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Friday, July 21, 2017

365 Groovy Books Worth Reading #179 - 189

Today I continue my list of 365 Groovy Books Worth Reading (in random order). Click here for the previous 178 books - and click on a title for more information or to purchase a copy:

179) Attack of the Theater People (2008) by Marc Acito
This hilarious sequel to Acito's 2004 debut novel, How I Paid for College, continues the misadventures of aspiring actor Edward Zanni, who - after being kicked out of drama school - accidentally gets caught up in insider trading with a handsome stockbroker named Chad.

180) When the Lights Go Down (1980) by Pauline Kael
The critic's sixth collection of movie reviews features films that were released in 1975-79 including Taxi Driver, Jaws, Carrie, Rocky, King Kong, A Star Is Born, Star Wars, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Saturday Night Fever, National Lampoon's Animal House, The Wiz, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Superman and Halloween.

181) The Hotel New Hampshire (1981) by John Irving
Irving's fifth published novel about a quirky New Hampshire family was made into a 1984 film starring Jodie Foster, Rob Lowe and Nastassja Kinski. The New York Times Book Review called it "a hectic, gaudy saga with the verve of a Marx Brothers movie".

182) Girl Singer: An Autobiography (1999) by Rosemary Clooney (with Joan Barthel)
The singer (1928-2002) - and George Clooney's aunt - shares her life story, which includes the 1954 film, White Christmas, and several Grammy Award nominations as well as an addiction to prescription drugs for depression and a nervous breakdown. Tony Bennett says it best in his review of her book: "To know Rosemary Clooney is to love her. After reading this book, you will, too."

183) The Prince of Tides (1986) by Pat Conroy
The novel is much better than Barbra Streisand's 1991 film version, which focused on the contemporary romance between the characters played by Streisand and Nick Nolte. The book, on the other hand, spans 40 years as it tells the story of Tom Wingo and his siblings, twin sister Savannah and brother Luke.

184) Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women As I Knew Them (2012) by Frank Langella
In his memoir, the Tony Award-winning actor (Frost/Nixon) discusses his encounters with some famous folks, including Marilyn Monroe, John F. Kennedy, Montgomery Clift, Richard Burton, Rita Hayworth, Bette Davis, Dinah Shore, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Princess Diana, Anne Bancroft, Paul Newman, Jill Clayburgh and Elizabeth Taylor.

185) The Art of Fielding (2011) by Chad Harbach
Harbach's debut novel is about shortstop Henry Skrimshander and his career playing baseball at a small liberal arts college, where his gay roommate and teammate Owen Dunne has an affair with the "bachelor" school president. In May 2017, it was reported that the openly gay Craig Johnson (Wilson, The Skeleton Twins) will be directing a feature film adaptation of the book.

186) Backstage at the Dean Martin Show (2000) by Lee Hale (with Richard D. Neely)
This book takes us behind-the-scenes of Dean Martin's 1965-74 NBC variety series as well as Dean's summer replacement series, The Golddiggers, and his series of specials, The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts.

187) The Kids Are All Right: A Memoir (2009) by Diana Welch and Liz Welch with Amanda Welch and Dan Welch
This book has nothing to do with the Oscar-nominated 2010 film starring Annette Bening and Julianne Moore. Instead it's the true story of how four young siblings (ages 8 to 19) survived the loss of both of their parents in the mid-1980s (their mother was soap opera actress Ann Williams, who appeared on The Doctors, Search for Tomorrow, The Edge of Night and Loving). Even actress Parker Posey enjoyed reading about the Welches: "This book carried me along with such speed and emotion and intimacy that I felt cast in the role as their imaginary friend. This book is their song and it will rock you along."

188) Be True to Your School: A Diary of 1964 (1987) by Bob Greene
The former Chicago Tribune columnist kept a diary in 1964 when he was an Ohio high school student, and he reconstructed it into this engaging book that Ann Landers reviewed: "Everyone who was ever seventeen will love it!"

189) The Litte House (1942) by Virginia Lee Burton
I wasn't aware of urban sprawl when I first read this illustrated book as a child, but now I understand the story so much better. It was named one of the top 100 best books for children by the National Education Association in 1999 and 2007.

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