Tuesday, October 25, 2011

So Many Books, So Little Time.

Vera Miles. Obviously reading is much more satisfying when you have brass ornaments to guide you. (Of course there's always the chance that you nod off and impel yourself. )

I've been trying to put more time aside for reading lately, especially with so many old celebrity bio's to write. Then there's the fact that a lot of my blogger friends are discussing their fall reading lists, upping my guilt for not tackling books that I've been putting off much too long.  Caroline at Garbo Laughs is buying antique collections which have me both jealous and interested in adding these little star profile books to my collector list. (I feel ashamed because I collect way to much as it is)  Then Cliff at Warren Williams and Immoral I Ephemera is making fancy videos of his books as they arrive in the mail.  In case you missed the video, he's reading the new Spencer Tracy and W.C. Fields bios. (The video title should have been Sorry for complicating your life Page, add a couple more titles to your list)

Just a few of the paperbacks that I need to either revisit or get to reading. The chair just isn't big enough for the hardbacks on old Hollywood and early cinema.

Now you might be asking yourself what's so difficult about picking up one of these books and reading?  Well, I blame the Kindle! A device that has made reading fun again with it's large font, beautiful blue ribbon bookmarks, being able to keep your place, the wonderful advantages of reading via a Kindle versus picking up an old paperback is endless.  I think my Amazon book wish list is now up to about 12 books. Okay, I confess that some of that list is on politics too but you get the point.  I just finished Hedy Lamarr's new bio  Beautiful: The Life of Hedy Lamarr.  So do I hold off reading Ava's new bio that a friend recommended or do I pick up one of my old paperbacks because only recent book releases are available via Kindle?

I promised Becky at Classic Becky's Brain Food that I would get to work on an Errol Flynn bio for her but I have two books on Errol, the one he wrote My Wicked, Wicked Ways (which I later found out was mostly fiction and exaggerated truths) so I bought the bio Errol Flynn: The Untold Story. I read both about 10 years ago and I've forgotten most of what I read. (Must add Ginkgo biloba AND stronger reading glasses to my shopping list)

If I remember correctly, the old bio's that I've read on Ava Gardner, Sophia Loren, Tyrone Power and Gloria Swanson were pretty darn boring but that's okay since I need research material. Of course if anyone knows of any recent bio's on these stars I'd be glad to add a few more books to the list.  

Oh, and to add to the problem, we have two fantastic used book stores within a couple of miles of where I live. I can walk in and find myself sitting on the floor surrounded by old books after an hour there.  

I'm really interested in hearing what everyone else has on their winter reading list as well as if anyone is interested in coming over and reading out loud to me in exchange for crazy, delicious baked goods  Oh, and if you have the voice of George Sanders that would be delightful.  I'm also interested to know if anyone else has started using the Kindle app after donating all of your old paperbacks.. (I can relate to that too as the back of my SUV is loaded down with boxes of old books (non celebrity related) that I need to drop off at a woman's shelter)

This is how blurry font looks through my eyes after about two minutes of reading paperbacks. Just another reason to love the Kindle. And for anyone not aware, you can download the FREE Kindle reading app for your PC via Amazon.  Easy breezy and incredibly fun.

Off to read and I really mean it this time, just as soon as I get all of those books out of my reading chair.

Oh, I forgot to mention that the new Hedy Lamarr bio is fantastic! For anyone interested in old Hollywood and Hedy's life, do yourself a favor and add the book to your reading list. Also, FlickChick brought up a good point in the comments. The downside to reading a book via the Kindle is the fact that you don't have the wonderful copy to display, whether on your coffee table or in your vast library of cherished books. I do wish that Kindle versions would include photos too.


  1. Thanks for suggesting the new Hedy Lamarr book! I just finished reading her autobiography from 1966 and I still have some questions (I'll write more about what kinds in the book review)

  2. Hey Page I have lots of books about classic stars and films that I need to read as well. Just not enough time in the day, so I understand you all too well.

  3. Oh and great post by the way...

  4. Jessica,
    I think you'll really like the new Hedy bio. I've heard the new Ava Gardner bio is a must read too unlike the old bio I have of hers which I found so dull. (She left out a lot) but I have to say as far as Hedy's book the only thing I regret is not getting it in the hardback instead of the Kindle. From what I understand the photo's are fantastic )which with a Kindle you don't get the pictures) I'll probably invest in the hardback once it's been out awhile after it's gone on sale.

    Thanks for stopping by and be sure and let me know what you think after reading.

  5. Hi Page - I agree that the Kindle is a marvel and it does make picking up a paperback seem distasteful! I am in the midst of the new Myna Loy bio on Kindle and am so far liking it. However, I do agree that the Kindle will never replace those gorgeous big coffee table photo books. Happy reading!

