It’s officially Summer Reading time at Eisenhower, the time of year when you can win prizes for reading. Sign up in Kids World or at the Answers Desk with any valid library card to get an awesome tote bag featuring Kevan Atteberry’s friendly, bunny-loving, bass-playing monster, Declan while supplies last.
The theme for this year’s program is “It’s Showtime at Your Library” so we’re recommending books about music and movies to help you get started earning prizes. Today we’re recommending novels for movie lovers. Look for more Summer Reading posts throughout the summer.
The Moviegoer by Walker Percy
A young man, torn between the forces of tradition and change, searches for meaning in post-war America On the cusp of his thirtieth birthday, Binx Bolling is a lost soul. A stockbroker and member of an established New Orleans family, Binx’s one escape is the movie theater that transports him from the falseness of his life. With Mardi Gras in full swing, Binx, along with his cousin Kate, sets out to find his true purpose amid the excesses of the carnival that surrounds him. Buoyant yet powerful, The Moviegoer is a poignant indictment of modern values, and an unforgettable story of a week that will change two lives forever. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Walker Percy including rare photos from the author’s estate.
The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin
It is 1914, and twenty-five-year-old Frances Marion has left her (second) husband and her Northern California home for the lure of Los Angeles, where she is determined to live independently as an artist. But the word on everyone’s lips these days is “flickers”—the silent moving pictures enthralling theatergoers. Turn any corner in this burgeoning town and you’ll find made-up actors running around, as a movie camera captures it all.
In this fledgling industry, Frances finds her true calling: writing stories for this wondrous new medium. She also makes the acquaintance of actress Mary Pickford, whose signature golden curls and lively spirit have earned her the title “America’s Sweetheart.” The two ambitious young women hit it off instantly, their kinship fomented by their mutual fever to create, to move audiences to a frenzy, to start a revolution.
But their ambitions are challenged by both the men around them and the limitations imposed on their gender—and their astronomical success could come at a price. As Mary, the world’s highest paid and most beloved actress, struggles to live her life under the spotlight, she also wonders if it is possible to find love, even with the dashing actor Douglas Fairbanks. Frances, too, longs to share her life with someone. As in any good Hollywood story, dramas will play out, personalities will clash, and even the deepest friendships might be shattered.
The Hollywood Daughter by Kate Alcott
In 1950, Ingrid Bergman—already a major star after movies like Casablanca and Joan of Arc—has a baby out of wedlock with her Italian lover, film director Roberto Rossellini. Previously held up as an icon of purity, Bergman’s fall shocked her legions of American fans.
Growing up in Hollywood, Jessica Malloy watches as her PR executive father helps make Ingrid a star at Selznick Studio. Over years of fleeting interactions with the actress, Jesse comes to idolize Ingrid, who she considered not only the epitome of elegance and integrity, but also the picture-perfect mother, an area where her own difficult mom falls short.
In a heated era of McCarthyism and extreme censorship, Ingrid’s affair sets off an international scandal that robs seventeen-year-old Jesse of her childhood hero. When the stress placed on Jesse’s father begins to reveal hidden truths about the Malloy family, Jesse’s eyes are opened to the complex realities of life—and love.
Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures by Emma Straub
In 1920, Elsa Emerson, the youngest and blondest of three sisters, is born in idyllic Door County, Wisconsin. Her family owns the Cherry County Playhouse, and more than anything, Elsa relishes appearing onstage, where she soaks up the approval of her father and the embrace of the audience. But when tragedy strikes her family, her acting becomes more than a child¹s game of pretend.
While still in her teens, Elsa marries and flees to Los Angeles. There she is discovered by Irving Green, one of the most powerful executives in Hollywood, who refashions her as a serious, exotic brunette and renames her Laura Lamont. Irving becomes Laura’s great love; she becomes an Academy Award-winning actress–and a genuine movie star. Laura experiences all the glamour and extravagance of the heady pinnacle of stardom in the studio-system era, but ultimately her story is a timeless one of a woman trying to balance career, family, and personal happiness, all while remaining true to herself.
What You Don’t Know About Charlie Outlaw by Leah Stewart
After a series of missteps in the face of his newfound fame, actor Charlie Outlaw flees to a remote island in search of anonymity and a chance to reevaluate his recent breakup with his girlfriend, actress Josie Lamar. But soon after his arrival on the peaceful island, his solitary hike into the jungle takes him into danger he never anticipated.
As Charlie struggles with gaining fame, Josie struggles with its loss. The star of a cult TV show in her early twenties, Josie has spent the twenty years since searching for a role to equal that one, and feeling less and less like her character, the heroic Bronwyn Kyle. As she gets ready for a reunion of the cast at a huge fan convention, she thinks all she needs to do is find a part and replace Charlie. But she can’t forget him, and to get him back she’ll need to be a hero in real life.
West of Sunset by Stewart O’Nan
In 1937, F. Scott Fitzgerald was a troubled, uncertain man whose literary success was long over. In poor health, with his wife consigned to a mental asylum and his finances in ruins, he struggled to make a new start as a screenwriter in Hollywood. By December 1940, he would be dead of a heart attack.
Those last three years of Fitzgerald’s life, often obscured by the legend of his earlier Jazz Age glamour, are the focus of Stewart O’Nan’s gorgeously and gracefully written novel. With flashbacks to key moments from Fitzgerald’s past, the story follows him as he arrives on the MGM lot, falls in love with brassy gossip columnist Sheilah Graham, begins work on The Last Tycoon, and tries to maintain a semblance of family life with the absent Zelda and daughter, Scottie.
Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard
Loan shark Chili Palmer didn’t say anything when Ray Bones stole his leather jacket from Vesuvio’s in Miami. He just went to Ray’s house, broke his nose, took the jacket, and left. Twelve years later, on account of his boss getting whacked, Chili finds himself working for Bones and ordered to collect on a bad debt from Leo Devoe, a guy who died in a plane crash. But it turns out Leo isn’t dead; he’s in Las Vegas with the $300,000 the airline paid to his wife. So Chili follows him to Vegas and then on to Hollywood, where he hooks up with movie producers, actors, and studio execs. Getting Leo becomes a movie pitch unfolding in a city where every move you make is a potential scene, and making it big isn’t all that different from making your bones: You gotta know who to pitch, who to hit, and how to knock ’em dead.
The Actress by Amy Sohn
When the indie film Maddy Freed made wins her a special acting prize, she’s thrilled. She catches the eye of a legendary talent manager whose biggest client is Hollywood heartthrob Steven Weller. She secures Maddy an Oscar-worthy role opposite Steven, and the two actors are thrown together. Though for years there have been rumors that Steven is gay, their relationship turns personal. After the whirlwind wedding, rumors continue to swirl, and cracks start to appear in their fairytale lives.
The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West
The Day of the Locust is a novel about Hollywood and its corrupting touch, about the American dream turned into a sun-drenched California nightmare. Nathanael West’s Hollywood is not the glamorous “home of the stars” but a seedy world of little people, some hopeful, some despairing, all twisted by their by their own desires — from the ironically romantic artist narrator, to a macho movie cowboy, a middle-aged innocent from America’s heartland, and the hard-as-nails call girl would-be-star whom they all lust after. An unforgettable portrayal of a world that mocks the real and rewards the sham, turns its back on love to plunge into empty sex, and breeds a savage violence that is its own undoing, this novel stands as a classic indictment of all that is most extravagant and uncontrolled in American life.