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Thursday, October 20, 2016

365 Groovy Books Worth Reading #71 - 80

Today I continue my list of 365 Groovy Books Worth Reading (in random order). Click here for the previous 70 books - and click on a title for more information or to purchase a copy:

71) I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution (2011) by Rob Tannenbaum and Craig Marks
Rolling Stone says it best: "Here's all the dirt on MTV's early days, in one of the funniest books ever written about pop music." The book's cast of characters include Paula Abdul, Pat Benatar, Boy George, Cher, Debbie Harry, Janet Jackson, Billy Joel, Cyndi Lauper, Annie Lennox, Olivia Newton-John, Stevie Nicks, Rick Springfield, Donna Summer and, of course, original MTV VJs Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter and Martha Quinn.

72) Lovely Me: The Life of Jacqueline Susann (1987) by Barbara Seaman
This fascinating biography of the best-selling author (Valley of the Dolls) was adapted into a 1998 TV movie, Scandalous Me: The Jacqueline Susann Story, starring Michele Lee.

73) Making It Big: The Diary of a Broadway Musical (1996) by Barbara Isenberg
In January 1996, my husband and I drove to Detroit to see the pre-Broadway tryout of this musical adaptation of the 1988 Tom Hanks film. We didn't care much for the show, which later closed in New York after 193 performances. However, I did enjoy reading this behind-the-scenes account of the musical's troubled journey to Broadway.

74) How I Lost 10 Pounds in 53 Years: A Memoir (2006) by Kaye Ballard (with Jim Hesselman)
The actress, who will turn 91 on November 20, shares amusing stories about her long career, which includes roles in film (The Ritz, Freaky Friday), television (Cinderella, The Mothers-in-Law, The Doris Day Show) and on Broadway (The Golden Apple, Carnival!, The Pirates of Penzance).

75) Home Fires: An Intimate Portrait of One Middle-Class Family in Postwar America (1992) by Donald Katz
Katz traces the lives of the Gordon family of suburban Long Island from 1945 to 1990 (and beyond) - and son Ricky comes out to his mother in 1973 (today Ricky Ian Gordon is a successful composer of art songs and several operas).

76) Dewey Defeats Truman (1997) by Thomas Mallon
I like the description of this novel from its inside flap: "Thomas Mallon has masterfully appropriated a jubilant legend (and famous headline) of modern American history - Harry Truman's upset victory over Thomas E. Dewey in the 1948 presidential election - and built around it a midwestern Midsummer Night's Dream. Set in Dewey's hometown of Owosso, Michigan, this is the captivating story of a local love triangle that mirrors the national election contest."

77) Band Fags! (2008) by Frank Anthony Polito
I agree with writer/performer Dennis Hensley, who says "Band Fags! is like the gay teen flick John Hughes never got around to making." The novel follows the complicated friendship between band members Jack Paterno and Brad Dayton from 7th grade (1982-83) through their senior year in high school (1987-88).

78) More Zingers From The Hollywood Squares (1978) compiled by Gail Sicilia
Here's a question from the NBC game show that originally ran from 1966 to 1980: "According to an article in Coronet, there's one person you dream about more than anyone else. Who is it?" And Paul Lynde's answer: "I don't know but he wears a lumber jacket." This paperback features many more zingers from George Gobel, Rose Marie, Vincent Price, Joan Rivers, Karen Valentine, Jonathan Winters and others!

79) The Lake, the River & the Other Lake (2005) by Steve Amick
This "comic novel with a dark and thoughtful edge" (Chicago Tribune) takes place in the resort town of Weneshkeen, Michigan, where the lives of year-round residents and summer folk intertwine in surprising ways.

80) Independence! (1979) by Dana Fuller Ross
As a teenager, I was an avid fan of this paperback series of 24 books called Wagons West, which tells "the sweeping saga of the proud, passionate men and women caught up in the great adventure of America's westward drive." It reads very much like a soap opera, and Independence! begins its continuing story in 1837 when the first wagon train sets out from Long Island and heads west to Independence, Missouri.


joel65913 said...

I haven't read as many of these as other weeks but I LOVED Kay Ballard's How I Lost 10 Pounds in 53 Years! It was a quick read but told so much of what her life as a jack of all trades performer involved in a humorous way.

Haven't read Independence but I love that sort of sprawling series, I've read both the Kent Family Chronicles and Howard Fast Lavette family saga so I'll have to check this one out.

Marc Harshbarger said...

If you enjoy sprawling series, Joel, then you might like Wagons West, which is probably the longest series that I know of. And thanks for reminding me of Howard Fast's family saga - I remember enjoying it many years ago.