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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

365 Groovy Books Worth Reading #129 - 138

Today I continue my list of 365 Groovy Books Worth Reading (in random order). Click here for the previous 128 books - and click on a title for more information or to purchase a copy:

129) How I Paid for College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship & Musical Theater (2004) by Marc Acito
Mr. Acito’s first novel is "a deliciously funny romp about one overly theatrical and sexually confused New Jersey teenager’s larcenous quest for his acting school tuition. It's a farcical coming-of-age story that combines the first-person tone of David Sedaris with the byzantine plot twists of Armistead Maupin" (and that, folks, is pretty high praise indeed).

130) Actress: Postcards from the Road (1978) by Elizabeth Ashley with Ross Firestone
In her candid autobiography, the Tony Award-winning actress discusses her career - which includes Broadway productions of Barefoot in the Park (1963) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1974) - and her marriages to actors James Farentino and George Peppard.

131) Postcards from the Edge (1987) by Carrie Fisher
Fisher's semi-autobiographical debut novel is about a movie actress trying to put her life back together after a drug overdose. She later wrote the screenplay for the 1990 film version starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine.

132) I Said Yes to Everything: A Memoir (2014) by Lee Grant
The Academy Award-winning actress discusses her roles on television (Peyton Place) and in films (Valley of the Dolls, Shampoo) as well as her 12 years on the Hollywood blacklist.

133) Crossing California (2004) by Adam Langer
Set in Chicago's West Rogers Park neighborhood in 1979-81, Langer's wonderful debut novel tells the story of three families and their teenage children living on either side of California Avenue, which divides the prosperous west side from the struggling east.

134) Hometowns: Gay Men Write About Where They Belong (1991) edited by John Preston
Mr. Preston (1945-94) was the author/editor of nearly 50 books, and for this anthology, he brought together 28 gay writers to write candidly about where they came from, why they left, and where they ended up. It received a Lambda Literary Award nomination for Gay Men's Anthology.

135) The Making of No, No, Nanette (1972) by Don Dunn
This interesting book tells "the incredible story of the blunders, intrigues and miracles that transformed a dusty musical of the 1920's into the top Broadway success of the 1970's". The 1971 revival ran for 861 performances and won four Tony Awards for Best Actress in a Musical (Helen Gallagher), Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Patsy Kelly), Best Costume Design and Best Choreography.

136) Comfort & Joy (1999) by Jim Grimsley
Nominated for a Lambda Literary Award for Gay Men's Fiction, this engaging novel is about going home for the holidays with your gay lover.

137) The Happy Hollisters and the Mystery in Skyscraper City (1959) by Jerry West
As a kid, I loved spending time with the Hollister family, which included five children, a collie dog named Zip, and a cat named White Nose. This series of 33 books were actually written by Andrew E. Svenson between 1953 and 1970, and in this one, the Hollisters solve a mystery while on vacation in New York City.

138) Big Little Lies (2014) by Liane Moriarty
I've not seen the current HBO miniseries based on this novel, but I would expect that stars Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon are very good as two mothers who become involved in a murder at their children's school. As for the book, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.


joel65913 said...

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE How I Paid for College!!! I read a preview copy that came in when I was working in a bookstore years ago and laughed my way through in two days. Then I picked up a copy of the audiobook where Jeff Woodman does a tremendous job of making all the characters recognizable people (his Aunt Glo is brilliant!) which I've listened to innumerable times.

I've also read the Elizabeth Ashley and Lee Grant books. Ashley's really gave you a sense of the laid back person she seems to be. A friend of mine worked with her on a production of Mrs. Warren's Profession and spoke highly of her saying she was a little scattered, a little nuts and a lot outrageous but all in all a lovely person.

Lee Grant's (I've always loved her but hate what she's done to her face) was very interesting, and a little frightening considering how the blacklist destroyed her career for so long, but I wish she had gone a bit more in depth about the different films she's made through the years.

Marc Harshbarger said...

Thanks for your comment, Joel - glad to hear that Ms. Ashley is a lovely person.