Catching up is so much fun.
#21 - Keystone: The Life and Clowns of Mack Sennett by Simon Louvish. For a history, breezily written, with a few snicker-worthy lines that you can tell tickled the author. Quite good, entirely informative. I would have traded a few business-y details for some more gossipy tidbits -- Mack Sennett was a producer, after all, who took meetings from a bathtub in the center of his office -- but absolutely worth it for anyone with an itch for silent film history, early Hollywood or the Keystone Kops (yes, that includes me).
#22 - Who I Was Supposed to Be by Susan Perabo. Excellent short stories. Except I'm rapidly losing my love for short stories.
#23 - The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster. A divorced, 60-something bully of a man moves to NYC and, despite himself, begins to reconnect with other humans, including the ones who'd sworn him off. A relationship he observes kind of becomes a story-wthin-the-story. Well told. What you'd expect from Paul Auster, but sweeter.
#24 - Crawl Space by Edie Meidav. Wow, this marched right up and declared Brooklyn Follies to be superficial. Meidav's almost-present-day tale of a fictional fugitive Vischy war criminal is always smart, sharp, ambitious and delicious to read. Even when it makes you feel a little morally dirty for liking the evil octogenarian, or the plot wanders a bit toward the end, it's enjoyable and thought-provoking. This came to me as an LBC nominee. Love that LBC.
#25 & #26 - To Be Announced for the aforementioned LBC: fall nominees, coming soon.
#27 - The Stewardess is Flying the Plane! by Ron Hogan. A pictorial romp through 1970s film with a nice running sociopolitical narrative and some nifty trivia (did you know Gene Hackman's favorite of his films is The Conversation? Netflix it if you don't know it). Podcast with Ron is upcoming....
#28 - Adventures of a Hollywood Secretary by Valeria Belletti, edited by Cari Beauchamp. Eh, did I mention I have a bit of an obsession with early Hollywood? Valeria was the secretary to Sam Goldwyn and her letters to a friend back in NY provide a window on real life in tinseltown in the last years before sound. "Real life" meaning, in this case, working late, being disapproved of for having a cigarette - and a cocktail! -- and trying to decide whether or not it's worth it to marry a bohemian. Plus ca change...
#29 - The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon. Kind of required reading in my newly adopted city. A college grad has some adventures in Pittsburgh, but the greatest mystery ... is himself. (ooh, it feels so After School Special to type that!) The narrator is a cypher, and aside from a few lovely witticisms isn't revealed on the page. Why do the cool and crazy people hang out with him, fall for him? Who knows? I love Chabon's writing, and the tale scrolls out swiftly -- but for me, Kavalier & Klay is a more fantastic ride.