Tinsel Tales: 10 Great Books About Movie Icons

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Movie icons symbolize so much to us that their roles and personas become jumbled with who they are in life. Rita Hayworth delivered the steamiest sexuality in “Gilda” (1946) but later complained, “Every man I know went to bed with Gilda and woke up with me.” It is impossible for a person to embody all that is enlarged on the screen. Stars have writers to give them the exact perfect words to say, cinematographers to make them look their ideal best, and directors to guide and cut together the performances that turn them into icons. As Jimmy Stewart’s character says in “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” (1962), in which everyone believes it is he and not John Wayne who did the shooting, “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

These are my ten suggestions, in no particular order, for seeing icons in a more nuanced light.

The cover of the book Hitchcock


Francois Truffaut

More than fifty years on, these conversations between the old master and the young director/critic are as enjoyable and revealing as any of the films made by each.


The cover of the book The New Biographical Dictionary of FilmThe New Biographical Dictionary of Film

David Thomson

Now in its sixth edition, this vastly informed and wildly idiosyncratic compilation makes for compulsive reading. Whether or not you agree with Thomson’s 800-plus pages of insight on more than 1,000 actors, directors, screenwriters, and studio heads from (in the third edition) Isabelle Adjani to Adolph Zukor or quibble with who he left out of this farraginous, nearly all-encompassing chronicle, you will become more cinema literate every time you dip into it.

The cover of the book My Wicked, Wicked Ways

My Wicked, Wicked Ways

Errol Flynn

The original Tasmanian Devil, Flynn displayed unbuckled swash as Robin Hood and Captain Blood, but his private life was even more cinematic than his movies.



The cover of the book Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood

Richard Schickel

This book presents the life and work of The Man With No Name, Dirty Harry, and one of our finest directors. (Schickel’s The Disney Version: The Life, Times, Art, and Commerce of Walt Disney is cultural history at its best.)


The cover of the book Mary Astor's Purple Diary

Mary Astor’s Purple Diary

Edward Sorel

Astor won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her work in “The Great Lie” (1941) but she is best known for playing the duplicitous, seductive, cold-blooded killer Brigid O’Shaughnessy the same year in “The Maltese Falcon.” The titillating revelations in her diary that her scheming, fortune-hunting ex-husband filched and presented in their child custody trial detailed her affair with the playwright George S. Kaufman and contained grades for the sexual prowess of her various lovers.

The cover of the book Kate Remembered

Kate Remembered

A. Scott Berg

Katharine Hepburn was as well-known for not playing the Hollywood game as she was for her parts in “The Philadelphia Story,” “Woman of the Year,” and “The African Queen.” Kate Remembered is an intimate portrayal of a private person in her voice but through Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer A. Scott Berg’s lens. (Berg’s Goldwyn is an essential account of the mogul and the establishment of Hollywood.)

The cover of the book Bogart


Ann Sperber and Eric Lax

Okay, a little self-dealing here, but Ann Sperber spent seven years interviewing hundreds of Bogart’s associates before her untimely death, and I undertook to finish writing what she so ably researched and started. Sue me for saying it is the best book available about a complex man who was “tough without a gun.”

The cover of the book David Lean: A Biography

David Lean: A Biography

Kevin Brownlow

Kevin Brownlow’s biography of David Lean is as long and sprawling as Lean’s “Lawrence of Arabia” and equally as enthralling.


The cover of the book Orson Welles, Volume 1: The Road to Xanadu

Orson Welles, Volume 1: The Road to Xanadu

Simon Callow

All four volumes. Really. (But ya gotta love Welles. A shorter read is This Is Orson Welles by Welles and Peter Bogdanovich, edited by Jonathan Rosenbaum. It features two knowledgeable, witty guys in riveting conversation about actors, movies, directing, radio, television, Hollywood, and dozens of other things.)


The cover of the book The Magic Lantern

The Magic Lantern

Ingmar Bergman

Bergman’s autobiography is as revelatory a look into the soul as any of his films, told in flashbacks.




Eric Lax’s books include Woody Allen: A Biography, an international best seller and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, Bogart (with A. M. Sperber), and Conversations with Woody Allen, which comprises forty years of interviews with Allen. Lax has written for The Atlantic, Esquire, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times Magazine, and more. He lives in Los Angeles. His latest book, Start to Finish: Woody Allen and the Art of Moviemaking, is now available.


16 Hilarious Audiobooks Guaranteed to Make You Laugh

by Cybil, October 01, 2017, first appearing on Goodreads Blog

Is your commute getting you down? We’ve got just the thing to cheer you up! We pored over the bestselling comedy audiobooks on Audible and rounded up 16 great listens that will get you through any slog you may find yourself in.

There’s no better distraction than laughter, so check out these fantastic audiobooks that include hilarious essays read by the author herself in We are Never Meeting in Real Life. to standup comedian Norm Macdonald’s memoir Based on a True Story.

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl
The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl
Based on a True Story
Based on a True Story
Rhett & Link's Book of Mythicality
Rhett & Link’s Book of Mythicality
I'm Judging You: The Do-Better Manual
I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual
We are Never Meeting in Real Life.
We are Never Meeting in Real Life.
Dad is Fat
Dad Is Fat
I Can't Make This Up: Life Lessons
I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons
Paddle Your Own Canoe
Paddle Your Own Canoe
The Mommy Shorts Guide to Remarkably Average Parenting
The Mommy Shorts Guide to Remarkably Average Parenting
Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)
Theft by Finding: Diaries
Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977-2002
Why Not Me?
Why Not Me?
May I Have Your Attention, Please?
May I Have Your Attention, Please?:
The Autobiography
Modern Romance: An Investigation
Modern Romance: An Investigation
Apocrypha Now!
Apocrypha Now!


