Summer Reading Classic Film Book Challenge

May 29, 2017

It's time for Raquel's 5th annual Summer Reading Challenge, over on her blog Out of the Past. Last year was the first time I successfully completed and reviewed six books and now I'm looking to turn that into a streak with six more books to pour over this summer!

I actually picked out seven books this year since one is pretty hefty and I'm not sure I'll have time to finish it before the challenge is over. Although I said the same thing about a heavy Truffaut biography I picked out for the 2016 challenge and I managed to finish that one just fine. It's actually one of my fondest memories from last year -- I lugged it around with me while I was in Paris, I took it along when I went to see The Killers in concert, reading on the floor of the concert venue while I was waiting for them to come out -- maybe my Barbara Stanwyck tome will be my companion on all of my fun summer adventures this year. So without further ado, here are the six books I'm hoping to read this year:

Julie Christie by Melanie Bell
This is a BFI book that I picked up at Larry Edmund's while I was in Hollywood for the TCM Film Festival last month. Julie is one of my favorites but, especially since she's a famously private star, I know very little about her. Coming in at only 129 pages, this should be a short quick read... perfect for summer!

Dwight Frye's Last Laugh by Gregory William Mank
This is an authorized biography of 1930's character actor Dwight Frye. I just love him and I'm looking forward to reading more about the man behind Renfield, who, according to the blurb, was a "gifted performer, once applauded as the heir apparent to John Barrymore."

Desperately Seeking Marie Prevost by Richard Kirby
Lately I've been obsessed with Marie Prevost but very little biographical information can be found outside of really gross gossip about her untimely death. This book promises to pay tribute to a silent screen legend who deserves to be remembered for her sparkling screen presence and comedic genius, not tawdry whispers. Just watch any of her early talkies when she was cast as a second fiddle but quickly stole the screen from legends like Jean Harlow and (she's my fave but such is the power of Marie Prevost) Barbara Stanwyck.

A Man With a Camera by Nestor Almendros
Almendros is probably best known for his work on Days of Heaven (which is absolutely stunning!) but I'm especially interested in learning more about his collaborations with Francois Truffaut. They worked together on 9 films including Truffaut's last picture, Confidentially Yours.

Truffaut on Cinema, edited by Anne Gillain
I read a book of Truffaut interviews last year, but this one is much heftier and (hopefully!) contains a lot of material I haven't had the pleasure of reading yet. It was just released this year and I excitedly found a copy in a little bookshop in Hollywood. I've been DYING to read this but I put it off until the reading challenge started lol :)

Refugees from Hollywood: A Journal of the Blacklist Years by Jean Rouverol
Jean Rouverol was an actress turned screenwriter who was blacklisted in the 1950's. I've been wanting to read more about the blacklist, and what better way to start than with a firsthand account by someone who had to endure self-imposed exile in Mexico to escape the communist witch-hunt in Hollywood. I ordered a used copy of this book online and was surprised to find that it's a signed copy!

A Life of Barbara Stanwyck, Steel-True, 1907-1940 by Victoria Wilson
This has been on my reading list for ages, and I finally got a copy as a birthday present last year. Stany is my all-time favorite actress and by all accounts she seemed like such an awesome, spunky, hard-working, talented, sassy girl. I can't wait to start reading this (even if I don't finish within the 3-month challenge..)

Hopefully I'll have reviews to start sharing here soon! In the meantime if you want to check out the reviews I wrote for past Summer Reading Challenges, you can find them here.