11 Books I Enjoyed in 2017

I enjoyed most of the books I read in 2017, but here are 11 that, for different reasons, caught my fancy.

In no particular order, they are:

  1. SHAKESPEARE: THE WORLD AS STAGE BY BILL BRYSON
  2. SINATRA: HOLLYWOOD HIS WAY BY TIMOTHY KNIGHT
  3. BEAUTIFUL BOREDOM: IDLENESS AND FEMININE SELF-REALIZATION IN THE VICTORIAN NOVEL BY LEE ANNA MAYNARD
  4. LIFE IN A MEDIEVAL VILLAGE BY FRANCES AND JOSEPH GIES
  5. PAIN, PARTIES, WORK: SYLVIA PLATH IN NEW YORK, SUMMER 1953 BY ELIZABETH WINDER
  6. UNDER THE BIG BLACK SUN: A PERSONAL HISTORY OF L.A. PUNK BY JOHN DOE
  7. IN THE GREAT GREEN ROOM: THE BRILLIANT AND BOLD LIFE OF MARGARET WISE BROWN BY AMY GARY
  8. GRETA GARBO: THE MYSTERY OF STYLE BY STEFANIA RICCI
  9. WHEN PARIS SIZZLED: THE 1920S PARIS OF HEMINGWAY, CHANEL, COCTEAU, COLE PORTER, JOSEPHINE BAKER, AND THEIR FRIENDS BY MARY MCAULIFFE
  10. SIRENS & SINNERS: A VISUAL HISTORY OF WEIMAR FILM 1918-1933 BY HANS HELMUT PRINZLER
  11. THE BEST MINDS OF MY GENERATION: A LITERARY HISTORY OF THE BEATS BY ALLEN GINSBERG

What were your fave books of 2017? Please share with me in the comments.

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What Are You Reading in May?

What is on your reading list this month?

Do your reading habits change with the seasons, or are you always equal opportunity?

I’ve kind of been all over the place this month, reading wise, which is pretty typical of me.

Since 1st May, I’ve finished:

  • M Train by Patti Smith
  • Designs on Film: A Century of Hollywood Art Direction by Cathy Whitlock
  • The Ice Cream Blonde: The Whirlwind Life and Mysterious Death of Screwball Comedienne Thelma Todd by Michelle Morgan
  • Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered by Dianne Hales

I’m in the midst of reading:

  • Spencer Tracy: A Biography by James Curtis
  • Fear and Clothing: Unbuckling American Style by Cintra Wilson

To be finished by 31st May:

  • Art on the Block: Tracking the New York Art World from SoHo to the Bowery, Bushwick and Beyond by Ann Fensterstock
  • I’ll Drink to That: A Life in Style, with a Twist by Betty Halbreich with Rebecca Paley
  • Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg: The Letters Edited by Bill Morgan and David Stanford

What is your favourite book this month?

Which book on your list do you most look forward to reading?

Please share with me in the comments.

Happy reading!

Happy Birthday Allen Ginsberg, You Fresh-Faced Cutie

Allen Ginsberg was born 87 years ago today. Here he is, looking all fresh-faced yet intense.

Allen Ginsberg

Allen Ginsberg

QUOTE: “Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.”

SOME WORKS: Howl and Other Poems; Kaddish and Other Poems; Reality Sandwiches; The Yage Letters; Mind Breaths; Deliberate Prose

A KEEPSAKE:

Allen Ginsberg Pencils by the big harumph

Allen Ginsberg Quote Pencils by the big harumph. $10.00

A Year in Books/Day 164: The Rolling Stone Book of the Beats

  • Title: The Rolling Stone Book of the Beats The Beat Generation and American Culture
  • Editor: Holly George Warren
  • Year Published: 1999 (Hyperion)
  • Year Purchased: 2000/2001
  • Source: Barnes & Noble clearance rack
  • About: Whether the Rolling Stone moniker entices or repels you, this is a fine compilation of essays, musings, reviews and treatises on The Beat Generation and its various, and fantastically varied, players. Although many of the entries were written expressly for this book, others are from Rolling Stone’s archives or from outside sources. Lydia Lunch, Hunter S. Thompson, Graham Parker, Johnny Depp, Patti Smith, Richard Hell, and Lester Bangs number among the crazy quilt of contributors. The insiders’ perspective is voiced by Michael McClure, Joyce Johnson, Hettie Jones, Carolyn Cassady and William S Burroughs. The cacophony of opinions, insights and viewpoints is bold and often contradictory, which should be the intent of any decent compilation. The entirety of the beat experience is presented in vivid, emotive, intelligent terms. Each entry is a micro world of its own, quite unlike any of the others. The photos are notable, and many are rare. If you have any interest in the subject-which really encompasses many subjects loosely gathered under a too-small banner-make this part of your to-read list.
  • Motivation: I have a long, deep shelf dedicated to the writers and miscellaneous participants of The Beat Generation. This was one of the earliest non-fiction additions to my collection.
  • Times Read: 3
  • Random Excerpt/Page 85: “Bob Kaufman and John Wieners are the greatest of the nonsense Beat poets, whatever that means-the social second unit?-people who didn’t spend scads of time with the frontrunners. They’re also two supreme sufferers, and Kaufman, in particular, swallowed more broken glass than all the others combined.”
  • Happiness Scale: 9