.
    And of course you could never go wrong with Fred or Ginger! Although, I have heard mixed reviews about some of the books on Fred. Most say it doesnt tell much about him, but like I said, I havent read any so I cant say. Good luck in your search!

  2. Ginger's book is great - lots of stories about movies we love and its not gossipy.

    I need to look into that Thin Man book - I've just discovered those movies and love them. I think William Powell's introduction in the first movie is one of the best opening scenes ever!

  3. I read Ginger's biography, it's very great to read, and very well told.

  4. I haven't read any of those yet (though I do really want to read Errol Flynn's autobiography!!) but my favorite star bios so far have been Center Door Fancy, which was a thinly veiled autobiography by Joan Blondell (you can easily guess who is who despite the name changes), Charles Boyer by Larry Swindell and A Dreadful Man by Brian Aherne, about George Sanders.

  5. Well Sally - there is no mystery as to MY recommendation (just follow the photo lead of this post!)... but sounds like you have some other interesting titles as well. My mom actually finished up a 'unauthorized' bio of Lucille Ball, and there was more than a few 'blurbs' about Ginger in it, all good stuff, as they were pretty big buds...and how Lela helped out Lucy in her 'early days'... a 'unexpected' photo in this book is a TOPLESS pic (although 'tasteful', as topless pics go) of a young Lucy! She pretty much threw it all on the line to get in show biz... but she was really cool overall.
    When I watch I Love Lucy now, I can't help but notice 'mannerisms' that are not unlike Ginger... pretty neat to observe.
    Anyway, the 'unauthorized' stuff is usually a bit 'below board', thus 'tarnishes' a lot of what we like in our actors/actresses... thus just seems to get your dander up. Ginger's 'autobio' is really interesting, and does NOT 'mud-sling'... it's a good one, really.

    Well, heck - hope you find what you are looking for, career-wise! I just wish I could make a living hashing out Ginger info!!! :-]


  6. Of the titles on your list, I've only read Ginger's autobiography, and I highly recommend it. It has some fun stories about the people she knew and the movies she made, and it's an easy - but interesting - read. It's not nearly as depressing as Ingrid Bergman's autobiography (I got bogged down in the middle and still haven't finished that one).

    If you end up reading Fred Astaire's book, let me know what you think of it! I've been eyeing it for some time.

    Glad to see you back at the blog fore even a little while! Good luck with you job search!

  7. Mmm... haven't read any of those! But I heard that Rosalind Russell's autobiography was fabulous!

  8. I ADORED Ginger Rogers' autobiography. It was a great read, never boring and I really liked what I read about her as a person in terms of spirituality, likes, dislikes, etc. Go pick that one up! :)

  9. I did not read any of the books of your list - yet. The Errol Flynn autobiographie is already in my bookshelf and waiting.. :")

    "The Golden Girls of MGM" by Jane Ellen Wayne is quite nice - it contains some short biographies of Jeanette MacDonald, Norma Shearer, Greta Garbo, Jean Harlow, Joan Crawford, Lana Turner, Judy Garland, Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor. (and very, very short ones of Katherine Hepburn, Hedy Lamarr, Esther Williams, Debbie Reynolds and June Allyson.)

    "The Girl Who Walked Home Alone" by Charlotte Chandler is quite a good biographie of Bette Davis.

    "The Million Dollar Mermaid" is Esther Williams' autobiographie - very outspoken and somewhat juicy - you'll learn a lot about the way they made stars at MGM at that time..

    There're plenty more but I think this will do..

    Please post after you read your books - I'd love to hear about it!


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