  6. FlickChick,
    I so agree about the disadvantage of the Kindle being no stylish coffee table book to display. Thanks, I've added your comment to the post. : )

    I didn't realize there was a new Loy bio so please let us know how you like it after you're finished. I would love to find a good Mae West and Dietrich bio via Kindle but sadly they're Chandler books that I'm trying to avoid. Salacious and questionable gossip just doesn't appeal to me.

  7. I love all my old books, but the new readers do intrigue me. I think eventually both will have a place in my life. The same thing happened with records. I still have a ton, and I listen to them a lot, but I also use iTunes and services like Pandora a lot as well.

    Your picture cracks me up, because I have almost all of those books! I wonder how similar the rest of our libraries are?

    I'm reading the new John Huston bio right now. It took me a while to get to it because I was obsessed with the bio about Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. My Huston review is long overdue now!

  8. KC,
    I can relate! I have so many books and I've gotten a lot of guff over the years for keeping my books from college. Of course when my friends bring it up I point out that you never know when my Sociology or Political Science books will be needed. lol It's equally hard to let go of celebrity bios.

    As fun it is for technology to take us I'll always have a place for my library.

    It's great to see you here KC and I'm thrilled that we have the same taste in old bios.

  9. Thanks for the mention, Page. 100 pages in and the Spencer Tracy is turning into the best book I've read so far this year.

    The Myrna Loy was okay, didn't thrill me. Too much reliance on Being and Becoming, didn't get much of a feel for Loy from the author. I compared the two books on my site a few weeks back.

    Not sure what's next, but I have some sitting that are overdue. I squeezed Dwight Frye in between Loy and Tracy, I suppose up next will be another one of the older books on the night stand, either Fay Wray's autobiography or the Ann Harding biography from a couple years back.

    Thanks again!

  10. Page, Latley, I have been thinking of going to the public library, to check out some classic celebrity bio's, to read while commuting to the job sites with my husband.

    Thank you for your wonderful suggestions.

  11. Cliff,
    I haven't read the Fay Wray or the Ann Harding books. I'll have a look for both. You said the Tracy book was great and from the looks of it, it looks like a very thick book. I hope one day you find yourself reading the David Niven book I mentioned. I think you would really like Bring On The Empty Horses. He talks about his friendships with Bogart, Flynn, Gable and Astaire to name just a few then he talks about Davies and his visits to Hearst Castle.

    The library is a great idea. Unfortunately the one close to me doesn't carry a lot of star bios. I hope you find an interesting one then let us know what you end up reading during the commutes.

  12. Sounds like your reading plan is ambitious Page - and here are a couple more for your list! David Niven's "The Moon's a Baloon" and "Bring on the Empty Horses" These are two of the most entertaining Hollywood books I ever read. And by the way Niven and Eroll Flynn were roomates for a time. How'd you like to have beeen a fly on that wall (or not).
    Christian (Siver Screen Modiste)

  13. Hey Christian!
    You'll be glad to know that on my blogger profile I actually have David Niven listed as my favorite author AND I've been trying to sell Cliff via twitter and again in the comments above yours, on reading both Bring On The Empty Horses and The Moon's Balloon! HA I love both books and I actually have the book Niven's son wrote. If you haven't read it I hope you can find it. I'll have to dig it out and get the title. I also found the old Marion Davies book The Times We Had at a used book store recently. I've owned it 3 times now and sadly it get loaned out and not returned. It's a great look back at her days at San Simeon and her Hollywood friendships.

    You have great taste my friend! Now if only I could put away the laptop and turn off the TV so I can dive into my book pile.

    Good to see you here Christian.

  14. Hey Page,

    I have the Barnes and Noble equivalent, THE NOOK and its great except for as you point out not having a book to put on the shelf. I also like the idea of holding an actual book in my hands when I read ,and as you eluded to there are so many old books out there. Then again, purchasing a book on KINDLE and/or THE BOOK NOOK is cheaper. Just finished reading SIXKILL, a mystery by the recently deceased Robert B. Parker.


  15. John,
    Thanks for joining our book discussion. I wonder if Oprah will stop by?

    If you use the Book Nook do you order your books directly from Barnes And Noble or can you purchase via Amazon too? That was the sell for reading via Kindle. Cheaper prices plus you get the book immediately.

    I've never been into fiction but I do love True Crime. I used to buy every Ann Rule and Joe McGinniss book. Fatal Vision being my all time favorite in that genre.

  16. Page and friends, nobody loves reading more than I do, whether they're fiction or nonfiction! I learned how to read at the age of 3 (I owe it all to phonetics :-)), and I've been hooked ever since!

    My problem is two-fold: I don't have nearly as much time as I'd like, between a happy but busy family life (I know, boo-hoo, what a tragedy :-)); and I've been spending a lot of my reading time writing instead! As some of you know -- especially our own Becky Barnes, who's been dear enough to put up with me :-) -- I've written a comedy-mystery novel, THE PARANOIA CLUB, and I've been working with a professional ghost editor to polish the manuscript all pretty and, God willing, actually get it published (preferably by a real publisher who'll pay ME, rather than vice-versa). There's nothing wrong with me that a 48-hour day and a winning multi-million-dollar lottery ticket wouldn't cure! :-)

    When I do read, however, I kick it old-school, with paperback novels, because A.) I can't afford a Kindle, and B.) paperbacks are a lot lighter and easier to carry around! :-)

    Love the saucy photo of Vera Miles, by the way!

