Academy Award reading – and the winner is … |

Academy Award reading – and the winner is …

“Olivier” by Terry Coleman. With the Academy Awards this weekend, it is time to celebrate film and books coming together. This new, authorized biography on one of the world’s greatest actors draws from Coleman’s access to Olivier’s letters and private papers. His extraordinary career in stage and film, his stormy marriage to Vivian Leigh, and his many love affairs do not read like gossip but paint a very personal portrait of the dashing star.

“The Great Movies II” by Roger Ebert. The noted film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times shares 100 essays and reviews of films he believes deserve recognition. It is not simply a top 100 list but has many surprises, with films few have ever heard of. His reviews come after one viewing and with a deadline to make, but these essays reflect multiple viewings and thoughtfulness. Think of it as a textbook for a crash course in film appreciation.

“Cut! Hollywood Murders, Accidents, and Other Tragedies” by Denise Imwold. Admit it, we all love Hollywood gossip. Well, this book has it and so much more, with more than 250 obituaries from early stars to today’s artists who died before their time. Each entry contains photos, chronologies and tantalizing facts on the fleetingness of fame.

“The Samurai Film” by Alain Silver. America has its cowboy movies and Japan has the Samurai films. These movies, though, have a huge cult-like following all over the world. Silver, a film historian, looks not only at individual films but also at the genre where violence and death are the means of understanding life. It is filled with filmographies, history, myth, and lots of photos.

“Strike the Baby and Kill the Blonde: An Insider’s Guide to Film Slang” by Dave Knox. The language of the film industry may as well be foreign; few of us understand it. In this humorous and entertaining guide to film lingo, Knox presents an A-to-Z of terms, their usages and origins. It’s a lot of fun.

“Accidental Genius: How John Cassavetes Invented the American Independent Film” by Marshall Fine. The title says it all. Today, independent films garner the critics’ love and the Oscars, as well, but there was a time when Hollywood was ruled by the studio system.

Cassavetes not only inspired many of today’s directing stars, such as Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen, he also changed the way films are produced, sold, and distributed. The modern film industry owes itself to his genius.

“The Film Snob’s Dictionary” by David Kamp with Lawrence Levi. My son is a card-carrying film snob, and although he knows more about film than anyone I know, it can be terribly annoying. Now I can keep up with him due to this handy dictionary filled with humorous and arcane facts, names, and terms that film snobs laud over the rest of us. The difference between a movie and a film? Read it to find out!

“Warren Beatty: A Private Man” by Suzanne Finstad. Warren Beatty is the only person to have been twice nominated for Oscars in all five major categories. This well-researched biography delves into his private and public life, his Hollywood career and his political activism. It is a fascinating look at one of Hollywood’s most interesting characters.

“Close Range: Wyoming Stories” by Annie Proulx. Critics and audiences agree that “Brokeback Mountain” is one of the best films of the year. This is just one in this extraordinary collection of short stories from Wyoming resident and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Proulx. Isolated landscapes, spare and gorgeous writing and fascinating characters are trademark Proulx. Read just one story and you’ll know why Hollywood loves her.

“Capote” by Gerald Clarke. Philip Seymour Hoffman may very well win an Oscar for his riveting performance as the enigmatic author. Clarke’s book depicts his amazing achievements and the sad sequence of his life. Capote became a star with the publication of “In Cold Blood” but his complex relationship with the murderers in his story drained and nearly destroyed him. After its publication, he never completed another book.


Compiled by manager Alison Jones-Pomatto at The Book Seller, 107 Mill St., Grass Valley, 272-2131. Hours are 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays.

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