Summer Reading Challenge: Design for Dying – Renee Patrick

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Design for Dying: A Lillian Frost & Edith Head Novel – Renee Patrick
Forge Books, 2016
Hardcover, 317 pages

Like many young women in Los Angeles in 1937, Lillian Frost wanted to make it big in the movies. Yet like so many others, she didn’t, finding work instead as a salesgirl at an upscale department store. But Lillian’s roommate Ruby seemed to be on the right track, going to the right parties and getting lots of attention, that is, until she wound up murdered. Not only that, but Ruby was found wearing a gown stolen from the Paramount wardrobe department, a gown designed by Hollywood wardrobe icon Edith Head.

Although respected and recognized in 1937, Edith Head was not yet a Hollywood household name and her eight Oscars for costume design were all in the future. So how in the world can Head and a young salesgirl join forces to uncover a murderer?

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Summer Reading Challenge: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Originally published by J.B. Lippincott & Co. in 1960
Hardcover and paperback, 300 pages (editions vary)

Full disclosure: I read To Kill a Mockingbird for the Guys Book Club, a group I founded and lead at the Severna Park (Maryland) Library where I work. We have a system in the club of alternating who picks the books each month: they pick one, I pick one. I picked this one, but must give credit to one of our members, Paul S., who suggested it. We discussed the book two days ago.

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The Best of 2016 Lists

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This time of year you can count on holiday shopping madness, eating too much and a proliferation of “Best of the Year” lists. I try to limit myself on the first two items  (usually without success with either) but go nuts with my “Best of” lists.

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During the next few weeks, I’ll be posting sporadically with several “Best of” lists that I hope you’ll enjoy. My first list should be a Best Books on Movies list. These won’t be books to movies, but rather books about movies, some new, some old. (I also look forward to reading your “Best of” lists.) See you then…

Photos: Lisa Renee Jones, Stumptown Blogger

The Twilight Zone Companion (1982/1992) Marc Scott Zicree

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The Twilight Zone Companion, Second Edition (1982/1992) Marc Scott Zicree
Silman-James Press
Trade paperback, 466 pages
ISBN 1879505096
$15.95

When the first edition of The Twilight Zone Companion was published in late 1982, I bought a copy and immediately wore it out. At the time, WGN in Chicago was airing reruns of The Twilight Zone every night and I’m pretty sure I didn’t miss a single episode. Zicree’s book was invaluable. So how well does it hold up in 2015?

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Gun Crazy: The Origins of American Outlaw Cinema (2015) Eddie Muller

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Gun Crazy: The Origin of American Outlaw Cinema (2015) Eddie Muller
Black Pool Productions
Trade paperback, 192 pages
ISBN 9780692260265
$25.00

The Saturday Evening Post may just possibly be the unlikeliest place to give birth to one of the all-time classics of film noir, but that’s where Eddie Muller’s Gun Crazy: The Origin of American Outlaw Cinema begins.

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Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho (1990/2013) Stephen Rebello

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Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho (1990/2013 reissue) Stephen Rebello
Soft Skull Press
Trade paperback, 288 pages
ISBN 9781593765118
$16.95

Originally published in 1990 (reissued to coincide with the release of the 2013 film Hitchcock), Rebello’s treatment of the making of Psycho (1960) succeeds in delivering an amazing amount of the behind-the-scenes stories of the film, but offers only a glimpse into the mind of Hitchcock himself. Of course to expect a complete account of Hitchcock in a 288-page book primarily devoted to one work would be foolhardy. Even if we had an Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of __________ book for every movie the director made, I’m still not sure we would really know the man. But perhaps the best way to know the director is to examine him through the films he made, and on that basis alone, Rebello’s work is essential reading.

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