[Links] Famous Authors Reading

I love studying photographs and paintings of people reading. Given how many times I come across these things online, I am definitely not alone. Check out the images of famous authors reading famous books, over on Flavorwire. My favourites? Patti Smith and Anton Chekhov, with Faulkner coming in a pretty close third.

A Year in Books/Day 194: The 50 Most Unforgettable Actors of the Studio Era

Lon Chaney Sr., still from The Miracle Man (1919)

Lon Chaney Sr., still from The Miracle Man (1919) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Title: The 50 Most Unforgettable Actors of the Studio Era
  • Text: Frank Miller/Foreword by Robert Osborne/Introduction by Molly Haskell
  • Year Published: 2006 (Chronicle Books)
  • Year Purchased: 2010
  • Source: Barnes & Noble clearance rack
  • About: This book is a TMC Film Guide. It is straightforward but well-done, with each actor receiving a short bio, complete with vital statistics; a breakdown of their ‘essential’ films; and behind-the-scenes trivia. It’s best for classic film neophytes or fanatics-anyone in-between will likely be bored. Among the fabulous fifty, you’ll find: Barrymore, Chaney, Colman, Garfield, Gilbert, Keaton, Kelly, Ladd, Lloyd, Muni, Poitier, Powell, Taylor, and Valentino.
  • Motivation: I’m running out of ways to say that I write about classic (especially silent) cinema and really love old movies. I even buy books that I know I am not going to learn anything from; it’s an addiction (see above).
  • Times Read: 1
  • Random Excerpt/Page 41: “What amazes audiences discovering Lon Chaney’s work for the first time, along with his impressive ability to transform his face and body, is the humanity shining through even the thickest makeup. Chaney was one of the screen’s greatest pantomime artists, a skill he developed as a child in order to communicate with his parents, both of whom were deaf.”
  • Happiness Scale: 10

A Year in Books/Day 136: Starstruck

  • Title: Starstruck
  • Author: Jib Fowles
  • Year Published: 1992 (Smithsonian Institution Press)
  • Year Purchased: 1993?
  • Source: Little Professor Book Center
  • About: Jib Folwes would like to welcome you to Star Village, a term he coined to cover the 100 celebrities who, at any given time, receive the highest concentration of interest by the public. Although early 21st century forms-such as the Internet, YouTube, and reality television-have perhaps skewed the numbers and demographics, the foundation of his theory remains strong. He dissects every aspect of stardom, starting with how modern celebrity came to be, how it is achieved, maintained, and how, for some, it dies. He uses a cross-section of actors, musicians, comedians, and athletes, including: Louis Armstrong, Clara Bow, Doris Day, Buster Keaton, Billie Jean King, John Lennon, Liberace, Steve McQueen, Marilyn Monroe, Roy Rogers, Babe Ruth, Lawrence Welk and Mae West. It is a fascinating, almost sociological, look at a hierarchy we are born into, take for granted, and rarely seriously question.
  • Motivation: I’m a sucker for old Hollywood. I also love the logic, research and data behind serious sociological studies, even when the subject is pop culture.
  • Times Read: 2
  • Random Excerpt/Page 75: “Viewed within the context of the twentieth century’s eruption of metropolitan living and machine production, the star phenomenon can be seen to have resulted from two historical imperatives. The need of uprooted city dwellers for personality models was compelling enough, but a second force-related yet distinct-was at work.”
  • Happiness Scale: 9 1/2
    Publicity photo of musician Lawrence Welk.

    Jib Fowles will tell you why, exactly, I became famous! (Photo of Lawrence Welk courtesy of Wikipedia)


A Year in Books/Day 122: Swingin’ Chicks of the ’60s

  • Title: Swingin’ Chicks of the ’60s A Tribute to 101 of the Decade’s defining women
  • Author: Chris Strodder/Foreword by Angie Dickinson
  • Year Published: 2000 (Cedco Publishing Company)
  • Year Purchased: 2001/2002
  • Source: Barnes & Noble clearance rack
  • About: I owned the calender before the book. It was so cheery and bright-and full of fun facts-that I was sold on this volume as soon as I saw it at Barnes & Noble. It profiles 101 ‘It Girls’ of the ’60s: from Annette Funicello to Ursula Andress, Capucine to Hayley Mills, Nico to Diahann Carroll, every major show business medium is represented by a bevy of talented ladies. Each entry includes a short biography, relevant dates, trivia and, of course, deliciously swingin’ photos.
  • Motivation: The title says it all. How could you not want to read this eye candy, pop culture gem?
  • Times Read: 3
  • Random Excerpt/Page 12: “In the late ’60s, every American soldier knew Chris Noel. More accurately, they knew her voice. It’s still the first thing one notices about her, that marvelously husky, tomboyish voice that cracks then soothes with the warmth of a summer afternoon. To hear her is to remember a picnic on a sunny California hillside, or a swimmin’ hole on a Midwest river, or white sand on a hot Florida beach.”
  • Happiness Scale: A very cheesy, wholesome 9++
    Screenshot of Capucine from the trailer for th...

    Screenshot of Capucine from the trailer for the film The Pink Panther (Photo credit: Wikipedia)