Summer Reading Classic Film Book Challenge Wrap-Up

Back in May, I decided to participate in the Summer Reading Classic Film Book Challenge hosted by the fabulous blog Out of the Past. The goal was to read six books in some way related to classic film — biographies, film criticism, or even classic film-related novels — between June 1 and September 15.  Though I deviated ever-so-slightly from the “to be read” pile that I initially put together for the challenge, I’m happy to report that I did manage to read six classic film books over the summer! Here’s what I read:

The 1977 hardcover of Keyes' book, from my collection (Photo by Lindsey for TMP)

The 1977 hardcover of Keyes’ book, from my collection (Photo by Lindsey for TMP)

  • Scarlett O’Hara’s Younger Sister: My Lively Life In and Out of Hollywood by Evelyn Keyes
    Average Goodreads rating: 3.73/5
    My goodreads rating: None given
    Full Review
    The basics: Memoir of the life and career of Evelyn Keyes
    My thoughts: Written in a somewhat fragmented style, Keyes’ autobiography still makes for a good read thanks to her honest approach to recollecting her past, in both her career and her personal life.
From my book collection: Hardcover of Laughing in the Dark

From my book collection: Hardcover of Laughing in the Dark (Photo by Lindsey for TMP)

  • Laughing in the Dark: Movie Comedy from Groucho to Woody by Ted Sennett
    Average Goodreads rating: 3.50/5
    My goodreads rating: 4/5
    Full Review
    The basics: An overview of film comedy throughout the 20th century
    My thoughts: A nice overview of movie comedy and the way its conventions/trends changed over the passing of decades. While a little unbalanced (too much Woody, not enough silent comedy), it’s a pretty good book to turn to for an introduction to the genre, or historical context on certain periods of comedy.
(Image courtesy of the publisher, Chicago Review Press)

(Image courtesy of the publisher, Chicago Review Press)

  • The Real James Dean: Intimate Memories From Those Who Knew Him Best, ed. Peter L. Winkler
    Average Goodreads rating: 4.36/5
    My goodreads rating: 5/5
    Full Review
    The basics: A collection of essays and articles about James Dean, including perspectives from his family, friends, and co-stars
    My thoughts: A must-own for any James Dean fan. Through his curation of resources which would otherwise be difficult for the reader to track down, Winkler paints a complex, fascinating portrait of the actor.
(Image via Goodreads)

(Image via Goodreads)

  • LIFE Goes to the Movies, ed. David E. Scherman
    Average Goodreads rating: 4.04/5
    My goodreads rating: 4/5
    Full Review
    The basics: Excerpts, images, and commentary regarding LIFE magazine’s coverage of the film industry throughout the 20th century
    My thoughts: Anyone who enjoys flipping through old issues of LIFE, or simply enjoys the mag’s photographs, will enjoy reading this. It also offers an interesting look at the relationship between the media and the film industry, during the classic era and beyond.
(Image via Goodreads)

(Image via Goodreads)

  • Five Women I Love: Bob Hope’s Vietnam Story by Bob Hope
    Average Goodreads rating: 3.63/5
    My goodreads rating: 3/5
    Full Review
    The basics: Recollections of Bob Hope’s mid-1960s USO tour in Vietnam
    My thoughts: This is the only book of the challenge that I didn’t *love* reading. It strives to pack every page with jokes, which I just found exhausting to read. But if you love Hope and his style of comedy, or are interested in the book as a historical artifact (an account of a USO tour during the Vietnam years), it’s worth seeking out.
(Image via Goodreads)

(Image via Goodreads)

  • Good Stuff: A Reminiscence of My Father, Cary Grant by Jennifer Grant
    Average Goodreads rating: 3.57/5
    My goodreads rating: 5/5
    Full Review
    The basics: Memories of life with Cary Grant from his only daughter, Jennifer
    My thoughts: This book got a tear or two out of me! Avoid if you’re looking for in-depth insights into Cary Grant’s life and career, but it’s a beautiful book — basically an extended love letter from daughter to father. A sweet, emotional read.
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2 thoughts on “Summer Reading Classic Film Book Challenge Wrap-Up

    • Lindsey says:

      Yes, that comes across very strongly in the book. Whatever faults he may have had elsewhere in his personal life, he was obviously very devoted to Jennifer. I loved reading her memories of their time together.

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