Check out these fantastic reads that are centered around the movie industry.
If you’re prepping the popcorn and your film-themed snacks (Glass Oniondip, anyone?) before the Academy Awards (March 12 on ABC), grab one of these fabulous reads for even more movie magic and Hollywood happenings.
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Best Books for Movie Lovers
Who’s not fascinated with the Academy Awards and all the glamour attached to them—the red carpet, extravagant gowns, glittering jewels, debonair stars and sweet speeches? The New Yorker writer Michael Schulman, author of Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep, goes behind the pomp in Oscar Wars (Harper) to reveal the real stories behind the scenes, from cultural battles to industry intrigue. His insights and firsthand accounts make for fun reading. Oscar Wars by Michael Schulman, $36 on Amazon
Film scholar Jeanine Basinger and author Sam Wasson drew on 3,000 interviews from the American Film Institute’s archives to craft Hollywood: The Oral History (Harper), a fast-paced and informative history of Tinseltown. With quotes from leading stars and top filmmakers—including Tom Hanks, Alfred Hitchcock, Katharine Hepburn, Meryl Streep and Jordan Peele—readers will walk away with a deep understanding of the uniquely American industry. Hollywood: The Oral History by Jeanine Basinger and Sam Wasson, $24.99 on Amazon
Viva Hollywood: The Legacy of Latin and Hispanic Artists in American Film by Luis Reyes, $31 on Amazon
In Viva Hollywood (Running Press), film historian Luis Reyes documents the critical role of the Hispanic and Latino community in shaping Hollywood over the past 100 years. Highlighting the careers of icon Rita Hayworth, silent movie actor Antonio Moreno and Oscar-winning makeup artist Beatrice de Alba, the book chronicles the ignorance these luminaries had to overcome and the significant influence they had on the movies. As an added bonus, Viva Hollywood includes 200 photos of luminaries. Viva Hollywood: The Legacy of Latin and Hispanic Artists in American Film by Luis Reyes, $31 on Amazon
If you never miss the red-carpet gossip, grab a copy of Elissa Sussman’s Funny You Should Ask (Dell), a sizzling romance between an A-list actor and a journalist. Ten years earlier, writer Chani’s profile of Hollywood golden boy Gabe Parker went viral as readers wondered just how close the pair got during their weekend interview. Now, as part of a PR stunt, they’ve reunited for Chani to report another feature, and the decade apart hasn’t cooled off the sparks between them. Filled with insight on celebrity, media and the internet, it’s a fun read with surprising heft. Funny You Should Ask by Elissa Sussman, $12 on Amazon
Li’s #MeToo-inspired thriller, Complicit (Atria), follows Sarah Lai, a once-promising film producer now teaching screenwriting at a Brooklyn Community college. When a New York Times reporter reaches out to ask about her experiences with a wealthy British film producer, she decides she can longer stay quiet. As she recounts her tale to the journalist, Sarah is forced to consider her own choices and if she enabled a predator. A timely, compelling read. Complicit by Winnie M Li, $23 on Amazon
Photographer Carrell Augustus reimagines iconic Hollywood scenes with Black stars in this new coffee-table book. Images include Vanessa Williams as Cleopatra, Corbin Bleu in Mission Impossible and Dulé Hill in Singing in the Rain. Augustus spent ten years crafting the book and notes, “Black Hollywood is not just a book for Black people―it’s a book for all people about Black people. About the dreams we were never told we could achieve. About the places we were never told we could go. And now, finally, about how we can get there.” Black Hollywood by Carell Augustus, $20 on Amazon
Ramisetti puts a disturbing twist on the classic Cinderella tale in Advika and the Hollywood Wives (April 11, Grand Central). While bartending at an Oscars after-party, struggling screenwriter Advika Srinivasan meets legendary producer Julian Zelding. Despite their 41-year age difference, she falls for the powerful exec, and they quickly marry. A month into their marriage, Advika is shocked when Julian’s first wife, a famous actress, dies and bequeaths her a single film reel and $1,000,000 if she divorces her husband. Juicy, propulsive and insightful. Advika and the Hollywood Wives by Kirthana Ramisetti, $29 on Amazon
Former Nickelodeon star McCurdy takes readers into the darker side of Hollywood with I’m Glad My Mom Died (Simon & Schuster), a memoir that’s equal parts heartbreaking and humorous. McCurdy’s mom dreamed of fame and foisted her unachieved goal on her daughter. Jennette attended her first audition at age 6. By 11, her mom encouraged “calorie restriction” even as her pediatrician warned that Jennette was dangerously thin. I’m Glad My Mom Died is raw, honest and disturbing, but also an inspiring story of resilience. I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy, $18 on Amazon
If you love movies, mayhem and mystery, The Motion Picture Teller (Soho Crime) has it all. In 1996, film junkie Supot is a postman with the Royal Thai Mail service who spends all his free time watching classics with his best friend Ali, who owns a video store. When a mysterious cassette titled Bangkok 2010 arrives at the store it sets off a madcap adventure, as the pair recognize it as brilliant, but no one has ever heard of it—or even of the actors who star in it. Supot’s quest to uncover the truth eventually takes him to a mysterious commune in the northern Thai countryside. It’s a delightful read, with charming characters and a vivid setting. The Motion Picture Teller by Colin Cotterill, $28 on Amazon
Entertainment journalist Wickman’s new book documents the making of Bring It On and the iconic cheerleading film’s legacy in her new book (Chicago Review Press). The quotable flick—that launched the careers of stars Gabrielle Union, Kirsten Dunst and director Peyton Reed of Ant-Manfame, sparked a half-dozen sequels and grossed nearly $100 million—almost didn’t get made. Wickman takes readers behind the scenes into pitch meetings, rewrite sessions and the dorm-like hotel the cast stayed at, sharing hilarious anecdotes and insight into what it takes to make a comedy classic. Bring It On by Kase Wickman, $28 on Amazon
Paul Fischer offers a wild tale of murder, mystery and innovation in The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures (Simon & Schuster), a nonfiction book perfect for fans of Erik Larson. The book focuses on Louis Le Prince, who filmed friends and family in 1888, thus creating the first moving image. Two years later, just as he was preparing to announce his discovery to the world, Le Prince boarded a train to Paris…and then disappeared. His widow claimed Thomas Edison, who went on to claim to invent the moving picture machine, arranged for Le Prince’s murder. The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures investigates that accusation and attempts to solve the mystery of Le Prince’s disappearance. The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures by Paul Fischer, $19 on Amazon
The Daydreams (May 2, Berkley), Hankin’s third novel, imagines the four stars of a beloved 2000s TV show reuniting for a special episode thirteen years after a scandalous live finale taping derailed their lives. As the reunion grows closer, long-held secrets—including the real reason for their infamous downfall—come to the surface. ‘90s kids and anyone looking for a darkly satirical take on the entertainment world won’t want to miss this one. The Daydreams by Laura Hankin, $25 on Amazon
Lopez spent the early months of the pandemic doing what a lot of us did—watching and rewatching dozens of movies. But, unlike most Americans, Lopez, the film editor at The Wrap, could say her binge-watching was research. Her new book, Turner Classic Movies’ But Have You Read the Book? (Running Press), is a comprehensive look at 52 book-to-movie adaptations, including Clueless, The Silence of the Lambs, The Shining, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Little Women and The Princess Bride. Lopez wrote an entertaining, fact-filled essay about each of the book-and-movie pairs. But Have You Read the Book by Kristen Lopez, $20 on Amazon