Books to Film: February Releases

The 15:17 to Paris by Jeffrey Stern

28691794Image resultMovie: The 15:17 to Paris
When it comes out: February 9
What the book is about: On August 21, 2015, Ayoub El-Khazzani boarded train #9364 in Brussels, bound for Paris. He was heavily armed and his mission was clear.  Another major ISIS attack was about to begin. Khazzani wasn’t expecting Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, and Spencer Stone. All three were fearless. But their decision-to charge the gunman, then overpower him even as he turned first his gun, then his knife, on Stone-depended on a lifetime of loyalty, support, and faith.

Fifty Shades Freed by E. L. James

13536860FiftyShadesFreed.jpgMovie: Fifty Shades Freed
When it comes out: February 9
What the book is about: Now, Ana and Christian have it all—love, passion, intimacy, wealth, and a world of possibilities for their future. But Ana knows that loving her Fifty Shades will not be easy, and that being together will pose challenges that neither of them would anticipate. Ana must somehow learn to share Christian’s opulent lifestyle without sacrificing her own identity. And Christian must overcome his compulsion to control as he wrestles with the demons of a tormented past.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

19321Image result for peter rabbit movieMovie: Peter Rabbit
When it comes out: February 9
What the book is about: When Mrs. Rabbit beseeches her four furry children not to go into Mr. McGregor’s garden, the impish Peter naturally takes this as an open invitation to create mischief. He quickly gets in over his head, when he is spotted by farmer McGregor himself. Any child with a spark of sass will find Peter’s adventures remarkably familiar. And they’ll see in Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail that bane of their existence: the “good” sibling who always does the right thing. One earns bread and milk and blackberries for supper, while the obstinate folly of the other warrants medicine and an early bedtime.

The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine

23968Image resultMovie: The Female Brain
When it comes out: February 9
What the book is about: This comprehensive new look at the hormonal roller coaster that rules women’s lives down to the cellular level, “a user’s guide to new research about the female brain and the neurobehavioral systems that make us women,” offers a trove of information, as well as some stunning insights into the female brain from birth (“baby girls will connect emotionally in ways that baby boys don’t”) to birthing (“Motherhood changes you because it literally alters a woman’s brain-structurally, functionally, and in many ways, irreversibly”) to menopause (when “the female brain is nowhere near ready to retire”) and beyond.

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

17934530Image resultMovie: Annihilation
When it comes out: February 23
What the book is about: Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer. This is the twelfth expedition.

Every Day by David Levithan

13262783Image resultMovie: Every Day
When it comes out: February 23
What the book is about: Every day a different body. Every day a different life. There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

The War with Grandpa by Robert Kimmel Smith

766671Image result for the war with grandpa movie posterMovie: The War with Grandpa
When it comes out: February 23
What the book is about: The hilarious story of a boy who leaps into battle when he’s forced to share a room with his grandfather. Peter is thrilled that Grandpa is coming to live with his family. That is, until Grandpa moves right into Peter’s room, forcing him upstairs. Peter loves his grandpa but wants his room back. He has no choice but to declare war! With the help of his friends, Peter devises outrageous plans to make Grandpa surrender the room. But Grandpa is tougher than he looks. Rather than give in, Grandpa plans to get even.

And, They’re Off!

A quick look at the best selling authors and books at the start of the new year.

NYT Combined Print & E-Book Fiction Best Sellers

  1. THE PEOPLE VS. ALEX CROSS by James Patterson

34522506Alex Cross is on the wrong side of the law. Serving a suspension from the force while he awaits trial for murder, Cross has been branded as a trigger-happy cop, another bad apple walking the streets with a gun, an accusation that Cross will do anything to refute. To make himself feel useful again, Cross opens a counseling office in the basement of his home. When his former partner Sampson shows up needing his help, Cross jumps at the chance, even if it may end up costing him what’s left of his career. When a string of young, blonde women go missing, the investigation leads Cross and Sampson to the darkest, most depraved corners of the internet. Struggling to prove his own innocence and uncover the truth lurking online, Cross must risk everything to save his most at-risk patient of all…himself. 

  1. TWO KINDS OF TRUTH by Michael Connelly
  2. ORIGIN by Dan Brown
  3. THE WANTED by Robert Crais (NEW)
  4. TWISTED by Helen Hardt (NEW)
  5. DARKER by E.L. James
  6. THE ROOSTER BAR by John Grisham
  8. THE ALICE NETWORK by Kate Quinn (NEW)
  9. MILK AND HONEY by Rupi Kaur

Renew Your Items Up to 3 Times in 2018!

Happy New Year!

In 2018, most items you check at can be renewed up to three times.  Renewals can be done via your online account, by visiting the Circulation Desk, or by calling 1-888-542-7259.

3Some items will not be eligible for renewal, such as items with waiting lists, equipment, passes to local attractions, and new materials.  Entertainment DVDs and Video Games may only be renewed in person with the $1 rental fee.   For more information about renewals, ask at the Circulation Desk or call 309-524-2450.

So go ahead, check out War and Peace or the 28 disc audiobook version of Outlander.  You’ve got time!