  17. Dorian,
    Congratulations on your book. With your writing chops I'm sure it will be a fantastic success. So many talented people in our little circle! : )
    There's nothing wrong with being old school about reading.

    I read a lot as a kid to the point where my mom would get mad that I would rather sit in my room and read rather than play outside with my siblings. I hated cartoons too so that gave me more time for books.

    Thanks for contributing to the discussion.

  18. Something was wrong last night, and I couldn't get a comment to post, but it's OK now. I used to get the same grief from my Mom about wanting to read all the time -- "Go out and play! Get some sunshine!" she used to say to me all the time. LOL! You read a lot of bios ... I don't tend toward those. I love novels and English history best. I have so many books I want to read, some new and some old favorites. I hope things going on finally get settled -- then I will settle myself into my big chair and read. I've never tried Kindle. I'm a pretty big holdout for real books, so I probably won't unless I'm forced to by my sons or grandkids!

    Loved your article, Page, but I have one bone to pick with you, girl. It comes from this (and you won't be surprised!): "I have two books on Errol ... I read both about 10 years ago and I've forgotten most of what I read." How could you read about The Great Flynn and not remember stuff? Of course, that comes from the rabid Flynn fan, and yes, I do still want your article that you PROMISED to do. LOL!

  19. @Monty,
    Please forgive me! For some reason your comments were showing up bundled up with Jessica's and they didn't show up separately until I logged out and back in. Good to see you here Monty, I know it's busy over at your place with trying to get the two Audrey's situated for a win (and a let down). : )

    You know, in the past few years my mom has started saying her memory isn't what it used to be which makes me sad since she's my old movie discussion buddy then I realized when going through my 'read' pile of bios then realizing I can't remember a lot either! That STINKS! lol

    I'm glad you enjoyed my spur of the moment post now get to reading over there!

  20. Becky.
    Of course you can borrow my sack dress and I'll even through in my matching clutch but you have a mink collar? REALLY? I could do a lot with that little statement but I wont. HA!

    Aren't you all fancy over there? Guessing celebrity bio's are too low brow for you! Do you read your English history while perched on a throne? The mink collar is starting to make since now and I bet it comes with matching slippers.

    About Errol! I haven't forgotten EVERYTHING. I remember a lot about his early travels, his relationship with his father and how his birthplace, and his theater resume changed depending on who he was speaking to. I remember that he once had to escape through the back of a brothel while on a shoot in Mexico due to paparazzi. I know he was a real prankster, to the point where I thought it would be dangerous to hang out with him. Dang! Errol was such an interesting guy that you've convinced me to dive into his bio. I'll have to do it in parts of course, since his life was so darn 'complicated'. Of course I suspect that you don't care about all that, nope it's the photo's of your precious Errol that you're so interested in. : )

    I'm glad you took time out to comment since you're going through so much over there at Grey Garden's my friend.

    Thanks so much! I hope you'll visit my archives, jump in to our discussions and come back often.

    Oh, I love your name. Ruby has a very special place for me since my great aunt, aunt, cousin, step grandmother and my ex mother in law all have that name. Then my birthstone is Ruby too!

  21. @Becky
    I think everyone will assume I've gone off the bend finally since you mentioned your mink collar in the previous post! HA! Now who's crazy? : )

    Oh, when you quoted your mother it brought back memories since that's what my mom used to say to me. I hated cereal too so I really was a strange kid.

  22. Do you read books on film history or film criticism? I don't have too many biographies, although I did recently read Carol Burnett's 'This Time Together' and enjoyed it a lot. I tend to gravitate more towards books about general film history, like 'Easy Riders Raging Bulls,' or books written or edited by critics. I have a wonderful anthology edited by Roger Ebert collecting writings on film from a wide variety of sources, both in and out of the industry. And then of course, there are novels that have been turned into films. I recently read 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn' after seeing the movie and I loved it even more than the movie.

  23. Well, I've had big readers tell me I'm not high-brow because I like novels -- go figure. The picture you have drawn of me sitting on the throne wearing my mink collar reading English history -- well, it will never leave my mind! ROTFLMAO!!!

    You DO remember Errol -- I'm looking forward to your article, when you decide to do it -- I have to be in the mood for certain types of articles, for sure. Oh, and I hate cereal too! We can just demand bacon and eggs when we live at the home -- we'll be old, what will we care about fat and nitrites and all that? LOL!

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  25. Rich,
    I do have a few books that delve into old cinema. One that I'm trying to tackle is A Film Narrative. and The Movies, which is a journey through film with a spotlight on directors and our early stars.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    I'm glad I could make you laugh.