We all love surprises, don’t we? Especially when those surprises turn out to be piles and piles of brand new books! This classic film book-themed haul was not planned, trust me. After promising myself I’d curb my spending in the new year, ordering all of these books wasn’t even a thought — until a tidal wave of sudden sadness and depression hit me and all I could think about was treating myself to combat the way I was feeling.
Before we go any further, though, in my defense let me just say that a couple of these were gifts and books I purchased using a gift card I received at Christmas. So there! I’m not completely hopeless when it comes to saving money. Oh God, I hope my Mom’s not reading this.
Here are 3 books I’ve hauled and already read:
TCM The Essentials Vol. 2: 52 More Must-See Movies & Why They Matter by Jeremy Arnold (Running Press). This one was very kindly gifted to me by my dear friend Jeff – I’ve known him for years through Twitter’s online classic film community. This book is the second volume in TCM’s Essential Films series and I’m gonna just put this out there right now by saying that I think this volume is heads and tails above the first one in terms of breadth and style. If you’re a film lover, you need this, trust me.
It’s A Wonderful Life: The Illustrated Holiday Classic by Paul Ruditis & Sarah Conradsen (Simon & Schuster). I learned this book was coming out in November 2020 and I immediately added it to my wish list. It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) is my absolute favourite holiday film and I was very much looking forward to reading this illustrated children’s book and seeing how it matched up to the movie (and whether it did it any justice). Though the book’s story is a little muddled and disjointed and doesn’t flow all that well, the illustrations more than made up for it – they’re absolutely charming.
This Was Hollywood: Forgotten Stars & Stories by Carla Valderrama (Running Press). I honestly didn’t know what to expect with this one. Yes, I knew what the overall scope of the book was and understood why it was an important book to add to my collection, but just wasn’t sure what I was going to find between the pages. I needn’t have worried because this book knocked my socks off! It is jam-packed with interesting and wholly informative stories and I ended up finishing it in just under two days. If you’d like to learn about a few of the more obscure personalities of classic film and the goings-on of the early Hollywood studio system, this one’s for you. The one and only complaint I have is that I found the text to be rather small.
The 4 books I hauled and haven’t read yet:
Sally Rand: American Sex Symbol by William Elliott Hazelgrove (Lyons Press). I’m not ashamed to admit that this was a complete cover buy. I saw that cover and I was like ADD TO CART in less than a millisecond. I know absolutely nothing about Sally Rand but I’m very much looking forward to reading about her life and career. From what I’ve read on the dustjacket, I think this is gonna be a pretty saucy book (yay!) and I’m planning to start reading it this weekend.
Phantom Lady: Hollywood Producer Joan Harrison, The Forgotten Woman Behind Hitchcock by Christina Lane (Chicago Review Press). I’ve heard nothing but praise about this book and I cannot wait to get started on it. One of my best friends – Raquel, you all know her by now – recommended this book and when she says I have to read something, I read it. Once I’m done with the Sally Rand biography, I’ll be picking this one up next. You can find the book’s author, Christina Lane, on Twitter and she’s an absolute dream!
She Damn Near Ran the Studio: The Extraordinary Lives of Ida R. Koverman by Jacqueline R. Braitman (University Press of Mississippi). This is another book that was on Raquel’s radar so I gladly ordered myself a copy when I heard how eager she was to read it. Another reason why I decided to pick this one up is because I’ve always favoured Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) above any other Hollywood studio. No, I’m not the biggest fan of Louis B. Mayer (former studio head), but I am very interested in reading about his secretary (Ida R. Koverman, the subject of this biography). I have a feeling there’s going to be a whole lot of juicy stories in this one and I can’t wait! I’m especially eager to see if the author touches upon any of the notorious studio cover-ups that MGM was so keen on in the golden age of Hollywood.
Film Noir Style: The Killer 1940s by Kimberly Truhler (GoodKnight Books). Last but certainly not least, we have Kimberly Truhler’s beautiful coffee table book devoted to film noir style in the 1940s. I could listen to Kimberly talk all damn day about Hollywood style and glamour and to say that I’m excited about this book is a major understatement. I purchased a signed copy of this book through the Larry Edmunds Bookshop website and it’s currently on its way to me. It’s going to be a very happy day when it turns up on my doorstep! If you’d like to order yourself a copy of Kimberly’s book, you can do that by visiting the Larry Edmunds Bookshop site and feel marvelous knowing you’re supporting an independent shop and legendary Hollywood mainstay.