As yet another year comes to an end, it's time once again to sit back and reflect upon the best and the worst of the last 12 months. And then we make our lists.
So this is the first in a series of what I enjoyed in 2013, beginning with books. I will also share my "Grooviest" selections in music, theater, television, DVDs, movies and people as well as the results of the 3rd Annual Groovy Awards honoring the best web series of the year. Now here are my literary favorites of 2013 in alphabetical order according to author (click on title for more info):
Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted: And All the Brilliant Minds Who Made The Mary Tyler Moore Show a Classic by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
Everyone should read this fascinating and fun book about the creation of one of the best sitcoms ever.
Moose Murdered, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Broadway Bomb by Arthur Bicknell
The real story behind Mr. Bicknell's infamous Broadway play, Moose Murders, which opened and closed on February 22, 1983.
VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV's First Wave by Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter and Martha Quinn
MTV's original VJs give us a behind-the-scenes oral history of the early years of the music channel.
Llanview in the Afternoon: An Oral History of One Life to Live by Jeff Giles
The author takes us behind-the-scenes of the dearly departed daytime soap opera in this collection of new interviews with creator Agnes Nixon and stars Erika Slezak, Robin Strasser, Judith Light, Nathan Fillion and many others.
Double Down: Game Change 2012 by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann
The authors' first book, Game Change, about the 2008 presidential election made my 2011 Grooviest Book list, and now they are back with an inside look at the 2012 campaign for the White House starring Obama, Romney, Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and many others.
I, RHODA by Valerie Harper
This enjoyable memoir by the beloved actress who played TV's Rhoda Morgenstern was published before the devastating news last March that she had a rare, incurable cancer and only three months to live. However, since then, chemotherapy has slowed down her disease, allowing her to be a contestant on Dancing with the Stars. Ms. Harper is an inspiration to us all.
Shirley Jones: A Memoir by Shirley Jones
The star of TV's The Partridge Family and such films as Carousel and The Music Man shares her life story with us.
The Days of Anna Madrigal by Armistead Maupin
I read an advance copy of the latest (and, sadly, final) Tales of the City novel, and it was like being reunited with old friends. The book will be published on January 21, 2014.
Rita Moreno: A Memoir by Rita Moreno
One of the few performers to win an Oscar (West Side Story), an Emmy (The Muppet Show, The Rockford Files), a Grammy (The Electric Company Album) and a Tony (The Ritz), Ms. Moreno shares her life story with us.
Peyton Place: A Haiku Soap Opera by David Trinidad
The author wrote a haiku poem for all 514 episodes (plus two TV movie sequels) of the 1964-69 prime time soap opera. I got a kick out of it!