As some of you may or may not know, I work at a library and am an avid reader. I have loved to read ever since I can remember. My parents used to read to me before bed almost every night, and I still do that to this day. Well, my parents don't, but I do. I can't really sleep unless I read something! Thank goodness I work at a place where books are EVERYWHERE, and free at that.
I like to read a lot of different things, but one of the genres I enjoy are biographies about silent/classic film stars. I thought I would share with you some of the titles that I would recommend. And some that I would say not to waste your time on.
The first of course is the book I finished reading over a month ago called Dangerous Curves Atop Hollywood Heels by Michael Ankerich. Oh how Jessica loves this book! The research done by the author was just incredible, which I definitely appreciate. Another plus, it covered some ladies who have been almost forgotten like Lucille Ricksen and Martha Mansfield. Go out and buy it now, if you cannot afford it at this time (especially with the holidays) I will let you borrow my copy for sure. I love it that much. And you, of course ;)
Next would be Silent Players by Anthony Slide. Slide is a film historian, and I love hearing him talk because he is so knowledgeable, and also because I love his accent. This book has wonderful biographies that are just enough to give you a real taste of the actor he is writing about. From the top of my head, I can recall that he covered Mignon Anderson, Gladys Brockwell, and of course the greats are covered too. The copy of this book that is in the library system I work at has a plate in it dedicated to me. It has my stamp of approval!
Silent Lives by Lon Davis is another one that contains little biographies of a number of stars. Problem is, I know I read it and liked it, but I can't really remember much else! I do remember really liking it though, so check it out.
Silent Movies by Peter Kobel is a beautiful book. It has a lot of information in it and beautiful pictures. It is a great coffee table book, which is where mine is sitting right now. Trust me, it is hard to read while laying in bed cuz it is a big one.
As far as star biographies go, I cannot recommend enough David Stenn. He wrote Clara Bow: Runnin' Wild and Bombshell about Jean Harlow. I read both books and absolutely loved them. He includes a lot of information, and you can tell he admires these ladies because he writes very sympathetically towards them. The Jean Harlow book had me crying when he was talking about her final days and how she suffered. Now, I don't cry easily, especially at books, so that is something. Two great books about two of my idols.
Vamp by Eve Golden was a good one too. It is about Theda Bara, if you couldn't already tell by the title. I am so happy someone wrote a biography about her, and Eve Golden is such a great author anyway, so I think she did Theda justice. I don't remember much about the book since it has been a few years since I read it, but I do remember I finished the whole thing, which again means something coming from me. If I don't like a book, I don't waste my time finishing it. Make sure to check out Eve's other books as well.
Nazimova by Gavin Lambert. I was kinda scared when I requested this book and it came in because it is a thick one. And normally when a book is that thick, it can read very much like a textbook and not be very interesting. That is not the case in this book. I was captivated from beginning to end. I don't know if it was the subject matter or the writing, but I would like to believe it is both. Alla Nazimova was such a dynamic force so her story itself is incredible and I grew to love her even more after reading Lambert's work.
Okay...now I gotta be careful talking about these next books because I found out the hard way that a Facebook friend of mine is a friend of the author and I made my opinions known on his wall. Not in a thrashing, bad way, but it wasn't completely positive either. Michelle Vogel wrote biographies about Olive Thomas and Olive Borden, and, well, they are not my favorites...which sucks because I love the Olives!! The Olive Thomas book was kinda boring and choppy and the quotes from magazines was overwhelming to the point where I felt like I was reading a bad research paper that I had written the night before. It wasn't the worst book that I have read, but it wasn't my favorite. The Olive Borden book was a little bit better, but not by much. I ended up skimming through the rest of it because I couldn't just lay back and read the whole thing. Vogel also wrote a book called Hollywood Blondes that has so many mistakes, it will make you cringe. Which, again, sucks because it has some of my favorites in it and could really be a good book!
As far as autobiographies go, check out The Times We Had by Marion Davies. Her life in Hollywood and with Hearst in her own words is very endearing and I thought it was a good read. I of course recommend My Wonderful World of Slapstick because it is by Buster! Duh! He was such a humble and funny man, that is a lovely view of his life by the man himself.
I do remember picking up Life of a Star by Pola Negri, but I don't remember what I thought of it. Oops!
These are just a few of the ones I have read, but it gives props to the best. What about you guys? Read any good books lately? :)