A Year in Books/Day 191: Laurence Olivier On Acting

  • Title: Laurence Olivier On Acting From Hamlet and Heathcliff to “Brideshead” and Marathon Man, Our Greatest Actor Candidly Discusses His Triumphant Career in an Extraordinary Examination of His Profession and Craft
  • Author: Laurence Olivier
  • Year Published: 1986 (A TOUCHSTONE BOOK)
  • Year Purchased: 1992
  • Source: A bookstore at an outlet mall.
  • About: Every actor, young or old, has something  many things to learn from Olivier. If they say otherwise, they’re just in denial. Or ignorant. Perhaps I should strike a line through that as well and replace it with the (softer?) word naive. Nah. I’ll stand by my original assessment. Let’s move on to the good stuff. Even if you don’t care about the craft of acting (and have never been silly enough to work in or, sanity forbid, train for the theatre), On Acting is really entertaining. Part autobiography, part theatre/film history, and part textbook, it is a mixture that  works. He exposes the thought processes behind his roles, but dishes enough behind-the-scenes stories to keep most people interested. It is superior to his traditional memoir, Confessions of an Actor.
  • Motivation: I was an acting student then; the cover blurb was an excellent sales person.
  • Times Read: 2 or 3
  • Random Excerpt/Page 65: “New actors, new waves, new ideas-it’s all been done before. What we forget is that every new generation is the modern man. We are only watching things repeated with different costumes, new settings, original surrounds. However we look at it, it is still the same jewel, shining from the crown, that was mined between 1564 and 1616.”
  • Happiness Scale: 10+++
    Laurence Olivier, June 17, 1939

    Laurence Olivier, June 17, 1939 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


[News] School Libraries Petition

I could easily devote thousands of words to the subject of reading. It has played a significant role in my life. I don’t remember a time without books, as my earliest memories involve me toting around my little trove of golden-spined treasures, plopping down in the middle of the floor and trying so hard to unlock their mysteries. I was approximately 18-months old. I spent a lot of time at libraries. Going to the public library was a huge treat, better than dolls or Hot Wheel cars or ice cream sundaes. When I started kindergarten, I became doubly lucky: schools have libraries, too! I was, as it turns out, even luckier than I suspected: my family read to me whenever I asked, took me to check out books whenever I begged and, just as importantly, I went to a good school with a properly funded library of its own.

Personal circumstances aside, the latter is not a luxury; it’s a much-needed and highly important necessity that should be available to every child. Reading changes lives. It’s one of the most important paving stones on the road to success that begins, for most of us, at our local school library. As of this moment, 17,645 signatures are still needed. If you’d like to sign the petition, go here. A special thanks to Cassie at ‘Books and Bowel Movementsfor the FYI.